HMCS Galiano

Photograph of the ship's company. The picture was taken just prior to their fatal voyage in the fall of 1918.<br/><br/>Photo Catalogue No. VR999.684.1

The fate of HMCS GALIANO and those lost with her is a tale of accidents and misfortunes ending in tragedy.

GALIANO was short-handed as a result of the Spanish Flu that killed so many who had survived the First World War. Her sister ship MALASPINA had been tasked to re-supply West Coast lighthouses and wireless stations, in particular the one on Triangle Island that was running perilously short of fuel. Before MALASPINA could sail, however, she crushed her bow on the jetty, creating the cry for GALIANO to make up her crew, take on the stores and sail in her stead.

Photograph of the ship's company. The picture was taken just prior to their fatal voyage in the fall of 1918.<br/><br/>Photo Catalogue No. VR999.684.1

GALIANO arrived in a timely fashion at Triangle Island and thus accomplished her first task despite a green crew and a troublesome boiler. At 5 PM on October 29th, she set sail, bound for stations in the Queen Charlottes.

A southwest gale was brewing and the storm intensified through the night. As the light at Cape St. James on the southern tip of the Queen Charlottes became visible, she transmitted her last message:

 

 

Chief Petty Officer James Vinicombe.<br/><br/>Photo Catalogue No. VR992.84.57

 

"HOLDS FULL OF WATER - SEND HELP"

The message was sent by GALIANO's wireless operator Michael Neary, and received by his brother W.C. Neary, one of the operators on Triangle Island. Nothing more was heard.

HMCS GALIANO was the only Canadian naval vessel lost in the First World War. She foundered just weeks before the Armistice was declared on November 11, 1918.