Avoiding It like the Plague

It was the plague of the Twentieth Century — an influenza virus that came on like a lightning bolt, spread like wildfire and, with its companions, deadly bacterial pneumonias, killed people by the millions — maybe a hundred million in all — between 1918 and 1920. The so-called Spanish Flu took the young and healthy in huge numbers and left trails of human devastation in every corner of the globe.

Pestilence: Death of the First Born by William Blake (1757–1827). Pen and watercolor over graphite pencil on paper, about 1805. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass. Downloaded from the Museum website. ¶ In 1918, The Flu was often referred to as a plague. By then, little more was known about the influenza virus and its bacterial allies than when Blake made this iconic Pestilence a century earlier. The greenskinned giant strides through a land of pyramids, shedding deadly contagion in ghostly white flames while an angel looks on with folded wings. The “death of the first born” so vividly depicted refers to the curse laid on the Pharaoh during the Egyptian captivity related in the Old Testament Book of Exodus. The  baleful image anticipated the horrendous toll of the Spanish Flu among young, healthy people.

This is a local history of the Great Pandemic. The pull-down menus provide access. Some articles are under construction — do come again.

A diligent writer always includes sources. Should anyone wish to reproduce any part of these texts, fill your boots. I would ask that you credit “Spanish Influenza in Victoria, Canada, 1918-1920, spanishfluvictoriabc.com.” Thank you!

Peter Grant
Victoria, BC, Canada

Published March 29, 2018. Last update April 9, 2020.

Site reorganized March 29, 2020. Commenting enabled September 28, 2020.

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Armistice Day open-air service of Thanksgiving, Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria, November 11, 1918. Photographer J. Howard A. Chapman. BC Archives Call No. F-05514. Catalogue No. HP094248. Courtesy Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. ¶ Close to a thousand people gathered outside the cathedral shortly after noon on November 11, the day peace came to a world gone mad. In calling the service, the second there in two days, Anglican Bishop Schofield defied the ban on public meetings in place since October 8. The bishop “asked for God’s help in the removal of the influenza epidemic,” The Daily Colonist related. ¶ Victoria medical health officer Dr. A. G. Price noted an uptick in reports of influenza since rumours of impending armistice started to draw crowds the previous week. “The crowds are to blame,” Dr. Price commented in the Colonist the next day. “The general progress from day to day shows that. If the people will only realize that the instructions we have given are for their own good, and not simply idle words meant to be disobeyed, we will have the epidemic mastered completely in a few days and it will be possible to lift the ban on meetings, theatres and churches—but not till then.” More on that in the sidebar Armistice Crowds Ignore Ban.

I. The origin, spread and character of Spanish Flu

As far as can be determined, no credible chain of causation points to a Ground Zero of the Spanish flu, the virus now known as Influenza A (H1N1). The theories reviewed below are just that — based on speculation, even if tricked out as fact.
The scenario presented in a report published in 2012, “Relationship between ‘purulent bronchitis’ in military populations in Europe prior to 1918 and the 1918–1919 influenza pandemic,” credibly joins several links in a possible chain without, however, claiming discovery of the origin of the virus. The authors point to articles in The Lancet in 1917 and 1919 by British surgeons, practitioners with many autopsy and microscopy reports in their dossiers, who affirmed that the pandemic influenza of 1918-19 was the same disease as the “purulent bronchitis” that developed in 1916-17 against a background of endemic influenza in the British Expeditionary Force. The researchers of 2012 speculated that British and French army advisors to the American Expeditionary Force brought the disease to the United States in the winter of 1917-18.
Foreign and American officers, Camp Funston, Kansas, 1918. National Archives of the U.S.
The first known American outbreak, at Camp Funston, Kansas, began on March 11, 1918, and it was followed, less than a week later, by the appearance of the disease at Haskell Institute, in Lawrence, 160 kilometres/100 miles east of the army cantonment.
Relationship between ‘purulent bronchitis’ in military populations in Europe prior to 1918 and the 1918–1919 influenza pandemic, by  G. Dennis Shanks, Alison MacKenzie, Michael Waller and John F. Brundage. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, 6:4, July 2012, pp. 235-39, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
It’s possible the virus’s true origin was China, and the Chinese Labour Corps may have imported it to Europe, as argued by Mark Osborne Humphries in 2013. 
Paths of Infection: The First World War and the Origins of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, by Mark Osborne Humphries. War in History, 21:1 (2013), pp. 55-81.
Or it may have spread overland from China via Russia and Germany to the Western Front.
The American origin theory was advanced as early as 1919 by U.S. Army Surgeon General Rupert Blue. The Haskell County origin narrative has found wide acceptance since it was proposed in 2004, see the following.
Influenza ‘Just Growed.’ Surgeon General Blue suggests the epidemic may not have been imported, New York Tribune, February 18, 1919, p. 10, via newspapers.com.
Published March 26, 2018. Latest update August 23, 2020.

A. On an American Origin

i. The Haskell County origin story and the other “Haskell” in Kansas.

The notice of epidemic deadly influenza on April 5, 1918 emanated from Haskell Institute and not from Haskell County. The proof is in the nearly identical wording of the April 5, 1918 notice in Public Health Reports and the report of Charles E. Banks, Senior Surgeon, U.S. Public Health Service, on the Haskell Institute outbreak, dated March 30 and published in the April 12 Indian Leader, the weekly newsletter of the institute.

Courtesy HathiTrust Digital Library

ii. The March 1918 influenza epidemic at Haskell Institute, Kansas.

The importance of Kansas and the Great Plains in the history of the 1918 pandemic can be reaffirmed by reference to the obituaries published in The Indian Leader. Their significance can scarcely be overstated. They put a human face on the horror of the influenza outbreak, possibly for the first time. And, in reports of the Camp Funston and Haskell Institute outbreaks, we glimpse, possibly for the first time in its history, the killer complex of virus and bacteria at work.

Haskell Institute, Lawrence, Kansas, circa 1920s. Courtesy Amazonas.com.

iii. How did the Camp Funston Patient Zero story get started?

Albert Gitchell had no inkling, I am sure, that he was Patient Zero. Anyway, he was not Patient Zero. Because Patient Zero was a construction. And because Albert just wasn’t Patient Zero. The Opie medical commission the army sent to Camp Funston in July 1918 reported that the same disease had been endemic at the camp since it opened the previous September.

B. On Asian Origins

iv. Is William Head linked to the place of origin of Spanish Flu?

The idea that the Spanish Flu originated in China has been around since 1918, and a connection to the quarantine station at William Head, near Victoria, on Vancouver Island, has recently come under scrutiny by historians.

Published March 26, 2020; latest revision March 31, 2020.

Victoria in 1918

Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada’s Pacific province. Founded as a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post in 1843, Victoria became in 1849 the capital of the Colony of Vancouver Island, and the company bought the land the city stands on from resident Salish First Nations in 1850. Incorporated as a city in 1862, Victoria has been the capital of British Columbia (area 944,735 square kilometres/364,764 square miles) since 1868. The British colony became the sixth province of Canada in 1871.

British Columbia, Canada. Victoria, the capital city, at bottom centre. Thanks for the loan, Canada Maps: http://www.canada-maps.org/british-columbia-map.htm

Victoria is situated at the southeast end of Vancouver Island (area 31,285 sq km/12,079 sq mi). The city’s south and west coasts border the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and its east coast borders Haro Strait.

In the 2016 census of Canada, Victoria’s metropolitan area aggregated a population of 367,770 in thirteen municipalities.

Contemporary map of Greater Victoria showing the thirteen constituent municipalities. The District of Central Saanich was until 1950 part of the District of Saanich. Borrowed with thanks from https://www.vicnews.com/news/saanich-completes-puzzle-of-revised-regional-growth-plan/

In 1918, Greater Victoria comprised four municipalities: the City of Victoria, the Districts of Saanich and Oak Bay and the Township of Esquimalt.

Victoria area municipalities as shown on 1923 B. C. Electric Railway Company transit map of the region (detail). Courtesy Oak Bay Archives via acitygoestowar.ca

From 1906 to 1950 the District of Saanich extended north to the boundary of North Saanich.

The population of Greater Victoria at the time of the Spanish Flu was estimated to be about 56,000. More on how a population estimate was derived in “How Victoria Fared.”

Victoria’s resident population included factory, foundry and shipyard workers, loggers, commercial fishermen, whalers, farmers, wholesalers and retailers, service workers and the provincial civil service. Victoria’s was an insular society, deeply stratified. While superficially integrated through the system of domestic service, it was racially and socio-economically segregated by geography. The city’s most populous ethnicities included, in the 1911 census of Canada, English (43.8 percent of the total population), Scottish (16.8 percent), Chinese (10.9 percent) and Irish (7.1 percent). Just twenty-three persons were recorded as of “Indian/Sauvage” origin.

Victoria’s transient military populations included the Esquimalt naval establishment, the Work Point army garrison (British), Willows Camp training base of the Canadian Expeditionary Force …

Key transportation vectors included considerable civilian shipping in Victoria Harbour, where steamers provided passenger and freight services with mainland ports and offshore; the naval service in Esquimalt Harbour; three regional railway lines; the Victoria streetcar system.

How Victoria fared: a statistical overview

This study presents statistics published by local and provincial authorities on both morbidity — numbers of cases, updated daily at the time — and mortality, deaths, whether by influenza or by pneumonia following influenza.

One useful summary statistic is the mortality rate, expressed as a number per thousand population per unit of time who died of influenza, with or without pneumonia. The mortality rate provides a basis for comparing one city’s experience with those of other places, and so links the Local experience with the Global.

Meaningful numbers are, however, difficult to marshall, given the imprecisions of the day in reporting cases of the illness and in identifying it as the cause of death.

It’s not only the numbers of cases and deaths that are uncertain. In 1918, the provincial statistician could only guess at human populations. The previous census of Canada, conducted in 1911, was utterly hors de combat. This study applies the multiples employed by the statistician to derive population estimates for the district.

The statistical overview of mortality in this study is based on the numbers aggregated by the provincial board. Among other uncertainties, it’s not clear whether the Province’s mortality figures include military deaths. The hand count of deaths attributable to Spanish Flu will serve as a check on the provincial board’s count.

In the four municipalities that comprised Greater Victoria, the total number of deaths recorded by the Provincial Board of Health between July 1, 1918 and June 30, 1920 from Influenza or Pneumonia Following Influenza was 259.

Those numbers may be low. Some deaths from Spanish Flu and its complications may have been mis-identified, especially early in the epidemic. Or the numbers could be high, if other kinds of pneumonia or influenza were included in the totals.

From the numbers  for 1918-19 and local population figures, the Provincial Health Officer came to the conclusion that about one per cent. of the province died from influenza that year. “While this may appear high,” wrote Dr. Young, “yet in comparison with other countries we were among the fortunate ones.”

Provincial Board of Health Annual Report, 1918-1919, p. B6.

A fact-check using the figures in the vital statistics section of Dr. Young’s report for 1918-19 yields a mortality percentage about one-quarter lower.

The B.C. population was estimated to be 440,187, and “Indians (aborigines)” numbered 24,744, giving a total population at mid-1919 of 464,931. (p. B41) For comparison, the 1911 census showed the province’s population was 392,480 and the 1921 census, 524,582.

From BC Stats.

To calculate how many people died of Spanish influenza in B.C., the statistician combined the reported numbers of deaths from “influenza” and ”pneumonia following influenza” to reach a total of 2,733 deaths (B43), to which must be added 671 deaths of First Nations people from those two causes (B67), for a total 3,404 deaths attributable to Spanish influenza in the year.

The number of deaths (3,404) amounts to 0.732 per cent. of the total B.C. population of 464,931. In standard terminology, the mortality rate from Spanish Flu in B.C. in 1918-19 was 7.32 deaths per 1,000 per annum.

Other conclusions reached by the Provincial Health Officer:

• Nearly a third (30 per cent.) of the population got the disease.

• “The death-rate in the localities that placed the ban on [meetings] immediately, and enforced it, is very much below the death rate of those points that were dilatory in adopting these measures.

• “A great deal of investigation has been carried on in regard to vaccines, and the consensus of opinion is that we do not know the exciting cause of the influenza and have not been able to isolate the germ; there is no vaccine against influenza. There is, however, a vaccine against its complications which is of value.”

• The wearing of face masks was not enforced.

The deputy registrar of vital statistics, Munroe Miller, who reported to Dr. Young, made these analyses:

• Total deaths registered 1918-19 = 6,696. (Not including Indians. Indian deaths = 1,046, so the total, total deaths were 7,742.) Total 1917, not including Indians = 3,896. Increase of 1918-19 total over 1917 total = 73.06 per cent. (B43)

• “[T]o show the full force of the epidemic … if we add ‘influenza’ and ‘pneumonia following influenza,’ not including Indians, we have a total of 2,733 out of 6,696, or 40.81 per cent. If from 6,696 we deduct 2,733 we have a remainder of 3,963, or, as nearly as possible, our normal death-roll.” (B44)

• Overall mortality in British Columbia for the reporting year July 1918-June 1919, was 14.78 deaths per 1,000 people. The 73 per cent. increase was, the deputy registrar wrote, “entirely due to the influenza.” It represents “a slight increase in the deaths from infectious diseases, but not such, with our population, as to warrant any apprehension.”

Population estimates in British Columbia in these years were just that — estimates. The deputy registrar of vital statistics pointed up the state of affairs:

It has become more than ever necessary to ascertain, as nearly as possible, numerically, what our population really is in order that the rates per thousand of births, deaths and marriages may be clearly shown. With that object in view, a census not having been taken for eight years, after conferring with different heads of departments, the conclusion has been arrived at that no better course can be found than that followed heretofore by this branch of the Service—viz., to depend on the enrollment of children in our public schools; consequently their number will be made the base on which we found our calculations to fix the number of our population.

The deputy registrar fixed on two multipliers: 6.5 for centres of industry and transportation nexes, 5.5 for agricultural areas.

Applying those multipliers to the numbers of registered schoolchildren in the four municipalities then comprising Greater Victoria  yields an estimated population at mid-1919 of 56,109.

A simple, very rough per-annum mortality rate can be derived from 259 deaths over two years among a population of 56,109: 2.3 deaths per thousand per annum. That number can be compared with the estimated death rates in other cities. Serious obstacles to the use of such numbers include the following:

  • Population estimates do not factor-in the transient military population
  • Reporting periods or methods of collecting data may be different from place to place
  • The simple rate does not reflect mortality in excess of the normal, which requires pulling the numbers for several previous years. Excess mortality is a more telling statistic. That is a task as yet undone.

The stark truth remains that nearly three times as many people died of Spanish Flu in one awful day in Philadelphia than died in Greater Victoria in eighteen months.

British Columbia First Nations had an experience of Spanish Flu that exceeded Philadelphia’s. Its 1919 population estimated at just 24,744, B.C. First Nations suffered 671 deaths province-wide from Spanish Flu in 1918-19. That works out to 27.1 deaths per 1,000 people per annum. It was magnitudes higher than the death rate of the general B.C. population.

The deputy registrar of vital statistics reports for the two years 1918-19 and 1919-20 breaks down the mortality totals for each jurisdiction by age (14 groupings, most by decade), by gender and by cause of death. The groups with the highest mortality by reported numbers of deaths due to influenza or pneumonia following influenza over two reporting periods in the City of Victoria:

These data show that one-half of Victorians who died from the Spanish Flu were between the ages of 20 and 40, a fact confirmed in studies elsewhere. Overall, 157 males died, and 101 women [not reconciled with municipal totals for Saanich] — more than half again as many men died as women.

Here are the Department  of Vital Statistics’ compilations by year, cause of death, age, gender and jurisdiction:



Published March 26, 2018; last amended March 29, 2020.

III. Victims of the Flu: a Memorial Grove

Among the residents of our cemeteries are whole families felled by pandemic “Spanish” Influenza … Army recruits from Saskatchewan and Quebec who arrived at Willows Camp bound for Siberia, only to end their days at the Stadacona Park Isolation Hospital … Nurses and nuns and volunteer caregivers who made the supreme sacrifice while tending influenza patients.

Lizzie Mary Lena Grant, mother and Red Cross worker, an early victim of the Spanish Flu; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery.

The Spanish Flu did its deadliest work in the shadow of the Great War. When the war ended, the collective hope, already sick of death, embraced the peace. Yet the “plague” raged on for another eighteen months. For these reasons and doubtless others, the victims of Spanish Flu have not been memorialized in Victoria, nor have their stories been told.

To identify persons who died of Spanish Flu, the required source is a death registration document, Circumstances of Casualty (Canada) or Vital Statistics Act: Schedule B—Deaths (British Columbia). The cause of death is usually given as “influenza” or some combination of “influenza” and “pneumonia” or another respiratory pathology. “Pneumonia following influenza” is common. The cause of death section of the provincial document has two lines: (a) Remote or Earlier Pathological or Morbid Condition and (b) Immediate or Final Determining Cause. Death by Spanish Flu may look like this:

“Pneumonia” by itself is not a reliable indicator, since the bacilli often paired with other epidemic diseases, notably measles. Conversely, the virus might have been followed by some lethal pathogen that was not pneumoniac.

All identified persons are cross-referenced with newspaper obituaries, cemetery records, family history records, census returns, city directories, and anything else that comes up in internet searches. In a few cases, the deciding factor is an obituary, article or personal communication.

Where life stories can be reconstructed, the names are underlined and link to memorial pages.

This is a work in progress.

Published March 26, 2018. Last updated August 23, 2020.

Victorians abroad

Dorothy Pearson Twist, 33, Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) worker, died September 26, 1918 at Frensham Heights Military Hospital, near Farnham, Surrey, United Kingdom.

Albert Roy Maclachlan, 26, Sapper, 2nd Depot Battalion, B. C. Regiment, died September 29, 1918 in Quebec.

William Allan Blyth, 28, Private, Aero Repair, Royal Air Force; twenty-five years resident in Victoria, died October 16, 1918 in Toronto. Buried at Ross Bay Cemetery, Block P, Row 100, west side of Plot W. His parents Elsie and Alexander share the same ground.

Emily Spencer, 42, wife of William, mother of two; died October 18, 1918, in Toronto; buried at Ross Bay Cemetery, Block S, Row 4, east side of Plot 45.

Harry Chateauneauff Johnston, 24, Private, 1st Depot Battalion, B.C. Regiment C.E.F., lived in Victoria for eight years; married, with one child; died October 19, 1918 in Vancouver, BC; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block Q, Row 76, west side of Plot W.

William James Patterson, 28, Private, 102nd Battalion, native of Victoria, died on October 25, 1918 at No. 33 Casualty Clearing Station, France; buried at the Bucquoy Cemetery near Arras.

Arthur Earl Chandler, 35, lifelong resident of Victoria; married, with one child; died on October 31, 1918, in Vancouver; buried at Ross Bay Cemetery, Block L, Row 8, east side of Plot 4.

Ellen Ruth Murphy, RN, 21, died November 9, 1918 in Agassiz, B.C., nursing influenza patients.

William Boyd McInnis, 18, theatre employee; born in Winnipeg; sometime resident of Victoria with parents and six siblings. When the Empress Theatre in Kamloops “was closed on account of the influenza epidemic, he volunteered his services in the hospital to help with the caring of influenza patients. While doing this he contracted the disease and died from it.” William died on November 18, 1918, in Kamloops and is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block Q, Row 20, west side of plot X.

Clement James William Freeman, Private, 16th Battalion, C.E.F. and Canadian Army Medical Corps, died January 11, 1919 in Vancouver.

Henry Alfred Hagger, Private, Canadian Forestry Corps, C.E.F., died February 13, 1919 in Vancouver.

Demetrius Konstantine Chungranes, 66, a fish merchant, died February 22, 1919 in Point Grey, BC. Buried at Ross Bay Cemetery, Block P, Row 126, east side of Plot I.


Frank Steinfield, 27, manager, Pantages Theatre; died October 6, 1918 in Victoria; likely Victoria’s Patient Zero, see “Attack and Counterattack;” buried in Seattle.

Horatio Alfred Treen, 76, Captain, Victoria Rifles (Montreal), veteran of the Fenian campaign, died October 10, 1918 in Victoria. Buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block L, Row 17, east side of Plot B.

Elizabeth Fulton, 16, a student; born in Belfast, Ireland; resident in the city for twelve years; died October 17, 1918 in Victoria. Buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block O, Row 57/58, west side of Plot N. Her parents Frank and Lucinda occupy the same ground.

Arthur Butcher, 31, a letter carrier; born in England; six years in Victoria and Canada; died October 19, 1918 in Victoria. Buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block Q, Row 53, east side of Plot W.

Netta Florence Anderson, 20, born in Victoria to Capt. John Anderson and Emma Matthews, both of Newfoundland; lived in the family home on Duchess Street all her life; an elevator operator; died October 20, 1918 in Victoria.

Janet Wardie Hards, 22, wife of Frederick Hards, died October 22, 1918, in Victoria

Norah Hennessy Pellow, 54, widow of Thomas Pellow, mother of seven, died October 22, 1918 in Victoria; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block B, Row 98, east side of Plot 36.

Chin Gee Fung, 36, the editor of The New Republic, a pro-Sun Yat-Sen newspaper; died October 24, 1918, in Victoria.

Toney Perfetti, 20, a laborer; born in Italy; resident six years; died on October 27, 1918 in Colquitz District

Alice Maud Hetty Holmes, 27, wife of William; born London, England; resident one year; died October 28, 1918 in Victoria, with a three-day-old child.

Ernest Daniel Sinclair, 29, a plumber; resident 25 years; died October 28, 1918, in Victoria

Charles Howard Sutherland, 28; born in Nova Scotia; husband of Alma; resident six years; died October 28, 1918 in Esquimalt.

James Bailey Corbett, 46, married with five children; born in Manitoba; resident eight years; died October 29, 1918 in Victoria.

Edward McDonald “Ted” Pellow, 20, son/stepson of Norah Pellow, who died a week before; a firefighter at the No. 4 Fire Hall on Catherine Street; died on October 29, 1918 in Victoria; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block W, Row 5, east side of Plot 40.

Chew C. Chung, 26, sawmill worker; born in China; 15 years in the district; died on November 3, 1918 in Victoria; buried in the Chinese Cemetery.

Jessie McNutt, 74, wife of George McNutt, with three sons and two daughters; born in Nova Scotia, resident of the district 27 years, of Victoria 10 years; died on November 3, 1918, in Victoria; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block P, Row 92, east side of Plot U.

Hettie Rebecca Barber, 26; wife of Fred Barber; born in England, resident in Victoria five years; died on November 6, 1918, in Victoria.

Nicholas Zeifires, 25, a waiter at the Empress Hotel; married; born in Greece; eight years in Canada and Victoria; died November 6, 1918 in Victoria; buried at Ross Bay Cemetery, Block Q, Row 76, east side of Plot X.

Elizabeth Thompson, 19, a nurse, born in Nebraska; about four years resident in Canada and Victoria; died November 7, 1918 in Victoria.

Joseph Bradley, 44, a longshoreman, narried to Annie; born Leistershire, England; lived in Victoria and Canada for twenty years; died on November 10, 1918 in Victoria. Buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block F, Row 21/22, west side of Plot 21. Annie is buried beside.

Charles Christie, 33, a carpenter, married; born in Scotland; resident in Canada eleven years, in Victoria two months. Died on November 10, 1918 in Victoria. Buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block Q, Row 16, west side of Plot U.

Phillip Walsh, 27, a milkman; died November 13 in Royal Oak, Saanich, at the home he lived in all his life; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block U, Row 80, east side of Plot 49; his parents Mary and Patrick share the same ground.

Singhi Bo, 36, a laborer; born in Ludhiana, Punjab State, India; resident in Canada for ten years; living in Sidney; died on November 14, 1918, in Victoria.

William Thomas, 36, a whaler; born in Wales; resident of Canada and this area for eight years; resided latterly at the Coach and Horse Hotel, Esquimalt; died on November 14, 1918, in Victoria; buried at Ross Bay Cemetery, Block N, Row 34, west side of Plot H.

Annie Mee, 29, wife of Robert Lawrence Mee and mother of two; born in England; lived in Victoria and Canada for twenty-five years; died on November 16, 1918, in Victoria; buried at Ross Bay Cemetery, Block T, Row 42, west side of Plot 41.

Hubert Arnold Bishop, 44, a barber; husband of Della Bishop; native of Barbados, British West Indies; living in Victoria and Canada for seven years; died on November 21, 1918 in Victoria and is buried at Ross Bay Cemetery, Block Q, Row 18, west side of Plot V.

Agnes Ann Lorimer, 33, a housekeeper, died November 23, 1918 in Victoria

William Lorimer, 73, father of Agnes, died on November 24, 1918 in Victoria

Rose Emeline Smith, 39, wife of Harry Walter Smith, mother of three, died December 25, 1918 in Victoria

Ernest Edward Farrington, 31, employee of  B.C. Electric Railway Co., died February 21, 1919 in Victoria

Joseph Callow, 34, an elevator operator, died February 24, 1919 in Victoria

Jane Darbyshire, 38, teacher at Tolmie School; wife of John Darbyshire and mother of Kenneth; died March 1, 1919 in Saanich.


Norman Dixon, 26, Private, 260th Battalion C.E.F. (Siberia); born in Springfield, Ontario; a farm worker, living in Edmonton, Alberta before recruitment; two brothers also in the 260th; died October 14, 1918 in Victoria; buried in Edmonton.

Amos Parks, 23, Private, 260th Battalion C.E.F. (Siberia); born in Bancroft, Ontario; a farm worker living in Swift Current, Saskatchewan before recruitment; died October 16, 1918, in Victoria; buried in Swift Current.

Joseph Hewitt, 24, Private, 260th Battalion C.E.F. (Siberia); born in London, United Kingdom; a farm worker living in Whitewood, Saskatchewan before recruitment; died October 17, 1918 in Victoria. Buried in Whitewood.

William Joseph Keeler, 23, Private, 260th Battalion C.E.F. (Siberia); born in Seaforth, Ontario; a farm worker living in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan before recruitment; died October 17, 1918 in Victoria. Buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block U, Row 45, west side of Plot 49.

Alfred Ernest Cordery, 22, Private, 260th Battalion C.E.F. (Siberia); born in Lambourne, Berkshire, United Kingdom; a farm worker living in Vanguard, Saskatchewan before recruitment; died October 18, 1918 in Victoria. Buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block W, Row 3, east side of Plot 43.

Fred Crysler, 20, Private, 260th Battalion C.E.F. (Siberia); born in Watertown, New York; a farm worker living  in Meota, Saskatchewan before recruitment; died October 19, 1918 in Victoria; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block W,  Row 5, west side of Plot 44.

Archibald Calvert, 26, Private, 260th Battalion C.E.F. (Siberia); born in St. John’s, Newfoundland; a bank accountant living in St. John’s before recruitment; died October 20, 1918 in Victoria; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block L, Row 19, west side of Plot C.

Edward Henry Charles Cook, 47, Pioneer Sergeant, 1st Depot Battalion, B.C. Regiment C.E.F.; born in Great Chesterford, Essex, United Kingdom; married to Maude Eleanor, with four children; a carpenter and builder living in Burnaby Lake, British Columbia before enlisting in February 1915; died October 20, 1918 in Victoria; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block W, Row 4, west side of Plot 44.

James Hayes, 29, Private, 260th Battalion C.E.F. (Siberia); born in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland;  a railway mail clerk living in Vancouver, British Columbia before recruitment; died October 20, 1918 in Victoria; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block W, Row 8, west side of Plot 43.

William Henry McLaughlin, 17, Trumpeter, 5th Regiment Canadian Garrison Artillery, died October 23, 1918 in Esquimalt.

John Blair Montgomery, 29, Private, 11th Battalion, Canadian Garrison Regiment C.E.F; born in Vancouver, B.C.; a substation operator living in Vancouver before recruitment; died October 23, 1918 in Esquimalt; buried in Vancouver.

William Henry Fisher, 28, Private, 260th Battalion C.E.F. (Siberia), died October 25, 1918 in Victoria; buried in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Thomas Unsworth Cooke, 27, Private, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, C.E.F., died October 26, 1918 in Victoria; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block W, Row 8, west side of Plot 44.

Albert Sidney Hewitt, 21, Private, 259th Battalion C.E.F. (Siberia); born in Ontario; died October 30, 1918 in Victoria; buried in Kitchener, Ontario.

Malcolm H. Leonard, 28, Leading Stoker, H.M.C.S. Rainbow, Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve; born in the Orkney Islands, Scotland; resident 15 months; died October 31, 1918 in Esquimalt.

John Conlon, 26, Private, 259th Battalion C.E.F. (Siberia); born in Ireland; resident for two weeks; died November 1, 1918 in Victoria

Benjamin Mitchell, 38, Private, 11th Canadian Garrison Regiment, C.E.F.; native of Scotland; resident in Victoria for three months; died November 20, 1918 in Esquimalt and is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block L, Row 19, east side of Plot C.

George Stanley Sargison, Gunner, 5th British Columbia Garrison Artillery, C.E.F., died November 23, 1918 in Victoria

Frederick Lewis Hollett, Sergeant, 16th Battalion, C.E.F., died January 4, 1919 in Victoria

Albert George Moss, Private, 88th Battalion, C.E.F. and Canadian Army Service Corps, died January 30, 1919 in Victoria

Hin Yung Chang, 47th Company, Chinese Labour Corps, died November 18, 1919 in Metchosin, BC

John Campbell, Corporal, 18th Battalion, C.E.F., died March 14, 1920 in Esquimalt


Lizzie Mary Lena Grant, 28, Red Cross worker, died October 20, 1918 in Victoria

Beulah Westwood, 30, school teacher, volunteer nurse, died November 8, 1918 in Victoria.

Sister Mary Josephine, RN, 28, Chief Operating Nurse, St. Joseph’s Hospital; born Marie Maesson in Belgium; resident in Victoria ten years; died November 9, 1918 in Victoria; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block U, Row 60, east side of Plot 52.

Recently resident

Kieran Joseph O’Neill, MD, 29, born in Ontario, husband of Mary Elizabeth Lyons; father of five; lived and practised in Victoria 1910-13; died October 23, 1918 in Coupeville, Washington; buried at Mount Carmel Cemetery, Snohomish County, Washington.

William Henry Armstrong, 34, CPR conductor; born in Manitoba; resident in Victoria eleven years; married, living in Alberni; died on October 31, 1918; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery Block Q, Row 83, west side of Plot W.

James Homer Lemmax, 30, pharmacist; born in Kansas; resident of Victoria 1890-1917; died on October 31, 1918, in San Francisco.

Robert Johnston, 25, teamster; born in Belfast, Ireland; ten years’ residence in Canada and the Victoria area; volunteered for service in March 1915; joined the 48th Battalion Canadian Infantry and transported to England; suffered failing health and returned; discharged September 1917; died on November 12, 1918 on James Island, where he had been living for two months. Burial at Ross Bay Cemetery with full military honours; Block L, Row 16, east side of Plot A.


Wong Ho, 32, born in China; in Canada fifteen days, all at the Immigration Detention Hospital in Victoria; died October 13, 1918; buried in the Chinese Cemetery, Oak Bay.

Koto Fukuyama, 24, married, with two children; born in Japan; resident of Vancouver; three days in Victoria; died October 27, 1918 at the Osawa Hotel; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery Block N, row 29, east side of plot I.

John Little, 37; born in Ontario; resident of Everett, Washington; in Victoria two weeks; died October 28, 1918 at the Columbia Rooms; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block L, Row 23, east side of Plot E.

Dorothy Francis Hamilton Edwards, 26; wife of Guy Henry Thomas Edwards, mother of John Guy Hamilton Edwards; born in London, England; resident of Wallachin, BC; died on November 6, 1918 in Victoria; buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Block T, Row 79, east side of Plot 45.

Samuel McKelvey, 32, a farmer in Iddlesleigh, Alberta; born in Walthamstow, Essex County, England; died on November 11, 1918 after one week in Victoria; buried in Calgary.

Agnes Mary Fletcher, 29, married with one child; native of England; in Victoria and Canada for two weeks; resident at the Fairfield Hotel; died on November 17, 1918, in Victoria and is buried in Toronto.

* A few military deaths were followed by post-mortem examination; autopsy records of soldiers and sailors who succumbed have been digitized and made accessible in Library and Archives Canada’s Personnel of the First World War files; the records, usually hand-written notes in medical idiom, appear to give the most focussed evidence imaginable of the effects of the virus. Those men gave their all.