HMCS Nanaimo sailors represent at namesake ceremonies

HMCS Nanaimo

Left to right: Acting Sub-Lieutenant Cusack, Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) Tremblett, Petty Officer First Class Szeto, PO2 Smith, Lieutenant-Commander Vanderveer, Lieutenant (Navy) Lingard, Sailor First Class Couckuyt . Back left to right: Sailor Second Class (S2) Chaudhry, Sailor First Class (S1) Peters, S2 Champagne-Rochard, S2 Ladouceur-Lauermeier.

S1 Nicholas Couckuyt, 
HMCS Saskatoon NCIO

On Nov. 11, a group of sailors, including myself, represented HMCS Nanaimo and visited our namesake city to participate in the local activities for Remembrance Day.

Our first stop was Royal Canadian Legion Branch 256 to participate in the Remembrance Day ceremony. Our crew paid respects by laying a wreath and visiting with veterans and Legion members. The ceremony included a local boy singing a stirring version of Garth Brooks’ ‘Belleau Wood’, a song about the Christmas Truce of 1914.

The Legion members were proud to show off the murals which adorn almost the entire outside of their building, including an image of our ship, HMCS Nanaimo. Legion Branch 256 treated us to lunch while sharing stories from their careers.

The crew also attended a ceremony at the Nanaimo Dallas Square Cenotaph. While meaningful and dignified, the ceremony showed a great sense of community in the City of Nanaimo. The Air and Sea Cadets enthusiastically escorted each dignitary to lay their wreaths. Others distributed poppies and brochures to attendees.

The ceremony was capped by a gun salute courtesy of the 5th Field Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery. Lieutenant Commander Mike Vanderveer, our Commanding Officer, presided as the Reviewing Officer of the parade. The ceremony was made extra special with the presence of Victor Osbourne, a Second World War Navy veteran, who was celebrating his 104th birthday. The crowd at the Cenotaph sang a cheerful ‘Happy Birthday’ to Mr. Osbourne and thanked him for his service.

Following the ceremony at the Nanaimo Cenotaph, the crew gathered at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 10 to socialize with more community members, including Mayor Leonard Krog, and Lisa Marie Barron, Nanaimo-Ladysmith Member of Parliament. All appreciated the warmth and hospitality received by both Legions.

In the evening, the crew was invited to attend a Nanaimo Clippers hockey game, where the home team defeated the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. The Clippers were sporting a specially designed jersey featuring the original HMCS Nanaimo K101, a flower-class corvette which served in the Second World War. Before the puck drop, Mayor Krog gifted Nanaimo the ship’s bell back to the crew. It was held at Nanaimo City Hall while the ship was refit. We are pleased to report it is now back on the ship, where it will be put back in service to be rung for Colours again.

The warm welcome offered by the people of Nanaimo was a wonderful beginning to what we hope will be a close relationship with our namesake city. We look forward to visiting again and establishing a lasting presence in the community. Not every ship is lucky enough to have its namesake city so close.

HMCS Nanaimo

Front to back: Sailor First Class Nicholas Couckuyt, Acring Sub-Lieutenant Patrick Cusack, Lieutenant (Navy) Robertson, Petty Officer First Class Samantha Szeto, Lieutenant-Commander Michael Vanderveer receiving the bell and puck drop at the Nanaimo Clippers game against Port Alberni Bulldogs.

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