Veteran pushes Esquimalt for memorial

Merchant Navy remembrance project slowly working through channels

A merchant navy veteran is not giving up on his mission to create the Island’s first Battle of the Atlantic memorial in Esquimalt.

Bill Emberly, who presented his case to the township’s heritage advisory committee again last week, said the memorial is long overdue.

“I feel pretty sure (the committee) will go for it. There’s a lot of people there who are sympathetic, but they’re worried about money,” he said.

Emberly spent six years making the harrowing three-week crossings from Canada to the United Kingdom, the longest single battle of the Second World War.

“Any time you get an opportunity to more formally and officially create a memorial to recognize (people), it’s a good thing to do,” said Coun. Dave Hodgins, a council liaison on the heritage advisory committee.

“The issue that I did hear was where it should be.”

Approximately 1,600 Canadian merchant seamen lost their lives providing crucial supplies to Europe during the

Second World War, but they faced discrimination for more than a half-century from the Canadian government.

“We fought like the devil for 25 years just to get recognition and it was 63 years before they gave me a pension,” Emberly said.

It was only in 2000 that then federal veterans affairs minister George Baker made merchant mariners eligible to receive benefits and pensions, and only in 2003 did Canada formally designate Sept. 3 as Merchant Navy Veterans Day.

Hodgins said the committee will speak with Esquimalt parks and recreation about the placement of the memorial, and will look at any existing regulations before moving forward.

Emberly said the delay is frustrating, but expected.

“That’s normal for me, I’ve been going through that for 67 years,” he said.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Check out the bells and whistles added to Westhills Stadium

Rick Stiebel/News Staff Clusters of tradespeople buzzing around busy with last-minute preparations… Continue reading

‘Listen to your body:’ Saanich woman fights to have breast implants removed

Woman struggles to find doctor to remove Allergan textured implants, recently linked to rare cancer

Police find shoes, backpack of the man found dead in Saanich

Officers credit public’s help, continue to seek information

Saanich approves new eight- and 11-storey residence buildings for UVic

Residents also supported the environmentally friendly residences

Ravens Crossing breaks ground on happy Hygge cohousing project

Speeches, music and a blessing as 80 people attend start of Danish-style development

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Most Read