|Tom Watmore, ALS|
Tom Watmore and I both started our land surveying careers under Mr. T.G. Tyrer, SLS, Chief Surveyor, Surveys Branch, Land Titles Office in Regina in the spring of 1946. However, it was under various land surveyors that we received our field experience.
In reality, most of our field experience was gained under Mr. A.I. Bereskin, SLS, DLS, Controller of Surveys for the Province of Saskatchewan, during the summer months. Tom worked on various field surveys at Lac La Ronge, Chitek Lake, Loon Lake and many other sites in the north. Land surveyors with whom he worked included S. Harding, T.G. Tyrer, W. Humphries, C.H. Biddell, E.W. Murray and others. This unique arrangement of having articled students loaned out to other land surveyors for field experience had been approved by both the SLSA and the Public Service Commission. It is also interesting to note that both Tom and I were able to have the Veteran’s Affairs Department pay for our commissions ($52). Upon receiving commission #98 on June 30, 1949, Tom went to work with Underwood and McLellan in Saskatoon where he was involved doing various surveys before moving to Edmonton. He and I worked together with Phillips, Hamilton and Associates in northern Alberta in 1952.
Tom grew up in Regina, obtained his Grade 12, and then joined the Royal Canadian Air Force where he graduated as a navigator. He then went overseas and was attached to the Royal Air Force Squadron #21 in the European theatre of war where he completed a tour of operations. On one mission, his aircraft had an emergency landing in Scotland and, as a result of an explosion, his hearing was damaged. Upon his return to Canada in 1944, Tom was attached to RCAF #5 OTU staff at Boundary Bay, British Columbia and was discharged in 1945.
Tom had a distinguished career with the Exploration Department, Imperial Oil Company. His first assignment was out of Peace River, Alberta and then to Dawson Creek, British Columbia. There were followed by assignments in Calgary and the northern Arctic.
While with Imperial Oil, he became their senior land surveyor on surveys and construction in northwest British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
In his later years with Imperial Oil, Tom was an environmental officer on Arctic seismic and drilling activities. He was also a community liaison officer out of Tuktoyaktuk, Aklavik, Inuvik and the Mackenzie Delta areas. Further work for Imperial Oil involved community liaison at Baffin Island, Kawit, Pangnirtung and other northern areas. He was involved with Beaufort Sea environmental studies, providing logistic support along with community and government contact for the environmental consulting firm of F.F. Slaney and Company of Vancouver.
In 1978, Tom was again on Baffin Island and Davis Strait as company representative and supernumerary navigator aboard the oceanographic research vessel, Lady Johnston, out of Newfoundland. The vessel had scientists with the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans on board. He was subsequently placed as the navigation-operator of the company’s Marconi satellite system for research positioning and normal navigation in the North.
During his many years in the North, Tom got along with the locals and was a trusted friend when dealing with them over the environmentally sensitive activities of Imperial Oil.
Here was a man who was self-educated and had a most interesting career for his entire working years. Tom retired in 1982 but maintained his interests including his life membership in the Bearspaw Lions Club and playing senior hockey for years out of Calgary, including tournaments throughout the United States and Canada.
He passed away on August 16, 2008.
Reprinted With Permission From the SLSA Corner Post - Spring 2009