Statement Article from  National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces

Statement from the Minister of National Defence

January 21, 2016

OTTAWA — The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement on the passing of naval hero Lieutenant Commander (ret’d) Margaret Brooke, MBE, PhD:

“The Government of Canada wishes to extend its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Lieutenant-Commander (ret’d) Margaret Brooke, a true Canadian hero who passed away peacefully on January 9, 2016, at the age of 100, surrounded by loved ones in Victoria, British Columbia.

“The story of Margaret Brooke is one of courage and self-sacrifice. As a young Nursing Sister in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) during the Second World War, then-Sub-Lieutenant Brooke was on the ferry SS Caribou on October 14, 1942 when it was attacked by German submarine U-69. The ferry sank in just five minutes. LCdr Brooke fought valiantly to save her friend and colleague, Nursing Sister Sub-Lieutenant Agnes Wilkie, by holding on to her while clinging to ropes on a capsized lifeboat. Tragically, Agnes Wilkie succumbed to the frigid water. LCdr Brooke was named a Member (Military Divison) of the Order of the British Empire for her heroism and remained an officer in the RCN for 20 years, retiring in 1962 and going on to a successful civilian career in academia.

“In April of 2015, the Government of Canada announced that the courage of Margaret Brooke was to be marked in a very significant way – one of Canada’s upcoming Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships would be named Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Margaret Brooke in her honour. This was a unique opportunity to name a naval vessel after a living Canadian woman for the first time ever, and members of the RCN had the privilege of visiting her on the occasion of her 100th birthday to commemorate the news, and to thank LCdr Brooke in person for her inspirational service to Canada.”

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Jordan Owens
Press Secretary to the Minister of National Defence
(613) 996-3100

Media inquiries

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-2353
Toll-Free: 1-866-377-0811

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