By Marina Sacht
From music to war, Brian Bornhold leaves a lasting legacy to Ladysmith. Brian, 72, passed away on June 3, 2018.
In March of 2017, Brian wrote the book “Early Music in Ladysmith British Columbia 1902-1912”, for the Ladysmith and District Historical Society (LDHS). The book documents the early years when there were international musicians and opera players performing in the town. The book, available at Salamander Books and the Ladysmith Museum, is a fundraiser for the society.
“Brian was a very through researcher,” says LDHS president Ed Nicholson. Brian had been diagnosed with terminal cancer but still wanted to contribute. An avid musician and a trombone player, he turned his interest into uncovering history in an area that had not been explored before, said Nicholson. “Brian is a good example of a person who has skills and that are transferrable,” says Nicholson. “You don’t have to be from Ladysmith to uncover its history.”
During his earlier research he came across a series of published letters written by soldiers to their families during the Great War. With help from Harald Cowie, the music book was released, Brian turned his attention to researching World War I in Ladysmith. He left a volume of research behind that volunteers Isabelle Ouelette, Bonnie and Ray Peerens, and Terry Carlson are continuing to build upon. John and Esther Sharp are now spearheading the “Letters Home” project.
Brian worked on a wide range of marine environmental and engineering projects. In 2004 Brian became a co-chief scientist of the NEPTUNE Canada project, an innovative, deep-sea research initiative led by Dr. Chris Barnes. In 2012 he semi-retired but retained a professional involvement as a consultant in several large BC coastal projects. He continued to work with his colleagues Drs. Isaak Fain, Alexander Rabinovich and Evgueni Kulikov, as part of a company in which Brian was President, International Tsunami Research Inc., and with a long-time ocean science colleague and co-author of many research books and papers, Dr. Richard E. Thomson. Brian was chief scientist of the Ocean Drilling Project in Saanich.