A veritable maritime treasure sits at the Campbell River government dock – a lovely ship now called the Noble Lady that has plied the British Columbia coast since 1942. Although it was once left to languish in the mid 1960s, various owners, including the present ones John and Karen Boyd, felt a certain connection with her and saw her potential as a live aboard cruising vessel. It was quite unlike a leisure craft when first built for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in 1941 at the Star Shipyards in New Westminster. It was one of 14 so called ‘little ships’ at 112 feet in length and 18 feet wide, that were assembled and finished on the west coast and designed by the British Fairmile Company and since known as a ‘Fairmile’. The RCN gave her a numerical name – Q070 preceded by HMC and ML for Motor Launch. Her role was to patrol the British Columbia coast at a time when it was perceived that there might be attacks from the Japanese. She spent time in Esquimalt and at Yorke Island. At right is a picture of her in her wartime garb.
Marc-Andre Morin has created a very informative website devoted to the story of the Fairmiles: http://www.rcnfairmiles.com
The fascinating history of the Noble Lady might have been lost if it weren’t for Jim and Betty Lou Hunt, who bought her in 1993 and got her up and running after she hadn’t moved under her own power for 21 years. They diligently traced her story from the war years to the time they bought her through various owners; finding pictures and as much information as possible about the uses she was put to.
The full story will be published in the June 2015 issue of the Western Mariner Magazine, along with photos from the Hunt collection, now in the keeping of John and Karen Boyd.