HMCS Nipigon lives on thanks to former hull tech’s handywork

CPO1 (Retired) Jeff Morrison has a meal at the HMCS Nipigon table in the Mug and Anchor Pub, located in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. Photos submitted

CPO1 (Retired) Jeff Morrison has a meal at the HMCS Nipigon table in the Mug and Anchor Pub, located in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. Photo submitted

Ryan Melanson
Trident Newspaper
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When operational, HMCS Nipigon’s duckboards helped keep sailors’ feet dry.

Now, the teak slabs serve former members of the ship’s company in different ways: as furniture in their homes or as a piece of nostalgia to be enjoyed in their local mess.

The boards, taken from Nipigon’s pilotage position, had been in storage after the ship’s decommissioning in 1998. They were given a second life by CPO1 (Retired) Jeff Morrison. As a hull tech, he was known for his exceptional carpentry skills.

“I’ve been a woodworker my whole career, so they were offered to me with the thought that I might be able to do something interesting with them, and that’s what I tried to do.”

The boards have been repurposed into a number of furniture projects. The Chiefs’ and Petty Officers’ Mess at Stadacona’s Juno Tower houses a large piece with a binnacle in the centre. A table made from the boards has also become a popular destination for sailors at the Mug and Anchor Pub in Mahone Bay. Morrison also built a custom side table for his former shipmate Cdr (Retired) Allen Munroe, with a collection of his naval challenge coins counter-sunk around the edges.

The tables have received a lot of attention online where former Nipigon members stay connected.

“We’re having a lot of people popping up, talking about their memories sailing in the ship, and saying they need to get out here and have lunch at the Nipigon table,” Munroe said.

The ship was an Annapolis-class destroyer commissioned in 1960, re-commissioned in 1990 following a refit, and then paid off in 1998. Morrison said he’s thrilled to stay connected with his Nipigon colleagues and that his work is helping to preserve the ships’ legacy.

“I’m one of those guys who just really loved being in the navy, and I miss it terribly,” he said, noting that he currently volunteers as the Chief Hull Technician aboard HMCS Sackville.

“This is a good navy story; it’s a nice traditional thing and a way to keep that ship and some of the memories alive.”

This duckboard table, featuring naval challenge coins laid into the wood, was built for Cdr (Retired) Allen Munroe.

This duckboard table, featuring naval challenge coins laid into the wood, was built for Cdr (Retired) Allen Munroe.

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Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

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