Cpl. Bob Teather

 

 

Since the establishment of the Force in 1873, many members have displayed acts of bravery and courage to keep their communities safe and to rescue individuals.  Not all members were recognized for their acts of bravery.

 

 

 

 

 

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration awarded fo valour ‘in the face of the enemy’ to members of the Commonwealth countries.  Only three of these medals were awarded to seconded or ex-members of the Force.  These members are listed below:

  • Arthur Herbert Lindsey Richardson – (assigned to the Lord Strathcona’s Horse during the Boar War);
  • Michale O’Leary – (resigned from the Force and was with the Irish Guards in the British Army in World War I); and
  • George R. Pearkes – (discharged from the Force in 1915 to joined the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles Branch and participated in World War I.

The Canadian Cross of Valour (CV) is a decoration which is the second highest award superseded only by the Victoria Cross.   The Cross of Valour is available to Canadian civilians who have performed acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril.

Of the twenty recipients of the Cross of Valour, only one member of the Force has been awarded this medal.   His name was Corporal Robert (Bob) Teather.

Bob Teather was born in Hamilton Ontario on March 20, 1947 and joined the Force in September 1967.  During his career, he was stationed at: North Vancouver Detachment, Surrey Detachment, “E” Division Dive Team, and “E” Division Protective Services Unit.

He was recognized as a trained Hostage Taker-Barricaded Person Negotiator and a Forensic Diving Instructor.  In addition, he found time to write and publish many books:

  •  The Underwater Investigator;
  •  Encyclopedia of Underwater Investigations;
  •  Scarlet Tunic: On Patrol With the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Volume 1;
  •  Scarlet Tunic: Inside our Cars – Inside our Hearts On Patrol-Volume 2.; and
  •  Mountie Maker: Putting Canadian in RCMP.

It was through his persistence and dedication that the “E” Division Dive Team was formally recognized in April 1977.

On 26 September 1981, Corporal Teather (while serving at the Surrey Detachment  and a on-call member of the “E” Division Dive Team) and Corporal Tim Kain were called to assist with the rescue of two fishermen trapped in the overturned hull of a boat.

Early that morning, the boat Respond collided with a freighter near the mouth of the Fraser River in British Columbia.  The boat capsized  with the two crewmen stranded on board.

Cpl. Teather and a colleague arrived on the scene.  Their exploratory dive proved that only one diver could enter the hull at a time. Teather was inexperienced in this type of rescue, but was aware that the boat was sinking and that qualified help was miles away. Despite the lack of personnel support and unaware if the two crew members were alive he entered the companion-way.   As visibility was limited to a few centimeters inside, Cpl. Teather  made his way into the engine room. Most of the way through the ship was done by touch. When he reached the galley, he opened the door and made his way to front of the vessel. In an air pocket fouled by diesel fumes he found the two men: one of them a non-swimmer, and their pet dog. He instructed both on the use of underwater breathing equipment.

Cpl. Teather then took the non-swimmer on his back to safety. The door to the galley that Teather had opened shut on him, and he managed to feel his way around to the handle to open in. During that time, the seaman panicked and knocked his rescuer’s mask off.  Cpl. Teather managed to pin the man against the wall of the galley and  put the man’s goggles and the re-breather back on so he could get the man to the surface where the another diver took over.   Cpl. Teather then retrieved the other survivor using the same method.

While at the surface, Cpl. Teather strongly suggested that he go back down to the vessel with a bucket filled with air, put the dog’s head in the bucket, and assist the dog in reaching the surface. Senior officials frowned upon the idea, stating the dog’s life is not worth his own with the possibility of being trapped in the vessel. Consequently, Cpl. Teather  was relieved to find the next day when the ship was towed to shore and up onto the dock, the dog somehow managed to stay alive and came out of the ship.

If Cpl. Teather had not undertaken the rescue, the two fishermen would likely have drowned  or succumbed to asphyxiation.  For his efforts, Cpl. Teather was awarded  the Cross of Valour onApril 25, 1983 by the Governor General of Canada.

On the same date, Corporal Tim Kain was awarded the Medal of Bravery.

On the 15th of November 2004, Cpl. Robert Teather passed away at the Surrey Memorial Hospital of natural causes after a long battle with diabetes.  To all knew Bob Teather – he was the most caring and humble person.  We were all proud to have known this great man.

On February 10, 2011, the Canadian government  announced that seven new Hero Class Canadian Coast Guard vessels would be named in honour of fallen Canadian heroes.  This announcement was made by the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, together with the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety.

These  vessels are currently under construction Nova Scotia, and are expected to enter service by 2013. One of these new ships is to be named “CCGS Corporal Teather C.V.”  after Corporal Gordon Robert Teather, C.V.

According to the government announcement, “the new vessels will be named after heroic Canadians who put their duty ahead of their safety in service to our country.”

Possibly, a future RCMP Vessel or building or meeting room can be named in tribute to the bravery of Corporal Bob Teather and serve as a memory of the outstanding courage of this RCMP Veteran.

 

Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software