The Canadian Government ship Galiano was built at Dublin, Ireland, for the Fishery Protection Service in 1913 and arrived at Esquimalt to take up her duties on 27 February 1914. She was requisitioned for war service with the Royal Canadian Navy on 15 September 1917.
Her name originated with Commander Dionisio Alcala Galiano of the Spanish Navy, and is also perpetuated in Galiano Island in the Strait of Georgia, which he explored in 1792.
With her sister ship Malaspina, Galiano was employed chiefly as an Examination and Fisheries Protection vessel. They also carried out naval tasks such as minesweeping trials, in case the enemy chose to plant mines in British Columbia (BC) waters.
Galiano was damaged in a gale on 10 January 1915; she and the Norwegian barque Wulff went aground.
On 17 August 1915 she caught the U.S. vessel Solano of Seattle, Washington, fishing within territorial limits. Galiano continued with duties of this kind until her loss in 1918.
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.
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:
"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.