Lighthouse History – 57 (1932-05-11 – 1932-10-01)

Lighthouse History – 57 (1932-05-11 – 1932-10-01)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: ”Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.

Please Note: December 20, 2012 – I am continuing this series with Lighthouse History #51 because the newspapers have now been indexed up to 1932. I quit posting at #50 as the extracts only went to 1926. They have now been extended from 1927 to 1932 so I will sift through the data for anything lighhouse!

 trolling boats remain in Tofino port due to low prices…; Luke Swan, a Sydney Inlet Indian, and his wife, had a miraculous escape from death when their trolling gasboat sank while fishing salmon 12 miles offshore. Encountering a heavy swell, the boat sprung a plank, causing the vessel to fill and sink immediately. Their only hope for safety was a dugout canoe 10 feet long, 30 inches beam, and equipped with only one paddle. They had to make shore from 12 miles out, the trip took 12 hours to make the safety of Sydney Inlet, and Mrs Swan has been confined to her bed since. Lighthouse tender Estevan, Captain H Bilton, was in Tofino recently landing supplies at Lennard Island lighthouse and local lifeboat station. From here it went to Matilda Creek and Estevan Point, for which point she has a truck and a considerable quantity of material for construction of the road from Hesquiat to Estevan. Residents of the west coast are gratified at finding Harry Hughes, chief officer of Estevan, back at his post… [Colonist, 1932-05-11, p. 7]


December 9, 1932, 10 – photo of lighthouse tender Estevan, Captain H R Bilton, recently in Tofino, BC, proceeding along the coast to land Xmas supplies and stores at all the lighthouses around the island. Effort will also be made to relight the gas buoy off Solander Rock. Sockeye spawning operations at Kennedy Lake finished last week… Nearly 8,000,000 eggs were collected and placed in hatching trays in Kennedy Lake hatchery… 10 men are employed at Elk River mine [Leora] sinking a 200-foot shaft. Mine owned by W W Gibson, who worked the same property 25 years ago. Party comprised P Malon, W Grant, Major G Nicholson. [Colonist, 1932-05-31*]


December 30, 1932, 5 – daring of 3 young west coast fishermen is being praised by everyone along Tofino’s part of the coast for the act they performed on Xmas Day, when with almost overwhelming odds against them, there were the means of a lonely lighthouse keeper, his wife and his assistant’s family obtaining their Xmas dinner. 
Owing to the severe southwest storms that have been lashing the coast now for several weeks, Lennard Island lighthouse, wholly exposed to the full blasts of the Pacific, had been cut off from all means of communication, and as Xmas Day approached with no abatement of the storm, Lightkeeper T McNab and his assistant, R Guppy and their wives and families, who comprise the inhabitants of the lonely isle, were faced with no Xmas mail and no Xmas dinner. On Xmas Eve the Tofino lifeboat crew attempted to make a landing, but the huge seas prevented them from doing so, and they had to return with the boat to the station. 
Xmas morning broke with the seas heavier still, and practically all hope of receiving their Xmas fare was abandoned by the little island colony. It was then that the 3 young fishermen, Bjarne Arnet, Trygve Arnet and Mickey Nicholson, having a fellow-feeling for the lightkeeper who so often, by constant attention to his light and his foghorn had been the means of aiding them, as well as hundreds of other fishermen and sailors in from the fishing banks in bad weather, determined that they would get the dinner to them if possible. 
In the small but seaworthy salmon troller Pete, they loaded the supplies and mail, and to the accompaniment of cheers from those assembled on the Tofino boat landing, headed straight into the raging seas toward the lighthouse. Notwithstanding the heavy seas breaking over their craft, the 3 Samaritans forged ahead until at last Lennard Island was reached, when their seamanship capabilities were tested to the utmost in navigating around the treacherous rocky shoreline in search of some partially sheltered hole-in-the-wall where they could manoeuvre their craft close enough to effect a landing. 
By this time the lightkeeper and his assistant, who had been watching the approach of the boat, made their way over the rocks and helped direct them to a somewhat sheltered spot, when in a favourable lull in the storm Guppy was able to launch his small boat and come out to the launch, when not a second was lost in loading him up, and before the next squall could strike, the Xmas supplies were landed. On arrival back at Tofino, the trio was welcomed by a host of anxious friends, and old-time fishermen acclaimed their feat as one of the most outstanding and daring displays of seamanship and courage displayed in many years. [Colonist, 1932-05-31*]


April 9, 1932, 10 – Fur seals have already made their appearance off the west coast of Vancouver Island, and Indian hunters at Tofino and Ucluelet… The herd passes anywhere from 5 to 25 miles offshore. The Indians hunters spear them while sleeping on the surface of the water, white hunters being barred altogether from killing them. The winter crews of the lifesaving service lifeboats, maintained at Bamfield and Tofino, at the beginning of the month and throughout the summer the two boats will be manned only by their skeleton crews of 5 men each. In addition to standing by at all times of the day and night throughout the year, in readiness to respond to any call of distress from the sea, these two vessels do a great amount of useful routine work for the Marine Department by tending the lighthouses, blinkers, whistling and light buoys, spar buoys and other aids to navigation in the Barkley and Clayoquot Sound districts. The offshore lifesaving service maintained at Bamfield during the winter months by the patrol vessels Givenchey and Armentieres alternately, has also been withdrawn for the season by the return of these vessels to their respective duties in the fishery patrol and naval services. April 10, 26 – annual banquet of Tofino Board of Trade held in Legion Hall, 70 attend. A concert in the Camp 101 recreation building at Long Beach was given last week. Entertainers: B Johnson, C Woolings, T McDonald… [Colonist, 1932-10-01*]

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Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.