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A 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.
Recent Featured Articles:Ship Mail and Ship Post Offices
07/11/2013 Until airmail overtook ship–borne mail, ships were the only way to get letters across water. Stamp collectors sometimes specialize in the postal history of these services. British registered ships carrying mail used the title Royal Mail Ship and the initials ‘R.M.S.’ was placed in front of the ship’s name. A ship would use this prefix only while it was contracted to carry mail. A limited number of ships were given this designation.
Early Outboard Motorboat Racing in British Columbia
14/09/2013 In the period between the 1930s and the 1950s the racing of outboard notor boats was very popular in British Columbia.
The Cornerbrook Patrol (Newfoundland)
01/07/2013 The Bay of Islands Patrol is a little–known unit attached to the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War. They comprised the smallest naval unit in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War and are almost unknown outside their home territory in Western Newfoundland.
The Grounding of the Oil Tanker Santa Maria at Victoria BC.
28/06/2013 The oil tanker Santa Maria grounded on the waterfront of Victoria BC creating a significant public spectacle. After some delay she was salvaged and went on to continue her career.
Featured Intriguing Nautical People:Major George Nicholson – British Columbia Nautical Historian
28/08/2013 Major George S.W. Nicholson was an early nautical historian who chronicled the west coast of Vancouver Island. Prolific and popular Vancouver Island author and historian T.W. Paterson contributes his biography of this pioneer nautical historian who wrote Vancouver Island’s West Coast, 1762–1962 became one of the most successful self–published books about British Columbia in the 1960s and 1970s. "George Nicholson was not only a West Coast pioneer," says B.C. historian T.W. Paterson, "but a publishing pioneer."
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.
Recent Featured Gallery Images:Some Nautical Christmas Traditions
07/12/2013 Christmas can be a cheerless time for mariners and naval personnel. Serving at sea or as duty personnel on Christmas Day in ships sailors can be cut off from the camaraderie of family and friends. Christmas menus were produced in 1955 and 1956 by the Pacific Command of the Royal Canadian Navy to put a little gloss on the Christmas dinner served in the mess.
RMS Olympic Christmas Menu
28/11/2013 A Surrey BC colleague, Bill Little, recently shared the image of a Christmas Dinner menu from the R.M.S. Olympic. Christmas dinner, always a festive occasion, was a highlight of the year on passenger ships. While the First Class passengers had a veritable feast, the Second Class passengers also enjoyed a special menu. The Olympic enjoyed a long and illustrious career of 24 years, from 1911 to 1935. She was the largest ocean liner in the world, interrupted only by the brief career of the slightly larger Titanic from 1911–1913.
Naval Fire Tug
21/11/2013 The Royal Canadian Navy currently has two Fire–class tugs: the Firebrand YTR–562 (based at Esquimalt BC) and the Firebird YTR–561. (based at Halifax NS.) They are instantly identifiable, both with bright red superstructures. Our Victoria BC waterfront correspondent, Murray Polson, caught some interesting images of the Firebrand during her refit.
14/11/2013 The owners of the converted fish boat Caspian Sea share images of a very nice re-purposing of a traditional double-ender fishboat to a yacht. These vessels are rapidly disappearing from the coast and with them the memory of their designers and builders as well as the elegant designs so well suited to fishing by individuals or pairs on the coast.
Recent Featured Arctic Articles:Arctic Vessels: Anti–fouling and Other Traditional Ship Bottom Covering Concepts
Captain Sven Johansson, Northwest Passage mariner, shares his thoughts on bottom coverings on traditional wooden Arctic ocean vessels based on his personal experience.
Arctic End of Season
07/09/2013 Captain Alec Provan provides the fifth in his series on petroleum exploration in the Beaufort Sea in Canada’s Arctic Ocean. Images from the end of the drilling season show more details of the technical complexity and logistics of operating in extreme environments.
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.
Featured Reference Tables and Lists:
The Royal Canadian Naval Reserve University Naval Training Division (UNTD)
- UNTD –Nominal List (pdf) Updated 28/07/2013
- UNTD –VIP List (Alphabetical (pdf)) Updated 13/09/2013
- UNTD –VIP List (Titles (pdf)) Updated 13/09/2013
- UNTD –Deceased (Alphabetical List (pdf)) Updated 28/07/2013
- UNTD –Deceased (Chronological List (pdf)) Updated 28/07/2013
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 John MacFarlane published Canada’s Admirals and Commodores (ISBN #0–09693001–2–3). Since that time we have been maintaining updates to the entries in that publication as well as tracking names of new appointments.
Site News: Nov 23rd, 2013
Databases have been updated and are now holding 45,557 vessel histories (with 1997 images) and 47,444 mariner biographies (with 2795 images).
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