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Great War Commemoration Project

RVYC WW 1 Roll of Honour

WW 1 H Roll

The RVYC WW I Honour Roll was prepared by Ben Temple in 1918 to commemorate the 81 members who served in the 1914-18 war. Over the next four years we are planning to memorialize these men by learning more about them and their families using photos, newspaper articles, letters, diaries and documents. Depending on the amount of information available we will prepare biographies which can be added to our archives records, published in the Mainsheet and put on the YC website. We know there are people missing from the original honour roll, and there are members who served but joined RVYC after 1919.

We need your help. If you have any information that would help us tell the stories of members who served please contact Curatorial Committee member Don Reksten , or 250.419.1518.

pdfMembers who served in WWI

Royal Victoria Yacht Club in the Great War

"A Century of Sailing" by the late Terry Reksten was published in 1992 for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. In these excerpts from the book, members who served in WW 1 are featured. Also noted is the effect the war was having on the yacht club activities.

Biographies for many of these members will be placed on this website over the next few months as research is completed by the Curatorial Committee.

 pdfRVYC_in_the_Great_War.pdf

Signal flags on the Roll of Honour

Many thanks to those who replied to our request for information on the message indicated by the signal flags on Ben Temple's Roll of Honour. The best explanation came from the crew of SV Massilia in Vancouver. The Readshaw family takes its signal flags seriously and the research by 'Signals Officer Matthew' confirmed that the message is the one hoisted by Admiral Nelson 

March 8, 2015 from the Readshaw family
Your appeal for assistance in the Mainsheet has caught the interest of the crew of the SV Massilia. We have an avid interest on board 'Massilia' in the use of signal flags and carry onboard a full set of flags as well as both the 1932 and 1969 International Signal Code flag books. We regularly communicate with fellow sailing vessels by flags. You may or may not know that the 1932 code book, which predates the advent of radio on ships at sea, contains a full suite of conversational signal hoists. Needless to say the advent of radio at sea eliminated the need for conversational hoists. The answer to your query, however, lies in an even earlier code book, the 1917 code flag book which was likely the operational code book at the time that the Roll of Honour was created, and until the adoption of the 1932 codes.

On examination you will find that in 1917, what is now known as the code flag for 1, was in fact the code flag for C. If you then translate the superior hoist then the three flag code at the top, which today reads: M 1 W translates to M C W, which if you then go to the 1917 code book, in the General Codes section means: England. The second superior hoist: M N 1 then translates to M N C which in the conversational code translates to Expects and so forth. Further, code flag 4 used to be code flag F and code flag 3 used to be code flag E.

The RVYC History is therefore correct. The full hoist series does in fact translate to Nelson's hoist. You should know, however, that in 1917, there was a conversational signal hoist for DUTY. At the time of the Battle of Trafalgar, Royal Navy codes, which were all number flags with specific conversation meanings in specific numerical combinations, did not have a signal hoist for DUTY, therefore Nelson's signaller spelt out DUTY in the clear.

John Readshaw, Sailing Master SV Massilia
Matthew Readshaw, Signals Officer, SV MassiliaMichael Readshaw, Supercargo, SV Massilia
Laurie Readshaw, Admiral, SV Massilia

Signal flags

Roll of Honour Biographies

WW I corner

The biographies and related documents are displayed in the "fireplace corner" of the Main Lounge in framed panels. The information was obtained from numerous sources; a list can be obtained from the Curatorial Committee Archivist. Where information was obtained from a book or private documents the source is listed in footnotes for each biography.

pdfLt. Alexander E. Evans

pdf2nd Lt. Geoffrey Walter Ashdown Green

pdfCapt. F. Norman Payne

pdfRev. William Barton

pdfCapt. Norman Rant

pdfLt. Col Percy Byng Hall

pdfLt. John Harper

pdfMajor William H. Langley

pdfMajor D'Oyly T. Rochfort

pdfCapt. Arthur Douglas Crease

pdfLieutenant Edward Percy "Ned" Ashe

pdfNicholas Poyntz Blandy

pdfFrancis John Barrow

pdfArthur Lane

pdfJoseph Charles Bridgman

The Great War from the RVYC Archives

The following are articles from various sources in the YC archives collection. These sources include the vertical (or clipping) file, “A Century of Sailing”, minutes of the Executive Committee and correspondence files.

Starting with January 1916 new selections will appear in this section each month.

January 1916

It was reported in the January 1916 issue of “Pacific Motor Boat” magazine that John Arbuthnot had presented to Lady McBride his yacht “Tannis” to be sold to raise money for the Red Cross. Here is an excerpt from “A Century of Sailing”, p. 86:

Of the contributions made by individual members, the most public was John Arbuthnot's decision to donate the Tannis to a patriotic cause. Built in 1907 at a cost of $15,000, the Tannis was fifty feet long and recognized as being a "staunch sea-boat," one of the "most commodious and speedy plea­sure yachts on the coast." At the outbreak of war, amid rumours that German warships were lurking in west coast waters, Arbuthnot had offered the Tannis to the Navy. For a year she was used as a patrol boat, protect­ing the waters off the entrance to Esquimalt harbour. When she was returned to him in the summer of 1915, Arbuthnot turned her over to the premier's wife, who agreed to use her to raise money for a patriotic cause. Lady McBride and the Red Cross hit upon the idea of holding a raffle. Tickets would be sold for a dollar, and, given that the Tannis was so well known along the coast and around the Sound, the raffle was expected to raise at least $10,000. "I am sure that everyone in Victoria will be pleased to hear of this truly magnificent contribution to the Red Cross fund," Lady McBride noted encouragingly. "I am confident that we shall secure a very handsome amount from the proceeds of the sale." But after a campaign that lasted more than five months, only half the tickets had been sold and the Tannis raised a mere $5,114. However, Arbuthnot's generosity did have the effect of prompting similar actions in others, including the Rithets who donated their almost new electric car and Fitzherbert Bullen who offered his palatial motor yacht I'll Away as prizes in similar raffles.tannis

Former commodore John Arbuthnot raised money for the cause by donating his boat Tannis as a prize in a lottery. [Rochfort coll]

letters to the editormotor boat patrol

daily colonist jan 28 1916Daily Colonist 28 Jan. 1916

February 1916

15feb1916Christie DSO

Daily Colonist 15 Feb.1916

8 feb 1916 Crease

Daily Colonist 8 Feb. 1916

March 1916

DC24Mar1916Maj. Drake

Daily Colonist 24 March 1916

DC9Mar1916 Rithet

Daily Colonist 9 March 1916

April 1916

Col 9Apr1916Barton

Daily Colonist 9 April 1916

frostbite news

Daily Colonist 16 April 1916

May 1916

Col 5may1916

Daily Colonist 5 May 1916 - J.J. Shallcross and G.A. Kirk were RVYC members

June 1916

Col 25 June 1916 1

Col 25 June 1916 2

Col 25 June 1916 3

July 1916

July Curatorial Page 1

July Curatorial Page 2

Daily Colonist 2 July 1916

Daily Colonist 17 September 1916

Col 17 Sept 1916

Daily Colonist 1 February 1917

JOINS INLAND WATER TRANSPORT

Mr. T. Beauchamp Tye, a native son, and one of Victoria's prominent business men, has joined the Inland Water Transport of the Royal Engineers, and will leave here with the draft tomorrow night for England. Mr. Tye has been with the Hickman Tye Hardware Company for the past twenty-one years, and he is giving up his position as secretary in that concern to offer his services to his country. 

Mr. Tye is another one of the many loyal citizens of Victoria who feels that it is his duty to give his services where they will be of the most value. The Inland Water Transport has opened up an opportunity for many to serve who were not adapted to military service for one reason or another, but sinoe Sergt. W. H. Fry opened his recruiting office for this unit he has been besieged by a great number of Victoria's most prominent citizens who were anxious to do their part. 

If it will serve as an example to influence some of the younger men of the city to join up, it may be mentioned that Mr. Tye is a married man with a family of four, and the fact that he is giving up a good business position should also have its due effect in moving some of those who have much less responsibility to do their bit. 

Mr. Tye has had many years' experience with gasoline engines, having operated a boat of his own here. He is a member of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club and the Victoria Golf Club. He is very well known in the world of sport, taking a keen Interest In all that pertains to out-door life. In cricket and football his attainments as a crack player are well known. Mr. Tye has a host of friends in Victoria who will be sorry to see him leave the city, and he carries with him the best wishes of all for a safe return.