Soldiers of the Canadian Scottish Regiment at Otter Point Camp in 1939.

Soldiers of the Canadian Scottish Regiment at Otter Point Camp in 1939.

SOOKE HISTORY: Canadian Scottish at Otter Point, 1939

The Canadian Scottish Regiment, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012, has a long connection to Sooke.

By Elida Peers

At Sooke Superior School, on a memorable day in May 1945, my Grade 7 class was called to attention to hear an announcement: the war in Europe was over and VE Day was declared.

It was one of those dramatic days in history when you recall where you were and what you were doing when there’s a momentous happening.

The scene in the picture here was Oct. 5, 1939 and shows army training taking place at the Otter Point Camp, located at the foot of Kemp Lake Road, at the very start of the Second World War.

The caption for this photo reads: “Victoria’s famous First battalion, Canadian Scottish Regiment, has evacuated the Armories and “dug-in” at Otter Point.  “The Ladies from Hell” will likely hold this position, the most advanced on Canada’s Western Front, for some time as the military leaders at Ottawa have not named them as an overseas unit …”

We are indebted to Harry Crooks for bringing us this clipping from a Victoria newspaper saved by his mother, who was Winnifred Hope.

One of the childhood memories I treasured was listening to Pipe Major Ian Duncan of the Canadian Scottish playing the bagpipes as he strode up and down the street at his parents’ home on Parklands Road.

True to his Scottish Highland background, Ian married Adeline Grant of Victoria, who started Adeline Grant Duncan School of Highland Dancing, a forerunner to the Highland dancing taking place these days in Victoria.

Velma (Cook) Jessiman, who lived near the Otter Point camp, recalls sitting on the hilltop above with her Grandpa Poirier, watching the marchers. She says that as there was no parade ground, the soldiers marched along the gravel road, drumming and piping as they went.  While I had never heard the term “Ladies from Hell,” Velma does recall that expression.

The month of May, of course, has significant commemorations, and the Royal Canadian Legion at Sooke has marked them so well, recognizing the Battle of the Atlantic in addition to VE Day.

The Canadian Scottish Regiment, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012, has a long connection to Sooke, with Sooke personnel consistently included in their ranks.

Sooke’s Maj. Stewart Parkinson, retired from his position as operations officer, fills in the blanks.

The Canadian Scottish did go overseas of course, and landed at Juno Beach on D-Day June 6, 1944, fighting through campaigns in Belgium, Holland and Germany.

The regiment’s retired commanding officer, Lt.-Col. Eric Boucher, now living in Sooke, has the distinction of being the last Canadian soldier out of Afghanistan.

•••

Elida Peers is the Historian of Sooke Region Museum.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Police seek information after a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk at the intersection of Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway on March 3.(Google Maps)
Witnesses sought in Langford pedestrian hit and run

Suspect is older man driving four-door, gold sedan

The University of Victoria has said some of its students were impacted by an off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria students impacted by off-campus COVID-19 exposure

UVic has not specified where the exposure occurred

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Cleanup happens after an overnight flood Monday damaged areas of the Oaklands Community Centre. (Facebook/Oaklands Community Association)
Greater Victorians offer flood of support to Oaklands Community Centre

Blown hot water tank Monday night leaves staff cleaning up soggy mess

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read