Deserters Island

Feature Type:Island - Land area surrounded by water or marsh.
Status:
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Off NE end of Vancouver Island, NW of Port Hardy, Range 1 Coast Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 50°52'34''N, 127°28'10''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 92L/14

Origin Notes and History:

Adopted 6 April 1950 on 92/NW, as labelled on British Admiralty Chart 582, published in 1871 from surveys in 1860, and as labelled on BC map 2C, 1919 et seq, and as identified in the 1930 BC Gazetteer.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

After hearing of gold in the Cariboo, eight men deserted from the crew of a freighter anchored in Suquash Harbour. They were later located and killed on Deserters Island by Indians, who had been hired by the ship's captain to return them to the vessel, but who had mis-interpreted his offer of a specified amount of money 'per head'. (Vivienne Chadwick, "How the Deserters Got Their Name", Victoria Colonist magazine 13 May 1962, p.2).

Source: Provincial Archives of BC "Place Names File" compiled 1945-1950 by A.G. Harvey from various sources, with subsequent additions

A different story told by B.A. McKelvie: [Governor] Blanshard is said to have "reported to London a baseless tale to the effect that the [Hudson's Bay] Company's representatives at Fort Rupert had instigated the murders there by offering a dead-or-alive reward for the apprehension of the deserters." (Tales of Conflict, Chapter 9: Fort Rupert Murders, pp 40-44, by B.A. McKelvie, published by the Vancouver Daily Province, 1949).

Source: Provincial Archives of BC "Place Names File" compiled 1945-1950 by A.G. Harvey from various sources, with subsequent additions

"deserters" include Jas. Wishart, A. Willoughby.

Source: Canadian Geographical Names Database, Ottawa