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Logging British Columbia in the 1940’s

  • Comments: 3
  • Posted on: April 6th, 2010

Pop and his brother Robin were working at the Newcombe logging camp in the early 1940’s, before World War II. The camp was in Salmon Inlet which is an arm of Sechelt Inlet, east of the Skookumchuck Rapids. Pop remembers quite a few of the names of the owner’s family. Tim, Gene and Charlie, the three Newcombe brothers owned the camp and a cousin, Buster Newcombe worked for them. Tim was married, with a daughter named Babs.

Robin was ‘going with’ Babs and was considered as a prospective son-in-law according to Pop. Tim loaned his 30 foot boat to Robin to go out through the Skookumchuck to the stores in Egmont, and Pop and a man named Bud went along for the day trip.


They tied the boat to the boomsticks and went to the floating store. Bud was looking for a new set of work clothes but the store didn’t have what he wanted so he jumped in the water and swam ashore to go to the other store. There were
big gaps between the boomsticks – as you can see in the photo above. The boomsticks were held in place with boomchains. This allowed boats to pass to the inside of the float. Bud found and bought the clothing he wanted and then had to swim back to the boat with the bag of clothing held above his head. Life was a little more difficult 70 years ago!

It was evening when the three loggers headed back toward Salmon Arm where they were working. They went through the Skookumchuck and were in Sechelt Inlet when Pop heard a moan coming from the engine room and the engine stalled. Bud was sleeping on the bunk beside the engine and either rolled over, or the boat rolled in a swell and he fell off the bunk and rolled next to the motor. His clothing caught in the set screws in the shaft drive and his body and clothing were bound up very tightly – in seconds.

Pop quickly ran down to see what was going on. Robin who was running the boat went to see as well and when he realized what happened he started the engine to put it in reverse to try to unwind Bud. Unfortunately, even though it sounds logical, it didn’t work and Bud was bound even tighter, with the drive shaft ripping parts of his clothing from his body.

Pop and Robin had to cut Bud’s new pants right off him to free him from this deathly grip. If Bud hadn’t bought the new clothes he wouldn’t have survived. His new clothing saved his life as it was strong material and still stiff, as brand new clothing used to be.

Bud was severely bruised on his entire lower body and couldn’t work for a week, but he lived to tell the tale.

Tim Newcombe, the owner of the boat, made a cover for the set screws when the three men told him of this terrifying accident.

3 Comments! What do you think? Leave a comment below...
  1. Duane Burnett said on April 6th, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    RT @HeatherinBC: Logging Sunshine Coast BC in the 1940's
    http://bit.ly/9oQyDd

    Reply
  2. Heather in BC said on April 7th, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Thanks @DuaneBurnett: for the tweet! Logging Sunshine Coast BC in the 1940's http://bit.ly/9oQyDd

    Reply
  3. devon johnson said on April 7th, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Heather in BC… & Beyond! » Logging British Columbia in the 1940's http://goo.gl/fb/nOLzL

    Reply
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