As part of our Vancouver Island Masonic History Project, with its sections on Vancouver Island Cemeteries – Masonic Interments and Deceased Brethren, here is a page on Nelson Francis Ockenden, a member of United Service Lodge, No.24, who is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
Nelson Francis Ockenden (died 3 January 1919, aged 43) was a member of United Service Lodge, No.24 [note: as a result of Lodge amalgamation, it is now named United Peninsula Lodge, No.24. At the time Nelson Ockenden was a member, United Services Lodge, No.24 was based in Esquimalt, B.C. It now meets at Mt. Newton Masonic Hall in Saanichton.]
Nelson Francis Ockenden was a carpenter who worked at C.F.B. Esquimalt. He moved to Victoria, with his family, from Dover, England in 1912.
The move did not go smoothly. The family lost two young sons in a diphtheria outbreak in Victoria in the spring of 1913. Nelson Ockenden contracted an illness and died in 1919 at the relatively young age of 43.
Here are the local newspaper reports of his death and funeral:
“Nelson Francis Ockenden, of 159 Plumstead Street, Esquimalt, passed away at Jubilee Hospital yesterday after an illness of several weeks. He was born in Dover, Kent, England, forty three years ago, coming to Victoria with his family in 1912. The remains are reposing at the B.C. Funeral Chapel, and due notice of the funeral will be given.”
(Source: Victoria Daily Times, 4 January 1919, page 8)
“OCKENDEN – On January 3, 1919, at Jubilee Hospital, Nelson Francis Ockenden, of 1595 Plumstead Street, Esquimalt, aged 43 years; born at Dover, England. He is survived by his widow, also three daughters, Miss Emily, a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Lillie and Muriel and one son, Harold. Four sisters also survive. The deceased was a member of United Service Lodge, No. 24, A.F. & A.M., also the Brothers of St. George, and of the Ship Carpenters Union.
The remains are reposing at the B.C. Funeral Chapel. Due notice of the funeral will be given.
(Dover, England newspapers please copy.)”
(Source: Victoria Daily Times, 4 January 1919, page 16)
“The funeral of the late Nelson F. Ockenden took place yesterday from the B.C. Funeral Chapel, where service was conducted by the Rev. W. Baugh-Allen. There was a very large attendance and the floral offering was very beautiful. United Service Lodge, No. 24, A.F. & A.M., of Esquimalt attended in a body, also a large delegation from the sons of St. George. At the cemetery the Masonic service was conducted by W.M. G.H. Llewellyn. The following members of the Masonic Lodge acted as pallbearers: F. Morran, W. Angus, W. Gay, J.D. Mitchell, S. Reiffell and T. Hommett. Interment was made in the family plot at Ross Bay cemetery.”
(Source: Victoria Daily Times, 8 January 1919, page 7)
Also noted on the Ockenden tomb are the deaths of two young sons in 1913. When we first saw the grave we thought these deaths may have been the result of an accident but it turned out that the boys died of diphtheria in March 1913 during a local outbreak of the disease. Three children died in this outbreak: Francis William Ockenden, died 7 March 1913, his brother Albert Edward Ockenden, died 15 March 1913 and Florence Emily Holligan, who died 4 March 1913, who is buried in Ross Bay cemetery a short distance from the Ockenden family grave.
Here is the local newspaper report of the death of Francis William Ockenden:
“The death occurred this morning at the isolation hospital of Francis William Ockenden, the 13-year-old son of F. Ockenden. The deceased, who was born in Dover, England, came here a year ago, and for some time had sung as a choir-boy in St. Paul’s church, Esquimalt. He is survived by his father and mother; two sisters and two brothers, one of the latter being at present in the isolation hospital recovering from the same illness to which the deceased lad succumbed. The funeral, which will be private, will take place to-morrow from the hospital, the Rev. Baugh Allen officiating.”
(Source: Victoria Daily Times 7 March 1913 page 10)
We have not been able to find any local newspaper reports of the death of Albert Edward Ockenden on 15 March 1913. This could be due to the undoubted devastation caused to the family by the loss of two young sons in such a short period of time.
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