Unlocking North Vancouver History

A Riveted Community: North Vancouver’s Wartime Shipbuilding

Wallace Shipbuilder Cover

During the war, Burrard Dry Dock Company produced a company newsletter, the Wallace Shipbuilder, to educate its workers about the industry, foster a sense of teamwork and boost community morale. Started in July 1942, it was published monthly until September 1945. One of its major functions was to explain the intricacies of shipbuilding to a predominantly unsophisticated work force performing repetitive, assembly-line tasks. Three staffers produced the brightly written and graphically attractive newsletter. Typical articles reported on the success of company sporting teams and promoted safety and contributions to the war effort. Sometimes workers were moved to contribute poetry, such as north-yard plater Cecil Perkins, who submitted a many-stanzaed ode to a ship launch in August 1945: “The Hull lay poised on her cradle, / Her skids had their greasy coat; / They’d given her a name to bear to fame, / And murmured a prayer for God to spare, / And keep her safely afloat.”

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WHAT
A cover from the Burrard Dry Dock’s popular company newsletter, the Wallace Shipbuilder. The publication has become a very useful record of wartime activities for historians.

WHERE
The newsletter was put together in the magazine shop, in the Burrard Dry Dock’s north yard.

WHEN
This was the May 1943 issue. The photo shows a ship taking shape in the building berth and an almost finished North Sands vessel on the Pier 4.

WHO
Newsletter staff included pipefitter/photographer Mr. Jack Cash, editor Miss Dorothy Bell and assistant editor Mrs. Joan Greenwood.

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