Just five days before the end of World War I, Private James Peter Robertson, who had joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force two years earlier, was killed in battle, valiantly rescuing two of his fellow wounded soldiers.
For his act of bravery, Private Robertson was awarded the Victoria Cross, one of less than 100 to have received the honour.
On Monday, in a ceremony attended by the fallen soldier’s grand-niece, the first of a Hero-Class Mid-Shore Patrol Vessel, the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Private Robertson V.C., was officially dedicated in Sarnia’s federal harbour.
A book of memories, assembled by Private Robertson’s family, will hold a place of honour on the new ship.
Lynne Tebay, the grand-niece of Private Robertson, served as the ship’s sponsor, breaking a bottle of Ontario sparkling wine over the bow of the ship.
Keith Ashfield, Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, attended the ceremony, as did Sarnia-Lambton Member of Parliament Pat Davidson and Superintendent Jamie Jagoe, commander of the RCMP’s southwest division. Also attending were representatives from Sarnia Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police.
The RCMP, acting as the national police force, works with the Coast Guard through the joint Maritime Security Enforcement Teams program.
The 43-metre Private Robertson V.C. was built in Halifax. It has a top speed of 25 knots and can patrol continuously for two weeks before the need to refuel and will patrol the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River as part of ongoing duties.