On April 30th, 1940, the Arlington left Port Arthur, Ontario fully loaded with wheat en route Owen Sound, Ontario. She was under command of Captain Frederick “Tatey Bug” Burke, a seasoned veteran of the lakes. Dense fog greeted the Arlington and a larger freighter, the Collingwood, as they made their way across Lake Superior. As the day turned to night the fog turned into a storm and battered both ships. The Arlington started to take on water. The Arlington’s first mate, Junis Macksey, ordered a course to hug the Canadian North Shore, which would have provided some cover from wind and waves, but Captain Burke countermanded the order…and ordered his ship back on its course across the open lake. On May 1st at around 4:30am Chief Engineer, Fred Gilbert, sounded the alarm, as the Arlington started to sink. Out of fear for their lives, and without orders from Captain Burke, the crew began to abandon ship on their own. Luckily, everyone safely got off the Arlington and made it to the safety of the Collingwood…everyone but Captain “Tatey Bug” Burke.
An investigation, and much speculation followed the sinking of the Arlington and the odd behavior of its master. Why did he go down with his ship…when he easily could have been saved like the rest of his crew? The fact is no one will ever know the answer. Reports indicate that he was near the pilothouse of his ship and waved at the Collingwood minutes before his ship went to the deep, 650-feet to the bottom of Lake Superior.