Sea cadets get real education at HMCS Quadra on Goose Spit

Each summer a number of sea cadets from overseas visit and train aboard HMCS Quadra, the Cadet Summer Training Centre at Goose Spit.

Each summer a number of sea cadets from overseas visit and train aboard HMCS Quadra, the Cadet Summer Training Centre at Goose Spit.

To learn about local aspects of their naval heritage, five British sea cadets and one Royal Marine cadet visited the churchyard of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Comox, to learn about the five British naval graves.

Along with their escort officer, Lieutenant Commander Alan Thomas RNR of Neath, Wales, and local members of the Comox Valley Branch of the Royal Canadian Naval Association, the cadets spent time learning about the four Royal Navy sailors and one Royal Marine buried in Comox.

These British servicemen died while on active duty from 1896 to 1910, the year the Royal Canadian Navy was created.

The Royal Navy was very prominent along the west coast of Canada during the years before and for many years after British Columbia joined the Canadian Confederation.

Besides its duty as defence, the Royal Navy conducted many detailed navigational surveys of this coast; it named many geographical features and brought the first settlers to the Comox Valley.

The members of the British sea cadet contingent placed poppies and Royal Navy white ensign flags on the graves.  A short memorial service was conducted and the Rector of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Rev. Jim Lister, read the naval prayer.

As part of the 32-member international sea cadet exchange, the British cadets enjoyed various sea cadet activities within the Comox Valley and aboard HMCS Quadra.

The international sea cadet exchange also spent time in Victoria and Vancouver before returning home. A highlight of their time in Canada was their participation in the unique sea cadet Ceremony of the Flags at the BC legislative grounds in Victoria.

The Comox Valley Branch of the Royal Canadian Naval Association helps maintain the graves.

An information sign arranged by the Comox Archives and Museum Society of the five British servicemen is near the graves and provided details about their lives.

— Comox Valley Branch, Royal Canadian Naval Association