Veterans' Cemetery, Esquimalt

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Veterans' Cemetery, Esquimalt
Cemetery Veterans Cemetery, Esquimalt.jpg
Year established: 1868
Country: Canada
Coordinates: 48°26′29″N 123°24′47″W / 48.44139, -123.41306
Type: Public
Size: 2.7 acres (11,000 m2)

The Veterans' Cemetery located in Esquimalt British Columbia was established in 1868 originally as a resting place for those who served at sea but now for anyone who has served in Canada's military.


The history of Veterans Cemetery in Esquimalt goes back to July 8, 1868, when Rear-Admiral George Fowler Hastings purchased an acre of land from Puget Sound Agricultural Company, a subsidiary of the Hudson's Bay Company. He wanted to create a Royal Navy cemetery for "deceased officers and men." The total cost to buy and prepare the former turnip field, on what was once the Constance Cove farm, was $250. The cemetery soon became known as God's Acre.

Before the establishment of Veterans Cemetery, Royal Navy officers had been buried at the Quadra Street Cemetery (now known as Pioneer Square). Sailors were buried on Brothers Island, at the mouth of Esquimalt Harbour. This arrangement had to change when the threat of a war with Russia loomed in the 1860s and the British decided to construct a gun battery on Brothers Island. While no graves had to be moved at the time, it became doubtful that the island could continue to be used as a cemetery.

The new cemetery for the Royal Navy was divided into three sections: one for Episcopalians, one for Roman Catholics and one for Dissenters (certain Protestant denominations). A small chapel was also constructed and left unconsecrated so it could be used by all sects. The burial ground was consecrated on July 14, 1868, by the Right Reverend George Hills, the first Anglican bishop of British Columbia.

Further tension with Russia in 1889 meant that the gun batteries on Brothers Island were strengthened to better defend against the threat of the Imperial Russian Navy. To allow room for this expansion, the graves of the Royal Navy sailors buried there were moved to the new cemetery.

The Royal Artillery arrived in 1901 to aid in the defence of the Esquimalt naval base. At that time, the British War Office purchased the eastern section of the cemetery for burial of artillery officers and soldiers. Time passed and the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Army took over from their British counterparts, but the two sections of the cemetery continued as separate units.

In 1947, the Department of Veterans Affairs took over the 1.1 hectare (2.7 acre) cemetery and the two sections were joined to become the Veterans Cemetery.[1]


The cemetery is nestled between the 12th and 17th holes of the Gorge Vale Golf Club in Esquimalt British Columbia.

"We Rest Here"

The following Signals members are buried here.

Headstone Service Number Rank and Name Grave Location
Bonner, Harvey William grave marker.jpg
- Capt HW Bonner Mil. Sec. D. Plot 166.

See also

Veterans' Affairs Cemetery Page