Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 54 > Page 12 - "Cap" Cowley - A Salvage Tug Captain

Page 12 - "Cap" Cowley - A Salvage Tug Captain

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/6/1 (367 reads)

THE CANADIAN COAST GUARD COLLEGE CELEBRATES 25TH ANNIVERSARY The College is a unique institution. It is the only facility in Canada dedicated to training officers for the Canadian Coast Guard; and as a consequence it has developed parallel programs in both official languages to produce highly qualified navigation and marine engineering officers. When it accepted its first group of eager young officer cadets in September, 1965 the College was located in several temporaiy World War n buildings which had been part of the Point Edward Naval Base, near Sydney, N.S. Today the College which is located in Westmount, Cape Breton, is housed in new facilities built during the eighties at a cost of $60 million. It is now one of the most modem and well equipped marine training institutions in the world. The Coast Guard College has planned a number of events throughout 1990 to celebrate twenty-five years in Cape Bret(??i, including a Coast Guard hockey tournament, a major sailing race, a special Cabot TraU run and an all-graduate reunion in July. A fireworks display on July 9th will herald official ceremonies on July 10th. Tours of the College and Open Houses will also be held to enable Cape Bretoners to visit and get to know this unique College. To dale the College has graduated 747 ships officers of which one hundred and three are Nova Scotians with forty of these coming from Cape Breton. LE COLLEGE DE LA GARDE c6tIERE CANADIENNE CELEBRE SON VINGT-CINQUIEME ANNIVERSAIRE Le College est une institution sp6ciale k bioi des ??gards. En tant que seul endroit consacrg i la formation d'officiers pour la Garde cotifere canadienne, il s'est dot6 de programmes paralleles dans les deux langues officielles pour former des officiers qualifies en navigation et en mdcanique Quand il a ouvert ses portes en septembre 1965 a un premier contingent de jeunes Sieves officiers enthousiastes, le CoU≥ occupait plusieurs batiments temporaires datant de la Deuxieme Guerre mondiale, a la base maritime de Point Edward, non loin de Sydney. Maintenant demenage a Westmount, toujours au Cap-Breton, il est 6ubli dans de nouveaux edifices construits pendant la demiere d??cennie au cofit de 60 millions. On peut affirmer qu'il s'agit de I'un des instituts de marine les plus modemes et les mieux equips au monde. Afin de mettre en Evidence les nombreuses realisaticms du College, des activit6s sont pr6vues tout au long de I'annfie du 25' Anniversaire, notamment un toumoi de hodcey pour las Garde c6tifere, une important course de voiliers, une course sur la Piste Cabot et une s6rie de conferences. Du 8 au 11 juiUet, tous les anciens diplomes sont convi6s au College. Pendant les vingt-cinq annfies d'histoire du College, la flotte de la Garde cotiere canadienne a re9u 747 diplomes. Cent trois de ces diplomes viennent de la Nouvelle-6cosse dont quarante sont du Cap-Breton. See, the Dutchmen trained them in tugs. They take them as young kids and put them in tugs. That company does. And they're with that company their whole lives. They do nothing else but train them for that kind of work. And that's why they're tops today. They've got some beautiful ships now. They've just finished building a new one now that's a 20,000-horsepower tug. Just imagine. That one over here was the largest that was (used) in Canada, and that was 5,000. (That's the Josephine?) Yeah. That's another thing that you don't quite probably understand. The Josephine was HMS Samsonia. After my ship was torpedoed--she was torpedoed exactly 6 months from the day I commissioned her in Hull. And I ar? rived as a survivor in England, in Ports? mouth- -that ' s where they landed me. So, I was entitled to two weeks survivors' leave. But, I didn't want it. So I called up my boss in London. He said, "Cowley, I can't give you (another tug) right away. But I'll tell you what--you can come up to London and be my assistant." And London was a hell of a place in those days. That's when all the buzz bombs were coming--the worst time for the buzz bombs! And then the V-l's started as well, on top of the buzz bombs. After I'd been there 2 or 3 days, I think the old boy got kind of fed up with the buzz bombs. He said, "Cow? ley, I'm leaving you in charge and I'm taking off for a few days...." So I went to the office the next day. And a captain of a tug came in. And it was the captain of one of our nicest, latest, big tugs.... He said, "I'can't go on--the strain's too much on her." He said, "I've got to have a relief. Can you arrange one?" I said, "No. There's nobody available. Only myself. And I can't leave the office." Then I thought, "Jeepers." I sat down and I made out an official Admiralty signal appointing myself in command of the HMS Samsonia--that was the name of the ship! I think it's the first time it's ever been done--appointing myself.... So I went down and I joined the ship, and the next day I sailed. (You made yourself the captain of the Samsonia.) Yeah. Went on the Samsonia. If it hadn't been for that, I wouldn't be here today. Because that was the ship that was chosen by the Foundation Company, and eventually became the Foundation Jose? phine. So that's how it happened. I had command of her for about two years, I sup? pose, in the Navy. And then a signal came I had to take her up to Glasgow for a re? fit, and to be transferred over to the Foundation Company with their colours painted on it. All the guns had to be re? moved- -big, big job. }
Cape Breton's Magazine
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