Community Papers

Symbolic wedding at Union Bay Gaol

WHEN RICHARD FURBER married Brenda Jeeves at the Union Bay Gaol, it had historical significance. - PHOTO SUBMITTED
WHEN RICHARD FURBER married Brenda Jeeves at the Union Bay Gaol, it had historical significance.
— image credit: PHOTO SUBMITTED

The Second World War was raging in Europe, Canada was at war with Germany.

In 1939, three young Germans were in United States illegally. The Americans, although they had not yet entered the war, wanted all aliens gone or imprisoned.

In California, the three young men got passage on a Greek freighter heading to Siberia. The ship stopped at Union Bay to coal at the port.

The three decided they did not want to spend the war in Russia, so they jumped ship in Union Bay. After spending a wet night wandering around in the bush, they tried to hitch a ride on the highway.

The first car that came along was a police car. They were arrested and imprisoned in the Union Bay Gaol (jail) before being sent to a prisoner of war camp in Ontario, where they worked on a tomato farm. Six years passed before they were sent back to Germany.

One of the three, Fredrick Furber, married in Germany and brought his young family to Canada, being sponsored by the farmer where he had worked as a prisoner. He gradually moved west, ending up on Vancouver Island.

His son Richard had heard the story all his life, so he and his bride-to-be, Brenda Jeeves, thought it would be neat to honour his father by being married in the old gaol at Union Bay.

Janette Glover-Geidt, chair of the Union Bay Historical Society that owns and operates the gaol as a museum, appreciated the historical significance of the request and got caught up in the excitement.

Rev. Ray Brandon fell in with the plan and performed a lovely service for the couple on Feb. 13, 2013.

— Janette Glover-Geidt

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