Navy mourns loss of Chief Boileau

CPO1 Richard Boileau

CPO2 Richard Boileau on board HMCS Protecteur Remembrance Day 2011 in San Diego.

CFB Esquimalt is mourning the loss of a submariner after a recreational diving incident on the Victoria Day long  weekend claimed the life of HMCS Victoria’s coxswain CPO2 Richard Boileau.

On May 19, 47-year-old CPO2 Boileau was scuba diving with two friends in the Saanich inlet when he experienced complications underwater that resulted in his death.

“As a core member of the command triad and the submarine community, he will be missed both professionally and personally,” said HMCS Victoria’s Commanding Officer, Cdr Christopher Ellis.

CPO2 Boileau came to serve in Victoria Nov. 18, 2011, as a last minute replacement on the eve of the submarine’s sailing work ups.

“Even though he had been away from subs for a few years he stepped up to the challenge of being the senior sailor. He had such a positive influence on the crew through his mentorship,” says Cdr Ellis. “He was fair and just. He was a man of integrity. With the dynamic manning of Victoria, he was a catalyst in making sure members, many from out of area, got integrated into the team, so they were welcomed and not overcome by the demands that were placed on them. He will be missed.”

On Sunday, Cdr Ellis recalled the crew to inform them of the tragedy in person. “It was hard to deliver that message. Because of his key role and because we are such a small unit; his absence will be felt.”

Before taking on the role of Victoria’s coxswain, CPO2 Boileau served as the Logistics Coordinator in HMCS Protecteur, and prior to that as a cook in HMC Ships, Vancouver, Regina, and Victoria in 2003.

“He was an avid diver and had been for years. It was one of his favourite past times,” said Cdr Ellis.

Since word of the Chief’s death, condolence messages have been pouring in from across the CF, locally and nationally.

He is survived by wife Brenda, two adult children and two grandchildren, all residing in Victoria.

Those wishing to pass condolences to the family may contact assisting officer, Lt(N) Stephane Champoux.

“The family has received excellent support from across the Formation, especially from Fleet Chaplain Padre Jeannine Friesen and Norma Mcleod of the Joint Personnel Support Unit,” said Cdr Ellis.

Civilian authorities are investigating the incident.

Shelley Lipke, Staff Writer

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