Hugh D. Halkett was born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1920 and he spent his childhood fascinated by marine vessels and the ocean. In 1934 his family moved to Vancouver where he spent his weekends exploring the Vancouver waterfront and ships in port. As a teenage he secured a position as Deck boy in the Canadian Pacific BC Coast Service Fleet where he served on the Princess Mary as Quartermaster. In 1941 he took a leave from the Canadian Pacific when he was offered a seaman’s berth on the City of Alberni that was sailing to Australia and Samoa.
In 1941 Hugh returned to Canadian Pacific and attended navigation school and acquired his Mate’s certificate. In April 1944 he was transferred to the Canadian Pacific Ocean Service, serving as Third, and later Second Officer, aboard S.S. Crystal Park, one of the new 10,000-ton replacement cargo ships built in North Vancouver that sailed the North Atlantic in convoys to Britain and to the Mediterranean.
In 1947 Hugh received his Master's papers and, at the age of 26, was thought to be the youngest Captain on the B.C. coast. After the CPR, Hugh worked for the Canadian Hydrographic Service for five years aboard the C.G.S. Parry. He returned to B.C. and took a position as Master with the B.C. Forest Service and later the Columbia Coast Mission aboard the mission ship Columbia. Hugh then worked for the Canadian Coast Guard, studying aboard the C.G.S. Labrador before sailing as Chief Officer on the C.G.S. Camsell on her annual ice breaking and supply voyage to the western Arctic. In 1969 Hugh joined B.C. Ferries where he served as a Master of the Queen of Prince Rupert for 18 years.
Upon his retirement in 1985, Captain Hugh Halkett married, and he and his wife, Alice, made their home in St. Albert, Alberta where Hugh became a Marriage Commissioner. Hugh was a member of both the Company of Master Mariners of Canada and the "Cape Horners". He was very involved with the Canadian Merchant Navy Veterans Association (CMNVA) and worked on behalf of Merchant Navy veterans. Hugh wrote for a variety of publications and he was one of the contributors to Robert G. Halford's book, "The Unknown Navy: Canada's WWII Merchant Navy".
In November 2000 Hugh was diagnosed with bone cancer and he passed away on December 6th, 2000.
Fonds consists of records relating to maritime career of Captain Hugh D. Halkett. Records include personal papers, birth certificate and membership cards for various associations; maritime certificates; testimonials and references for Halkett's shipboard character; logbooks and journals from voyages; newspaper and journal articles written by Halkett; and photographs of various vessels that Halkett sailed on.
Records arranged by archivist. Photographs were previously arranged into envelopes (by vessel) by donor.