The Princess Sophia leaving Victoria harbor with troops for First World War, circa 1915. (Maritime Museum of B.C./Facebook)

Headstone to honour family killed in disastrous shipwreck 100 years ago

Maritime Museum of British Columbia is installing a headstone for the O’Brien family members, who were among more than 350 people killed

A family of seven who died in one of the worst nautical disasters in the history of the West Coast will have its final resting place marked in Vancouver, 100 years later.

The Maritime Museum of British Columbia is installing a headstone for the O’Brien family members, who were among more than 350 people killed in the sinking of the SS Princess Sophia, at Mountain View Cemetery today.

READ MORE: Maritime Museum marks 100th anniversary of the ‘Unknown Titanic of the West Coast’

The passengers and crew were stranded aboard the steamship for two full days after it struck the Vanderbilt reef, 50 kilometres northwest of Juneau, Alaska, on Oct. 23, 1918.

Nearby rescue crews were unable to reach the vessel and when high tides and strong winds dislodged it from its perch, the ship sank, killing all those aboard.

The museum’s executive director David Leverton says that despite its high death toll, news of the shipwreck was overshadowed by the First World War armistice on Nov. 11, the same day a ship carrying the bodies of the victims arrived in the Port of Vancouver.

The Canadian Press

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