Advertisement

Memorial on artificial reef off Nanaimo ties two B.C. families together

Click to play video: 'This Is BC: Memorial on artificial reef ties families together' This Is BC: Memorial on artificial reef ties families together
When the destroyer HMCS Saskatchewan sunk to create an artificial reef near Nanaimo, it carried special cargo -- the remains of a man who had served on the ship. And it was the son of another sailor who made it his mission to care for the memorial. As Jay Durant tells us in This Is BC, it has become a bond between the two families – Jun 21, 2022

Bob McCauley is gearing up for another to dive to HMCS Saskatchewan.

His father once served on the ship, which was sold and sunk on June 14, 1997, for use as an artificial reef. The Mackenzie-class destroyer can now be found about three kilometres off of the coast of Nanaimo, B.C., 30 metres below the surface.

It’s the final resting place of another sailor who served on the vessel.

“His name was Seaman Raymond Good,” said McCauley told Global News. “For years, I have been cleaning up (his) plaque, scraping off the marine life that had made it almost unreadable.”

Read more: ‘A real special person’: Honourary firefighter reunited with Delta crew after pandemic break

Good spent three years in the Royal Canadian Navy and died in 1995 of complications after a heart attack. Arrangements were made to place Good’s urn aboard HMCS Saskatchewan before it went down in 1997.

Story continues below advertisement

“My brother’s wife asked him before he passed what he wanted done with his ashes,” recalled Good’s brother, Barry Scow. “He said, ‘You’ll know when that day comes.’”

Click to play video: 'HMCS Winnipeg returns to Vancouver Island after tragic accident' HMCS Winnipeg returns to Vancouver Island after tragic accident
HMCS Winnipeg returns to Vancouver Island after tragic accident – Dec 18, 2020

McCauley has cared for Good’s memorial there every time he dives down to HMCS Saskatchewan.

Eventually, Good’s family noticed his efforts — contacting McCauley to thank him after seeing pictures he posted online.

“I told my mother about this guy Bob and what he was doing, and she was pretty touched that someone was looking after her son,” said Scow.

Read more: Surrey man and friends build elaborate palki for worshippers in Prince George, B.C.

Scow and McCauley have yet to meet but are connected through the ship.

Story continues below advertisement

McCauley’s father had once took him for a tour of the ship he sailed on.

“He showed me a place where he had written his name on the wall in the radio room,” said McCauley.

Scow, too, was taken aboard HMCS Saskatchewan when he was 12, by Good.

“I thought that day he owned the ship,” Scow recalled. “It was one probably one of the happiest days of my life.”

Click to play video: 'HMCS Winnipeg’s return to Victoria brings historic same-sex kiss' HMCS Winnipeg’s return to Victoria brings historic same-sex kiss
HMCS Winnipeg’s return to Victoria brings historic same-sex kiss – Feb 23, 2016

Scow was not present, however, 25 years ago in June when HMCS Saskatchewan was sent to its final resting place.

“I didn’t want to see it go down and I didn’t want to see him go down with it,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

One day, Scow plans to meet with McCauley in Nanaimo and make him an honourary member of the family.

“I was almost thinking that we should make Bob one of us you know,” he said.

Scow said he would like visit the site and possibly, dive down to say goodbye to his brother.

“I still miss him a lot. I still haven’t really let him go.”

Sponsored content