A pictorial essay of the R.M.S. Nascopie, one of the most celebrated ships of the Hudson's Bay Company, graces the pages of the September 1938 Beaver. The ship was named after First Nations people of Quebec and Labrador. It operated from 1911 to 1947, except for the early 1930s, when it was docked in Scotland for refitting during three winters and two summers.
The photos clearly evoke the sensation of the swaying of the mast while the ship's carpenter erects a windmill, and the cold blast from the icy waters of the Hudson Strait. With pictures of tourists, fur traders, and bishops, Anderson's images realistically document this period of the Nascopie's sailing life.
Besides serving as a passenger, cargo, and mail ship, the Nascopie's varied career saw it working as a supply ship during WWI, when it exchanged gunfire on a voyage from Russia to Newfoundland with a German submarine; transporting reindeer to Baffin Island in the early 1920s; and taking Patrick Ashley Cooper and his wife as far as Churchill in 1934 — marking the first time a governor of HBC ever visited Hudson Bay. In 1937, the Nascopie made another historic trip, sailing from the East to Prince Regent Inlet meeting with the schooner Aklavik, which had sailed from the West into Bellot Strait. At this point of their rendezvous the Hbc established Fort Ross — and the Northwest Passage became a reality. In the 1940s the ship was put in to war service once again.
How fortunate for us that J.W. Anderson had his camera at ready, as sadly, the Nascopie met its demise when it struck an uncharted reef near Cape Dorset Harbour in 1947.