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First World War (1914-1918)
War in the Pacific

At the outbreak of war in August 1914, only three obsolete ships and two recently-acquired submarines protected Canada's west coast. Canadians feared that German cruisers might attack merchant ships or bombard cities and towns. After these attacks failed to materialize, many vessels and personnel were transferred to the Atlantic to deal with the growing German submarine threat.

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Chief Petty Officer James Vinicombe
Chief Petty Officer James Vinicombe

Chief Petty Officer James Vinicombe, HMCS Galiano's boatswain, was among those who perished when the ship sank in an October 1918 storm.

A handwritten caption identifies Vinicombe as "the bos'un". As boatswain (a word spelled in a wide variety of ways including "bos'un"), he was responsible for Galiano's rigging, cables, anchors, and deck crew. The 53-year-old Vinicombe, likely photographed aboard the Galiano, was one of 40 lost when the ship sank off the British Columbia coast. Like the majority of the crew, he was a resident of British Columbia, although he had been born in London, England.

VRP992.84.57
CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum





HMCS Rainbow in Drydock, Esquimalt
Commander Walter Hose, HMCS Rainbow
Sailor Standing by HMCS Rainbow's Wheel
Sailor with Sennet Hat and Camera, HMCS Rainbow
HMS Algerine in Esquimalt, 1914
Canadian Submarine at Esquimalt
British 18-inch Torpedo
Japanese Cruiser Aso off British Columbia
HMCS Galiano Ship's Company, 1918
Chief Petty Officer James Vinicombe
Sailor's Summer Uniform, Lionel Channing, HMCS Shearwater
HMCS Shearwater in the Panama Canal
HMCS Shearwater's Crew
Cargo Ship Seen from Canadian Submarine
Sailor and 3-Pounder Hotchkiss Gun, HMCS Shearwater
Stoker Abner Beckwith Willford and Ship's Crew, HMCS Shearwater
Canadian Sailor with Banana Plant
Canadian Submarine in Harbour