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WORLD WAR I were extremely important in the trenches because supplies were always scarce, and a package from home reminded soldiers that they still had a home to return to. Local institutions like Essondale Hospital continued to support the men they had sent and kept the community informed of battle experiences.

Submarine At Ioco 1915

BRITISH COLUMBIA’S NAVY: A reminder of a war many thousands of miles away. When most people think of the Coquitlam area, they do not think of submarines; yet, in 1914, there was a submarine docked at Ioco. This was one of two subs called “C 1” and “C2”. Their job was to guard troop ships moving in and out of British Columbia’s waters. They had been purchased in Seattle by BC’s premier Richard McBride, for one and a half million dollars - a huge sum at that time. McBride

was worried that a German squadron of war ships cruising in the Pacific might attack BC’s largely undefended coastline, so he acted on his own and bought the subs. As Margaret Ormsby says, in her British Columbia: A History, “For three days”, until the Dominion of Canada and the British Admiralty took command of the subs, “British Columbia had its private navy…”

THE MEANING OF THE WAR 6,225 British Columbians died in World War I. The last Canadian to experience the war, John Babcock, died on February 18, 2010, at the age of 109. His eyes were the last to see that war first-hand. It is now more important than ever for living generations to remember the war and talk about its importance.

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