Ves­sel named af­ter Coast Guard hero


To say that Oct. 15, 1989 was a hard day for Susie Ped­dle is like say­ing the ocean is a fair size body of wa­ter.

“My mother died that morn­ing, 10:30, and we were in the fu­neral home when we got the word 5 o’clock Greg was gone,” Susie says.

Cana­dian Coast Guard chief of­fi­cer Gre­gory Paul Ped­dle S.C., of Spa­niard’s Bay, was Susie Ped­dle’s son. That day he was at­tempt­ing to res­cue a diver off Mid­dle Cove when the fast-res­cue craft he was in over­turned. His co-work­ers, se­nior engi­neer Pierre Gal­lien and lead­ing sea­man Ray­mond C. Welcher, died in the same ac­ci­dent.

“The sea — the mighty sea, as they say — was too much for the three of them,” Susie Ped­dle says.

Greg Ped­dle was awarded the Star of Courage for his ac­tions, and now the coast guard is nam­ing a ves­sel af­ter him.

The CCGS G. Ped­dle S.C. is a mid-shore pa­trol ves­sel. It’s part of the hero class of ves­sels, so called be­cause they are named for dec­o­rated sol­diers and peace of­fi­cers. It’s 43 me­tres long with a dis­place­ment of 257 tonnes and a top speed of 25 knots. It was built in Halifax by Irv­ing Ship­build­ing Inc. and will be based in Dart­mouth.

The first year fol­low­ing the loss of her mother — Emily Hutch­ings — and son was very tough for Susie Ped­dle. She’s been sick off and on since, some­thing she at­tributes to the grip that day has held on her. It’s been slow to let her go. The nam­ing of the ves­sel af­ter her son has of­fered some mea­sure of re­lease.

“I think it’s ab­so­lutely won­der­ful,” she says. “It’s very re­liev­ing. It gives me a great sense of clos­ing.”

As for what her son would think about a ves­sel be­ing named af­ter him, Susie Ped­dle says it was never in his per­son­al­ity to seek that kind of at­ten­tion. She de­scribes him as a quiet, de­voted boy and man who, as a stu­dent, went to his room af­ter school ever y day to do his home­work, and never came out for sup­per un­til he was done.

When he won a tro­phy at school for some aca­demic achieve­ment, his mother had to find out from some­body else. Greg Ped­dle wasn’t one to boast. A tat­too on his arm spoke to the phi­los­o­phy he lived by, and is a motto that can help ex­plain why he would risk his life to save that of another.

“Death be­fore dis­hon­our” is what the tat­too read, his mother says.

But though Greg Ped­dle may have been em­bar­rassed by the at­ten­tion of hav­ing a ves­sel named af­ter him, his fam­ily feels only pride, and grate­ful­ness to the peo­ple in­volved who made it hap­pen.

“All the fam­ily, we are so hon­oured,” says Susie Ped­dle. “This is some­thing won­der­ful for us to look at and see. This beau­ti­ful boat.”

This is not the first recog­ni­tion Greg has re­ceived. In 2010, a stain glass win­dow at the Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion Ro­man Catholic church in Har­bour Grace was also named in his hon­our. Three years ago, his mother said it was fit­ting be­cause the win­dow faced the har­bour.

Sub­mit­ted photo

The new coast guard ves­sel the CCGS G. Ped­dle S.C. was named af­ter Cap­tain Greg Ped­dle, a Spa­niard’s Bay na­tive who died in a res­cue in­ci­dent in 1989.

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