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

Traffic heading south on Highway 17 and looking to turn left onto Beacon Avenue wait for the light to turn Tuesday morning. A report finds the intersection is experiencing “failing levels of service” for certain movements during the morning peak hours as well as the afternoon peak hours. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Major Sidney intersection already deficient predicted to get worse

New report also finds area’s pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in need of improvement

An employee at Sidney’s Thrifty Foods tested positive for COVID-19, the parent company Sobeys posted on its website Wednesday. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
COVID-19 case reported at Sidney grocery store

Thrifty Foods employee last worked at the store April 3

The artist rendered Sadie with a few more ribs and wrinkles than she had in real life, and with the fading of her paint she looks a little sad. But real-life Sadie was an energetic hunting dog, her owner Cliff Curtis said. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Dog sculpture at Glen Lake Park based off a happy hunting hound

Sadie the dog was not as old as the concrete art looks almost 20 years later

The Latoria South section of the Royal Bay development in Colwood could include a new long-term care facility. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood’s Royal Bay could be home to new long-term care facilities

Capital Regional Hospital District board approves $8M land purchase for purpose

Construction of the next phase of Dockside Green, which will include three condo buildings, is now underway, Bosa Developments announced April 9. (Bosa Developments)
Construction underway, homes for sale at Victoria’s Dockside Green

Bosa Developments took over the site from Vancity in 2017

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tsunami?

Tsunamis have claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people between 1998… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver police say eight people were arrested Wednesday after anti-pipeline protesters blocked off both the entrances and exits to two buildings in the downtown core. (Instagram/Qtcatspictureclub)
8 people arrested after anti-pipeline protestors chain themselves to Vancouver buildings

Cst. Tania Visintin said demonstrators caused ‘a serious safety hazard’ downtown for hours Wednesday

Jamie Coutts recorded a man following her around downtown Vancouver for a half-hour on Wednesday, March 18. (Instagram screenshot/Iammjammbamm)
Man charged in alleged high-profile Vancouver stalking case that went viral online

Man faces five other charges including criminal harassment and assault with a weapon

A sea lion swims past the window of an empty viewing area Vancouver Aquarium is pictured Thursday, September 10, 2020. The Vancouver Aquarium has had to close its doors to the public due to the lack of visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
U.S.-based theme park company buys Vancouver Aquarium

Aquarium had to shut its doors in September due to COVID pandemic

Legendary broadcaster Bernie Pascall is among in the Class of 2021 to be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. (PQB News file photo)
Island broadcasting legend Bernie Pascall named to Canadian Football Hall of Fame

Pascall named by Football Reporters of Canada as inductee in the 2021 class in the media category

A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm B.C. hospitals: modelling group

There are 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December

Most Read