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Queens County Museum now owns piece of War Halifax

Charles Richardson recently donated a plank of wood from War Halifax to the Queens County Museum in Liverpool.
Charles Richardson recently donated a plank of wood from War Halifax to the Queens County Museum in Liverpool. - Aethne Hinchliffe

Brooklyn man donates century-old board saved by his family from ship

LIVERPOOL - When Brooklyn resident Charles Richardson recently read Tim McDonald’s story, the “War Halifax,” in The Advance, it triggered his memory.
Charles remembered his father, Hallam Richardson, had worked on the ship in 1918. Charles had a plank of oak wood from the ship in his basement. He didn’t want the wood to eventually get thrown out, so he recently donated the board to the Queens County Museum.
Linda Rafuse, director of the museum, says she plans to display the board in the main gallery with other Maritime or seafaring history.
Charles isn’t entirely certain how long his father worked on the ship, but he says Hallam used to walk on the railway tracks from Brooklyn to work and then home again. He carried planks of wood with him.
Other boards from War Halifax were in Charles’ house as well. Charles says he has two bookcases – one on either side of his fireplace – made from ship planks.
The wood came from trees in Bang’s Falls near Greenfield, he added.
Rafuse says she was pleased about the donation and finds it interesting that there are still things like that around that tell stories.
The museum already has some photographs and the story of War Halifax, so the plank of wood will help enhance the story, said Rafuse.
“I think what’s unique about it is that it’s an 18 inch plank,” said Rafuse.
In addition to its size, Charles noted how smooth the board is.
This isn’t the first time Charles has donated to the Queens County Museum.
“He has a great respect and love of history,” said Rafuse.
Many years ago, Charles donated an organ to the Queens County Museum.
According to McDonald’s story, “Construction started on the ‘War Halifax’ in August 1917 at the shipyard owned by the Southern Salvage Company. It was located behind Dexter’s Tavern, near Fort Point.”
To read McDonald’s story in full, visit the Jan. 10 issue of The Advance.

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