Pass­ing of SS Cari­bou Hero­ine Mar­garet Brooke

RCN News - - Contents -

“On be­half of the en­tire Royal Cana­dian Navy and the Cana­dian Armed Forces, my deep­est con­do­lences are ex­tended to the fam­ily and friends of Lieu­tenant-Com­man­der (ret’d) Mar­garet Brooke, who passed away peace­fully on Jan­uary 9, 2016, at the age of 100, sur­rounded by loved ones in Vic­to­ria, Bri­tish Columbia.

“LCdr Brooke was a true Cana­dian naval hero. A Royal Cana­dian Navy Nurs­ing Sis­ter dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, then-Sub-Lieu­tenant Brooke was named a Mem­ber (Mil­i­tary Di­vi­sion) of the Or­der of the Bri­tish Em­pire for her valiant ac­tions fol­low­ing the tor­pe­do­ing and sub­se­quent sinking of the ferry SS Cari­bou on Oc­to­ber 14, 1942, in the Cabot Strait off New­found­land. Fight­ing for her own sur­vival, she at­tempted to save the life of her col­league and friend, Nurs­ing Sis­ter Sub-Lieu­tenant Agnes Wilkie, by hold­ing on to her with one arm, while cling­ing to ropes on a cap­sized lifeboat. De­spite LCdr Brooke’s heroic ef­forts, her friend suc­cumbed to the frigid wa­ter. LCdr Brooke con­tin­ued to serve in the RCN un­til her re­tire­ment in 1962, at which point she went on to a suc­cess­ful civil­ian ca­reer in academia, achiev­ing her PhD in pa­le­on­tol­ogy.

“The Royal Cana­dian Navy was ex­tremely pleased to ac­knowl­edge Mar­garet Brooke’s great legacy with the an­nounce­ment in April 2015 that one of the up­com­ing Arc­tic and Off­shore Pa­trol Ships would be named Her Majesty’s Cana­dian Ship (HMCS) Mar­garet Brooke in her hon­our. Mem­bers of the RCN had the great for­tune to visit LCdr Brooke and her fam­ily at the time of the an­nounce­ment, which was also on the oc­ca­sion of her 100th birth­day. It was a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to thank LCdr Brooke for her 20 years of mil­i­tary ser­vice to Canada, and for her hero­ism so many years ago.”

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