Overwhelmed with joy by the experience, she never anticipated her wish would come true. She told her friend, Peter, that she thought it was a pipedream to which he replied: “Well, I’m your dream piper.” True to his word, he actually attended the tour in full Highland regalia with his bagpipes to honor her as she boarded the ship.
Making Blanche’s wish come true was an honor and delight for our crew as well. It was also incredibly meaningful as they thought about the ship’s predecessor, Zaandam II, which was lost during WWII after being hit by a U-Boat torpedo. Though three crew members were miraculously rescued three months after the explosion, 130 people lost their lives.
Blanche knew all too well the cost of the war, having left Prince Edward Island for the first time to serve in Halifax. She was a Lance Corporal and met her husband, Murray, who also enlisted. After the war, they lived in France for several years and later returned to Canada in 1958. That was the last time she was on a vessel…until now.