Brave Scotsmen fight and die in World War I

This week’s column is a continuation of last week’s, and focuses on life at Cowichan Lake, as stipulated in the 1911 census.

The beautiful St Peter’s Anglican Church at Quamichan-Duncan BC. Early Cowichan Lake area residents

The beautiful St Peter’s Anglican Church at Quamichan-Duncan BC. Early Cowichan Lake area residents

This week’s column is a continuation of last week’s, and focuses on life at Cowichan Lake, as stipulated in the 1911 census.

Among the 85 residents of Cowichan Lake listed on the 1911 census (exactly one hundred years ago) were three brothers: William, Bruce and Robert Archibald.

William, at age 32, was listed as head of his household, with brother Bruce, 25, living with him. The third brother, 34-year-old Robert, was listed as a lodger at the home of Honeymoon Bay’s first pioneer Henry March and family Edith, John, 14, and Charlie, 12.

The Archibald brothers – all born in Scotland – were the sons of well-to-do parents who made their fortune woolen manufacturing in Scotland and the British West Indies, where they were the owners of a  plantation.

By 1915, William and Robert had left Cowichan Lake and returned to Britain, while Bruce remained at Cowichan Lake.

Like most able-bodied men of their day, all three brothers promptly signed on for service at the outbreak of World War I, William and Robert joined up in England, and Bruce joined in Victoria in 1915.

All three were sent into active service, which would result in the deaths of two of the brothers; a terrible tragedy for the Scottish born Archibald family.

“Robert Archibald, Private, Royal Scots 16th Battalion along with his brother William Archibald, Lance Corporal, Royal Scots 16th Btn., were both killed in France on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916.” (Anstruther War Memorial – Democracy of War website).

Bruce Archibald was spared the fate of his brothers and returned to Cowichan Lake in 1918.

According to the writings of the late Trevor Green, Bruce, who Trevor called “Sandy,” lived in a “charming cottage” that he had built on the [Cowichan] lakeshore at Willow Bay” (not far from the entrance to Honeymoon Bay). Being isolated, the place well-suited the reclusive and “dour” man.

Seven years later, on December 17, 1925, Bruce surprised all who knew him by marrying Winifred Savage of Duncan (a sister of Hugh Savage, one-time mayor of Duncan.). Winifred apparently fit very well into her rural surroundings by keeping busy with her beautiful “gardens and orchards.”

Although they generally kept to themselves, the couple “made weekly contact with the village (Lake Cowichan) by boat, as they had no car.”

After Winifred’s death in 1943, “Sandy” sold the cottage to Western Forest Industries (for use as a company guest house) and moved to Duncan, settling in Maple Bay. Retaining a strong friendship with the March family, Bruce would occasionally ride his bicycle to Honeymoon Bay to spend a day or two with the March’s.

In 1968, fifty years after he and his brothers arrived at Cowichan Lake, Bruce Gordon Archibald died at Shawnigan Lake. He was 81.

Both he and his wife are buried in St Peter’s Anglican Church cemetery at Quamichan, Duncan, BC.

Correction – Column August 17, 2011. The photo of a boat (launch) owned and operated by the Vancouver Island Coach Lines was incorrectly identified in the Aug 17, 2011 column. The incorrect information and photo were provided to this author by a private source, not the Kaatza Station Museum.

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

North Cowichan’s committee of the whole have rejected staff’s recommendation to limit the use of fireworks to Halloween. (File photo)
North Cowichan rejects limiting fireworks to Halloween

Municipality decides staff recommendation would be unpopular

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

CVRD Area E director Alison Nicholson, right, hiked two hours to Waterfall Camp at the Fairy Creek watershed along with Comox town councillor Nicole Minion and Comox Valley Regional District director Daniel Arbour to meet with old-growth logging activists on Monday, June 7. (Submitted)
Cowichan Valley regional director visits Fairy Creek protest camps

‘They clearly communicated that they are committed to what they are doing’

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read