Sooke's Army Reserve Corps in 1944. Many of the names are recognized in Sooke.

Sooke men stood ready

In 1944 Sooke had an Army Reserve Corps comprised of local men

Ongoing Legion commemorations of the men and women who served Canada in World War II also bring to mind the groups that formed locally, such as the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers and the Civil Defense corps.

The fine group of men pictured here in 1944 were in the Army Reserve Corps mobilized during the war. They took part in weekly training sessions and liaised with the commanders of the local Canadian Army training camps at Otter Point and Milne’s Landing.

At rear are:  Rupert Soule (think Soule Road) a faller and longtime community volunteer; Dennis Lavender, a former BC Provincial Police officer who took a leading community role, including taking the federal Census; Ernie Welsh, the pioneer family descendant who gave Moss Cottage to the museum; a Mr Hadgkiss and John E. Martin, community stalwart who farmed on Sooke River Road, served on the school board and became the first Sooke Regional Director for the CRD in 1965.

Middle row: Ernest Pontious, a fishtraps employee who also farmed at Caldwell Road in the centre of Sooke; Frank Rumsby, electrician, who raised two electrician sons and initiated the pit-barbecued beef at All Sooke Day; Pete Wadams who farmed at Church Road and excelled in produce at the Fall Fair; Len Hewlett, a Saseenos resident who drove a truck for the Public Works dept; Stan Giles who was a piledriver engineer at the fishtraps; and centre-of-Sooke residents Albert Constant and Jack Myers.

Front row:  Mr. Mitchell, Scott Robinson who was a cook on the fishtraps boats, and Captain Gillett, a WWI retired officer who lived in Saseenos and acted as commanding officer for the group. Next is Fred Thornber (with the stripes) a man who came to Sooke as an executive with the company building the water flowline and stayed to go in to the merchandising business and become a JP.

Far right, front, is Kai Jensen, a Dane who came to Sooke to find work as a logger, married Margaret King (think King Creek) and became a dairy farmer in Saseenos. Both Kai Jensen and Frank Rumsby became known for harvesting shrimp in Sooke basin as well.

Though not called into action, these men and many others stood ready.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum