Lest we forget

The army defends our coastline in boats?  Against Japanese sub attack during WW  II who knew?



I found this out while I was in my local Staples and had the pleasure of having this gentleman ask me if I wanted to see a picture. He told me an abbreviated story about the picture, then he was up to be helped and we said good bye.

This story stayed with me and I thought, I need to know more, and thank goodness for me he wanted to tell me more, so we got together, and it is this story I’m writing today.

I’m so proud of George and all the service peoples that were and are ready to sacrifice their lives for ours. To the fallen I have no words, my throat goes dry and my eyes start to leak.

In ’42 George was a young man starting his career and employed at the shipyards as a pipe fitter. Then in ‘43 he signed up to be part of Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC) at the Beatty Street Armory.

The R.C.A.S.C., along with the rest of the Army, underwent a rapid expansion as Canada mobilized for the Second World War. In addition to maintaining transport for the army on land, the R.C.A.S.C. also commanded and maintained a ship-borne freight and patrol company, the Pacific Command Water Transport Company, R.C.A.S.C. during World War ll.

Pacific Command was a formation of the Canadian Army created during the Second World War to strengthen and administer home defence facilities on Canada's Pacific Coast against possible Japanese attack. Ships in the Water Transport Company, R.C.A.S.C., sailed under their own distinctive flag, a maritime blue ensign with crossed swords on the fly. These soldiers were tasked with the movement of military machinery, vehicles, supplies, rations, petroleum products, ammunition and all other essentials to the various defence facilities and lighthouses along our western coastline up to Alaska and Vancouver Island. The work was hard and risky, but they embraced it and they took great care of our troops in BC. They had to work through tides that could change to 26 feet with the winds and storms that would come up. George was telling me that at times they were blinded by the lighthouse lights and had to use the ships signal lamp to ask the lighthouses to turn the lights, so they could navigate.  Some of the defence facilities you may know were York Island, James Island, Nanoose Bay Nanaimo, the Seymour Narrows, Port Hardy, Port Alberni and many other facilities in the surrounding areas.  Additional defences set against attack were mine cables across the harbour at Prince Rupert, and up the Skeena River as Japanese subs were active in the area.  We also had defence facilities closer to home in Ambleside West Vancouver, Stanley Park and Coal Harbour, Point Grey in Vancouver. They also supplied an American airport that was established on our coast. This company was disbanded in ’46.

George has made the most of his life as he is one of those people who sees opportunity and reaches out and runs with it. He has a reputation as a fixer when it comes to automobiles and has held many jobs over the years that he says were all great. One of his on-going activities that he started during the war with a doctor friend at one of the defence facilities is badminton. Another of his hobbies is making leucite cribbage boards - they are truly a thing of beauty.  George has several treasures collected from the war as you will see in the picture.

With his one and only love and wife of 60+ years he has weathered many a storm and been thoroughly content in the sunshine. George turned 93 in October I couldn’t believe it he is so active and quite the charmer….  I want to thank George and his wife for allowing me to sit with them. 


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