kinahan island

Upon the outbreak of World War II a naval lookout station was constructed on East Kinahan Island, just west of the entrance to Prince Rupert harbour. There a small contingent of sailors kept a watchful eye out for enemy ships and aircraft. In 1946 the federal War Assets division put the entire infrastructure - buildings and wooden roadway - up for disposal through auction. My father was the successful bidder at $100.00. His plan was to use the salvaged material to build a family home for us in New Westminster.

Almost done!

The sailors constructed this ‘jeep’ out of the parts of other vehicles.

This project necessitated us moving to East Kinahan Island for a time in 1946. My father with the help of his cousin Henry Johansen and our neighbour Gunnar Dalgren proceeded to dismantle the entire facility. The recovered materials were then transported by handcart down the wooden roadway to the dock.

At one point due to a spell of bad weather my father had been unable to return to Port Edward in order to replenish our food supply. We were running short of food. My mother, always the mother of invention, for lunch served up a plate of fried Red River Cereal porridge left over from breakfast. Surprisingly tasty.

With our dogs Barney and Freckles sister Carole and I freely roamed about the station discovering many interesting items -signal pennants, engine parts and even the remnants of the fox farm established sometime before the war.

Sitting at the dock of the bay.

For sister Carole and I our time on East Kinahan Island was one great adventure. That is, until the morning when we awoke to the sound of a howling gale outside. We rushed upstairs to the large observation window only to see that our gillnet boat, having broken free from it’s moorings, was being tossed about by the huge waves and slowly drifting away. Dad ran down to the dock and dumped our skiff into water. The skiff’s oars having been washed off the dock he used a short board, a piece of shiplap, as a paddle and began to pursue the disappearing gillnetter.

Our dad and the hand cart that carried all the material down to the dock.

Carole and I are pulling a bucket of fittings down to the dock.

Carole and I clung to our mother, fear stricken, as she began praying aloud. I knew in that moment that she would protect from us from whatever future storms should appear in our lives. We watched as our father, struggling to maintain his balance, slowly gained on our storm tossed gillnetter. What a tremendous sense of relief we felt as we observed him haul himself aboard the boat and saw the first puffs of the engine’s exhaust. He had saved the day with his heroic action.

That winter the two scows of salvaged materials were tied up at our homestead until the following spring. They were then towed into Port Edward and loaded aboard the Alaska Prince for shipment to New Westminster. With the help of his brother Karl and brothers-in-law Clarence and Roy Pekrul my father began the construction of our New Westminster home in 1947.

Dad waiting to load our new home aboard ship.

Our ‘home’ being loaded aboard the Alaska Prince.

The final phase - tearing up the roadway way on our way down.

All the materials here are from Kinahan.

Ever the master of ingenuity, our father powered the table saw with the Briggs and Stratton engine from our boat.

A strongly built structure - 3 layers of shiplap formed the main floor (perhaps for the purpose of sound-proofing the basement).

Young sister Lynda born in New Westminster. The original windows are from Kinahan.

Our mother standing in front of part of her gardening and the stone retaining wall that our father built. Mom and Dad lived in their home for 65 years.

The house today is as you see it here.


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