Kenneth E. Weaver
September 15, 1909 - September 2, 1948
On September 2, 1948, Fishery Officer Kenneth E. Weaver was conducting aerial surveillance of the commercial salmon seine fishery in Johnstone Strait, British Columbia, when his plane crashed, killing him and the pilot.
On that fateful day his chartered Bellanca Skyrocket left Alert Bay at 4:16 p.m. At 5 p.m. it passed low over fishing vessels before climbing near Cracroft Island. Rising above the trees it appeared to stall and exploded on impact.
Fifty-six years later on September 26, 2004, Kenneth E. Weaver’s name was engraved on the granite monuments honouring fallen police and peace officers in Ottawa and Victoria.
The Society of Pacific Region Fishery Officers had started a project in 2003 to preserve and showcase the history of the department’s enforcement officers. A letter dated from 1948 was found where officers organised a collection for Shelagh Weaver and her children. The Society’s Historian, Fishery Officer S. Beckmann researched the crash with the help of Officers B. Atagi and S. Greenway.
A 1948 microfiched newspaper article started an investigation that led the officers into BC and National Archives, Immigration, Transportation, Fisheries, Military and RCMP records. The article mentioned that Mrs. Weaver and her three children, including a 7 week old had moved to Duncan. Beckmann began phoning Weavers listed for Duncan and Victoria. None had heard of Kenneth Weaver except one 12 year old boy who exclaimed: “That’s my grandfather”! His mother suggested he speak with his widow who was 93 years of age, living in a Sidney retirement home. Over tea this tragic story was filled in. Following the crash, the Minister sent condolences with a cheque for $90 which was one months’ salary. The native fishermen of Alert Bay collected $400 for her. With money tight, she worked as a maid at Victoria’s Empress Hotel before joining the Provincial Government for 23 years of service. She never remarried.
Supported by her records the applications to both National and BC Memorials were successful.
Shelagh Weaver and her grown children Kerry, Kevin and Kenneth were escorted to the Victoria ceremony by Officer Beckmann. Thirty Fishery Officers marched with 800 police and peace officers to BC’s Legislature.
Kenneth Weaver’s inscribed name was read out along with 97 other fallen officers. The family laid a wreath and roses in remembrance. It was a very special day for the family and the department.