Lighthouse History – 45 (1917-04-27 to 1918-12-08)

Lighthouse History – 45 (1917-04-27 to 1918-12-08)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: ”Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.


Died Apr 26, 1917 at Victoria, British Columbia, Nicholas Bertucci, Resident of here for 55 years, aged 79. native of Lavagna, Italy, he left there in early 1860s and came here by way of Cape Horn. Prior to coming to Victoria, he worked on an American survey ship, and after arriving here worked for 5 years as asst lighthousekeeper at Race Rocks. Later he owned and operated the Ferry Boat House, situated at that time where the E&N Railroad bridge now stands, selling it 1889. He leaves a widow, 7 sons: B G; L; and J, now on active service; N; A, Al; and F all of Victoria. Also 5 daughters: Mrs J Sault, Mrs H Galinger; Miss J, all of Victoria, and Mrs F Arnott, Los Angeles; Mrs H F Silk, now in England. VX/News/Ph/Jun 23, 5 – A/Cpl Joseph Francis Bertucci, Victoria, Wounded in Action 2nd time. Left Victoria with 2 brothers, Louis and Jack, both at front. Was employed in Times business office. U 073 E 53 [Colonist, 1917-04-27*]


D H McNeill, Fiddle Reef Lighthouse, Oak Bay, is very pleased over action of Oak Bay council in approving the name change of Shoal Bay to McNeill’s Bay. He is grand son of Captain William Henry McNeill… [Colonist, 1918-02-28, p. 7]


With his wife [Catherine] violently insane from the awful loneliness of West Coast, and 2 of his 4 children in a precarious state through lack of food, Lightkeeper [James Henry] Sadler, of Entrance I [later re-named Kains] lighthouse, was found at his post after he had exhausted himself in his efforts to keep his wife from committing suicide. 
When Captain Oversen, of SS St Lawrence, arrived at Port Alice he found distress signals flying at the Entrance I lighthouse, and it is reported that they were flying for 5 days. In spite of the circumstances Keeper Sadler had kept the light burning. 
St Lawrence took Mrs Sadler and 2 of the children to Port Alice, where they will be cared for. Mr Sadler is still tending the light, but he is said to be in an uncertain state of health. Gordon Halkett, Superintendent of Lights, will leave on Maquinna for the lighthouse to investigate the matter. 
Lighthouse tender Leebro called there at end of Jul, when all was well, and supplies were sent up at that time by Maquinna and transferred from Port Alice. The Canadian Pacific Railway boat passes the lighthouse every 10 days and should easily have picked up any distress signals that were flying.
Two of Sadler’s 4 children were born on Entrance I since the father became keeper there.[Colonist, 1918-09-11]


Estevan lighthousekeeper reported that the light was kept revolving all night, but he said that it might stop at any time, not being dependable. The lighthouse was rocked by an earthquake Fri morning, the tower being cracked, some of the lens in the glass being broken and the mercury in the bath being spilt. The bath is used to float the heavy lens and make it revolve easily. The lightkeeper managed to pick up enough of the spilt material to float the lens. A supply of mercury has been procured in Victoria by Marine Department and will be shipped up on Princess Maquinna. Lighthouse tender Leebro is now at Estevan landing semi-annual supplies and she will meet Maquinna and transfer the mercury to the lighthouse. 
Wireless reports from Estevan Point stn yesterday tell of a recurrence of the earthquake. The operator states that he felt 10 distinct shocks and that considerable of the concrete work of the lighthouse was split. The shocks were fully as severe as on the previous night. Dec 15, 6 – another quake reported… [Colonist, 1918-12-08, p. 27]



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Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.


  1. could you please send me more info on nicholas bertucci,,he was my great grandfather and i find these stories most intresting.thank you carrie
    pr ph# 403-627-3353

    1. I do not have much on Nicholas Bertucci. I found his name in the old newspapers from Victoria, BC, but there was not much else.
      He was a lighthouse keeper on Race Rocks somewhere in the 1860s for five years.
      I also have that he was born 1838 Lavagna, Italy – died Apr. 26, 1917 Victoria, BC)
      So he may be buried in a Victoria graveyard.
      Sorry, that’s all I have,

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