William Head Cemetery

There are 49 souls at William Head Institution that are sentenced to be there for eternity. These 49 are men buried in the small cemetery on the prison grounds. They are not inmates who died while serving their sentences but in fact their deaths predate the prison by many years.

In the 1890’s and early 1900’s, William Head was used as a quarantine and inspection station for people disembarking from ships arriving on the west coast. The graves contain the remains of people who died from smallpox and influenza before their quarantine period was finished and a few were merchant sailors whose names and ships have been lost to time. Two soldiers were part of the Canadian forces. Richard L Massey, Canadian Infantry, died on May 30th 1919 aged 19 and Peter R McMillan, Canadian Ordinance Corps, died on June 6th 1919 aged 22.

The vast majority, 26, were Chinese men who were part of the United Kingdom Chinese Labour Corps on their way to perform labourers’ service in the First World War.

WEI CHEN SHAN            died 28 July 1917 aged 22

WANG HSI CH’ING         died 28 October 1917 aged 27

TING YEN YU                  died 04 December, 1917 aged 21

KOU TE SHENG               died 19 December 1917 aged 37

CHANG HUNG                 died 09 January, 1918 aged 24

CHANG PAO                     died 15 March, 1918 aged unknown

CHANG YU TS’ANG       died 25 March 1918 aged 33

HOU YUAN CH’ENG      died 25 March 1918 aged unknown

LIANG FENG HAI            died 26 March 1918 aged unknown

FAN MAO CHIH               died 01 April 1918 aged 28

CHENG CHENG               died 03 April 1918 aged unknown

YEN CHIH HSIU               died 16 April 1918 aged 33

CHANG KUNG CH’ANG died 27 April 1918 aged unknown

P’ANG K’E HE                  died 27 May 1918 aged 29

WANG WAN FU               died 06 June 1918 aged 26

LIN CH’ANG SHENG      died 13 OCTOBER 1919 aged unknown    grave #27

HSU YUNG CH’ANG      died 18 November 1919 aged unknown    grave #26

CHU HSUEH K’UNG       died 06 December 1919 aged unknown

CHANG TIEN HO             died 31 January 1920 aged unknown      grave #30

WANG FU WEN               died 13 February 1920 aged unknown   grave #28

WANG CHING LIEN       died 15 February 1920 aged unknown   grave #29

YANG CHEN HSIANG    died 17 February 1920 aged unknown

CH’IN FENG CH’I           died 01 March 1920 aged unknown

HSU HE NIEN                  died 04 March 1920 aged unknown

KU CH’UN MING            died 05 March 1920 aged unknown

HSIEH SHOU CH’ING     died 12 March 1920 aged unknown

About 85,000 Chinese men were quarantined in Victoria before being shipped by train to the East Coast and then by ship across the Pacific Ocean to France. Those who died here lie in simple plots surrounded by concrete borders and marked with plain concrete crosses.

The last burial appears to be that of George Lorimer, a boatswain, who died at sea in 1939 at the age of 48.

The other 20 known burials are of unknown and unrecorded persons….RIP