RVYC WW 1 Roll of Honour
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.
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.
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
Roll of Honour Biographies
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.
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.
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.
Former commodore John Arbuthnot raised money for the cause by donating his boat Tannis as a prize in a lottery. [Rochfort coll]
Daily Colonist 28 Jan. 1916
Daily Colonist 15 Feb.1916
Daily Colonist 8 Feb. 1916
Daily Colonist 24 March 1916
Daily Colonist 9 March 1916
Daily Colonist 9 April 1916
Daily Colonist 16 April 1916
Daily Colonist 5 May 1916 - J.J. Shallcross and G.A. Kirk were RVYC members
Daily Colonist 2 July 1916
Daily Colonist 17 September 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.
An article in the 24 June 1917 Daily Colonist illustrates the generosity of club member W. Fitzherbert Bullen. Bullen was a local shipbuilder (BC Marine Railway Co.) and club member from 1896 to 1917. “I’ll Away” was a 37 ft. yacht built with no regard to cost.
The caption for the photo of “I’ll Away” reads:
The drawing for this palatial yacht, the “I’ll Away”, donated by Mr. And Mrs. Fitzherbert Bullen, will take place during the performance of “The Caliph of Baghdad” at the Royal Victoria Theatre on Thursday evening July 5. The vessel has been valued at $4000. A cash offer was made for it of $2,700. Tickets are selling rapidly and those anxious to take a chance and help along the work of the Red Cross are urged to purchase their tickets before they are all gone.(The complete article is at http://archive.org/stream/dailycolonist59y169uvic#page/n9/mode/1up )
On 6 July 1917 it was reported that Mr. Ian Alcock, First Officer of the government steamer “Gabriola” had won the raffle for the “I’ll Away”. The raffle raised $6800 for the Red Cross.