RMS Tahiti: set a distance record of 5,500 miles with Estevan.


Year

Jack Bowerman

Coast Station Activities

Lofty Harris

 1886

 March 01--Born in Bognor-Regis, England

 

 

 1893

 

 

 November 09--born in Weymouth, Nova Scotia

 1906

 

Pacific Wireless opens their Gonzales Hill (Victoria) Station. Point Grey, Cape Lazo, Gonzales are chosen for Government Coast Station locations.

 

 1907

 British Post Office telegrapher.

 In the summer Estevan and Pachena are confirmed as locations.  Site construcion at Estevan, Lazo, Pachena and Gonzales.

 

 1908

 Seconded to the Hampsire Yeomany Regiment as a telegraphist.

 In early January all the stations, except Lazo, are operational.  Lazo on line later in the year.

 

 1909

 Moves to Victoria.  Accepts position with United Wireless and eventually--

 

 

 1910

 --gets laid off.  Signed on with a halibut schooner for a few months.

Dead Tree Point, Ikeda Head, Triangle Island & Digby Island radio stations are on the air. Operators are now under the authority of the Naval department and have the rank of Warrant Officers. C. P. Edwards becomes a Lt. Commander. Portland Canal area being checked as a wireless link into Stewart B.C.

 

 1911

Joins Government Wireless Service on May 11. Familiarization at Victoria, then posted to Pachena Point for 4 months, then on to Estevan Point.

Probably half dozen vessels fitted with wireless, but the shipping companies are beginning to see the commercial advantages of fitting the equipment. Stations are busy passing commercial and government telegrams up and down the coast.

 

 1912

 Jack transfers to Triangle Island in September.

Estevan Point's gasoline engine is replaced by a diesel to supply power for the new 2 kW transmitter.

 In March Lofty arrives at his first station, Dead Tree.

1913

At Triangle Island

Alert Bay Radio on the air in the spring.

Transfers out to Digby in June

1914

 In the spring Jack transfers to Alert Bay, and later in the year moves to Digby Island.

 

March is on Triangle Island.

1915

At Digby Island (Prince Rupert)

British government requires all their vessels over 3000 tons to be fitted with wireless

In August Lofty moves down to Point Grey.

1916

Jack is 30 years old.and operating at Prince Rupert.

 

 

1917

In the early spring, Jack transfers from Prince Rupert to Eastern Canada for WW1 duties.

 

After two years at Point Grey, Lofty shifts over to Pachena in October for a week or two then is up to Estevan.

1918

This included duties in the Ottawa Workshop.  Some construction and operating at Bird Rocks; at Montreal assisting----

 Pachena Point's traffic has dwindled due to Estevan Point's excellent coverage along the west coast and the Pacific Ocean.

Leaves Estevan in February 1918 and shifts up to the Ikeda Station.

1919

-----with ship inspection duties; eight months on the HMT Oceana; several months at Barrington Passage Wireless. He also spent 3 months at Morley, Alberta installing radios into aircraft.

Triangle Lighthouse shut down but Wireless Station stays. Bull Harbour approved as the new location for Triangle's radio operations.

 

Departs Ikeda in August.

1920

Jack reports to Point Gray in October as Officer in Charge.

Pachena Point radio closed down . Ikeda shuts down at the end of September. Its equipment removed for re-installation at a new station, Bull Harbour.

 

1921

at Point Gray

At the end of June Bull Harbour Radio begins operations. Triangle Island Radio closes down in June.

 

1922

at Point Gray

Pachena Point re-opens as a direction finding station. Estevan transmit power increased to 15 kW with a Navy transmitter.

 

1923

Jack transferred to Estevan Point Radio.

Station in the Merchant's Exchange building in Vancouver installed and operational. Stations begin upgrading from spark to vacuum tube transmitters.

 Lofty is in Bull Harbour. 30 years of age.

1924

at Estevan Point

New site at Merry Island light station. Equipment was low power giving coverage in the Sunshine Coast area.

 

1925

Jack relocated to Vancouver as the Radio Inspector for B.C. (Jack is 39 years old.)

 

 

1930

 

 

Lofty departs Bull Harbour.

1938

December 5th Jack became the District (BC) Superintendent of Radio in Victoria, replacing the retiring E.J.Haughton.

50 operators distributed across the stations.

 

1943

 

 

Lofty leaves operating and becomes an technician installing radio range and beacon stations in BC for the booming air industry.

1946

July 03--Receives Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his work.

Sometime in this era Victoria Radio moves from Gonzales northwards about 10km to the Gordon Head area. Building turned over the the Cubs/Scouts.

 

1951

Retires at 65 years of age.

 

 

1958

 

Pachena Point Radio Station shut down. Estevan relocates to Tofino Airport.

Dead Tree Radio moves to Sandspit, Haida Gwaii, and is housed with the aeradio station at the airport. Call sign is VAH.

 

1967

 

 Victoria Radio moves 30km westward to the community of Sooke, BC. Call sign kept as VAK.

 

1978

 

Tofino Radio moves to Ucluelet and is amalgamated with the Vessel Traffic Radio. Call sign is still VAE.

Low, mediium and high frequency traffic falls off due to the proliferation of satellite telephone/telex communication systems fitted into deep sea vessels. Coastal marine communications is now on VHF.

 

1981

Jack passes away in his 95 year.

 

 

1989

 

 

Lofty passes away at 86.

1990's

 

Victoria Radio (VAK) and Vancouver Radio (VAI) move to Patricia Bay and are amalgamated with Vessel Traffic. All coastal radio traffic is now carried out on very high frequency (VHF) via line of sight distances from mountain top sites scattered along the British Columbia coastal confluence zone. Deep sea vessels handle their own communications via satellites. Ships have a normal telephone number and can be reached by anyone using a home phone.

 

Two of the major photo contributers for this site were Jack Bowerman and Lofty Harris.  In a way their careers were parallel at the beginning but diverged at the end.  Jack going into Inspection and Lofty going into Installation.

    This table gives a time line of their careers and a brief description of some coast station activities.

Time Line