A truck to do the task was built by Butler Brothers.

Butler Brothers’ Mark V

Columnist Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region

Spectacular would be one word to describe the behemoth Butler Brothers Mark V log hauler, fully loaded with pup, shown here in the mid-1970s.  Butler Brothers, who began their 29 years of logging in the Sooke/Otter area in 1946, gained a reputation for being innovative in their woods operations.

One example would be their efforts to design an off road truck that could carry a larger load than normally carried on a regular logging truck and trailer. Ingenuity was the name of the game, and when bush pilot Claude Butler began working with a fellow flyer Barney Oldfield in Saanich, the Butlers had a prototype ready by the early 1970s. It wasn’t possible for such a vehicle to use a public highway, so the truck was barged across Saanich Inlet, offloaded and brought to Sooke through the woods at Shawnigan Lake.

It turned out that the company built a series of these vehicles, as they learned by experience, how the vehicles would handle on the challenging hills and curves of the upper watersheds west of the Sooke River. By the time the Company had built their fourth, Mark V, shown here courtesy of Toby Hird, they had perfected a system that utilized a double-steering axle.

Woods foreman at the time was Ray Pimlott; Larry Jay did the loading in the woods, and Joe Zigay ran the hydraulic offloader that lifted the loads off the vehicle after its journey, often driven by Harry O’Neill, down Butler Main to the Company’s sea level sorting ground at Sooke Bay. Veteran loggers recall that the Mark V carried, between the truck and the pup, loads ranging from 150 to 200 tons. As each of these haulers became redundant, they were purchased either as operating vehicles or in parts, by trucking aficionados, who considered them priceless symbols of Vancouver Island history.

One such purchase was made by Toby Hird and his partner Dave Ferris who ran the Number 70, third in sequence, in their operations at Caycuse.  A poster illustrating Number 70 (given us by Eric Butler) can be seen in the entrance gallery in the Sooke Region Museum. While the dismantled Mark V is in pieces today, some of them in Powell River, one often sees mention of the famous vehicle on international trucking websites.

Sooke’s Bruce Butler tells us that his dad Wally and his uncle Claude were twins and when born prematurely in Brentwood in 1911, they were initially kept warm through the oven heat of a woodstove, truly a pioneer beginning.  The Mark V has been immortalized for Sooke through a scale model created by Fire Chief Steve Sorensen and presented as a gift to the Charters River Salmon Interpretive Centre.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum

Just Posted

Cloudy skies ahead for Thursday

Plus a look ahead at your weekend

Arguments ramp up against proposed Sooke daycare

Proposed Church Road facility clears the latest hurdle

Lengthy cannabis report leaves Sooke council with questions

Temporary use option for pot producers seen as untenable

Health Canada suspends Island pot producer’s licence following unannounced visit

Evergreen Medicinal Supply is working on “corrective action”

Flat tire, kindness of strangers, surprisingly inflate hope

Sooke mom and her daughters knocked on door of Bob and Norma Saunders seeking help

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

Sooke athletes win gold at 55+ Games

Myrtle Acton, 86, leads way with three first place finishes

Most Read