The Lightkeepers


Since 1912, seven principal Lightkeepers were stationed at Sheringham Point Lighthouse. Meet them here…

Eustace Arden (1912 - 1946)

Eustace Travonian Arden first illuminated Sheringham Point Lighthouse on September 30, 1912.  Born in Toronto in 1882, Arden moved to BC in the early 1890s.  He  worked in a lumber camp, drove the mail stage from Victoria to Sooke, and ran a store in Otter Point before being appointed Lightkeeper.  He moved into the Lighthouse in 1912 with his wife Anne and they raised six children during their 34 years at Sheringham Point.  Arden steered the lighthouse through its formative years, through the depression and two world wars, and then retired in 1946 and moved to Victoria, where he passed away in 1962.

Eustace and Anne Arden enjoying retirement after a lifetime of service at Sheringham Point
Thomas Cross in his naval uniform

Thomas Cross (1946)

Thomas Charles Cross was born in Shirley in 1924, and moved in to the lighthouse in 1946 with his wife Florence.  He was was only at Sheringham Point Lighthouse for 4 months, as a temporary Lightkeeper while a replacement for Eustace Arden was found. He was previously in the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve, until 1945.  Following his time at the Lightouse, he went on to join the Royal Canadian Navy.  Prior to his death in 2011, he made time to volunteer with the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society.

Alfred Dickenson (1946 - 1948)

Alfred Stamp Dickenson was born in 1885 in Yorkshire, England.  He came to Canada with his then-wife Irene in about 1910, and became a police constable in Toronto.  After the war he and his new wife Annie moved to BC and joined the Lighthouse Service. His was posted at Quatsino Light Station, and then Capilano (First Narrows) Light before taking on the role at Sheringham Point in 1946.  He stayed for two years until his retirement in 1948.  Following retirement, he bought a cabin in Jordan River where he lived for a few years.  Annie passed away in 1952, and Fred remarried a year later, to Ethel May.  He passed away from cancer in 1963.

The watch building constructed during WWII and later converted to a dwelling for the assistant keeper. (A photo of Alfred Dickenson is not available).
The Blueberry, constructed by Thomas Westead while at Race Rocks. (A photograph of Thomas Westhead is not available.

Thomas Westhead (1948 - 1959)

Born in Lancashire, England in 1899, Thomas Westhead came to Canada in 1906 with his mother (his father had immigrated earlier).  He served in the Royal Canadian Navy until 1925, where he learned to be a wireless/telegraph operator.  He joined the Lighthouse service in 1927, serving first at Pachena Point Light, then at Langara and Race Rocks.  He was also a skilled craftsman and boat builder, and he built three small sailing boats during his time at Race Rocks.  Thomas moved into Sheringham Point in 1948, along with his wife Gladys where he served until his retirement in 1959.  During his tenure at Sheringham Point, he was recruited by DFO to monitor sea life in the area, providing early and detailed records of whales and other animals.  Following his retirement, he moved to Victoria where he passed away in 1971.

Fred Mountain (1959 - 1967)

Frederick Arthur Mountain was from Calgary, Alberta, born in 1907.  After moving to BC, he joined the Department of Transport in 1941 and became the lightkeeper at Carmanah Point, where he lived with his wife Nellie and son Arthur until 1946.  He subsequently served at Scarlett Point and Nanaimo Harbour.  In 1959, he was appointed to be head lightkeeper at Sheringham Point, where he served until his sudden, tragic death in 1967.

Fred and Nellie Mountain relaxing at the Lighthouse.
Jim and Evelyn Bruton at the Lighthouse. Jim's tenure spanned many changes at the site, including the replacement of the Fresnel Lens, and re-construction of the engine room (fog-alarm building).

Jim Bruton (1967 - 1987)

James D. Bruton was born in 1926 in Ammanford, a small mining community in Wales.  He served as a merchant seaman during WWII, and in 1945 was appointed as the junior lightkeeper at Lennard Island.  He subsequently left the Lighthouse Service, working in the logging industry in Bella Coola.  In 1957, now married to Evelyn, he rejoined the service and was posted to Discovery Island.  He then moved on to Chrome Island and eventually back to Lennard Island.  In 1967 he took on the Sheringham Point lightkeeper’s role, where he stayed until his retirement in 1987, as the Lighthouse was slated to be automated.  Jim, and Evelyn raised four children – Joe, Linda, Elanie and Sharon – while in the lighthouse service, and they continue to play a significant role in the conservation of the Lighthouse through their volunteer work with SPLPS.  Following his retirement, he and Evelyn moved to Cedar where they lived until his death in 1992.

Kurt and Erika Cehak ( 1987 - 1989)

Kurt Cehak Sr. was a native of Vienna, Austria, born in 1925.  After difficult times during and after WWII, Kurt and his new wife Erika fled from Soviet-occupied Austria and made their way to Canada in 1953.  He worked as a mechanic in Victoria then, in 1960, both he and Erika joined the  Canadian Lighthouse Service and were posted as junior lightkeepers at Race Rocks.  They then moved to Entrance Island until 1985 when Kurt officially “retired”.  However, after retirement, he continued to serve as a Relief Keeper and served for short periods at numerous lighthouses.  This included two years at Sheringham Point, where he and Erika served during the automation of the lighthouse after Jim Bruton retired.  Interestingly, labour regulations prevented Kurt’s re-hiring for the last six months of their tenure, so it was Erika who was officially listed as Sheringham Point’s last  Head Lightkeeper during this period – the one and only woman to serve in that position.  Kurt and Erika moved back to Victoria following their final relief posting in 1996.  Erika passed away in 2016, and Kurt continues to live in Victoria, close to the water and still keeping watch.

Kurt Cehak Sr. enjoying his retirement in Victoria, and Erika Cehak during the earlier days of their Lighthouse service. In an interview for SPLPS, Kurt said "...on the lights I had the feeling, from the first night on, that I had provided some service to Canada and to the boats that was meaningful and helped someone. That was extremely satisfying and an experience I could be proud of."

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