Vessels Built by Dawe Shipyards Ltd.

compiled by John M. MacFarlane and Bruce Dawe 2016

Sam Dawe

Samuel Dawe ("Big Sam") was instrumental in establishing ship building companies at Queensborough during the period 1910–1936. (Photo from the Arthur and Bruce Dawe collection.)

Samuel Dawe was born in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland in 1860 and learned his trade working for his father in the C. & A. Dawe shipyard in the town. He, along with his brother Albert James Dawe and Noah Spracklin Mosdell left Bay Roberts and arrived in New Westminster in 1890. His father Samuel ("Norand Sam") and mother joined the brothers the following year. Samuel and Albert, were both Master Mariners, and quickly found work with the many canneries on the Fraser River. Sam and Albert were skilled mariners and carpenters and found themselves doing what came easy for them. Sam was promoted to Net Boss for a cannery during this time. Their first shipbuilding enterprise was the Westminster Marine Railway Company in Queensborough established around 1909.

Throughout the Company’s history, it was managed by up to five partners. They were, we believe: Samuel Dawe, his brother Albert James Dawe, brother–in–law Noah Spracklin Mosdell, George Blakeley, and Samuel’s cousin Samuel Dawe (also known as "Little Sam").

Captain Albert Dawe was the brother of Samuel’s wife Emma Patience Daw. He came to New Westminster and Vancouver around 1890 with his young family. As far as we know, he never took part in the Dawe shipbuilding operations. We believe that Albert never had a business relationship with his brother–in–law Samuel Dawe. The family settled in Vancouver while Samuel and Emma raised their family in New Westminster. The "Daw" spelling of his name is our accepted version. He was born "Daw" but appears to have adopted the "Dawe" spelling later in life. He was well known as the Master of the Canadian Government steam dredge Mastodon.

In 1924 at the Westminster Marine Railway Company, Limited, Sam Dawe and his partners built the D.B.M. a 102 ton steam tug at their yard in New Westminster. She was fitted with the boiler and engine from the old Howe Sound excursion steamer Britannia.

The Dawe Family believe that Westminster Marine Railway Company, Ltd. built the 60–foot full diesel powered tug Radius for Captain J.A. Cates in 1923. A wooden tanker, the Armac followed in 1927 powered by a 180hp Washington–Estep diesel engine for A.M. & O. Transportation Co. The company was sold to Star Shipyards (Mercer), Ltd. ca 1936.

The chronology of the development of the business was:

  • –Westminster Marine Railway Company (WMRC) 1910 – 8 March 1919
  • –Westminster Marine Railway Company, Limited (WMRCL) 21 March 1919 – 9 March 1927
  • –New Westminster Shipbuilding & Engineering – (NWS&E) (Poplar Island Shipyards) April 1918 – September 1919 (approximate dates) A separate company with Big Sam as foreman.
  • –Dawe Shipyards, Limited (DSYL) incorporated 10 March 1927 – sold ca 1936 to Star Shipyards (Mercer), Ltd. ca 1936

Articles of Incorporation for Westminster Marine Railway Company (21 March 1919) (Photo from the Arthur and Bruce Dawe collection.)

Westminster Marine Railway

Sometime prior to the launch of the Columbia Coast Mission’s ship Columbia II at the Westminster Marine Railway Company’s yard at Queensborough in 1910. Bruce Dawe’s great grandfather Samuel "Big Sam" Dawe is standing second from the left and his son Arthur Wilfred Dawe, his grandfather, is sitting in the middle of a group of three next to the hull. (Photo from the Bruce Dawe collection.)

Vessels Built by Dawe Shipyards Ltd.

21 matches. 1 page. Max 50 records per page.
Page # 1
Name Registration Vessel Type Year Built
Armac 154637 Freighter 1927
Banks Island 154439 Fishboat, general 1927
Bette Ann 157210 Tug 1935
Burnaco 154637 Freighter 1927
C.F. Co. No. 21 156905 Scow 1920
C.Q. No. 15 156902 Scow 1930
C.Q. No. 16 156903 Scow 1930
Canadian National No. 3 150998 Tug 1923
Celnor 157210 Tug 1935
D.P.W. No. 316 176272 Barge 1934
D.S. No. 1 154598 Scow 1927
E.R.W. 154598 Scow 1927
Eltoro 156980 Yacht 1931
Innchanter 154637 Freighter 1927
Island Scamp 170432 Tug 1914
M.& M. No. 3 156581 Barge 1929
P.W.D. No. 316 176272 Barge 1934
Radius 150998 Tug 1923
Royal Stranger 156980 Yacht 1931
Shellco 154637 Freighter 1927
Standto (I) 170432 Tug 1914


Advertisement from Harbour and Shipping Magazine 1925 (Photo from the Frank Clapp collection.)

Vessels Built by Westminster Marine Railway Co. Ltd.

27 matches. 1 page. Max 50 records per page.
Page # 1
Name Registration Vessel Type Year Built
C. & M. No. 2 153143 Scow 1926
Caterpillar Chief 153074 Tug 1926
Columbia (III) 126899 Mission Boat 1910
D.B.M. 152456 Tug 1924
Hyak (II) 153074 Tug 1926
Johnstone Straits (I) 150873 Tug 1923
Joyful (I) 130499 Tug 1912
K.N. No. 5 138529 Scow 1917
Kaisun 152800 Fishboat, seiner 1925
Klemtu 152798 Fishboat, general 1925
Lady Valentine (II) 126899 Work Boat 1910
M.& M. No. 1 154324 Barge 1926
M.L.C. No. 3 153073 Scow 1925
Masset 141173 Tug 1918
Monarch II 130499 Tug 1912
Moresby (I) 141171 Tug 1918
Prestige (I) 150873 Tug 1923
Prestige II (I) 150873 Tug 1923
Queen (III) 134285 Tug 1914
R.F. 11 152687 Barge 1924
Robert Preston 150873 Tug 1923
Seritone 152798 Fishboat, general 1925
Timberland No. 3 152689 Barge 1925
Vansort 26 152687 Barge 1924
Wayward Lady 126899 Work Boat 1910
Westminster Monarch 130499 Tug 1912
YC1223 837214 Barge (nk)

Vessels Built by New Westminster Construction & Engineering Co.

7 matches. 1 page. Max 50 records per page.
Page # 1
Name Registration Vessel Type Year Built
Etienne Marcel UK Registry Freighter, standard WW1 1918
Giuditta UK Registry Freighter, standard WW1 1918
Serbier UK Registry Freighter, standard WW1 1918
War Comox UK Registry Freighter, standard WW1 1918
War Edensaw UK Registry Freighter, standard WW1 1918
War Ewen UK Registry Freighter, standard WW1 1918
War Kitimat UK Registry Freighter, standard WW1 1918

Author’s Notes: This is a partial list (work in progress). Co–author Bruce Dawe is the great grandson of Captain Samuel Dawe, the company founder.

Vessel Images: Can you help us fill gaps in the vessel images in the database? If you have pictures of missing vessels that you have taken and would be willing to contribute to the database to make it more complete all our users would be very grateful. Please send them to admin(at)

Note to Reader: Vessel names containing Roman numerals in parentheses (e.g. Floater (II)) indicates more than one vessel in the database with the same name. The numerals in parentheses are NOT part of the vessel name but are used to distinguish one vessel from another in the database.

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2015) Vessels Built by Dawe Shipyards Ltd. 2016.


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