The Sooke Boy Scout Troop makes its way up a snowy Phillips Road in December 1949. (Sooke Region Museum)

SOOKE HISTORY: Boy Scout Troop cycles up snowy Phillips Road

Troop started by John Martin, Sr., in 1935

Elida Peers | Contributed

Bicycling seems to be an increasingly important factor in today’s municipal planning, which might have interested these young fellows bicycling up the snow, gravel and dirt of Phillips Road in December 1949.

These boys were members of Sooke’s Boy Scout Troop, initiated locally by John Martin, Sr., in 1935. On this day, the troop was under the guidance of Scout leader Norman Rogers, a teacher at Milne’s Landing High School.

The tall young fellow at the left is Rob Martin, the elder son of the original troop leader. Half a century later, when Liz Johnson and I were volunteering our services establishing Communities in Bloom in Sooke, we had been at a meeting in Prince George and stopped to visit Rob Martin and his wife, Ann. They had been a provincial leader in Communities in Bloom. Rob Martin’s career had been as an educator in Prince George; we noticed that their lovely home on the Nechako River was very similar to the Martin home of Meota on Sooke River Road.

The little fellow next is David Conder, son of realtor Walter Conder and his wife Eileen, who lived on the Saseenos waterfront. David grew up to become an educator, teaching in the Vancouver area.

Danny Lajeunesse is well known in Sooke, as were his siblings, Gail Hall and Bob Lajeunesse. His working life was mainly in the forest industry on the Jordan River.

Bob and Norman Essery, sons of freight truck driver Jack Essery, went on to careers elsewhere in B.C.

John Jensen was the elder son of Kai and Margaret Jensen, who had a dairy farm on the banks of Saseenos Creek. Last we heard, John was running a farm in Falkland, B.C.

Dennis Smith grew up in Saseenos, the younger son of Alan Smith, a carpenter, and his wife Genevieve, who was notable for her many wins in baking at the Sooke Fall Fair. Dennis became a superintendent at Sooke Forest Products sawmill and a leader in Sooke’s volunteer Fire Department. Two of his Smith sisters still live in Sooke, Patricia Switzer and Cindy Heggelund.

Paul Morton, son of carpenter Sidney Morton, is on the far right. The Mortons lived on Woodlands Road on land later purchased by Ray Price and his wife Margaret, who went on to run Sooke Coffee Shop, a building that still serves as a restaurant on the corner of Sooke and Townsend Roads.

We assume these young men continued to enjoy bicycling.

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Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum. Email historian@sookeregionmuseum.com.

MORE HISTORY: The road to Sooke’s incorporation



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