God's Acre Veterans Cemetery - Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canada
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member The A-Team
N 48° 26.478 W 123° 24.772
10U E 469465 N 5365433
Quick Description: The Esquimalt Veterans Cemetery, commonly known as God's Acre, is located between the 12th and 17th holes of the Gorge Vale Golf Club at 1190 Colville Road in Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canada.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 12/26/2014 8:05:18 PM
Waymark Code: WMN4Q3
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 0

Long Description:
Prior to the creation of this cemetery, Royal Navy officers had been buried at the Quadra Street Cemetery (now known as Pioneer Square), while sailors were buried on Brothers Island at the mouth of Esquimalt Harbour. When the threat of a war with Russia loomed in the 1860s and the British decided to construct a gun battery on Brothers Island, an alternate burial location was needed.

Before it became the Veterans Cemetery in Esquimalt, this land was a turnip field on the Constance Cove farm, which was owned by the Puget Sound Agricultural Company (a subsidiary of the Hudson's Bay Company). On July 8, 1868, Rear-Admiral George Fowler Hastings purchased a one-acre plot of land for $250 to create a Royal Navy cemetery for "deceased officers and men." The cemetery soon became known as God's Acre and was consecrated on July 14, 1868 by the Right Reverend George Hills, the first Anglican bishop of British Columbia. The new cemetery consisted of three sections: one for Episcopalians, one for Roman Catholics, and one for Dissenters. A small chapel was also constructed and left unconsecrated so it could be used by all sects.

In 1889, further tensions with Russia meant that the gun batteries on Brothers Island needed to be strengthened to better defend against the threat of the Imperial Russian Navy. To allow for this expansion, the graves of the Royal Navy sailors buried there were moved to the new cemetery. When the Royal Artillery arrived in 1901, the British War Office purchased the eastern section of the cemetery for burial of artillery officers and soldiers. The two sections continued as separate units until 1947, when the Department of Veterans Affairs took over the cemetery and joined the two sections to form the Veterans Cemetery. While still commonly referred to as God's Acre, the combined cemetery now covers approximately 2.7 acres. Originally created as a naval cemetery, the Veterans Cemetery later began to accept army and air force veterans, and even holds the remains of some foreign nationals including one Japanese naval officer. Today, more than 2500 military personnel and their family members are buried here.

In 1929, when construction of the Gorge Vale Golf Club began, the cemetery was put in the unusual position of being completely surrounded by a golf course. Today, the Veterans Cemetery lies between the 12th and 17th holes of the golf course, with the access road crossing the 12th fairway. Visitors to the cemetery need to check for approaching golfers and golf balls before crossing the fairway. The cemetery can be access via Veterans Drive, which originates on Colville Road beside the CFB Esquimalt base hospital.
Date cemetery was established: July 14, 1868

Visiting hours:
Sunrise to sunset


Website pertaining to the cemetery: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
Please submit a photo(s) taken by you of your visit to the location (non-copyrighted photos only). GPS photos are also accepted with the location in the background, and old vacation photos are accepted. If you are not able to provide a photo, then please describe your visit or give a story about the visit.

We would also like to hear about any of your deceased family members who may be laid to rest in the cemetery.
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