AFFAIRES MARITIMES . org
POGO was obtained from the Canadian War Museum in 2005 and is the oldest functioning ex-Canadian Navy motor boat in its original configuration. This 36-ft hydrographic sounding craft was completed in 1954 and accompanied HMCS Labrador (the first and last Canadian Navy ice-breaker) on its voyages to explore the Arctic and assert Canadian sovereignty. POGO’s all-welded aluminum construction was a first for the Canadian Navy.
HMCS Labrador was Canada’s first Arctic patrol vessel to maintain a Canadian presence in the North. To assist her work she was provided with a 36-foot auxiliary craft known as the Pogo. Named after the popular comic strip character, the Pogo’s role was to travel independently from the Labrador and, with the assistance of her hydrographic survey equipment, chart the Arctic waters.
Pogo's all-welded aluminum construction was an essential weight-saving measure to allow being carried on davits aboard Labrador. Her 430 nautical mile cruising range gave her a substantial independent reach from the mother ship.
Pogo accompanied HMCS Labrador on each of her four (4) voyages to the Arctic between 1954 and 1958. As the Labrador‘s trailblazer, she was the first RCN vessel to enter the uncharted waters of the Canadian Arctic. The charts produced from her sorties opened the Arctic to the large merchant ships needed to supply the building of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line at the time of the Cold War.
Pogo‘s career in the service of Canada’s armed forces far outlived that of the Labrador which was paid off in 1958. For her part, Pogo was put to various uses (harbor launch, diving boat, safety boat, reservist training vessel) until an unfortunate accident put an end to her career in 1995. She was transferred from the Department of National Defense to the Canadian War Museum in the summer of 1995.
In 2005, Pogo was transferred to the Outaouais Branch of the Navy League of Canada, where a dedicated group of volunteers has been working at refitting her for active duty in the service of Sea cadets and other youth and community organisations.
At the age of 26, Mr. Fernberg left Finland and began working as a maritime engineer with Marine Industries Inc. It was his first job in Canada and was there for two and a half years. During his time there, he was the designer of HMCS Labrador's auxiliary boats which included the Pogo and two landing craft. It is his dream to have all three of these auxilary boats together with us.
The hull design of these auxiliary craft is a hybrid of a type of design which is unique to Finland, modified by him to suit the needs of the conditions of northern Canada.
Since 2004, Mr. Fernberg has been an honoured member of our comittee. We are lucky that he lives in our region and is able to participate in our meetings and activities from time to time.