World War II saw the enlistment of many young men from our Sooke / Jordan River area. The proud mom in this photo is Ann Sanderson Arden, with sons Richard and Jim.
At the time of this photo, Ann and Eustace Arden were living at Sheringham Point Lighthouse, completing their 34 years of service at the Light. They were looking forward to their retirement at a home they purchased, the Ella House, on West Coast Road, very close to the site of John Muir School.
Jim Arden, on the right, was a Chief Petty Officer, serving five years in the Royal Canadian Navy, and was positioned on Canada’s West Coast, with much of his service based from Prince Rupert. He was among the naval officers called to Ottawa to plan protective strategy for the west coast in the wake of the shelling of Estevan Point by the Japanese submarine I-26 in 1942. Just before his enlistment, Jim had married his sweetheart Elsie Wilham, and on his return, the couple worked together in business and forestry, retiring in Port Alberni. Alone today, Jim Arden still lives in Port Alberni.
Richard, youngest of the four sons and two daughters of Eustace and Ann Arden, chose the Royal Canadian Airforce and trained in Ontario, where he became an aircraft mechanic. On his return from the war, Richard married Eleanor Stolth and they raised three sons, Dale, David and Dennis and a daughter Nelsie.
It is interesting to note that these two young men were descended from not one but two pioneer families. The Arden name is well known, with Eustace Arden, who grew up in Metchosin, driving a horse stage between Sooke and Victoria in 1909. He built the first general store in down town Sooke in 1910 (at the corner of Sooke and Otter Point Roads), before his Sheringham Lighthouse service.
Ann was a Sanderson, she and her siblings arriving from Britain in 1910 with their parents, who built a home on Sooke River Road. After Ann had caught the eye of Eustace and begun a new life in a new land, another sister Carrie married Donald Stuart of Otter Point.
In turn, this union established another line of pioneer descendants, which included Alden Govenlock, who also became well-known in the forest industry of southern Vancouver Island. It was the Sanderson home, which still stands today, looking very sprightly, on Sooke River Road, which hosted the weddings of Ann and her sisters, each of them becoming mothers and grandmothers to fine young people.
Sooke Region Museum
Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke Region.