Looking Back

Selected archival notes pertaining to the Pender Islands:


Ten did not return by Alan Livingstone MacLeod, author of "Remembered in Bronze and Stone, Canada's Great War Memorial Statuary"


Sixty men of Pender Island -- from a population of just 200 -- "did their bit" in the Great War of 1914-18. Ten remained in the battlefields of Flanders and France for evermore.


Lists of the names of a community's fallen are always intriguing; the Pender Islands' list is no exception. It turns out that not one of the lost Pender Islanders was a native-born British Columbian. Only one had been born a Canadian. Most had begun life in 'the old country', England, Scotland or Wales. Curiously, most of the Islanders enlisted very early in the war, a majority of them in the first month or so. Four have no known grave: they are remembered on the Menin Gate monument at Ypres.


One name that leaps off the page is John Schloesser. Schloesser (or Schlosser as the name is sometimes written) is a German name. For obvious reasons very few Schloessers/Schlossers -- just four -- are included among the more than six hundred thousand men who volunteered for service in the 1914-18 war against Germany. None of the Schloessers who enlisted was a John. Only one Canada Corps Schloesser died in the war: Albert Schloesser, a Philadelphia native who enlisted very early, 23 September 1914, at Valcartier. Private Schloesser was 25 years of age when he was listed as missing in action in the 16th Battalion's 23 April 1915 attack at St. Julien. His body was never recovered and identified: Pte. Schloesser is among the 6,928 soldiers of the Canada Corps without a known grave who are commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres.


When war erupted in 1914 Lewis Henry Shapter returned to England and joined the Suffolk Regiment's 3rd Battalion. Captain Shapter was killed early in the war, 31 January 1915. He is buried Y Farm Military Cemetery, Bois Grenier.


Born in Chatham, Ontario, William Ross Brackett worked as a teamster at Pender when war broke out in August 1914. Gunner Brackett died of wounds (poison gas) 19 August 1917, one among many Canadian casualties of the Battle for Hill 70. He is buried at Lapugnoy Military Cemetery, 6 km west of Bethune. 


Claud Proctor, a native of Knebworth, Hertfordshire, England was a 24-year-old carpenter when he enlisted at Victoria in October 1915. Pte. Proctor died of shrapnel wounds 10 August 1917 while fighting in the 102nd (Northern British Columbia) Battalion. He is buried at Bruay Communal Cemetry Extension, 6 km SW of Bethune.


Hugh Glynn Baker died fighting in the 7th Battalion at Second Ypres 24 April 1915. Another Englander, born at Batcombe, Somerset, Baker was a 34-year-old farmer when he enlisted only days after the guns began firing in Belgium. Pte. Baker is another of the 6,928 soldiers of the Canada Corps who died in Belgium and have no known grave.


Another Islander who enlisted very early in the war, William Uniacke Perry Powell was born at Exeter, Devonshire. Second Lieutenant Powell was serving in the Royal Flying Corps when he died at age 26, 20 November 1916. He is buried at Colwall (St. James the Great) Churchyard, Hertforshire.


A labourer and native of Thurso, Scotland, James Hunter enlisted in the 29th (Vancouver) Battalion in November 1914. Pte. Hunter was 45 years old when he was killed 19 April 1916. Without a known grave, he too is remembered on the Menin Gate.


Richard Evans was a Welshman, born at Caernarfonshire, working as a miner and living at Port Washington, North Pender Island, when the broke out in 1914. Another Islander who enlisted early, Pte. Evans died 21 July 1918 while serving in the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles. He is buried at Wailly Orchard British Cemetery, a short distance from the city of Arras.


Born at Isle Abbott, Somerset, Harry Hayward Symes was a 34-year-old Vancouver police constable when war erupted in 1914. Like so many other Pender Islanders, Symes enlisted early, 23 September 1914 at Valcartier. Lance-Corporal Symes lies in a war grave, albeit one far removed from the Western Front: at Victoria's Ross Bay Cemetery. Symes died 25 July 1920, presumably a victim of war wounds or disease.


Godfrey William Walker, a towboat operator, was yet another early enlistee in the war. Born at Bromley, greater London, he had been educated at Rugby School. He too went to Valcartier, Quebec, to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 23 September 1914. Pte. Walker was also an early casualty of war: he died at Second Ypres, 22 April 1915. Like so many others the good soldier Walker has no known grave. He is remembered on the Menin Gate at Ypres.




Submission to the Pender Post, April 1989, 28 years ago




It has been a while since the Society has given an account of itself! We were sorry to have to postpone the Annual Meeting and Pot Luck Supper due to the freezing weather. When you are reading this, the Annual Meeting will have taken place and the Society will be on its way towards another push at exciting your interest.


There comes a time in the affairs of any society when certain events will cause the group to re-think its situation. This happened in January when one of the museum board members resigned and formed another group, The Port Washington Village Heritage Society. On the same day, but for entirely different reasons, our President, Doreen York, retired before the end of her term. Peter Campbell was appointed Acting-President.


Also in January the "Pender Lender" library decided not to wait for any action that may be forth-coming from the Pender Island Hall Society concerning the Andrusiak Report regarding the need for more community multi-purpose space. They decided to go ahead with their own plans for a new library. By now, you should have been well-informed about those plans, thanks to the abundance of paper circulating these islands!


These various plans may in themselves be commendable but the Museum Society feels that it would be far better for the three or four groups who need more community space to join together for the purpose of fund-raising. DO THINK about that!


Although the Museum does not have a building, we do have a project planned that can involve EVERYONE at very minimum expense. Through the combined efforts of our "Native People" committee, the Islands Trust and the Capital Regional District the property along the western edge of the canal, north and south of the canal bridge, will be retained under the jurisdiction of the Heritage Properties Branch of the British Columbia government. A letter from John Adams, Assistant Director, South Coast Region, Heritage Properties Branch confirms this. His branch will be pleased to co-operate with the museum in its effort to erect a suitable display marking the site of the "Pender Dig".


Our Society has been accepted for membership in the B.C. Museums Association. One of their officers visited us recently and imparted valued information for keeping us on the right track!


We wish here to give a very generous VOTE OF THANKS to all those Directors who are now retiring from the Board. As well as Doreen York, who has been our President since the founding of this Society in 1986, we acknowledge our efficient Treasurer Joan Bannister. Ora Symes and Bunty England have been appreciated too, for their good advice. Our thanks have already been extended to June Frache for her enthusiasm and imagination. 


Next month we will welcome new members to the Board. Won't YOU join us by taking or renewing a 1989 membership? May we have your "GRASS ROOT" support? INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIPS are $2.00, FAMILY MEMBERSHIPS are $3.00 - Elizabeth Campbell 

Submissions to the Pender Post, November 1989


Museum Society


Although there is little to report on progress in locating a permanent home for the museum some more artifacts have been added to the Museum’s growing collection during the past month. Glen Grimmer has donated three pieces of shale that he uncovered while excavating roadways on various parts of our island. Clearly defined in the shale are several petrified sea shells which predate the upthrusting of the seabed which formed our island over 25,000 years ago.  Thank you Glenn.


One of our valued enlarged photographs shows the Auchterlonie children, circa 1912, going off to school. Each is clutching a large pail containing their lunch. The museum has obtained an early large pail of the exact type shown in photograph. This particular lard pail was produced by David Spenser Ltd. - an early department store chain in B.C. which was subsequently purchased by T. Eaton in the late 1940s. -  Elizabeth Campbell


Port Washington Village Heritage Society


(Present day note:  This was a fairly short-lived society with the goal of saving the Port Washington Store and re-purposing it as a community theatre, gallery, museum and coffee shop.  The society's dissolution was brought about through not being able to aquire an acceptable septic disposal system for a public use of the building. Donations were refunded and the initiative shelved.)


This month we would like to say thanks to the people who keep us going and to those who keep us on the right track. We appreciate greatly the efforts of those who have supported us so faithfully. A special thanks has to go to those brave people who took to the telephones in a last-minute blitz to reach our objectives. I like Gerry Woods's comment “I wouldn't want to do this for a living but it is a pleasure to do it for a good cause”. 


We appreciate too, many calls we received when we were about to do the wrong thing about the proposed sewage disposal at Port Washington. We accepted to readily the advice of the Provincial Waste Management Department when they suggested a 48 hour septic tank (without outfall to the ocean) instead of the Oxygen Treatment Plant we wanted. They said that the treatment plant would not work because the Theater/Gallery complex would not produce enough sewage. Please be assured that we are back on track and we'll continue our search for a treatment plant small enough to meet our needs and not hurt the environment. 


For those inquiring about the tax-deductible receipts it maybe another couple of weeks before success is assured and the receipts can be mailed. Interim receipts for issued initially in case donations had to be refunded. - J. Frache