RCMP ST. Roch Commemorative Stone Plans Unveiled

    HALIFAX, April 25 /CNW/ - The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) of
Nova Scotia today unveiled plans to erect a descriptive stone on the Halifax
waterfront commemorating the RCMP Arctic patrol vessel St. Roch. She was the
first ship to transit the Northwest Passage West to East, arriving in Halifax
Oct. 11, 1942. She made the return trip to Vancouver in 1944, again through
the Northwest Passage but this time using an untried and more northerly route,
making her the first ship to transit the Passage in both directions.
    "We have begun fund-raising to place a commemorative stone on the
waterfront on the date of her arrival in Halifax 65 years ago," said Col.
Murray Lee, President of RUSI. "Many of our members are serving or retired
RCMP officers and we feel it is fitting that we mark the significant
contributions of St. Roch in the history of the Force." This year also marks
the 75th anniversary of the RCMP in Nova Scotia.
    The commemorative stone will be 32" X 60" made of Scotian granite and
will contain the words "Maintaining Canadian Sovereignty in the Arctic" along
with a map of the Northwest Passage, a sketch of the vessel and the RCMP and
RUSI crests.
    Michael Nash Kelly, Chairman of RUSI's Heritage Committee, explains that
between 1928 and 1949, St. Roch maintained Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic
and helped broaden government control and services in the northern
    Among the special guests attending today's meeting of RUSI will be Stan
McKenzie, 88, of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, who was a member of the RCMP crew as
the St. Roch made the East to West trip through the Northwest Passage in 1944.

    Launched at North Vancouver in 1928, the 104-foot St. Roch served from
1928-1939 as a floating RCMP detachment in the western Arctic. In 1940, St.
Roch, under command of Sergeant (later Inspector) Henry Larsen, departed
Vancouver on her historic voyage through the Northwest Passage. The vessel,
forced to overwinter in Pasley Bay, Boothia Peninsula, arrived in Halifax Oct.
11, 1942 to become the first vessel to transit the Passage West to East. In
1950, the ship returned to Halifax from Vancouver via the Panama Canal and
thus became the first vessel to circumnavigate North America. Her third epic
first! St. Roch was retired later that year. The ship is now a permanent
exhibit of Vancouver Maritime Museum.

For further information:

For further information: Murray Lee, (902) 223-8992; Michael Kelly,
(902) 452-3992; Gordon Eastwood, (902) 489-5541

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