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A Maritime 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.
Recent Featured Articles:Plimsoll’s Line (aka the International Load Line) – Saves Lives
21/05/2013 The Plimsoll Mark represents the long running struggle for safety of ships at sea. It is routinely seen on deep sea ships and evolved after a long struggle by reformers to save the lives of seamen and ships.
RCN Ships Present Off the Normandy Beaches on June 6/7/1944 (D–Day Landings)
14/05/2013 Canada had a significant presence and participation in the D–Day landings that is often over–shadowed by the larger British and U.S. landings. The participation of the Canadian Navy is in turn relatively unknown by Canadians. Fraser McKee presents a complete listing of all the RCN Ships Present Off the Normandy Beaches on June 6/7/1944 (D–Day Landings).
Restoring a Harold Gates Canoe – Keeping History Alive
24/03/2013 Harold Gates was a builder of classic cedar strip canoes who was born in Middleton, Nova Scotia in the picturesque Annapolis Valley. He lived there his entire life and was the best known of the Maritime Canada canoe builders during his era. Contributing author Richard Howie chronicles the rebuilding of one of his old Gates canoes in Kamloops, British Columbia by craftsmen Al McLean and Dave Lanthier.
Featured Intriguing Nautical People:Major Victor Longstaff – Early British Columbia Nautical Heritage Researcher
07/05/2013 A key player in the early days of nautical research and preservation of British Columbia’s maritime heritage was Major Victor Longstaff. A familiar sight scanning the Strait of Juan de Fuca with his large tripod–mounted telescope he was a key organizer of the Thermopylae Club and the Maritime Museum of British Columbia. Without him nautical research and preservation in British Columbia would have been set back decades. In spite of this he has been overlooked by nautical historians and writers.
Douglas Campbell Brodie – Shipping Agent (1902-2006)
14/02/2013 Douglas Campbell Brodie died In Vancouver BC on November 13, 2006 at the remarkable age of 104. He had had a most exceptional life including more than 50 years in the shipping business. Born in Egypt, a career with Butterfield & Swire in China, wartime with British Intelligence in New York, and management of the senior Shipping Agency in Vancouver after the Second World War (C. Gardner Johnson Ltd. was established by the first Mayor of Vancouver in 1886). Brodie left reminiscences that give a fascinating look into a world long since vanished.
Alan Butler – world record circumnavigator & Single–handed Sailor
14/12/2012 Alan Butler sailed the little catamaran Amon-Re into the record books as Single–handed Circumnavigation in the Smallest Catamaran in History.
Recent Featured Gallery Images:
18/06/2013 An uncommon sight on Canada’s west coast is a submarine on the surface. Dan & Lynn Salmon photographed HMCS Victoria on the surface transiting south of Nanaimo BC on June 16th, 2013. Nearby is the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Ranges which operates a torpedo testing range, so it is presumed that she may have been test firing her Mark 48 torpedoes.
Naval Anti–Ship Mines
14/06/2013 Naval mines are designed to passively sink ships. In the First World War 48 U–boats; were sunk by British mines. No enemy ships are known to have been sunk during the Second World War by the 20,000 defensively laid mines. Mines laid by U.S. submarines sank 27 ships and damaged 27 more. Aircraft–laid mines were more successful and after the Second World War that was the principal delivery mode.
07/06/2013 The light jackstay is used for transferring personnel, provisions, and light stores. The hauling end of the jackstay is manned by up to 25 hands. The other end is secured by a grommet strop to slip in the receiving ship. A traveller block is hauled back and forth along the jackstay wire by an inhaul rope in the receiving ship and an outhaul rope in the delivering ship manned by up to six crew in each ship. This is a hazardous operation as the close approach of the two ships risks a collision caused by the rush of water between them.
The Coronation Spithead Review of June 15, 1953
28/05/2013 In 1953 the coronation of Queen Elizabeth the Second was followed by the imposing spectacle of the Spithead Naval Review on June 15th. In order to celebrate the Coronation a fleet of over 300 vessels assembled in the waters of the Solent, adjacent to the major ports of Portsmouth and Southampton. The fleet consisted of major and minor warships representing the UK, Commonwealth and a number of foreign countries including the USA and Russia. In addition there were numerous merchant vessels, fishing vessels and private yachts – all assembled in assigned rows and/or specific areas where they could be reviewed by Her Majesty and Prince Philip from the bridge of the Royal Yacht, HMS Surprise.
Recent Featured Arctic Articles:Pioneer Arctic Mariner Ernest J. "Scotty" Gall Remembered
01/06/2013 Contributor George Duddy has assembled a complete account of the life and work of Scotty Gall, a pioneer Canadian Arctic mariner, fur trader, explorer, adventurer and politician.
Painting Depicting the Meeting in the Northwest Passage of the RMS Nascopie and the HBC Aklavik by the Artist Thomas Harold Beament
21/02/2013 The Hudsons Bay Company schooner Aklavik navigated Bellot Strait to meet the RMS Nascopie at Fort Ross. This marked the first commercial partial passage through the Northwest Passage. The potential was obvious but it is only now, with climate change reducing the ice that the commercial possibilities are being seriously considered. The meeting was captured in a painting by Thomas Harold Beament commissioned by the Hudsons Bay Company.
Exploring for Oil and Gas in Canada’s Beaufort Sea
28/01/2013 Guest contributor Captain Alec Provan provides the fourth in his series on petroleum exploration in the Beaufort Sea in Canada's Arctic Ocean. Images from the drilling spaces of the drill ship give rare inside glimpses of this highly technical undertaking.
Featured Reference Tables:
The University Naval Training Division (UNTD)
- UNTD - Nominal List (pdf) Updated 26/05/2013
- UNTD - VIP List (pdf) Updated 18/02/2013
- UNTD - Deceased Alphabetical List (pdf) Updated 25/05/2013
- UNTD - Deceased Chronological List (pdf) Updated 25/05/2013
Bill Clearihue has developed and updated a definitive Nominal List for the University Naval Training Division (UNTD) of the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve which contains the names of almost 6,000 former members and details of their service. Other lists available from him 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. Clearihue will update these lists from time-to-time and they will be updated on this site.
Canada’s Admirals & CommodoresCanada’s Admirals & Commodores
06/04/2013 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. In 1994 I published Canada’s Admirals and Commodores (ISBN #0-09693001-2-3). Since that time I have been maintaining updates to the entries in that publication as well as tracking names of new appointments.
Site News: June 1st, 2013
Databases have been updated and are now holding 42,527 vessel histories (with 2416 images) and 46,435 mariner biographies (with 2057 images).
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