On the west coast of Vancouver Island, folks from the community around Pachena Point Lighthouse walk east along the Pacific shore to visit the wreck of the Russian freighter Uzbekistan. On April 1, 1943, it was en route from Portland to Seattle to pick up war supplies for the USSR, and went off course due to a sizable navigational error. The Uzbekistan ran aground on a reef near the mouth of the Darling River and had to be abandoned. The area’s rough seas and frequent storms gradually battered the ship to pieces. The deterioration of the hulk was already quite advanced when this film was shot in mid-1944.
The story of the shipwreck is told in the book Stranding of S.S. Uzbekistan, U.S.S.R., on the West Coast of Vancouver Island by Richard E. Wells (Courtenay, B.C.: E.W. Bickle, 1974).
This 8 mm footage was filmed by George F. Lowe (1888-1978), who worked from 1936 to 1951 as a construction foreman on marine radio installations for the Department of Transport. While on his field visits to D.O.T. facilities on the B.C. coast, Lowe filmed the construction of radio masts, buildings, and lighthouses, as well as coastal communities, shipping and other maritime activities. For another post based on footage by Lowe, see Victoria celebrates the Victory in Europe. To see a full list of the films in the George F. Lowe fonds at the RBCM/BC Archives, click here.