Maritime Museum of BC

One of the biggest maritime tragedies in World War II is the story of convoy PQ-17 which carried relief supplies to the Russians. In July 1942, this convoy travelling from Iceland to Russia was attacked by German forces. Upon receiving intelligence, the escorts were ordered to withdraw and 22 out of the 33 ships in the convoy were sunk. The merchant sailors didn’t have the capacity to defend themselves and 153 men were killed. Winston Churchill described the incident as "one of the most melancholy naval episodes in the whole of the war."
One survivor of that fateful convoy was Joseph Coleman, father of choreographer Bill Coleman. Joe’s story later became the base for the Requiem for Convoy PQ-17, as conceived by his son Bill together with Victoria composer Christopher Butterfield whose father was also a merchant marine veteran.
The exhibit, “PQ-17: Art of History,” opens at the Maritime Museum of BC on October 18 and will explore the artistic process behind the Requiem for Convoy PQ-17. It is presented as part of the Victoria and the Sea project in partnership with the Victoria Symphony.
In addition to telling the artistic story of the Requiem for Convoy PQ-17, the Maritime Museum of BC will honour merchant sailors who may have connections to PQ-17 as well as other sailors who served in convoys during World War II. The exhibit will give them or their families space to share their personal stories.
“We are hoping to engage with the local veteran community around this exhibit. Although this exhibit will focus on the story of how Bill Coleman and Christopher Butterfield worked together to create this Requiem as a memorial to Bill’s father, Joe, we also want to take this opportunity to honour other veterans who may have been involved with World War II convoys. We hope that merchant marine veterans (or their family members) will contact us with their stories,” said Anissa Paulsen, Director of Exhibits and Visitor Engagement at the Maritime Museum of BC.
If you would like to share your story or the story of someone in your family, please contact Anissa Paulsen, Director of Exhibits and Visitor Engagement at the Maritime Museum of BC by October 4, 2013 by email at

Related Posts

NMMA Canada’s Day on the Hill event hits a new high in 2024


While the Day on the Hill lobby session has been a key activity for NMMA Canada for many years now, I feel that the event hit a new high in the 2024 session in Ottawa on May 27 and 28th.

Lead by Executive Director Marie-France MacKinnon and executed by her team and their public affairs firm, BlueSky Strategy Group, the results were impressive. The NMMA Canada Board of Directors were organized into teams with business interests and special skills matched up to politicians and senior bureaucrats to most effectively present the marine industry’s agenda of issues. 

Read More

Need to Catch up on News This Week?

Every Tuesday we publish a fresh Digest with informative articles pertaining to the Canadian boating and marine industry. Stay up to date with the latest products, research and industry developments.

Missed an Issue of Boating Industry Canada News Week? If you’re looking for a specific issue, or simply want to catch up on previous issues, check out our Boating Industry Canada News Week Archives.

Not signed up for News Week? Subscribe here.

The Hydrobike, a key concept that embodies a vision for the future

DECATHLON, determined to erase the boundary between land and water, introduces its latest forward-thinking concept: the HydroBike. This innovation from the French sports giant aims to democratize access to nature while staying ahead in the transformation of their business model. 

The initial assessment: paddle sports are often inaccessible to less experienced individuals, assuming the acquisition of paddling skills.

Read More

Compass works when electronics don’t

Hubbell-Marine Stainless steel outlet covers

Even in the event of an onboard power failure, a Ritchie Navigation SuperSport Helmsman SS-1002 magnetic compass still works. Plus, when the vessel is moving slowly in fog or while trolling, it can do something a GPS can’t: show the actual heading in real time. As a back-up to modern electronics, it’s a vital navigational tool that belongs on every commercial and recreational boat.

Read More