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NRG LIFE MEMBER John H. Harland passed away on May 11 at age 95.  John was a frequent contributor to the Journal and author of five books.  Over the years John was always willing to assist us when we needed to get questions answered that needed an expert.  He was always willing and able to help.  When the Board bestowed Life Membership to John he was very honored and emotional in his thanks to the NRG and said he wished he had been able to do more for us and the hobby.
The following is the family's announcement.
HARLAND, John Harford
May 8, 1923 - May 11, 2018


John developed an intense interest in ships and sailors at an early age; and enjoyed visiting the Belfast docklands as a boy and making ship models.
He enrolled as a medical student at Queen's University in Belfast in 1940, but after two years of medical school, volunteered to join the Royal Navy in December 1942. After a time at sea on a coal burning minesweeper he was promoted Sub-Lieutenant and served on Motor Launches in West Africa and in South Africa where he sailed motor fishing vessels from Capetown to Durban and served at the Naval Air Station in Capetown.  Leaving the Navy as a Lieutenant he returned to university and graduated as a doctor in December 1949.  He married Janet Morrison just after graduation, and they immigrated to Kamloops, BC in February 1951 where he worked as a family physician.  He trained for his Fellowship in Anesthesiology at Vancouver and Duke University in North Carolina.  Joining Underhill Clinic in Kelowna in 1960 as a general practitioner and working as an anesthesiologist at the Kelowna General Hospital, John retired in 1986.
During naval service he developed a special interest in sailing warships and steam whale catchers, which later resulted in book research and publication. John authored five books on maritime history:
Seamanship in the Age of Sail with Mark Myers (1984) Catchers and Corvettes: The Steam Whale Catcher in Peace And War 1860-1960 (with John McKay 1992) The Flower Class Corvette HMCS Agassiz with John McKay (1993) Ships And Seamanship: The Maritime Prints of JJ Baugean (2000) Capstans And Windlasses: An Illustrated History of their use at Sea (2003).
Translating Peter Kirsch's Fireship: The Terror Weapon of the Age of Sail (2009) from German to English and contributing many articles to nautical journals.
Always a prolific reader; in the course of fieldwork he became familiar with several foreign languages reading German and speaking French and Norwegian.
On April 10, 2017 John was presented with the SS Beaver Award by the Victoria-based Maritime Museum of BC, he was recognized for his internationally respected maritime publications that feature advanced knowledge about sailing ship technology.
John has donated his entire library of books to the Naval Marine Archive Canadian Collection in Picton, Ontario.
Janet and John were happily married for 68 years. Janet and John traveled much of Europe and Greece from 1970-1990 enjoying memorable holidays.  Janet was the love of John's life.
John was an intelligent and talented man in the breadth and width of his interests and pursuits including a passion for X-country skiing. John was a true gentleman and a scholar; he was a remarkable researcher, historian and writer and a fascinating person to talk to.  John led a long and interesting life and will be missed by family and friends.
Three children: Jan and (Joe), Chris and (Stuart), Jack and (Lise), four grandchildren: Christina and (Dom), Jillian and (Ivo), Ian and Matthew and three great grandchildren: Harlow, Stevie and Leo will never forget this inspirational member of the family.
THANK YOU to the nurses and staff at Central Okanagan Hospice House for their kindness and the comforting surroundings.
"May he have fair winds and a following sea wherever he's bound we shall sorely miss him."
There will be a Celebration of Life on Friday, July 6 at 1PM at Springfield Funeral Home, 2020 Springfield Road in Kelowna.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Central Okanagan Food Bank, www.cofoodbank.com, or a charity of your choice.

Thank You  


Your NRG Board of Directors


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RIP John. My condolences your family and friends.  


    As I have previously posted, has anyone looked into posting memorial notices yet in lieu of birthday notices for members that have passed?  I'm the first to admit that I am very computer illiterate as far as programming goes, so I'm not aware of what that would entail but thought it might be something worth doing.  Are there any other members that think that it would be something to at least look into?

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I'm sorry to read of John's passing. He was a fount of nautical knowledge and very generous in sharing this. His book with Mark Myers, Seamanship in the Age of Sail is a must-have reference. We exchanged e-mails intermittently for some years and he was always so helpful. He will be truly missed. My condolences to his family and friends world-wide.

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sorry to hear the news,  though I didn't know him that well.  I'm quite sure that any questions I've ever asked,  the answers were passed down from his knowledge.


thoughts and prayers and a heartfelt condolence to his family and friends.  

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R.I.P. John - my deep condolences to his family and all his friends !


John was a very kind and helpful man. Even we knew each other by email, he was always there when I needed help with my researchwork.

I am greatful and proud that he supported me. Your book, your articles in the NRJ and your emails were always an inspiration for me.


Thanks for everything John - I`ll miss you !

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Did not notice this sad news before and would like to join my colleagues in the condolescences.


I always admired John Harlands scholarly writing, including his language comparisons, in his 'Seamanship in the Age of Sail', which has remained an important reference book for me since it was first published.

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When some one I have known or wished I had known passes I am often reminded of a stanza of one of John Donne's meditations. It goes something like this "If a piece of the continent is washed away by the sea, Europe is the less". Truly the world is the less with his passing.


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If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

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