William James Moffat
1887 - 1941
William James Moffat was born in 1887 at Raphoe, County Donegal, Ireland. He received his early education at Raphoe Royal School, later going to Mountjoy School, Dublin, where he excelled at cricket. He then proceeded to the Royal College of Science obtaining his A.R.C. Sc. 1; following this he took his Arts degree and Bachelor of Civil Engineering at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1911.
His first work was under A.McC. Stewart, Harbour Engineer of Londonderry, Ireland. In 1913 he decided to follow his profession in Canada, so he came direct to Vancouver, where he articled under the surveyor R.G. Russell. He was granted his British Columbia Land Surveyor commission in 1914 and in 1915 received his Dominion Land Surveyor commission. In 1917 he returned to England working with the Inland Water and Docks Contingent, later obtaining a commission in the Royal Engineers just at the close of the war.
Following the war he was employed as a Surveyor under the Irish Department of Agriculture for two years. In 1921, he once again returned to Canada where he worked under Arthur Wheeler on the BC/Alberta boundary photo-topographical survey then in 1922 he joined the staff of the Photo Topographical Branch of the Provincial Government working as an assistant to George Jackson for the next six years in the Kettle Valley, Similkameen and Skagit County. From 1928 to 1933 he engaged in private practice in Victoria under the firm of Whyte, Musgrave & Moffatt. During this period he worked in the Fort George area on the P.G.E Resources Survey, and also carried out much private subdivision work on Vancouver Island.
In 1934 he resumed work on the staff of the Photo Topographical Department, acting as assistant to Norman Stewart until his untimely death in 1941. During this period he covered much of the country around the Forbidden Plateau, Buttle Lake and Upper Campbell Lake in Strathcona Provincial Park making ascents of Mount Albert Edward and the Comox Glacier. He later worked on the Alaska Highway surveys.
It was typical of him that he worked without complaint up to the end in the far north on the borders of the Yukon, along the valley of the Liard River. William Moffatt passed away on September 7, 1941, at the age of fifty-four near Lower Post, on the Liard River and his remains very fittingly lie under a cairn erected by his fellow Surveyors on a promontory close to Lower Post, overlooking a board expanse of the country he had surveyed. He was survived by his wife Ester Shankey who he married in 1926 and one son.
Stewart, N. C. " Topographical Surveys, Vancouver Island." Report of the Minister of Lands. Sessional Papers. B.C. 1936. p. EE 29-EE 31.
Corporation of Land Surveyors of the Province of British Columbia. Report
of Proceedings of the Thirty-Seventh Annual General Meeting. 1942. Vancouver,
B.C. p. 55-56.