Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz chats with officials with the Canadian Navy who presented her with a commemorative plaque of HMCS Chilliwack at city hall last Tuesday.

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz chats with officials with the Canadian Navy who presented her with a commemorative plaque of HMCS Chilliwack at city hall last Tuesday.

Paying homage to HMCS Chilliwack

A delegation from the Canadian Navy were in council chambers Tuesday to present Mayor Sharon Gaetz and council with a commemorative plaque, on the heels of the 100th anniversary of the navy last year.

Historic tribute was paid to the Canadian warship known as HMCS Chilliwack last week at city hall.

A delegation from the Canadian Navy were in council chambers Tuesday to present Mayor Sharon Gaetz and council with a commemorative plaque, on the heels of the 100th anniversary of the navy last year.

The plaque recounts some of the exploits of the Flower-class corvette, HMCS Chilliwack, which was commissioned in 1941 and served as a convoy escort during the Second World War.

Navy reps in attendance in chambers included Lieutenant Commander Elaine Fisher, Lieutenant Commander Phil Horner, Lieutenant Commander Marjorie Locke, Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Ronald Docherty, and retired naval reservist Don Bellamy of Chilliwack, who is also a former city councillor.

“Many Canadians know little of their navy,” said Lieutenant Commander Fisher, before explaining some of the pertinent history of the large warship.

“They were the sheepdogs of the navy, and manned by naval reservists,” she said, “of which Don Bellamy was one before becoming a city councillor.”

The Flower-class corvettes were “responsible for keeping the convoys of merchants ships safe,” said Fisher, and they acted as “the lifeline for supplies into the European theatre of operations.”

The HMCS Chilliwack even sunk a U-boat in 1944, before being reassigned to Halifax, and then broken up in 1946 in Hamilton, Ontario.

Mayor Gaetz thanked the naval representatives for their contributions, and for the special plaque presentation.

Bellamy later told the Progress that if one looks closely at the model of the HMCS Chilliwack at city hall, rust streaks that were painted on it can be made out.

“That was on purpose,” he said. “It was a busy, hard-living ship and it was always at sea.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com