Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

October 20, 2007 10:00 ET

Coast Guard Honours Own With Memorial

SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 20, 2007) - The Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today unveiled a memorial honouring those who lost their lives while in the service of the Canadian Coast Guard. The monument will reside in the courtyard of the Coast Guard College in Westmount, Cape Breton.

"Today we honour the commitment of those who paid the ultimate price to serve and protect Canadians at sea," noted Minister Hearn. "They have made us tremendously proud, and this monument is our tribute to them."

The families of many of those lost attended today's unveiling, including the widows and children of Coast Guard's most recent fatality. On December 7, 2005, helicopter pilot Gordon Simmons and marine aids technician Carl Neal perished in a crash near Marystown, Newfoundland in poor weather conditions.

Also on hand to pay their respects were representatives of Sydney's Royal Canadian Legion and fire service.

Addressing the assembled guests in the College courtyard, Minister Hearn noted, "Our government recognizes the important role of institutions such as the Coast Guard. Their service to Canadians and our country is vital to both our ongoing maritime safety and security and our economic well-being."

The Minister also acknowledged the valuable contribution of Transport Canada employees. All Coast Guard helicopters are flown and serviced by Transport Canada employees assigned to the agency. Five of the names on the monument belong to them. "This unique connection has resulted in strong ties between our organizations," he noted. "On behalf of Canadians, I thank them for their commitment and sacrifice. Their losses are our losses, too."

Since it was formed in 1962, the Canadian Coast Guard has lost 34 people in the line of duty. Brief details about these individuals can be found in the attached backgrounder.


Names Inscribed on the Monument


Eric Fiander and Hughie Miles, December 19 - These assistant lightkeepers, assigned to St. Jacques Lighthouse Station in St. Jacques, Newfoundland and Labrador, died during a wind and ice storm.


Elwin Francis Rolfe - This quartermaster, assigned to the CCGC Sir William Alexander, died as he was working with other crew members to free a grounded vessel in the Miramichi River and was swept by the current under the ice.


Douglas Joseph Wood - This seaman was assigned to the CCGC Thomas Carleton in Yarmouth. A landing barge being hoisted for stowage aboard the vessel reached boat deck level when the davits broke. The barge overturned, taking Seaman Wood into the water.


Wallace B. Woodbury - This boatswain, assigned to the Maritimes Region, was working on a self-propelled barge when he fell overboard.


Gordon James Rees Jr., July 1 - Assigned to the CCGS Sir Humphrey Gilbert in Newfoundland and Labrador Region, Mr. Rees was fatally struck by a buoy in the ship's hold.


Eric Breau and Emanuel Mathew Power, September 6 - These seamen with the CCGS CG112 in Central and Arctic Region died when their vessel capsized during a search and rescue mission off Point Petrie on Lake Ontario.


Antony Summers - This technician with the Goose Bay Radio Station in Newfoundland and Labrador Region was electrocuted while repairing marine radio equipment.


Barry Allard and Odilon Cote, August 20 - Assigned to the CCGS Norman McLeod Rogers in northern Quebec, this helicopter pilot and helicopter mechanic (respectively) died while assisting in the rescue of the Aigle d'Ocean off Button Island in foggy conditions. Their helicopter struck a cape and went into the water.


Ernie Funston - This Telecommunications Area Manager in Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, died when his plane crashed on return from Cartwright Radio Station. Guy Christopher Lavigne, November 20 - The officer cadet was in training at the Canadian Coast Guard College when he was struck by a mooring line while docking the CCGS Mikula.


Paul Pouliot - A technician at Triple Island in the Pacific Region, Mr. Pouliot lost his life when he was swept out to sea while disembarking a helicopter on Triple Island.


Heinz Gnitzinger - This boatswain, assigned to the CCGS Namao in Central and Arctic Region, drowned in a small vessel accident off Berens Island on Lake Winnipeg.


Diane Lajoie, May 29 - This surveyor trainee in Quebec Region, died after an incident with a helicopter rotor at Cap Tourmente.

Michael Bernard McGillivary - This lightkeeper, assigned to the Glace Bay Lighthouse in the Maritimes Region, died after an incident with the tail rotor of a helicopter.


Alan D. Frowley - This seaman with the CCGC Sydney Bight in Maritimes Region, drowned when a helicopter attempted to airlift him following an injury he sustained during buoy operations on the vessel. The helicopter attempted to lift off with Seaman Frowley strapped to a stretcher, but crashed into the water. The pilot and medical attendant escaped, but Seaman Frowley drowned.


Wayne F. Dall, November 6 - A seaman with the CCGS Cape Hurd in Central and Arctic Region, drowned when his zodiac collided with a deadhead in Goderich Harbour, throwing him overboard.


Claude Beauchemin, August 24 - A seaman with the CCGS Ville-Marie, he died in an accident while driving a government vehicle on duty.

Peter Colbert, October 4 - This oiler with the CCGS Skidegate in Newfoundland and Labrador Region fell from the gangway and drowned in Goose Bay.


Ephraim Stanley - This Korean War veteran and long-time seaman spent much of his Coast Guard career on the CCGS Saurel out of Charlottetown Base. He was months from retiring when he was struck by a bell buoy.


Jean-Guy Gamache, September 19 - The quartermaster and seaman with the CCGS Nicolet in Quebec Region fell overboard while attempting to pull a fender on board the vessel.


Thomas William Shelby, January 20 - This seaman with the Bull Harbour life boat in the Pacific Region lost his life while assisting a tug in stormy seas off the north coast of Vancouver Island.

Pierre Gallien, Gregory P. Peddle, and Raymond C. Welcher, October 15 - These men (senior engineering officer, chief officer, and leading seaman respectively) served on the CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell in Newfoundland and Labrador Region. They perished when their fast rescue craft overturned in an attempt to rescue a diver off Middle Cove.


Evan Godhe - This deckhand on the CCGS Dumit in Central and Arctic Region drowned after falling overboard while working on the vessel.


Rob Mark Cain - This chief engineer with CCGS Partridge Island in Maritimes Region died after falling overboard while washing down the vessel's superstructure.

Garry Stephenson - This pollution technician in Central and Arctic Region died in a car accident while returning to base following equipment inspections.


Ralph Stephen Hemphill - This helicopter pilot working in Maritimes Region died after losing control of his aircraft when it struck a power line and fell into the Margaree River.


Gary Brazil, May 10 - This helicopter pilot assigned to the CG305 in Newfoundland and Labrador Region perished when his aircraft crashed while he was preparing a seasonal lightstation reopening.


Carl Neal and Gordon Simmons, December 7 - This marine aids technician and helicopter pilot assigned to Newfoundland and Labrador Region were returning from carrying out lighthouse and other maintenance died when their helicopter struck the water near Marystown in snowy conditions.

October 2007

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Catherine Barratt
    Coast Guard Communications