Russian Submarines: In Vancouver?
I’m reasonably sure very few residents of Vancouver are aware of the following: in 1914, during World War I, submarines destined for Russia were assembled right here in Vancouver. It was a top secret project.
The famous James Paterson formed “The British Pacific Construction and Engineering Company” and rented 250 meters of waterfront property at Barnet to begin the assembly of 5 Russian submarines.
The property was enormous, protected by tall wire fences and patrolled constantly. On that site 460 men worked in crews, 24 hours a day. The Canadian government was not informed of the plans. The contract called for construction of 5 steel hulls. The American Electric Boat Company delivered all the necessary materials by rail . The submarines were 46 meters long and 5 meters wide. Each had 300 horse power electric motors.
By March 1916, all 5 hulls and engine parts had been constructed. The parts were dismantled and shipped in crates to Vladivostok City, Russia. The mysterious construction site at Barnet was dismantled and the crews quietly walked off the site and into British Columbia history.