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

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

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Kids, parents cool off at Langford splash park

Centennial Park is home to a popular water feature

Saanich landfill gets used oil and antifreeze dropoff centre upgrades

BC Used Oil Management Association oversees upgrades, two new facilities in province

Saanich woman completes 10 marathons, raises double her initial goal amount

Over $20,000 raised for Victoria Hospitals Foundation

Colwood man to ride 400 kilometres to fight kids cancer

Man riding for a beloved family member who died from leukemia at 13-years-old

UPDATED: Missing 25-year-old Saanich woman found Saturday

Yuhan Jin thought to be travelling by foot or bus, carrying two suitcases

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Raptors kneel for both American and Canadian anthems ahead of tipoff

Majority of players have substituted their names on the backs of their jerseys with racial and social justice messages

Most Read