WWII naval hero dies at age 100

The Royal Canadian Navy honoured a World War II naval hero Lieutenant-Commander (retd) Margaret Brooke who passed away early this month.

Brooke died peacefully on January 9 at the age pf 100 surrounded by her loved ones in Victoria, B.C. according to the navy.

In April last year, the navy also announced that one of Canada’s new arctic offshore patrol ships was named after her. This would be the first time that the navy named one of its vessels after a living Canadian woman.

“LCdr. Brooke was a true Canadian naval hero,” Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, said in a statement yesterday.

Brooke was a Royal Canadian Navy Nursing Sister during the Second World War.

Then Sub-Lieutenant Brooke was named a Member (Military Division) of the Order of the British Empire for her valiant actions following the torpedoing and subsequent sinking of the ferry SS Caribou on October 14, 1942, in the Cabot Strait off Newfoundland.

She attempted to save the life of her colleague and friend, Nursing Sister Sub-Lieutenant Agnes Wilkie, by holding on to her with one arm, while clinging to ropes on a capsized lifeboat.

Despite Brooke’s heroic efforts, her friend succumbed to the frigid water.

Brooke continued to serve in the RCN until her retirement in 1962, at which point she went on to a successful civilian career in academia, achieving her PhD in paleontology.

“The Royal Canadian Navy was extremely pleased to acknowledge Margaret Brooke’s great legacy with the announcement in April 2015 that one of the upcoming Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships would be named Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Margaret Brooke in her honour,” said Norman.

He said members of the navy visited Brooke and her family at the time of the announcement, which was also on the occasion of her 100th birthday.

Author: Nestor Arellano

Nestor Arellano is editor of Vanguard Magazine. Nestor is a seasoned journalist who has written extensively on defence and military industry issues as well as technology and business developments. He is also associate editor of Vanguard's sister publication, IT in Canada.

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