As October storms wreak their fury on the coast, some may remember the story of one particularly fierce storm almost a hundred years ago, that took the lives of 40 people in the only sinking of a Canadian naval vessel during the Great War.
Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Galiano, was built in 1913 in Ireland as a Fisheries Service vessel. It was a sister ship to the HMCS Malaspina. She was 162.3 feet in length with a beam of 27.1 feet.
|HMCS Galiano (BC Archives photo)|
The Galiano was not supposed to be north of Vancouver Island that October evening in 1918, but the Malaspina was in need of repairs and was confined to the dock at Esquimalt, so the Galiano was tasked to bring much needed supplies in to the lighthouse and wireless station at Triangle Island. The station was apparently running dangerously low on fuel.
As the ship was taking on coal in Ladysmith a number of her crew came down with the Spanish Influenza, and a number of new sailors and officers had to be taken on from other vessels to make up her normal complement of about 40.
As a result, a number of the crew taking the ship to Triangle were from other vessels, some only boarding at the last minute.
As the Galiano set off North of Vancouver Island, it was clear that the weather was not going to be good. In what has been described as a raging hurricane, the ship set off as the weather was reported to be 110 knot winds with 45 foot seas.
In addition to supplies, the ship was bringing a new housekeeper to replace Emily Brunton, who had been working at the wireless station and had not left Triangle Island for the last 18 months.
|Doug Bate and Arthur Hume on the Galiano. Both men, from New Westminster, perished when the ship was lost.|
"Search Raging Seas for Missing Galiano" in The Daily Colonist (Victoria), October 31, 1918. http://archive.org/stream/dailycolonist60y283uvic#page/n0/mode/1up