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Timberland, Salmon River and War Effort

May 12, 2012

Salmon River Logging Company

In 1937 Timberland Lumber Company entered into an association with PB Anderson in the formation of the Salmon River Logging Company, with JG Robson as President. A plentiful supply of logs coming out of Kelsey Bay ensured a prosperous outlook for the mill on Fraser River.

JG Robson had two sons who in the 1940’s were coming of age and gaining experience at Timberland. The careers of Clifford A Robson and J Gordon Robson were interrupted by the war years and service overseas.

War Effort

The timber industry of British Columbia played a large part in the war effort on the home front. Robson, as President of the BC Lumber and Shingle Manufacturers Association, remarked

“We know it’s our war, just as everyone else’s. We know what it would mean if we didn’t win, and thank goodness the whole industry knows it.”

Production was reorganized to serve a near insatiable demand in Britain, cut off from its former suppliers on the Baltic. The local mills adjusted production to meet British requirements for different cuts of lumber.

“We have had to do a lot of things for the United Kingdom with our lumber in BC that we never thought could be done,” Robson was quoted as saying.

BC output was geared to production of lumber for the housing of hundreds of thousands of military personnel, and the construction of factories, docks, and mines. Orders sometimes came in with a request for special grades to be ready the next day. With formidable challenges in shipping out of their control, BC manufacturers could only respond to the urgency of meeting requirements in production.

In 1945 JG Robson and PB Anderson disposed of their interests in the Salmon River Logging Company to JH McDonald and associates, who purchased ownership of the valuable northern Vancouver Island timber limits and complete logging operations. The value of shares in the company had increased seven-fold. The sale would have tax implications for Timberland and JG Robson that would not be resolved until 1952.

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