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We are a group of volunteers producing this nautical heritage site with information on Canada’s Pacific nautical history and heritage and other topics of general maritime interest. Click the links on the left side of the page to see the archived articles.
Those wishing to actively participate in an on–going discussion and Group investigation of British Columbia’s Nautical History should consider joining the British Columbia Nautical History Facebook group. This is a friendly, polite, positive and very active on–line discussion group (currently 3,200 members) that shares photographs, information and first–hand knowledge. Check it out and join up.
Recent Featured Articles:HMS Amphion’s Crumpled Keel
01/08/2017 Contributor Robert Hanna shares images he took of the remains of HMS Amphion’s keel in Victoria BC. The keel was saved after a repair at Esquimalt BC in the old naval drydock.
The Wreck of the Freighter Northwestern
20/07/2017 The freighter Northwestern went ashore at Latorchu AK USA and was successfully salvaged by the Victoria’based tug Salvor. Over the years the Northwestern was involved in many marine incidents.
The Sub Chaser That Became a Packer Norking
16/07/2017 Contributor Drew Clarke shares images of the Norking. She escorted convoys along the northern coast of South America and near Guadalcanal in the South Pacific. On 1/29/1945, SC 1039 was damaged, along with four other small ships, when the cargo ship Serpens (AK–97) was sunk by an explosion of undetermined origin off Guadalcanal. Andrew Clarke reports that "She was sold to a new owner in 2014 at Ladysmith BC. He put her on the beach to clean the hull and she fell over. The owner then stripped her and scuttled her in 2015." I was very disappointed to learn of this unfortunate turn of events."
Ships of the Bedwell Bay Ship Boneyard
14/07/2017 Contributor Christopher Cole has assembled an inventory of the surplus vessels that once resided in the vessel "boneyard" in Bedwell Bay. These vessels were held in strategic reserve or were simply awaiting disposition as surplus to government requirements. It took several years to clear them out.
Vessels Owned by the Pacific (Coyle) Navigation Co. Ltd. and its Predecessors
11/07/2017 The Coyle Family owned major interests in a series of tugboat companies in Vancouver BC. They owned, over the years, a large fleet of vessels.
The Robert Kerr on the Ways at the Esquimalt Marine Railway Ltd.
10/07/2017 The Robert Kerr was the first vessel up on the ways at the new Esquimalt Marine Railway Co. Ltd. She was scraped and painted, a modest start for a yard that later became Yarrows Ltd.
The Last Days of the Schooner Robertson II
05/07/2017 On Canada Day 2007 contributor Drew Clarke heard a news report of the sinking of the schooner Robertson II. So passionate was his reaction to the story that he mobilized a salvage attempt that, in spite of a heroic effort, was ultimately unsuccessful. He shares his experiences and images from this effort in the article.
The Shanteymen’s Christian Association and the Messenger III.
29/06/2017 The Messenger III is one of the iconic vintage vessels on the British Columbia coast. She carries with her a long and proud history of material and spiritual service to the people of the British Columbia coast.
The Wreck of the Gulf Stream
25/06/2017 The former Second World War era RCN armed yacht HMCS Wolf was converted to passenger service but soon after going into operation met disaster at Dinner Rock when she was wrecked. Many people visited the site to take pictures. The co–author’s father took two interesting closeups which we share.
The Classic Power Cruiser Aileen
21/06/2017 The Classic Power Cruiser Aileen was typical of a beautiful but expensive power yacht on the British Columbia coast. She was later designated a a Vintage Vessel by the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.
Sooke Fish Traps
16/06/2017 Contributor Doug MacFarlane, a veteran Sooke tug boat man, shares an image of the fish trap that once operated at Sooke BC. In his youth he was a watchman on the trap. This style of fish harvesting is no longer used but was once common on the BC coast.
Sooke Fishcamp Disaster
14/06/2017 Contributor Doug MacFarlane, a veteran Sooke tug boat man, shares some images and the story behind a Nelson Brothers fish camp that sank will in tow. He prevented the situation from getting worse by taking it in tow.
The Tug Billmor Stuck in Ice
12/06/2017 Contributor Jane Gardner shared some family images of the tug Billmor stuck in the ice, apparently in the Skeena River. Her mother kept a photo album from her time working in canneries and she thinks the pictures of the tug are somehow linked to this time.
The Seiner Mary Todd aka the Boat That Wouldn’t Die
09/06/2017 Contributor Drew Clark bought the Mary Todd and operated her at the end of her life. He shares her long history and shares a number of photographs recording a vessel now gone from the marine scene.
The Tug and Former Naval Vessel Restless
04/06/2017 The Restless was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy during the First World War and for a time as HMCS Restless was the tender to the Royal Naval College of Canada when the College was based in Esquimalt BC. She was later employed as an examination vessel and then passed to the Canadian Hydrographic Service.
The Cableship Cable Innovator
01/06/2017 The Cableship Cable Innovator is berthed in Victoria BC. She is on standby in case of disruption of service in undersea cables in the northeast Pacific. Contributor Captain Alec Provan shares images he captured during a recent visit to the vessel.
The Wreck of the Freighter Guerrero
30/05/2017 A mystery wreck at Mazatlan Mexico of a freighter, possibly involving salvage by the B.C. Salvage Co.
The Sternwheeler Wanda Sue
28/05/2017 Freshwater nautical heritage is usually eclipsed by the saltwater versions. Richard Howie is a keen observer in British Columbia’s interior. He shares his discovery of a sternwheeler on the Thompson River berthed in a different style in front of the owner’s home.
The Island Commander: A Lifetime Through Paintings
24/05/2017 Captain Ken Higgs is justifiably proud of the Island Commander, one of British Columbia’s oldest vessels still afloat. He shares a series of paintings which show the vessel as she appeared over more than 110 years.
The US Tug Invader
22/05/2017 A number of contributors have shared images of the old US tug Invader which is now seen berthed on the Fraser River.
A Gallery of Early Canadian Dredges on the British Columbia Coast.
20/05/2017 Many of the major engineering projects on the British Columbia coast involved dredges – for harbour and navigation development. Most of these vessels are unfamiliar to nautical historians so we share a gallery of some of the more prominent vessels.
Farewell Comox MCTS – This will be the final broadcast ...
16/05/2017 In 2016 the Comox Coast Guard Radio Station closed after 108 years of service to mariners. Lynn Salmon, a former Radio Officer worked the last shift on air and captured sound and pictures which she shares in this article.
Building the Undersea Cable Station at Bamfield BC.
14/05/2017 For many years one of the chief attractions at Bamfield BC was the Trans–Pacific undersea cable station on the top of the hill. It was the center of operations of a technological miracle of its time. The station is now automated and no longer exists but the cable is still functioning, carrying internet data, telephone calls and other information as part of the global communications network.
The IJNS Idzumo
09/05/2017 The events of the Second World War overshadow the fact that Japan was not only our ally in the First World War but actively worked to protect British Columbia from perceived threats from the German navy. The Idzumo was a welcome addition to the defences of our coast during the First World War. After the war, she sailed to Great Britain to take control of some ex–German submarines and then escorted them part of the way back to Japan. After that things changed. In the Second World War the Idzumo was sunk by American carrier aircraft during the attack on Kure in July 1945.
The Old US tug J.S. Polhemus
07/05/2017 The old US tug J.S. Polhemus is one of a group of old vessels in various states of repair in Howe Sound BC. Contributor John Buchanan is concerned about the environmental risks they pose but is fascinated with their histories as well.
HMS New Zealand Visits Esquimalt BC
05/05/2017 The visit of HMS New Zealand to British Columbia before the First World War was intended to impress Canada to move them to support the Imperial Defence Scheme whereby Canada would purchase a battleship for the Royal Navy as part of the defence of the British Empire. Admiral of the Fleet Viscount Jellicoe travelled on to Ottawa to make his pitch. As we know from history Canada decided to commit to an all–Canadian navy instead.
Featured Reference Tables:
The Nominal List of Members of the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve (RNCVR)Nominal List of Members of the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve (RNCVR)
Did your grandfather serve in the Canadian Navy during the First World War? To participate in the First World War naval effort Canada formed the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve (RNCVR) which filled out the forces needed to make the navy operational. This is a nominal list of 7,500 of the more than 8,000 who served as members of this organization. There is no publicly available list of members and this represents the result of more than 25 years of research through publicly available sources to produce this one. Each entry is linked to the biography database so interested viewers can see what we have for each name.
Canada’s Naval AviatorsCanada’s Naval Aviators
Few Canadians know about the Royal Canadian Navy’s contribution to Naval Aviation. More than 2,000 Canadians and some other naval aviators who served in Canada comprised this group. Originally published in print by John MacFarlane and Robbie Hughes, more than 25 years ago, this list is now revised and available to visitors to The Nauticapedia.
The Royal Canadian Naval Reserve University Naval Training Division (UNTD)
- UNTD –Nominal List (Interactive Currently Updated)
- UNTD –VIP List (Alphabetical) Updated 01/08/2015
- UNTD –VIP List (Titles) Updated 01/08/2015
- UNTD –Deceased (Alphabetical List) Updated 01/02/2017
- UNTD –Deceased (Chronological List) Updated 01/02/2017
The definitive Nominal List for the University Naval Training Division (UNTD) of the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve contains the names of almost 7,000 former members and details of their service. Other lists detail the former members known to be deceased and a list of former members who achieved positions of note in their civilian or military careers.
Canada’s Admirals & CommodoresCanada’s Admirals & Commodores
Canada has a rich naval heritage which tends to have a low public profile. To the detriment of the Navy and our awareness of our national culture and history, Canada’s naval contribution in two World Wars, the Korean conflict and the many United Nations and NATO operations is hidden from public view. The great contribution of the navy is both interesting and important – but it is difficult for history lovers to access the information.
New Nauticapedia Book Just Published!
Volume Four in series
The Nauticapedia List of British Columbia's Floating Heritage Volume Four
For more information …
Site News: July 8th, 2017
Databases have been updated and are now holding 50,143 vessel histories (with 4319 images) and 57,540 mariner biographies (with 3421 images).