Standing behind the newly mounted Lieutenant Colonel Cyrus ‘Cy’ Wesley Peck memorial is Kathleen Larkin, Deputy Librarian, Mayor Lee Brain, Dave Walker, Royal Canadian Legion, John McNish, Prince Rupert City and Regional Archives, Peter Allen-Reid, Commissionaires Security, Karen Basso, Rotary Club president and Michelle Bryant-Gravelle, president of the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Victoria Cross recipient remembered with stone memorial

Prince Rupert pioneer and veteran Lt. Col. Cyrus Peck given place of honour by the sea

A World War One veteran, Canadian politician and Prince Rupert pioneer will forever be remembered along the waterfront overlooking the Metlakatla Passage.

“I think he’s the greatest hero to come from Prince Rupert,” said historian and Rotarian John McNish on Aug. 31 at the small presentation honouring Lieutenant Colonel Cyrus ‘Cy’ Wesley Peck.

A stone memorial, with an engraved plaque outlining Col. Cy Peck as a “Legendary Canadian Citizen Soldier” has been mounted by the Kwinitsa Station near the Pacific Ocean.

Prince Rupert remembered this historic figure after a request came to the library to find more information about the man. Deputy librarian Kathleen Larkin said they were doing research on Peck and found that it’s customary to recognize a Victoria Cross recipient. She reached out to the Director of B.C. Veterans Commemorative Association and they provided Peck’s plaque.

Larkin learned that “Col. Peck had asked some of his ashes to be spread in Metlakatla Pass because it was one of his favourite places so we placed it [his memorial] so when you read the plaque you’re facing the pass,” she said.

He had died in 1956 of a heart attack after a storied life as a military leader, federal and provincial politician and businessman.

Pioneering for gold in the Klondike brought Peck to the area and in 1903, with his partner Donald M. Moore, they financed and built Cassiar Cannery. Four years later started the Georgetown Sawmill Company, located 27 kilometres north of the city.

His hero status comes from being awarded the Victoria Cross — the highest military honour in the Commonwealth — for bravery in 1918 after serving with the 16th (Canadian Scottish) Battalion overseas.

At 47 years old, he joined the war with Britain and France against Germany. In one of the bloodiest battles of the war — the Battle of the Somme in 1916 — he led his battalion as the first commanding officer of the regiment. Peck’s leadership and courage awarded him the Distinguished Service Order.

He was recognized once again for fighting near Cagnicourt in France along the Drocourt-Quéant Line where he risked his life to determine the enemy position, allowing his battalion, and others, to reorganize and advance.

During his time overseas he was elected as the Member of Parliament for Skeena in British Columbia in 1917, and he is the only MP to have been awarded the cross. He political career continued the Legislative Assembly for B.C. in 1924 and again in 1928. Peck was also an active member in the Chamber of Commerce.

“He really was an outstanding citizen in Prince Rupert,” McNish said, who had coordinated to have Peck’s plaque and memorial stone installed. Contributions for the memorial came from the Prince Rupert Rotary Club, the Prince Rupert Legion, the BC Veterans Commemorative Association, the Commissionaires and the City of Prince Rupert.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The Lieutenant Colonel Cyrus ‘Cy’ Wesley Peck memorial next to Kwinitsa Station. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Lieutenant Colonel Cyrus ‘Cy’ Wesley Peck. (Contributed)

Just Posted

Month-long water quality advisory still in effect for Rupert residents

The City of Prince Rupert recommends those with weakened immune systems boil water prior to use

Jennifer Rice North Coast MLA seeks re-election

Northwest politicians announce intent on elections

Heart of the City – Jason Scherr

Try and Try again - Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby Club

No COVID-19 public exposures in the North Health Region at this time

Northern Health Authority issued a statement on Sept. 17

Tax penalties of 10 per cent to be applied by City if not paid on time

Prince Rupert Property taxes for certain non-residential properties are due by Sept. 30

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read