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Intriguing Nautical People:Major Frederick Victor Longstaff: Early British Columbia Nautical Heritage Researcher
A key player in the early days of nautical research and preservation of British Columbia’s maritime heritage was Major Frederick 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.
Joseph William Hobbs – Naval Officer and Importer Exporter
Joe Hobbs was a colourful adventurer, financier, boot–legger, rum runner, whisky distiller and property developer who also had a career in the early days of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve.
Douglas Campbell Brodie – Shipping Agent (1902-2006)
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.
Arthur DeLancey – Northern Canada Freshwater Mariner
Arthur DeLancey was a skipper of Government patrol vessels in freshwater service in northern Canada and on Great Slave Lake.
Alan Butler – world record circumnavigator &Single-handed Sailor
Alan Butler sailed the little catamaran Amon–Re into the record books as Single–handed Circumnavigation in the Smallest Catamaran in History.
Captain W.R. Stacey RCN(R).
In 1917, at fifteen and a half, Stacey was indentured as an apprentice to the motor schooner Geraldine Wolvin of the Canada West Coast Navigation Company. In September 1939, Stacey was mobilized by Barney Johnson, the Harbour Master as a Lieutenant in the RCNR. In 1944 Stacey was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his efforts, with HMCS Swansea, and HMCS Port Colborne, in destroying U–247 off Lands End, Cornwall. In 1947, Stacey was commanding officer of HMCS Discovery in Vancouver BC.
Captain Don Rose – Master Mariner
Recently retired after more than 40 years in the tugboat business, Captain Don Rose is the Division Master of the Company of Master Mariners of Canada. A Master Mariner he is also a Marine Surveyor and author of some note.
Nicholas A. Beketov – Russian and Canadian Naval Officer
Beketov was an officer in the Russian navy later serving with the White Russian naval forces during the Russian Civil War. He served in the RCNR during the Second World War and was an official in the Canada Department of Transport based in Prince Rupert BC.
Bill the Collie (Friend and Lifesaver) and Philip Cox (Lightkeeper)
One of the most unlikely British Columbia lighthouse heroes was a small collie companion to the Cox Family at Cape Beale Light Station. Philip Cox began keeping the light at Sisters Island in 1921. The Humane Society rewarded Bill the Collie with a medal and he received special praise in the newspapers for his part in the rescue of the crew of the fish boat Sea Wolf. Bill later won a second medal for his part in preventing a ship from running onto the Cape in heavy fog.
Hill Wilson – Master Mariner and Marine Pilot
A wartime career in merchant vessels brought him to the Pacific Coast. Two years towing into the Arctic made him a pioneer in northern shipping. Moving into tugs and coastal towing he gained the sea time and experience needed to qualify as a Marine Pilot and later President of the Pilots. He is the author of several books of nautical history. Leadership in maritime organizations, causes and the Marine Museum of British Columbia round out an extraordinary career.
James D. Webb – Foundation Chair and Aide de Camp
Not all extraordinary marine people have had really long careers. Jamie Webb has accomplished more in twenty years as some mariners in twice the time. He is the Chair of a Foundation, an Aide de Camp to the Lieutenant Governor and a Certified Rigger.
Gordon Wells – Jamaican Diplomat and Canadian Naval Officer
Gordon Wells was an officer in the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve and rose to be an Ambassador in the Jamaican foreign service and a ‘mandarin’ in the Jamaican civil service. He relates a remarkable story from his experience while he served as an Officer Cadet in the University Naval Training Dvision (UNTD).
Pen Brown – Santa Claus on the British Columbia Light Stations
When you are a child living at a remote light station on the coast of British Columbia, a major concern near Christmas time could be "How will Santa Claus know where to find me?" Pen Brown, filled this role for many years, assuming this unique responsibility in 1978 when George Thomas, the original light station Santa Claus, retired.
Captain Alec Provan – Extra Master Mariner
Captain Alec Provan served with the Canadian Coast guard, retiring as the Marine Superintendent in Victoria BC. After retirement he went back to sea and skippered whale watching and luxury resort vessels.
Judge Frederick William Howay – Marine Historian
Judge William Frederick Howay was probably the first historian focusing on marine heritage in British Columbia and Pacific waters.
David Waters – Master Mariner and Marine Pilot
Torpedoed during the Second World War, David Waters went on to a successful career as a Mate and Master Mariner. He served 15 years with the Canadian Fisheries Protection Service before qualifying as a Pilot and retiring in 1983.
Peter Cox – Naval Officer, Master Mariner and Shipwright
After a career of more than 40 years at sea in ships Peter Cox built and sailed one of the most beautiful wooden yachts on the Pacific coast. His craftsmanship as a shipwright took more than seven years to construct the Alioth.
Rick James – Marine Author and Archaeologist
Rick James has been an activist for the interests of underwater archaeology for two decades. Besides being an experienced mariner he is also an excellent interpreter of British Columbia's maritime heritage. His new book West Coast Wrecks and Other Maritime Tales is coming out in September 2011.
Captain Malcolm Armstrong – Master Mariner and Marine Artist
Captain Malcolm Armstrong has achieved in several fields – ship handling, publishing, story-telling and marine painting – what any of us might wish to achieve in only field. Yet for him they are all inter–related. Besides being a superb painter of the sea and ships he is a Master Mariner, Marine Pilot and the author of three authoritative books on ships and ship handling.
Jenny (Mrs. Ng Muk Kah) – Sideparty Hong Kong
Jenny Side Party – (Mrs. Ng Muk Kah) was a familiar contractor to generations of Commonwealth naval ships calling at Hong Kong. This diminuitive Chinese lady successfully competed in a very tough business market. She died recently aged 92.
Bill Ballenger – Model Maker
Bill Ballenger is a maker of fine ship models based in North Saanich British Columbia. His models are on display in many of the best maritime museums in North America and in many personal collections. He has been building full time since he moved to Canada from Chicago about 20 years ago.
Surgeon Commander John Blatherwick – Naval Historian
Surgeon Commander John Blatherwick is a man of wide experiences and training. He is decorated several times and has spent a lifetime tracking down the recipients of medals and decorations and is a national authority on the subject in Canada. A prominent medical health authority he has also served in Canada's navy, army and air force.
Sven Johansson - Successful Challenger of the Northwest Passage
Captain Sven Johansson was the first to sail a yacht from west to east through the Northwest Passage.
Margaret Johnstone Moss a Most Senior Canadian Naval Lady
Mrs. Margaret Moss, a community health advocate from the Cowichan Valley BC was the senior ranking female naval officer in the First World War. She was the Assistant Commandant of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) (later known as the Wrens). After the War she returned to life in the Cowichan Valley.
Rear Admiral Sir Johan Pitka an Estonian Admiral With Canadian Links
Strange circumstances brought the founder of the Estonian Navy to found a colony of exiles in the north of British Columbia, and his return to defend the sovereignty of Estonia from a broad spectrum of military and political threats.
Site News: March 23rd, 2013
Databases have been updated and are now holding 41,559 vessel histories (with 2,333 images) and 46,388 mariner biographies (with 2,039 images).
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