For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
Then Gate Vessel 17
Built at Toronto, Festubert was commissioned on 13 Nov 1917, and after brief service was laid up until 01 May 1923. She was then re-commissioned for training and other duties on the east coast until once more placed in reserve in 1934. From 1939 to 17 Aug 1945, she was again in service as Gate Vessel 17 at Halifax. Festubert was sold in 1946 for commercial use and renamed Inverleigh. She was scuttled off Burgeo, Nfld., on 30 Jun 1971.
The end of the Inverleigh, researched by Bud (Donald C.) Rose
Having been declared surplus in 1946, the Festuburt was purchased by Fisheries Products Ltd. In Burgeo Nfld. The vessel was renamed the Inverleigh.
This Fishery Products operation was started in 1941on a floating ship named the Netherton which was moored to the wharf at Burgeo. This ship caught fire on 5th Nov 1941 (was destroyed) and the operation then moved to a shore based plant. During the mid-1940s two of their trawlers, Beatrice Beck and Bastin, were lost at sea. With all shipbuilding geared to the war effort, trawlers were hard to replace. In 1954 Fishery Products Ltd was sold to Spencer Lake who founded Burgeo Fish Industries, and he acquired the Inverleigh along with their other three trawlers.
By 1970, the Nfld Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union had been certified and a bitter struggle ensued with the fish plant owners. Spencer Lake along with some other owners shut down their plants in defiance of the union. Lake was one of only a few plant owners that owned their own trawlers.
In 1971 the Nfld Government finally stepped in and offered to purchase all the Lake Plants for a reported $6 million dollars. The Lake family owned a lot of commercial ventures in Burgeo, thus requiring an asset list of what was to be transferred to the new Government Co- Op. The list included all fish plant structures and chattels, wharf, docking and off loading facilities and four of the five trawlers.
The fifth was the Inverleigh; now in her 55th year, she no longer had a role to play with all the new factory / freezer trawlers, plus she had laid idled during the nine month strike (and then some). On the books of a private company she could be listed as an "inventory asset". In a government controlled Co-Op she would be a liability. She was not listed for transfer to the Co-Op.
On 30th. June 1971, Inverleigh, (the former HMCS Festubert) was paid off for the last time. She was scuttled of the coast from Burgeo in an area considered by many to be a graveyard for many a lost ship.
Photos and Documents