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Armed horsemen on patrol

Armed militia guarded the flowline. - SRHS
Armed militia guarded the flowline.
— image credit: SRHS

Last week’s photo illustrated the plant at Coopers Cove that produced the concrete pipe sections used to build the 27-mile flowline carrying water from Sooke Lake to Victoria. Today’s photo presents a scene from August 1914, shortly after the outbreak of World War I.

The horsemen were from the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles, which had been quickly mobilized at Willows Camp.  We were surprised to learn from our diligent research partners that the tensions of World War I extended as far as Sooke.

Concerns for potential sabotage led Charles Rust, Water Commissioner and City Engineer for Victoria to arrange military patrols to protect infrastructure such as water supply structures. It is believed that this regiment of riflemen and their mounts were temporarily housed at Hatley Castle, home to the James Dunsmuir family at that time, and bivouacked to Cooper Cove from there.

Again, our accomplished research partners have located records that show the regiment’s meals, while at Coopers Cove, were made available at the crew cookhouse run by the Pacific Lock Joint Pipe Company, and were billed to Colonel Roy, commanding officer at Work Point Barracks at $.25 a meal.

The route in the photo shows the mounted patrol heading eastward on the south side of the road. By 1915 the installation was completed, and although patrols continued at Humpback reservoir and vulnerable sites, Sooke Lake’s water was by then coursing around the hillsides within its concrete enclosure, awaiting a turn of the tap by Victoria residents.

 

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum

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