He joined the Navy and saw the world

Harold Ferguson saw good and bad in the world during his life and travels with the Canadian Navy

Harold Ferguson during the recent flag raising ceremony kicking off the Parksville Legion’s annual poppy campaign.

Harold Ferguson during the recent flag raising ceremony kicking off the Parksville Legion’s annual poppy campaign.

“To us land is considered an occupational hazard,” said Harold Ferguson of his career in the Canadian Navy.

He signed up in 1953 at the age of 18, “as a way to see the world,” he said speaking to The News at the Parksville Legion, Branch 49 where people were busy preparing for the annual poppy campaign and Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Ferguson signed up just in time to ship off to the conflict in Korea for his first posting after 21 weeks of boot camp at CFB Cornwallis in Nova Scotia.

Modest and quiet, Ferguson has marched in Remembrance Day parades and remembers his time in Korea and friends he served with, but he brushes off questions about the darker side of his time in the service.

Asked about the rough times after spending much of his life at sea he mentioned a few high seas storms, the worst being catching the back of a typhoon off the coast of Alaska on the HMCS Fraser.

“We encountered some good storms,” he said, indicating even the rough parts can take on a romantic glow over time.

“Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning, red sky at night, sailor’s delight,” he said, pointing out there is a lot of truth in the old cliché.

Other than a couple longer training exercises, the longest they were actually out at sea was a couple weeks crossing the Pacific, during which they were also busy training.

Over the years he took additional courses and worked his way up to retire as a petty officer first class.

Though he spent most of his time in the Pacific, he saw much of the world over the years, including a memorable trip through the Panama Canal in March 1963.

Some of his postings where not in places you’d think of as key Navy locations, such as his two terms stationed in Saskatchewan.

“Yeah I was surprised about that one myself,” said the now 73-year-old.

After three years patrolling the high prairie he returned to sea, which he always preferred.

When his time at sea was done in 1985, he spent the next 14 years working security in the B.C. legislature.

He got a bit of a taste of some of the modern luxuries, like modern ships with air-conditioning, but during his years in the service it was a pretty sparse lifestyle.

 

He was originally posted on the HMCS Cayuga, a Second World War era tribal class destroyer where he admitted “conditions where not great.”

He pointed out, for example, there were no showers, but “the food was always good.”

During their time in Korea their food supplies came from the U.S. military.

In Korea they were mostly conducting peacekeeping work off the coast and his clearest memories are of R&R, or days off in places like Hong Kong.

He was in the navy initially from 1953 to 1977, and was only out a few years before he returned in 1980 for another four years.

“I went right back in every chance I got,” he said, “I would go back today, it was a good life.”

 

 

 

 

reporter@pqbnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

(File photo)
The Parksville Civic and Technology Centre at 100 Jensen Ave. (PQB News file photo)
Parksville 2020 annual report now ready for public feedback

Documents can be viewed online; comments or questions to be submitted before noon on July 5, 2021

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased in Parksville

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

The number of skilled trades workers available is not enough to fill the current construction boom in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Supply of skilled tradespeople can’t keep up to Vancouver Island construction boom

Thousands of positions will be needed by 2030, despite flow of Camosun trades students

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Swanwick Ranch in Metchosin, featuring an award-winning home on 67 acres of property overlooking the ocean, recently sold for a record-setting, yet undisclosed amount. (Sotheby’s International Realty Canada photo)
Oceanfront home sells for highest price ever recorded in Greater Victoria

Listed at $14.1 million, Swanwick Ranch in Metchosin sold to an undisclosed buyer

This map outlines the area affected by the open burning prohibition. Via Coastal Fire Centre
Vancouver Island open fire prohibition takes effect June 23

Ban applies to both public and private land, includes fireworks

The price of gas is way up in many parts of Greater Victoria after a Monday afternoon surge sent it to 162.9 cents per litre. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gas prices surge to 162.9 cents a litre at some Greater Victoria stations

Prices jumped up more than 10 cents Monday afternoon

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

Most Read