A World War II ship has been discovered at the bottom of Lake Superior nearly 84 years after it disappeared during a fierce storm.
In a press release, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS) announced the discovery of the 244-foot bulk carrier Arlington.
The boat was found north of Michigan. Keweenaw Peninsula, buried under 650 feet of water.
The historical society’s interest was piqued when shipwreck researcher Dan Fountain detected an anomaly while analyzing remote sensing data.
In 2023, Fountain joined GLSHS Director of Marine Operations Darryl Ertel and the crew of the R/V David Boyd as they surveyed the anomaly with sonar and discovered that it was indeed a shipwreck.
A World War II ship was discovered at the bottom of Lake Superior, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society announced in a news release.
The 244-foot bulk carrier, named Arlington, disappeared in May 1940 after sinking during a violent storm.
The ship was transporting wheat to Owen Sound, Ontario from Port Arthur.
Subsequent dives positively identified the submerged vessel as the Arlington. The discovery came nearly eight and a half decades after she set sail from Port Arthur, Ontario, transporting wheat to Owen Sound.
Commanding the Arlington was Frederick ‘Tatey Bug’ Burke, who had embarked on many previous voyages across Lake Superior.
The crew encountered billowing fog and even encountered a larger freighter, the Collingwood, as they began to cross the water.
But a storm began to form once night fell, battering both ships. Water began to accumulate inside the Arlington.
Junis Macksey, the ship’s first officer, ordered them to divert to hug the northern Canadian coast, which would provide some defense against the raging wind and roaring waves.
In a move that is still disputed by historians today, Burke ordered the ship to return to its course.
At around 4:30 a.m. on May 1, 1940, chief engineer Fred Gilbert raised the alarm: the ship was sinking.
When the captain did not give the order to abandon ship, the crew began jumping overboard on their own.
After the ship’s captain, Frederick ‘Tatey Bug’ Burke, strangely refused to divert course to avoid a storm, the Arlington sank.
All survived and were taken aboard a nearby ship, except for Burke. Researcher Dan Fountain hopes the discovery will provide “closure” for his descendants.
Cloudy underwater images show the ship partially upright
The Arlington remained virtually intact, even eight and a half decades after its disappearance.
They all managed to board the Collingwood, except for Burke, whose erratic behavior remains a mystery.
‘Why did he go down with his ship… when he could have easily been saved like the rest of his crew?’ GLSHS wrote in the statement. “The fact is, no one will ever know the answer.”
Reports indicate that the captain waved to the Collingwood from near the cockpit of his ship, moments before it was swallowed by the depths.
There it remained for years, partially upright and largely intact, accumulating coral and marine life.
Cloudy underwater images released by GLSHS show a diver skirting the rusty hull of the Arlington, revealing that some features have been perfectly preserved.
Teamwork was essential in the discovery, according to GLSHS Executive Director Bruce Lynn.
“This was absolutely demonstrated when Marquette resident Dan Fountain approached us with a potential target near the Copper Harbor area of Lake Superior,” Lynn said.
“We are lucky to have so many dedicated shipwreck historians and researchers as friends of GLSHS.”
GLSHS operates the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum from the Whitefish Point Light Station in Michigan (pictured)
The nonprofit’s executive director says teamwork played a huge role in the discovery of this historic craft.
The organization was founded in 1978 by a group of divers, teachers and educators seeking to explore historic shipwrecks in eastern Lake Superior.
The organization was founded in 1978 by a coalition of divers, teachers and educators seeking to explore historic shipwrecks in eastern Lake Superior.
The nonprofit operates the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and the US Weather Bureau Building, both located on historic properties.
Fountain, whose instincts led him to the discovery of the ship, said he was simply excited to solve the mystery.
“I hope this final chapter of his story can provide some kind of closure for Captain Burke’s family,” the Marquette man added.
Your work is far from over. Since the ship was confirmed to be the Arlington, Fountain has been trying to track down the crew’s descendants in Ontario.
‘These goals don’t always mean anything… but this time it was an absolute wreck. “A shipwreck with an interesting and perhaps mysterious history,” Lynn said.
“If Dan had not contacted us, we may never have located the Arlington…and we certainly would not know as much about its history as we do today.”