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Britannia Mine flood remembered ninety years later

Museum online exhibit honours the 36 dead

The Britannia Mine Museum has launched a new online exhibit about the devastating flood, which stuck the community ninety years ago today (Oct.28).

The archival images and captions share the immensity of the flood and the devastating effect on the community of this mining town.

It was the fourth worst natural disaster in Canada and took the lives of 36 people.

There were many heroes on that night. Some died trying to sound a warning, some risked life to rescue others but the whole community pulled together to make it through the disastrous flood.

Extra watchmen were posted up at the dams high above Britannia Beach, following some days of very heavy rain. However, they did not know about a dam that had formed between the upper town, Mount Sheer, and the lower town, Britannia Beach. The dam of logs and rocks held long enough for a significant lake to form behind it before letting go and unleashing a wall of water on "the Beach".

Jim Emmott and Bert King were on the bridge at the time and were probably the first to see the water coming. They both screamed warnings trying to be heard over the deafening roar. Bert was thrown clear of the worst of it but Emmott was swept into the torrent and his body was later recovered in Howe Sound. William Lonon, a watchman, also lost his life when he ran out into the path of the flood to warn people.

There are also incredible stories of rescue and survival. Yip Bing, jumped onto a floating house and rescued the women still inside. Bert Bacon dove into the raging river to rescue a baby on a piece of wreckage he saw floating by. An exceptionally strong clothes line was about the only thing that kept him from being swept away with the newborn.

To see the exhibit go to and click on the link.