For Posterity's Sake
Canadian Navy Historical Project
Class Tug NORTON W31
Courtesy of Bradley Shoebottom
Click on the above photo to view a larger
Launched: 29 Nov 1943
Entered Service: 20
Removed from service:
07 Dec 1945
Fate: 2018 - Acquired
by the Marathon and District Historical Society to become a museum
ship. Jul 2020: A derelict vessel on a beach at Marathon, ON.
The Norton was launched on 29 Nov 1943 by Mrs. B.S.
(Gwendolyn) Hastings at the Montreal Dry Dock, Montreal, QC. She was sailed
by the builders to Quebec City for completion, then to Halifax for
commissioning. She started service early in 1944 and was active from St.
John's, NFLD to Quebec City, to Yarmouth, NS. Some excerpts from the files
at the LAC: "only tug available to salvage work in Western North
Atlantic", "Arrival Halifax Tug Norton with frigate Lanark in tow
from Liverpool", "HMCS Beaver (armed Yacht) in two from
Halifax", "HMCS Tug Norton towing battle class trawler HMCS
Festubert to Sydney". These entries along with many others showed that
the Norton was busy carrying out military duties during her life as an
active Canadian Naval vessel towards the latter days of WWII, and, not
without risk. In 1946, Norton was declared surplus to requirements and
turned over to the War Assets Corp. She was sold on 22 Mar 1946 to the
Marathon Paper Mills of Canada Ltd., Port Arthur, Ont. She was later sold to
the Gravel and Lakes Services Ltd Co of Thunder Bay, ON. Last heard in 2018,
her certification lapsed a couple years back and is presently not in
service. After being paid off she was renamed W.A.C. 1 and later Penninsula.
On 07 Jul 2018, Penninsula sailed from Thunder Bay, ON to Marathon, ON,
where he new owners, Marathon and District Historical Society will bring her
ashore as a static display as a tribute to the towns logging history.
Update: Jul 2020 - the Town of Marathon, which
earlier this month applied to Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice for an
order that would allow the municipality to dispose of the 140-tonne vessel,
possibly having it dismantled. The large tugboat leaning precipitously to
one side on a Marathon public beach has become a “blight” and a “public
safety hazard” and needs to be removed.
Photos and Documents
trip of the Penninsula (former Norton)
Ch/Skpr Wallace Thomas Myalls, RCNR - 22 Apr 1944 -
Lt John Harold Gordon, RCNR - 28
- May 1945
In memory of those who have crossed the bar
They shall not be
Former Crew Members
Brazil, William Stanislaus, Skpr, RCNR - 05 May 1944
Scott, George Smith, Mate, RCNR - 15 Feb 1944
Short, John Clarence, Cd (E), RCNVR - 01 May 44
HMCS Norton was launched 29 Nov 1943 by
Mrs. B. S. (Gwendolyn) Hastings at the Montreal Dry Dock, Mtl,
Mrs. Hastings, B.S. Hastings, (then Manager of
the Montreal Dry Dock, later President), Elizabeth Hastings (Beswick),
Rev. Dr. McCutchson D.D. of the Montreal First Baptist Church, Mr.
Labelle, President of Montreal Vickers (Mtl. Dry Dock was a
subsidiary of Vickers at the time) and sundry other employees and
Canadian Naval officials.
S.T. Cossey is in the second row, right side,
standing behind the lady in the dark fur coat and to the right of
the navy officer.
Article on the tug Peninsula from the Marathon
Courier, Sep 1948, Vol 4, No. 9
Courtesy of Jim McBride
Silver tray commemorating the commissioning of
Courtesy of Leigh Cossey
Peninsula formerly HMCS Norton will make her final trip on July 7th
sailing from Thunder Bay to Marathon Ont. where the new owners
Marathon and District Historical Society will bring her ashore as a
static display as a tribute to the towns logging history. She now
proudly bears the insignia of her past owner, the Marathon Corp. and
the flag of new owners.
of Leigh Cossey
(1) Tug Peninsula enters Marathon harbour for
the last time July 7, 2018. 7:02 pm. Photo courtesy Ian and Erica Bestwick
(2) (2) Peninsula pulled
ashore waiting to be moved to her display sight. Photo by Stan
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