Removed Laurier II’s important history

Both ship’s companies served honourably and in 1945, the vessels went back to the RCMP or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Re: the removal of the derelict Laurier II from Deep Bay.

Congratulations are due to the Canadian Coast Guard, to VIU, the Qualicum First Nations and local officials. MP Gord Johns, Regional District of Nanaimo chair Bill Venhoff and others have expressed relief that the serious risks imposed on marine life, navigational safety and area fisheries jobs have finally been addressed.

A solution to the problem of derelict vessels on our coast has been long overdue. Rightly, these are higher priorities, more so than the sentiments of us history buffs.

Unlike most derelicts however, the 201-ton Laurier easily has enough historical importance to warrant a preservation campaign, perhaps seeing her as a museum ship. This is a tough, costly sell for sure, but our maritime vets might consider it worthwhile.

Built as RCMP patrol ships in 1936, Laurier and her sister vessel were pressed into naval service on the East Coast during the Second World War, becoming HMCS Laurier and HMCS MacDonald. They escorted convoys in the Halifax/Sydney region, which was vital but dangerous duty in the early stages of the Battle of the Atlantic.

Both ship’s companies served honourably and in 1945, the vessels went back to the RCMP or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Ironically, the only time the Laurier’s main gun was ever fired at another vessel was to sink an abandoned, drifting merchant ship that was posing a hazard to shipping lanes. Now, seven decades later, she herself is deemed a hazard.

It’s not over for Laurier, at least not yet. No doubt the abatement specialists in Ladysmith will thoroughly clean her hull of pollutants and waste materials. I hope they will stop short of scrapping her until, hopefully, a plan emerges for her restoration and eventual display or other uses, perhaps in the film industry.

I hope that I am not writing an epitaph for this little survivor that served our country well for most of her 80 years.

Mark StevlingsonErrington

Just Posted

2019 Federal election: Courtenay-Alberni candidates address seniors issues

“What are your party’s plans to ease the stress realized by seniors on fixed incomes?”

WATCH: Jordan now a key member on staff at Parksville business

Disability Awareness Month celebrated around province

RDN wants to play role in Ballenas track upgrade

Bringing dilapidated facility up to standard could cost close to $1M

Qualicum Beach joins in on global climate strike

Participants urge government to adequately address climate crisis

Coombs athlete, 91, brings home five gold medals from 55+ BC Games

Buschhaus now has 217 career senior games medals

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Most Read