The Canadian Peacetime Sailors’ Memorial, also known as the Bonaventure Anchor Memorial, is “dedicated to the men and women who died while serving with the (Royal) Canadian Navy during peacetime.” It stands on the shore at Point Pleasant Park in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the principal naval base of the RCN is located. The site previously served as the location of a searchlight battery that formed part of the harbour’s Second World War harbour defences.
The monument was dedicated in 1973 by Rear Admiral Robert Walter Timbrell, CMM, DSC, CD, then Commander of Maritime Command. It consists of an anchor and chain from HMCS Bonaventure, the Royal Canadian Navy’s last aircraft carrier, in commission from 1957 to 1970 (and commanded by RAdm (then Captain) Timbrell between 1963 and 1965). The anchor is mounted on a concrete base with bronze plaques displaying the sailors’ names.
The anchor itself is a stockless pattern, made by W.L. Byers and Co. Ltd. of Sunderland in North East England, serial number 6299W. It stands 12 feet (3.6 metres) tall and weighs approximately 9 tons (8,300 kilograms). Each link of the anchor chain (which trails off into the sea) measures 16 inches long by 9 1/2 wide. It was the port anchor of the Majestic-class aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure, built by Harland & Wolff Ltd. in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and launched in February 1945. The ship was originally intended for Britain’s Royal Navy but was acquired by the RCN in 1952 and commissioned in 1957. The initial air group was made up of sixteen McDonnell F2H Banshee jet fighters and eight Grumman CS2F Tracker anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft, to carry out the ship’s role as the centrepiece of an RCN ASW hunter-killer group during the Cold War. Bonaventure’s starboard anchor is displayed at Royal Military College Saint-Jean, about 40 km south of Montreal.
The monument contains the names of 85 servicemen, the earliest of whom died in 1950 and the most recent in 1985. Among them are the names of nine members of HMCS Kootenay who died during an explosion in the ship in 1969 in the English Channel.
In early 2018, due to deterioration of the monument from its exposure to the North Atlantic, CFB Halifax and Halifax Regional Municipality joined forces -- with the support of veterans and military support organizations -- to carry out repairs. Undertaken primarily by Royal Canadian Air Force Reservists from 144 and 143 Construction Engineering Flight in Pictou and Bridgewater, restoration work included rebuilding the support structure, remounting the anchor, welding and securing the ship’s cable, and firming up the seaward side of the monument’s base to prevent further erosion.