Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Edward Cornwallis - time for a change

1. CCGS Edward Cornwallis (i) was built in 1949 for the Department of Transport, and joined the CCG when it was founded 49 years ago. It was a steamer and served with distinction until its replacement came along. It was eventually broken up in 1993.
[I took this photo on Coast Guard Day 1975, from the bridge of CCGS Alert. CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent and Labrador are on the left.]

2. CCGS Edward Cornwallis (ii) was built in 1986 and has also served well. The City its namesake founded has changed with the times, and it is now time for a change. She is seen here leaving port October 24.

The founder of Halifax was one Edward Cornwallis, governor of Nova Scotia from 1749 to 1752. He has a river, a military base, at least one street, a park and many other places named for him, not to mention two ships. A Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Army he was later appointed governor of Gibraltar where he died. His brief time in Nova Scotia was marked by his terrible treatment of the indigenous population, and as a result he has now been discredited by many, and there is a move afoot to have his name removed from these commemorations.

This should also include the current CCGS Edward Cornwallis a navaids tender and light icebreaker, based in Halifax. It was built in 1986 and replaced a steam driven vessel of the same name built in 1949.

Both ships have served with distinction, but it is now time to make a change. There are many distinguished indigenous Canadian individuals who would be quite deserving of such an honour.

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Coast Guard - a good time to do the right thing.



  1. Re-writing History? Might just be a good idea to have a hard look at it first. I recall a few nasty bits of business conducted by the Native folks on the early settlers in Nova Scotia,not all stories are cut and dry,time shrouds with a fog.Maybe best left be. Regards,Ken

  2. Wow! I guess I kind of thought that as a historian you would see through the politics of this idiocy and not even acknowledge it.

    What's next? Burn all the John Wayne movies?

    Scary stuff.

  3. Re: name of EC'86 (and SWA'86)- to be 'exactly' correct:
    When it came time to consider a name for EC'86 to replace EC'49 (and about the same time SWA'86 to replace SWA'59)
    It is true EC'49 was named for the man - (as was SWA'59).
    But just to split hairs - for EC'86 the then A/Regional Fleet Manager's (JGMW) proposal was to name her after EC'49 because "She (meaning EC'49)was always a good ship." Exactly the same comment and reason was given at the same time for the name proposal for SWA'86. Although neither EC (and SWA)as 'names' met CG naming criteria of the day for a type 1100, nevertheless and (unexpectedly by me)both names were accepted at HQ and sub. used. I know because I was one of two in the room on the day both name proposals were sugested by JGMW and both suggestions were sent to CGHQ Ottawa in a memo I drafted.
    End of facts and politics:-
    Incidentaly, although EC and SWA were among the last delivered they had been laid down at MIL as the first of six new ships of the original type "1100" design. The Mar. Reg. Fleet Manager (DIM) told HQ he wanted two type 1100 ships as designed (derrick fwd) and without any delay. (He was concerned changing Gov't plans might result in the multi-ship building programme being stopped.)At the same time the original 1100 design (later known as the 'East Coast' design) was re-drawn for the remaining four ships. Final delivery of EC'86 and SWA'86 was delayed by a yard strike at MIL. It transpired that the three of the four re-designed 1100s (SGP, SWL & MLB) came out before EC and SWA with AH completing soon after at Hfx.S'yard, these later four were all were of the 'West Coast' design. The re-design was done primarily to facilicate long line slinging from the fordeck, an operation which had become common in BC but not yet on the east coast. (It can be done from the earlier design but it was/is restricted by the original rig, (now removed from SWA).) The newer design also raised the wheelhouse and improved vis. aft - which is vital when escorting and towing, as some of us knew then and sadly everyone knows now.
    These now aging ships have proved to be remarkably successful, very capable and reliable. They are excellent sea boats, have done some wonderful work and are fully capable in the Gulf ice - although they must be carefully handled in MY ice and had trouble at full power in the tropical Gulf of Mexico water (dirty coolers?). Most of them have been deployed into the Arctic from time to time over the years. I think the original design was more pleasing to the eye, but who cares about looks today, function counts more in ships - but not in all things!
    Not Dead Yet