It was taken a hundred years ago this month! That’s a pretty special picture, if you ask me. Does it come from the book?
It does, in fact you’ll find it in the first set of pictures – following page 61.
Tell us about it – who were these fellows?
Well, the older man at the back was Rufus’s Dad. He was an English vicar and he’d scraped together the cost of coming to BC to visit his three sons and his grandson. He’d arrived in May and would go home at the end of July. He’s holding Derek, his grandson, who died in 2009 at 96
Were any of the old man’s children still living in England?
Fortunately, yes – he had three at home, two daughters and a son. People had big families at that time, so he wasn’t all alone. But still, his three eldest children – all sons – were living in BC, and he missed them terribly.
Why didn’t their mother come too?
Who, Nellie? Because she’d died eleven years earlier – at the birth of their younger brother Peter. Here she is, and it’s not the picture of her you’ll find in the book
So, when the picture was taken Rufus was living in Victoria – and Linden Cottage was his house? What was he doing for a living?
He’d just started as News Editor at the Daily Colonist in Victoria.
And his brothers?
Roy, a qualified lawyer, was 29 and working in the CPR’s legal department in Vancouver. Lyonel was only 19 and had just arrived in BC. He was becoming a surveyor – doing a sort of apprenticeship. He’d snatched a few days off to come and see his father but had to leave in the morning to get back to his bush-camp up north.
Maybe this was the only chance to get them all together for a picture?
That’s absolutely right – and it was the last picture taken of them all together. World War One broke out while the old man was on his way home. Roy and Lyonel joined the army right away, Rufus in 1915, and before there was an opportunity to get together on leave in England, Lyonel had been killed and Roy gassed.
Poor Lyonel – how did he become a captain so quickly?
Well, he started as a private, was commissioned in the field and ended up commanding a company of 60 men because every other officer had been killed. So they made him a captain in 1916 and this picture was in the Daily Colonist. He was killed soon afterwards, just before his 21st birthday.
That group picture certainly had a story to it. What are you planning to celebrate its centenary?
As luck would have it, Val and I will be in Victoria that day. Allan has scoped out Linden Avenue and, although the cottage was torn down to make way for apartments, we’ll have a three generation photograph on a nearby doorstep – Allan’s children are the fifth generation of Rufus’s Canadian family. And any other of Rufus’s descendants are welcome to join us. As the outlaw, I’ll take the picture.
Who took the original one?
Bee did – you can see the shadow of her head on Lyonel’s foot. I guess she took it because she was the outlaw! Plus, it was a guy picture.