SI2019-B-4: Sable Island 1945-1946 – Aubrey Dauphinee

In 1945, just after VE Day, a 17-year-old Aubrey Dauphinee quit his job at the Halifax Shipyards to work on Sable Island for 14 months. He became lighthouse keeper and member of the lifesaving crew. His duties also included looking after the telephone line, tidying up for inspection by a persnickety superintendent, and signaling across the island using Morse code. Now 93 years young, Aubrey lives in Bridgetown, N.S. and clearly recalls his experiences on Sable Island—lifeboat exercises on Lake Wallace, tending the light in the lighthouse (“clean the brass, clean the glass, clean the jewel nuts”), riding and matching wits with Sable Island’s iconic horses, being blown off his feet during a hurricane and landing on the boat ramp before slamming into a sand dune, and much more. Aubrey is also philosophical about his time on Sable Island, musing that the most important lesson it imparted in him was learning how to communicate with his fellow men. In his time off, Aubrey walked the island, observing its flora and fauna, and says that Sable Island today will thrive if largely left alone to its own devices.