Island-made totem pole honours Commonwealth connection

HMS Duncan totem gift from Canada

Capt(N) Tim Tulloch (right), Naval Advisor for the Canadian Defence Liaison Staff London, presents Cdr James Stride, RN, HMS Duncan Commanding Officer, with a replica of the 2012 Centennial Totem in the City of Duncan.

A small piece of Duncan adorns a brand new Royal Navy destroyer following a grand ceremony Sept. 26 in Portsmouth, UK.

The miniature cedar totem pole was presented to Cdr James Stride, Royal Navy (RN), commanding officer of HMS Duncan, the last of six Daring Class frigates to be commissioned by the Royal Navy.

“It was a privilege and an honour to be asked to represent the Vancouver Island Branch of the Royal Naval Association and the City of Duncan,” says Capt(N) Tom Tulloch, Naval Advisor with the Canadian Defence Liaison Staff (London), who made the presentation. “It’s a tangible reminder of the enduring ties between Canada and the UK, and especially the relationship between the Royal Canadian Navy and the RN, which goes back over a century.”

Principal guests at the ceremony included the ship’s sponsor Lady Marie Ibbotson, wife of Vice Admiral (Ret’d) Sir Richard Ibbotson, as well as First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas. The ship’s company assembled for the presentation along with a band of Royal Marines, and a piper to honour the Scottish heritage of the ship’s namesake, Admiral Adam Duncan.

“The presentation was very well received by all who attended,” says Capt(N) Tulloch. “I had a lot of sailors approaching me afterwards asking questions about the carving and about the City of Duncan. Everyone was very interested and proud to have such a tangible connection to Canadian history.”

The cedar statuette was carved by Kwakwaka’wakw carver Calvin Hunt, and is a one-tenth scale replica of the totem pole Hunt carved for the city of Duncan’s centennial in 2012.

“It’s nice to work towards honouring my family’s heritage,” says Hunt, who comes from a long line of carvers including Mungo Martin, Henry Hunt, and Tony Hunt, Sr. “They all took part in ceremonies like this in their day, and it only seems fitting I do as well. It’s nice to be a part of that family.”

-Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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