The History of the Kamloops

Kamloops (Official Number 147682): The Kamloops was built in 1924 at Middlesbro, England by the Furness Shipbuilding Company for the Canada Steamship Lines.  Small for the era, the Kamloops was a scant 250 feet in length, 43 feet in beam with a 14 foot draft.  The Kamloops was built to the maximum dimensions of a ship intended to pass through the Welland Canal in 1926.  This type of ship was called a canaller and the Kamloops was intended to carry package freight between Montreal to Fort William.  Kamloops was powered by a triple expansion steam engine with cylinder diameters of 18, 30, and 50 inches, supplied by two Scotch boilers at a working pressure of 185 psi.  This propelled the single screw Kamloops at a nominal speed of 9.5 knots.  The unique construction feature that sets the Kamloops apart from the bulk carriers sunk at Isle Royale are the four tall Sampson or king posts.    Each Sampson post was rigged with a 5-ton derrick used to load and unload the package freight.  Near the derricks are the steam cargo winches used to operate the derricks.

The Kamloops was delivered to Montreal in September 1924 where it started its normal route hauling package freight from Montreal to Fort William and grain on the return trip.  Its owners regularly pushed its operation well into December and the Kamloops ended her season trapped in ice in the St. Mary's river twice in its short career.  It was a December storm in 1927 that ended the Kamloops' career along with the lives of all of her crew.  She was hauling a load of paper mill machinery, pipe, shoes, and tar paper with a deck load of fencing materials.  The Kamloops was up bound for Fort William as it passed through the Soo on December 4.   It was accompanied by the steamer Quedoc and was following one-quarter of a mile astern.

(The Newer Namesake) Quedoc retired in Thunder Bay

Both were making slow headway in a heavy north gale in fog and sub-freezing temperatures.   On the night of December 6, the captain of the Quedoc suddenly saw a dark mass loom up before them and turned to avoid it while sounding a danger signal to the Kamloops.  Due to the poor visibility, it was never known if the Kamloops heard the signal and made the turn.  The Quedoc made it to Fort William, but the Kamloops would never arrive.

The fierce storm continued, stranding ships in different parts of the lake and rumors of the Kamloops being spotted at each of these locations kept hope alive that she would be found.  By December 12 all ships had been accounted for except the Kamloops, and the search started in earnest.  Search efforts continued sporadically until December 26 when fading hopes were finally lost to winter weather.

In the spring the fishermen of Isle Royale discovered the remains of some of the crew and parts of the ship near Kamloops point.   The Kamloops has been described as one of the Ghost Ships of the Great Lakes -- lost with all hands and few or no traces.    It was discovered 50 years later in 1977, in almost perfect condition, but what caused it to sink is still a mystery.

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