Tom Bridger, an electrician with Canadian Maritime Engineering Ltd., with the six-metre-long model of Naval ship HMCS Rainbow, sitting in CME’s facility at Canal Waterfront Park in Port Alberni. The large vessel under construction in the background is a geoduck packing ship. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Tom Bridger, an electrician with Canadian Maritime Engineering Ltd., with the six-metre-long model of Naval ship HMCS Rainbow, sitting in CME’s facility at Canal Waterfront Park in Port Alberni. The large vessel under construction in the background is a geoduck packing ship. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Giant model of Island’s only First World War warship saved from scuttling

Canadian Maritime Engineering saves massive HMCS Rainbow model from a Port Alberni trash heap

A six-metre-long model of a Canadian Navy ship was nearly scuttled in Port Alberni after the company storing it needed to make room for expansion.

The HMCS Rainbow model belonged to Navy League Cadet Corps. Armour Ford, which was meeting at Canadian Maritime Engineering’s building on the waterfront before the coronavirus pandemic halted meetings. The ship was used for training—various ship parts were labeled—and was often used for parades. It had already been restored once by a retired shipbuilder.

the NLCC Armour Ford’s commanding officer, Robin Allen, worked at CME, so the engineering firm agreed to store the large model for the Navy League cadets. Allen retired in December, and CME now needs the space formerly used to store the model.

The actual HMCS Rainbow was an Apollo-class protected cruiser built for the British Royal Navy in 1892. It was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1910 and served on Canada’s west coast.

“It has a very colourful history,” Dunagan said. “It was really the only warship (on the west coast) during the First World War.”

The HMCS Rainbow was taken out of service in 1917 due to its age and sold for scrap in 1920.

The model nearly suffered the same fate after efforts to locate its original owner failed. Manager of operations at CME Simon Schofield was ready to scrap the model, but employee Ben Kingston tried a last-ditch effort to find a home for it with a social media post.

“Within half an hour he had 10 inquiries,” Dunagan said, adding that a maritime museum in Ladysmith agreed to take the model, and arrangements to have it moved to its new home will be made soon.

The Ladysmith Maritime Society already owns a lifeboat from the HMCS Rainbow, according to someone at the museum.

This is the second time the model ship has been moved because a Navy League cadet corps. lost its meeting space, said Todd Flaro, an executive officer with NLCC Armour Ford. The model HMCS Rainbow was one of several that hull technicians from Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt built for an exhibit at the maritime museum in Victoria. The Rainbow was permanently on display at the RCSCC Rainbow cadet hall, where Canada’s first sea cadet corps. was formed.

When RCSCC Rainbow lost their building on the Canadian Naval base a dozen years ago, Armour Ford’s branch president at the time offered a home for the model at Armour Ford’s building in the former Alberni Valley Youth Centre. The model was used for training and for parades. The youth centre closed permanently a few years ago and CME offered to store the model temporarily.

“I heard it’s going to a museum in Ladysmith and that’s just awesome,” said Flaro. “This boat is not part of our history, so it’s not a loss to Alberni Valley history,” he added.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

PORT ALBERNIRoyal Canadian Navyshipbuilding

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke plans to begin construction of the $4.9-million Church Road corridor project this summer. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke hopes to start Church Road Corridor project this summer

Road upgrade includes a roundabout, sidewalks, bike lanes and boulevards

The site of the proposed rental housing development at 2197 Otter Point Rd. (District of Sooke)
District of Sooke approves development with 77 rental units

New parking lot for John Phillips Memorial Park included in project

Traffic is backed up due to a crash on Highway 1. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)
Traffic backs up on Highway 1 westbound in View Royal after crash

First responders are reportedly on the scene in View Royal

Police are looking for the driver of this truck after it nearly hit a group of kids in Esquimalt on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Police)
Victoria police looking for driver of truck that nearly missed kids before crashing in Esquimalt

The truck’s driver, a man, fled the scene after the truck crashed into a house’s fence

A driver stopped by Saanich police following a road rage incident on April 15 was found to be impaired, in violation of a license restriction and in a damaged vehicle. They received a 90-day driving prohibition and a 30-day vehicle impound. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Driver stopped on Pat Bay Highway after road rage reports fails breathalyzer test: police

Several witnesses reported driver to Saanich police, school officer intercepted

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

The District of Sooke will continue to flower with Communities in Bloom. (Pixabay)
Sooke will bud but not bloom in provincial competition

Council scales back participation in Communities in Bloom

An armed officer walks outside Cerwydden Care on Cowichan Lake Road near Skinner Road Wednesday, April 14 around 5:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Officers surround building as homeowner held in apartment for nearly four hours by adult son

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Hwy. 4 was shut down in both directions for 10 hours on March 23 as a rock bluff was blasted as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. Commuters can expect five more 10 hour closures on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning April 28. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Five 10-hour Pacific Rim highway closures planned in the next 6 weeks

Closures needed for rock blasting as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project.

Most Read