Ladysmith Aerie #686 was instituted on April 22, 1904, over a month before the Town was incorporated. Aerie 686 surrendered its Charter in 1922.
Five years later, on May 2, 1927, Ladysmith Aerie #2101 was instituted with 90 Chartered Members. The Aerie continues to grow at a steady rate and currently has a membership of 356.
Brothers who have gone on to serve as Officers of the Provincial Aerie are Ken Cross, Dennis Irvine, Lou Lessard (who transferred from Nanaimo #15) and J.A. (JAK) Knight (Provincial Treasurer and Honourary Past Prov. President), and Clarence Knight who was made Honourary Provincial President. Both Ken Cross and Dennis Irvine have been the Pacific Northwest Regional Presidents and Bro. Ken Cross is a Past Grand Worthy President. Bro. Joey Lasaga is currently Provincial Conductor.
Bro. JAK Knight served as Secretary of Ladysmith for 25 years from 1927 until 1952 when he handed his pen over to his son Clarence who served in this position for the next 57 years.
Former Aerie #686 and the present Aerie #2101 both met in the Oddfellows Hall on Roberts Street until the hall burned down and all records were lost. Aerie #686 broke up after the first World War and Aerie #2101 started up on May 2, 1927.
Brother Frank Wargo was a member of Aerie #686. He said it was a real initiation complete with electric slippers and a ride on the goat. The first President of Aerie #2101 was Roger C. Wright who had a shoe repair business in Town. When the Eagles met in the Oddfellows Hall, Jim Haworth had a picture show downstairs and the members could hear the sounds of bullets and tambourines emanating from the theatre.
From the files of the “Chronicle” – May 6 1927:
On Sunday evening, May 2, 1927, a local Aerie of the Fraternal Order of Eagles was instituted in this City when about 80 people took the obligation of membership. Deputy Grand Worthy President, W.E. Rumming of Nanaimo Aerie #15 acted as installing officer. The ritual was exemplified by the following officers — Worthy President W.M. McMillan, Past Worthy President Dave Simpson, Vice President J.R. McKinnel all of Nanaimo; Worthy Chaplain G Latt of Victoria; Conductor T. Nicholson, Inside Guard Stanley Moore and Outside Guard W. Martin all of Nanaimo. Deputy Grand Worthy President for Canada W.J.S. Laurie acted as Secretary.
Officers elected for the ensuing term were junior Past Worthy President George Ross; Worthy President Roger C. Wright; Vice President Henry Michie; Chaplain Frank Wargo; Secretary J.A. Knight; Treasurer M. Zuick; Conductor Peter McKay; Inside Guard George Metro; Outside Guard R.A. Gruchy; Trustees D. Gourlay, Sr., Ira E. Lowe and C.G. Cullin. Deputy Grand Worthy President W.E. Rumming assisted by Grand Conductor L. Williams installed the officers.
The Drum Corps of Victoria Aerie #12, which arrived in the City during the afternoon for the occasion, furnished musical entertainment. Prior to convening the meeting, a beautiful and sympathetic touch was added to the occasion when the Drum Corps, all veterans of the war along with visitors from other Aeries and many of the candidates met at the War Memorial and with fitting ceremony placed a wreath thereon in honour of our glorious dead. The next meeting was to be held on Sunday, May 9 with a big class for initiation.
Thank you to Pat Irvine for her submission of Aerie History