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Barry Morton Gough
Born 17 September 1938(1938-09-17) (age 84)
Victoria, British Columbia
Occupation maritime and naval historian

Barry Morton Gough is a global maritime and naval historian, a working historian recognized for his considerable body of work and for his influence in the wider good of the profession. Gough has made in the British Columbia and western North American context a number of monographic contributions to ethnohistory, cross-cultural relations, patterns of missionary acceptance among Northwest Coast peoples, frontier–borderland studies and environmental history.[1] With the perspective of British sea power worldwide,[2] he has worked to explore the maritime dimensions of British Columbia history and to recast and reaffirm the imperial foundations of Canadian history.[3]


Gough was educated at Victoria High School[4] and Victoria College,[5] completing his undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia and master's studies at the University of Montana. Earning his Ph.D. at King's College London, he was tutored in the maritime foundations of imperial history by Gerald S. Graham, Rhodes Professor of Imperial History in the University of London.[6] Years after the earned doctorate, Gough was in 1991 awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature from University of London for distinguished contributions to Imperial and Commonwealth history.[7] His thesis research on seapower and geopolitics across the Pacific Rim became the inaugural publication in 1971 of the University of British Columbia Press: The Royal Navy and the Northwest Coast of North America, 1810-1914: A Study of British Maritime Ascendancy. Former Dominion Archivist W. Kaye Lamb in his review remarked that "author and publisher alike have set a high standard for the publications of the new Press."[8] An expanded edition was published in 2016 by Heritage House as Britannia's Navy on the West Coast of North America, 1812-1914.

Teaching and consulting

Initially on the teaching staff of Victoria High School, Gough became in turn Lecturer, Assistant and Associate Professor at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, and Co-director of the Centre for Pacific Northwest Studies. From 1972 to 2004 in the history faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University, he was named Associate Professor, then Professor and University Research Professor. Within the department, he organized a series of public lectures by leading scholars and published the material with an introduction.[9] He was founding director of Canadian Studies at Laurier and served as coordinator of Interdisciplinary Studies and Assistant Dean of Arts.[10] On retirement in 2004 after thirty-three years there, he was appointed University Professor Emeritus and resettled in his Victoria childhood home to continue research for new books.[11][12]

His writings, including young adult non-fiction and coursework for civilian and military personnel, are used in various teaching contexts.[13] Gough was advisory editor to Macmillan Publishing for World Explorers and Discoverers (1992)[14] and to Scribner's for Explorers: From Ancient Times to the Space Age (1998),[15] and he was editor-in-chief of the magazine American Neptune based at the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts (1997-2003).[16] Following publication of From Classroom to Battlefield, he wrote guidelines for community groups or classes of students to draft manuscripts about Canadian high schools and the First World War: the approach and methodology of the historian, materials available for use, suggestions for giving individuals' stories their historical contexts.[17]

Since 2007, he has been Adjunct Professor of War Studies and History, Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ont.[18]

Contract work in history has included Great Lakes shipwrecks research, the Alaska inland waters case on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice[19] and research materials for the Nuu Chah Nulth.[20] He was asked to prepare a historical legal claims dossier for the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in the Meares Island case.[21]

Affiliations and affinities

Gough is a former President of the British Columbia Historical Federation and later was named BCHF honorary president, an "ambassadorial" or "historian laureate" role he characterizes as "a sort of spokesman and advocate for B.C. history." The federation of ninety-nine member societies and roughly 25,000 members in B.C. works to recognize historical preservation work being done through local museums, archives, collections and special projects, and honours those involved.[22][23] Gough is Past President of the Canadian Nautical Research Society, Past President of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Vancouver Island,[24] and past member of the Board of Academic Advisers, The Churchill Centre, Chicago.[25] He is Past President of the North American Society for Oceanic History, Past President of the Organization for the History of Canada, and Past Vice-President of the Champlain Society of Canada. In Ontario, he was President of the Rotary Club of Kitchener and, after his return to B.C., resumed active duty as Chair, Victoria High School Alumni Association. He is a Life Member of the Association of Canadian Studies, founding member of the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States and past Chair of the Joint Committee of the American Historical Association and the Canadian Historical Association. He lectures on maritime and naval topics, on Canadian history and public affairs, and since the 1970s has served on the editorial boards of a number of scholarly journals, including BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly[26] and Terrae Incognitae: The Journal of the Society for the History of Discoveries.[27]

He worked with the Vancouver Maritime Museum as curator for the Vancouver 125 exhibition, "Captain George Vancouver" (2011), and was advisor to the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, Victoria, on various projects such as "War of 1812 in the Pacific" (2012. Continuing as historical consultant to CFB Naval and Military Museum, Esquimalt, B.C., he was in 2017 curator of the Canada 150 Public History Project, "The Royal Canadian Navy and the Pacific Gateway to Wider Seas." Video production the following year was published as Our Seas Our Coasts Our Navy.[28]

A lifelong jazz clarinetist, he for many years has been a member of the non-profit society Universal Jazz Advocates and Mentors (U-JAM). Gough was 2012 president and continues to mentor.[29] He played a community performance 22 June 2014 at the TD Victoria International JazzFest.[30]


Gough and his writings have received honours, prizes and awards in the United States, the U.K., Spain and Canada.[31]

A life member of the Society for the History of Discoveries, he was in November 2019 named a Fellow of the Society "for his many outstanding publications in Canadian and British imperial and naval history; for his fine record of teaching and mentoring students, particularly at Wilfrid Laurier University; and for his contributions to the scholarly community of imperial, international and maritime historians...."[32]

The British Maritime Foundation announced in November 2015 that Pax Britannica: Ruling the Waves and Keeping the Peace before Armageddon won the Mountbatten Literary Award 2015 for best literary contribution to the understanding of the importance of the seas.[33] "I've always felt the seas were blindsided in the writing of Canadian history, and I have made it my own particular calling to turn that around," Gough said in 1994.[34]

The U.K. award was followed in September 2016 by the highest award bestowed by the Washington State Historical Society, the Robert Gray Medal, for lifetime achievement.[31][35]

Gough has received the Psi Upsilon Distinguished Service Alumnus Award, the Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Hoffmann-Little Award for Outstanding Teaching,[36][37] and was recognized with a Distinguished Alumni award in 2019 from the University of Victoria.[38] For civic contributions in both Ontario and British Columbia, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal[39] and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.[40] In November 2014, Her Honour Judith Guichon, Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, presented him with the Maritime Museum of B.C.'s 2014 SS Beaver Medal for Maritime Excellence.[41][42]

Prizes have included the Clio Prize of the Canadian Historical Association[43][44] and medals, awards and honourable mentions from a number of organizations: the North American Society for Oceanic History,[45] the Writers Trust of Canada Non-Fiction Prize,[46] the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize, B.C. Book Prizes, and the Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Historical Writing given by the British Columbia Historical Federation.[47][48] The Hallmark Heritage Society of Victoria chose Vic High alumni Gough's study of teachers and students in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, From Classroom to Battlefield: Victoria High School and the First World War, for its 2015 Communication Award.[49] Gough's Churchill and Fisher: Titans at the Admiralty was chosen by the Canadian Nautical Research Society for a 2018 Keith Matthews Award, which recognizes outstanding publications in the field of nautical research. Evaluations noted his researches included newly accessible papers of both Fisher and Churchill at Cambridge "generated a human perspective of the pressures both faced."[50]

The same award had gone to Historical Dreadnoughts: Arthur Marder, Stephen Roskill and Battles for Naval History in 2010,[51] and in 1985 to Gunboat Frontier: British Maritime Authority and Northwest Coast Indians, 1846-1890. In 1993, The Northwest Coast: British Navigation, Trade, and Discoveries to 1812 earned honourable mention.[52][53]

Published works

As historian and educator, Gough attends to maritime history of the Pacific Northwest as well as directing attention to British Columbia's interior and northern regions.[54] His research into early navigation in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Strait of Georgia resulted in publication of the long-neglected plan and elevation by Charles Duncan of Cape Flattery and Fuca's Pillar, charted by Duncan in August 1788 and first published in 1790.[55] His 1997 account of Sir Alexander Mackenzie's overland explorations to the Arctic and Pacific coasts, First Across the Continent, continues as a central contribution to the study of North American exploration in the 18th and 19th centuries.[56] Press coverage of the pending auction of an 18th-century pistol engraved with Peter Pond's name drew attention to Gough's 2013 study of the soldier, fur trader and explorer's historical importance in pushing northwest into the Mackenzie River basin and in establishing the North West Company. “He presciently forecast," said Gough in an interview, "a transcontinental Canada linking the St. Lawrence with the Pacific, all based on trade and under the British flag."[57]

Pax Britannica in 2014 explored the intersection of British naval reach and the guarding of imperial commerce during the post-Napoleonic century.[58] [59] Britannia's Navy two years later documented within that global context a century of events in the North Pacific, the evolution of the strategic Esquimalt naval base and jurisdictional disputes and developments in the U.S.[60]

Published in 2017, Churchill and Fisher: Titans at the Admiralty received early acclaim as an inquiry into the role of personality in the making of history, the context being the administration of the Royal Navy in the Great War by First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John ("Jacky") Fisher and his young political master, First Lord Winston Churchill.[61]

In The Times Literary Supplement, Jan Morris wrote: "This enthralling book by an eminent Canadian naval historian is a work of profound scholarship and interpretation…. Barry Gough has himself heightened the book's sense of personal drama by surrounding his central characters with powerful expositions of the state of the world around them."[62] James Wood in The Ormsby Review leads with the Jan Morris comments, attends to Gough's accounts of the struggles within British Cabinet and the Admiralty in formulating strategy and policy for war and the "bitter complications" of Churchill's and Fisher's fall from power, and ends with the essentials the "daemonic duo" did accomplish.[63] The Australian Naval Institute forum noted an approach in which the author "distilled and weighed the rancour, political intrigue, strategic and operational challenges and the (mostly) dismal record of the war at sea up to Jutland. The well-known politicians and admirals return to life with all their proclivities – admirable and less so."[61] British politician and military historian Keith Simpson in his annual Christmas list called it "a fascinating study."[64] A reviewer in Finest Hour: The Journal of Winston Churchill and his Times, observing the dual biography is well-written and long past due, specifically notes the wide use of primary sources and the "many valuable insights" into the "fraught partnership" and "complexities of the issues confronting Fisher and Churchill."[65] The bulletin of The Churchill Project at Hillsdale College called it "a highly readable landmark study" and "a hugely important book" that is "sure to join the shelf of vital Churchill studies."[66] A military website commentator, observing that Gough writes "history as literature," says this "places Dr. Gough in a distinguished company of historians who are also great and readable writers. Sir Steven Runciman, Barbara Tuchman and Sir Winston Churchill come to mind." The writer adds that "notes, bibliography, index and illustrations are of the highest standard" and that this is "likely to remain the definitive work on this subject for years to come."[67]

The following year, research into Spanish and English archival sources became the 2018 book by Gough and Charles Borras, The War Against the Pirates: British and American Suppression of Caribbean Piracy in the Early Nineteenth Century, which examines the roots of piracy in those seas and how its suppression laid the foundation for the decline of the Spanish empire in the Americas.[68]

Selected bibliography

See also

  • Churchill College, Cambridge


  1. Inventory of work, University of Victoria Libraries, Victoria, B.C., search term "Barry M. Gough"; retrieved 2011-02-22.
  2. Rose Simone, "Naval historian named research prof of the year," The Record (Kitchener, Ont.), 28 Oct 1994, p. B-4.
  3. Works by or about Barry M. Gough in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
  4. "Barry Gough '56". 
  5. Gough was one of the Lansdowne-era students (VC '57) at Victoria College, precursor to University of Victoria, and is mentioned among its notable alumni; retrieved 2020-01-16 at Edward B. Harvey, ed., The Lansdowne Era: Victoria College 1946-1963, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2008. Retrieved 2020-01-16 at
  6. G. S. Graham (University of London), 1964 lecture at Queen’s University Belfast, School of History and Anthropology, "An epoch of Maritime Empire: the nineteenth century," published as ‘’The politics of naval supremacy: Studies in British Maritime Ascendancy’’ (Cambridge, 1965) Archived 27 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine.; retrieved 2011-02-25.
  7. International Who’s Who 2004, entry at "Gough, Barry Morton"; Europa Publications/Routledge, p. 634; retrieved 2011-02-02.
  8. W. Kaye Lamb on The Royal Navy and the Northwest Coast of North America, 1810-1914 by Barry M. Gough, BC Studies, No. 12 (Winter 1971/72), pp. 75-78. Archived 23 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine.; retrieved 2011-02-25.
  9. Barry Gough, In Search of the Visible Past: History Lectures at Wilfrid Laurier University 1973-1974. Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1975. ISBN 9781554584772. Retrieved 2018-05-12 at
  10. "Biography note, B.C. Studies Conference, New Westminster, B.C., 2–4 May 2013; retrieved 2013-05-01". 
  11. Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ont., Barry Gough fonds, retrieved 2011-02-09; Wilfrid Laurier University Press, author listings, retrieved 2018-05-11.
  12. "The Canadian Studies curriculum was brought within the North American Studies program in academic year 2008/2009. Laurier Faculty of Arts home page, retrieved 2011-05-10". 
  13. Curriculum material in the Scribner Science Reference Series (Geography and Exploration – Biographical Portraits, Barry M. Gough, ed.; retrieved 2011-02-24.) and coursework in the DNDLearn modules, Royal Military College, Kingston, Ont., online DNDLearn modules, Royal Military College, Kingston, Ont.; retrieved 2011-02-26.
  14. Bohlander, Richard E., ed., World Explorers and Discoverers (New York: Macmillan, 1992); bibliography and reading list online Archived 29 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine.; retrieved 2011-02-24.
  15. Explorers sequence, information; retrieved 2011-02-25.
  16. [ retrieved 2011-02-23
  17. Gough, Barry (2016) "Writing a Canadian High School History of the Great War: Victoria High School: Challenges, Pitfalls, and Sources," Canadian Military History 25, Issue 1, article 13; retrieved 2016-10-21; evaluation, Communication Awards segment, Preserve: Newsletter of the Hallmark Heritage Society, Spring/Summer 2015, p. 8; retrieved 2020-01-23 at
  18. Letter of appointment as adjunct professor of history, War Studies, RMC (online listings password-protected); course readings for HIE208 Canadian Military History (2010), Module 2, Week 3, Barry Gough and Roger Sarty, "Sailors and Soldiers: The Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Forces, and the Defence of Atlantic Canada, 1890-1914"; retrieved 2011-02-26.
  19. "Body Politic". 
  20. Meares Island case Moses Martin et al. v. H.M. the Queen et al. specified in keynote intro, B.C. Studies Conference, New Westminster, B.C., 2–4 May 2013; retrieved 2013-05-01 [1] Archived 2 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine. here].
  21. Discussed in Gough, "Possessing Meares Island," Journal of Canadian Studies, 1 July 1998 (Trent University, Peterborough, Ont.); retrieved 2011-02-21 Archived 2 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine..
  22. BCHF council page, retrieved 2016-01-31
  23. Don Descoteau, "Victoria-area author jazzed about B.C. history's future," Goldstream News Gazette, updated 4 June 2016, retrieved 2016-06-06 and 2019-11-10.
  24. Speaker, Churchill birthday event 30 November 2005: "Titans at the Admiralty: Sir Winston and Admiral Lord Fisher"; speaker-archive; retrieved 2011-02-17. Churchill Foundation Vancouver Island,
  25. Readings and reviews at Churchill Centre, Chicago; retrieved 2011-03-02.
  26. Masthead, BC Studies 196 (Winter 2017-18).
  27. Masthead, Terrae Incognitae 49.2 (September 2017).
  28. CFB Esquimalt: Marpac Imaging, 2018.
  29. Laura Lavin, "Gallery gets jazzy," Saanich News, 27 Jan 2012, A-13; retrieved 2012-02-28]
  30. Rolling credits at; published 1 July 2014; retrieved 28 July 2019.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Harbour Publishing: Barry Gough. 
  32. Lauren Beck, citation, 60th AGM of the Society for the History of Discoveries, Gainesville, FL., 15 Nov 2019; retrieved 2019-12-25 at
  33. "Barry Gough wins the Mountbatten Maritime Award for Pax Britannica #MMA2015," Maritime Foundation @BMCF_UK Nov 12, 2015; Richard Watts, "Our History: When Britannia ruled the waves," Times Colonist, 9 Jan 2016, retrieved 2016-01-11 here.
  34. Rose Simone, "Naval historian named research prof of the year," The Record (Kitchener, Ont.), 28 Oct 1994, B-4.
  35. "Washington State Historical Society > History Awards". 
  36. Psi Upsilon Distinguished Service Alumnus Award, discussed online Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.; retrieved 2011-01-30
  37. the Hoffmann-Little Award for Outstanding Teaching; retrieved 2011-01-30.
  38. Distinguished Alumni Awards 2019: criteria, retrieved 2020-01-23 at;citation, retrieved 020-01-23 at BC Historical Federation notice, retrieved 2019-01-16 at
  39. General, The Office of the Secretary to the Governor (2018-06-11). "The Governor General of Canada". 
  40. "Blogger". 
  41. Katherine Dedyna, "Maritime historian honoured for his work," Times Colonist, 27 Nov 2014, A-6; retrieved 2014-11-27 at
  42. "SS Beaver medals awarded to Vancouver-based recipients," BC Shipping News, 29 Oct 2014, retrieved 2014-11-26 at [2]. Co-honourees Leonard McCann and Captain Tom McCullogh received their medals at the Vancouver Maritime Museum; award recognition was also given in Victoria to the Remotely Operated Platform for Ocean Sciences (ROPOS).
  43. CHA's Clio Prize criteria; retrieved 2011-03-02
  44. Dundurn citation re Clio Prize: "Barry Gough, sailor-historian, is past president of the Organization for the History of Canada and the Official Historian of HMCS Haida, Canada's most decorated warship. His acclaimed books on the Royal Navy and British Columbia have received numerous prizes, including the prestigious Clio Award of the Canadian Historical Association"; retrieved 2011-03-02
  45. The North American Society for Oceanic History (NASOH) gives the John Lyman Book Awards annually for books published in six categories of the maritime history field. Gough's Fortune's a River: The Collision of Empires in Northwest America (Harbour Publishing) was 2007 winner in category "Canadian Naval and Maritime History"; Through Water, Ice and Fire: Schooner Nancy of the War of 1812 (Dundurn Press) received a 2006 Honourable Mention in category "Canadian Naval and Maritime History"; and Fur Traders from New England: The Boston Men in the North Pacific, 1787-1800 (Arthur H. Clark Co.) was 1997 winner in category "Primary Source Materials, Reference Works, and Guide Books"; discussion of awards retrieved 2011-02-19 here.
  46. "Writers Trust of Canada list online". [dead link]
  47. "B.C. Historical Federation criteria retrieved 2011-02-27". 
  48. "List of winners retrieved 2011-02-02.". 
  49. Communication Awards segment, Preserve: Newsletter of the Hallmark Heritage Society, Spring/Summer 2015, p. 8; retrieved 2020-01-23 at; "Annual awards 2015, Communication category 5 May 2015, Hallmark Heritage Society, Capital Regional District, British Columbia, retrieved 2015-05-25". .
  50. Canadian Nautical Research Society website, entry re Keith Matthews Award 2018 for books published in 2017, retrieved 2018-08-05 at Archived 10 August 2018 at the Wayback Machine..
  51. "Historical Dreadnoughts - Arthur Marder, Stephen Roskill and Battles for Naval History, Barry Gough". 
  52. "Canadian Nautical Research Society - Awards". 
  53. CNRS award citation text on website of Pen & Sword Books ref. ISBN 978-1-84832-077-2,retrieved 2011-10-05
  54. Don Descoteau, "Victoria-area author jazzed about B.C. history's future," Goldstream Gazette, 4 June 2016, retrieved 2016-06-06 here.
  55. Barry Gough, "Charles Duncan, Cape Flattery, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca: A Voyage to the Waterway of Forgotten Dreams, Terrae Incognitae: The Journal of the Society for the History of Discoveries 49:1 (April 2017), 37-49. Retrieved 2017-05-25 at
  56. Jamie Morton, on First Across the Continent: retrieved 2011-02-27 here.
  57. Marian Scott, "This fur trader's pistol is up for sale, but Canadian museums don't want it," Montreal Gazette, updated 11 Aug 2018, retrieved 2018-08-11 at
  58. Matthew S. Seligmann, "Pax Britannica: Ruling the Waves and Keeping the Peace Before Armageddon," Diplomacy & Statecraft, 26:3, 552-553; retrieved 2016-02-18 here; Howard J. Fuller, "Review: Pax Britannica," The International Journal of Maritime History 27(3) (August 2015), 598-599; retrieved 2016-02-18 here.
  59. Wilfrid Laurier University, "Laurier Professor Emeritus Barry Gough receives acclaim for history book on the British Royal Navy," retrieved 2015-12-06 here Archived 8 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. and reposted here.
  60. Dave Obee, "Britannia's Navy on the West Coast of North America 1812-1914," Canada's History, April–May 2017, p. 70; Howard Stewart, "HMS Pinafore on the Pacific," BC Book Look, retrieved 2017-02-26 here; "Rachel Lallouz, "Birth of Esquimalt as Empire's naval anchor topic in new book," Lookout, 22 Aug 2016, p. 10.
  61. 61.0 61.1 "Churchill and Fisher: Titans of the Admiralty - Australian Naval Institute". 
  62. Jan Morris, "Clash and clatter," TLS, posted 2018-01-24; retrieved 2018-01-28 here.
  63. James Wood, "Naval giants of the Great War" (#350),Ormsby Review, posted 23 Aug 2018, retrieved 2018-08-26 at
  64. "Keith Simpson's Christmas Reading List". 
  65. Stephen McLaughlin, "Daemonic Duo," Finest Hour179 (Winter 2018),39-40.
  66. Christopher H. Sterling and Richard M. Langworth, "A naval triumph by Barry Gough", The Churchill Project, Hillsdale College, 16 March 2018, retrieved 19 March 2018 here.
  67. Contributor metellus cimber II, “Churchill and Fisher: Titans at the Admiralty,”Firetrench, posted 2017-11-06; retrieved 2017-11-09.
  68. Barry Gough and Charles Borras, The War Against The Pirates: British and American Suppression of Caribbean Piracy in the Early Nineteenth Century. London: Palgrave, 2018. Britain and the World series. Retrieved 2018-08-09 at
  69. Fortune's a River context here; retrieved 2011-02-27.
  70. Broughton's survey recounted; retrieved 2016-02-01 here Archived 5 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine..
  71. Barry, Gough (5 March 2018). "Writing a Canadian High School History of the Great War: Victoria High School: Challenges, Pitfalls, and Sources". 

External links

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