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