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Albert John ORCHARD (1881-1963)

Biographical Details

Albert John Orchard (1881-1963) was the husband of Edith Mary (née Idiens), both of whose families lived in Badsey and Wickhamford respectively for a time and were friendly with the Sladdens.

Albert was born in Burma on 5th May 1881, the second of four children of Albert Francis Orchard, an Indian Army Officer, and his wife, Cornelia Caroline Mary.  He was baptized at St Matthew's, Moulmein, Burma, on 22nd June 1881.

By 1891, the Orchards and two servants were living in Kensington, London, Albert’s father having retired from the Indian Army.  On leaving school, Albert followed his father into the army.  He fought in South Africa in 1901-1902, served in the East Indies 1902-1904 and in West Africa from 1906.

Albert’s father died in 1902 in Kensington.  By 1905, Albert’s mother, Cornelia, had moved to Vine Lodge, High Street, Badsey.  Cornelia Orchard was friendly with the Idiens family of Wickhamford Manor and would have been when he was visiting his mother on leave that he met Edith Mary Orchard whom he was later to marry.  Edith emigrated with her parents to Canada in 1913.  The following year he married Edith in Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver, on 4th July.  He was stationed at Jubbulpore as a captain in the Eighth Rajputs so had to return to India.  On their wedding day, the couple left on the 3 o'clock boat for Vancouver on their way to England, where they were to stay for three weeks and then proceed back to India.

Albert and Edith’s first child, John Stuart, was born at Marlow, Buckinghamshire, in April 1915.  With the outbreak of the Great War, it had been felt advisable for Edith to remain in England rather than go to India.  In a letter of 24th June 1917 from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril Sladden, who was in Mesopotamia, she indicates that she thought that both Albert and his brother were also in Mesopotamia, guarding some oil wells.

Albert returned to Canada in August 1920 to join his wife and children who had arrived in February 1920.  On his passage from India, he had spent a short time with his mother in Marlow, before setting sail for Canada.  He was returning to 2625 Roseberry Avenue, Victoria, British Columbia, with the intention of settling there.  He gave his occupation as retired Indian Army officer.  At the time of the 1921 census he was described as a farmer.  A son, Derek Hamilton, was born a year or two later. 

In 1949 they lived at Blogg Road, Nanaimo.  By 1953 they lived at 3329 Linwood Avenue, Esquimalt-Saanich. Albert Orchard died at Saanich on 13th June 1963.  Edith Orchard died in 1981.

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