Airplanes were a rare sight in Sooke even in the 1920s.

The boy and the plane that crashed

Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region

We’ve mentioned the two vivacious daughters of Major George Nicholson, Bonnie and Gretel, but the Nicholsons also had a son, Cecil, or ”Mickie.” In March 1920 his name hit one of the Victoria newspapers, The Daily Colonist, as he too, earned his own little claim to fame.

There weren’t more than a few hundred people living in the quiet village of Sooke in 1920, and when something unusual happened, everyone came out to watch. In this case it was the excitement of an aeroplane flown by a pilot called Brown, who was providing a rare opportunity for local residents to enjoy viewing the village from on high.

This photo shows adults and children alike gathered to experience the novelty of the visit. The landing site chosen by the pilot was a field just east of Sooke School. Today the location of this upper field is dense with housing, encompassing as it does, the developments on Dover, Harwich, Golledge and Charters.

While we don’t have the names of all, the woman seated almost at the cockpit of the biplane is May Hatcher. This photo was taken just prior to the next flight aloft that was to end in a crash.

The biplane took two passengers on that next dramatic flight – one was a Mrs. Reid, the other the excited youngster, Cecil Nicholson, whose dad was manager of the famed Sooke Harbour Hotel situated on the headland above Sooke River estuary.

The Colonist account of the day notes that in the crash Mrs. Reid was severely shaken, but tells us … “A few scratches and bruises were all that were suffered by the youngster as a result of his sudden fall to land … The first words of young Cecil on being picked up were ‘Mr. Brown, can I fly again when you mend the aeroplane?’”

It’s interesting to note that much later, a daughter of Cecil Nicholson married a helicopter pilot, Bruce Payne, of the Goldstream Payne family.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum

Just Posted

Japanese knotweed has come to Sooke, and that’s a problem

Invasive plant is a serious threat to waterways and infrastructure

Sooke council pans multiple memorial plaque plan

District should not sell the same bench over and over again, says councillor

Inaugural Sarah Beckett memorial Run raises $20,000 for law enforcement scholarship

Widow calls run, community playground fitting tributes to fallen mom and Mountie

‘The system has fallen apart:’ Victoria woman’s son died a day after being accepted to treatment centre

Victoria man’s body went undiscovered in Victoria parking lot for five days after overdose

CRD tickets cyclists who ignore stop signs at Lochside trail, Saanich Road intersection

Many cyclists don’t dismount, use pedestrian-activated crosswalk light

VIDEO: Victoria airport guests see dinosaur surprise

Two boys dressed as raptors get a shock when their grandmother comes to greet them

North Island thrift store robbed at knifepoint, say RCMP

Suspect fled on bicycle following Tuesday stick-up

RCMP across Canada to soon unionize, according to B.C. mayor

A spokeswoman for RCMP headquarters in Ottawa says it’s not yet a done deal

Explicit sex-ed guide for adults mistakenly given to Creston elementary students

The booklet clearly states online and inside that the guide contains sexually explicit information

Driver has $240K McLaren impounded minutes after buying it in West Vancouver

Officers clocked the car travelling at 160 km/h along Highway 1 in a 90 km/h zone

UPDATE: RCMP arrest second person in North Island arson investigation

Police say suspects identified, house fire ‘not random’

Former Vernon Judo coach pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Bryan Jeffrey McLachlan is set to return to court Sept. 4 for sentencing

Most Read