Documents Relating to the Court of Enquiry Into the Loss of HMCS Galiano

Memorial to HMCS Galiano

The Memorial to HMCS Galiano located in the Ross Bay Cemetery Victoria BC. (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection.)

In September 1917, the Galiano and her sister ship the Malaspina were requisitioned for war service with the Royal Canadian Navy, joining numerous other Canadian Government vessels converted from strictly civilian occupations. Her Fisheries Protection Service crew became members of the RNCVR, with Pope commissioned as a Commander. Galiano was fitted with gear to carry out minesweeping and was armed with a 6 pound gun on the forward deck to carry out her new duties. Until her last voyage, Galiano had an uneventful career as a naval vessel. She had just completed a re–supply mission to light stations in the Queen Charlotte Islands and was scheduled for needed boiler repairs and to correct a problem with the main bearing on the tail shaft of her single screw once she reached Victoria. Fate intervened.

A total of 422 men of the Canadian naval forces died on active service in First World War. Only one vessel was lost – HMCS Galiano, crewed by Volunteer Reservists. In addition to manning the variety of Canadian coastal ships, the two submarines and shore establishments, Canadian Reservists crewed trawlers and drifters in British home waters, Gibraltar and West Africa.

The documents of the enquiry into the loss of the Galiano are fascinating. They give an insiders view of the way an event like this was handled by the navy of one hundred years ago.

Here is a link to the documents in the official file of the Court of Enquiry held to investigate the loss of HMCS Galiano on the West Coast of British Columbia.

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