One of Canada’s least known World War II military fortresses was built on tiny Yorke Island BC, six kilometres northeast of Kelsey Bay.
Local author Catherine Marie Gilbert has written a local history book entitled Yorke Island and the Uncertain War – Defending Canada’s Western Coast during World War II and will be giving a pictorial presentation at the Museum at Campbell River on Fri., Nov. 11 from 1-3 p.m. about this intriguing place.
The Yorke Island Battery, which was occupied by both army and naval forces from 1938–1945, protected the “backdoor” northern approach to Vancouver from Japanese that were suspected of planning an attack along the coast by boat or plane. The fort was armed with guns, searchlights and sometimes up to 500 men.
Life for the soldiers on Yorke Island was self-sufficient; there were barracks, kitchens, a canteen, a drill hall, administration offices, a hospital, and a quartermaster store in the camp on the eastern shore, and eventually 62 buildings in total on the 55 hectare island.
Highlighted by personal stories from local people who remembered the occupation of Yorke, as well as reminisces from veterans posted there and declassified military documents, Gilbert’s talk will interest military and history buffs alike, and especially those whose families were part of its history. Get a sneak preview of some of the numerous images Gilbert collected for her book, many of which came from personal collections.
Danny Brown, who guided tours to Yorke Island in 2004 for the Museum, and who assisted with the research for Gilbert’s book, will introduce the presentation.
Gilbert’s book is being published locally by Ptarmigan Press and will be out in the early new year.
To register for this talk, call 250-287-3103.