Second World War whaler has new home at CFB Halifax 

Restoration work on the historic boat was completed by staff at Big Pond Boat Shop in Mahone Bay, NS. From left, Dayna Nelder, Keith Nelder, and Pat Nelder. SUBMITTED.

Second World War whaler has new home at CFB Halifax 

By Trident Staff, 

A newly restored piece of naval history is now on display at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Halifax.  

A Second World War-era Admiralty trawler whaler was delivered to the lobby of Stadacona’s Consolidated Seamanship Training Facility (S120) on April 8, capping off a journey that began nearly three years ago. 

The whaler is thought to be the last of its kind – built for Allied navy use in Flower-class Corvettes during the Battle of the Atlantic. It was previously in the care of the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust in Portsmouth, England, which recommended the boat be moved to Halifax to be close to the last remaining Corvette, HMCS Sackville. 

Its sail across the Atlantic took place in 2021, with HMCS Summerside embarking the boat in Portsmouth after wrapping up NATO exercises in the Baltic Sea, and then handing it over to the Naval Museum of Halifax soon after. 

The historic vessel was in rough shape, however, with heavy deterioration on the starboard side. The Museum relied on Mahone Bay’s Big Pond Boat Shop and the family team of boat builders Pat, Keith and Dayna Nelder to bring the trawler back to life with a fully restored hull and fresh paint job. They were well suited for the work, having built a new whaler from scratch for HMCS Sackville in 2022.  

The Big Pond team took in the boat last fall. With the weather warming up, it was the right time for the recent delivery of the finished project to its new home, said Naval Museum of Halifax Director Jennifer Denty. 

“The boat looks wonderful, and we’re thrilled to be able to now share it with the community,” she added, with additional thanks to the Big Pond Boat Shop, along with members of Naval Fleet School (Atlantic) and others who pitched in to help move the boat inside.

Crews used a crane to hoist the refurbished whaler boat onto a rolling stand before moving it inside the building.