Saviours of the past...BC Soccer history unearthed in Australia

Estate sale photo album leads to fascinating story from BC Soccer's past

You never know what you’ll find at an estate sale.  Graham Wright lives in Australia, and recently bought several items in a house clearance auction.  Among the treasures, a photo album which featured some footballing images.  One had a caption that read “St Saviours”, from British Columbia of all places.  He shared the photos and the limited information to our general archives inquiries email (

BC Soccer is undertaking an exciting archiving project, and has been canvassing the province for memorabilia and documentation from bygone years. Past President Roger Barnes and BC Soccer Director and historian Rob Brown have been instrumental, and taken great pride in preparing BC Soccer’s Hall of Fame and archives web page along with planning a proposed physical home for our province's soccer history.

Once Roger saw the name “St Saviours”, his insatiable curiosity took over.

It didn’t take long to discover St Saviour was a church on Semlin Street, on the North side of First Avenue in the Grandview area of Vancouver. The City Archives has a photo of the church from the 1920’s, around the same time as the club was establishing itself.  To the right, is the present day building which isn't much different. From Roger Barnes research, this was a brief evolutionary time-line of the club:

  • 1910: St. Saviours Anglican Church Grandview dedicated (Semlin & East 1st Ave)
  • 1916/17: St Saviours choir boys play friendly football games
  • 1918: St Saviours play in Anglican Church League. Junior, Intermediate and (1919) senior teams. There's also mention of baseball teams.
  • 1919: meeting of St Saviours FC in this church's vestry
  • 1920: playing in Greater Vancouver Church League
  • 1920s: played in Vancouver and District League, and in 1925, the Pacific Coast Football League.
  • 1929-1941: Most notable years
  • 1947: Renamed Vancouver City at end of 1947
  • 1955: Renamed Halecos (sponsor)
  • Mainland Cup: 1928 = Runner-Up. 1929 = Runner-Up. 1939 = Winner, 1941=Runner-Up
  • Provincial Cup: 1935=Winner. 1938=Runner-Up. 1939=Winner

Team Photo: 

Back Row: Irvine (Manager & Coach) Purss Tosh (Trainer) Hogg Constable Ashbury Collet Ashton Bradbury Banks Sinclair (Vice President)

Front Row: Moffat Cawker Hammond West (Capt) McDonald Todd  Read

The gentleman seated farthest right in the front row (Read) is the man who brought the photo to Australia, as explained by Graham Wright:

“He was Frank Victor Read, an Australian from Sydney. He was a Captain in the Royal Indian Service Corps (RIASC) during WWII. He spent a fair amount of time in Karachi (now Pakistan but then part of India). Seems to have been a bit of a sportsman. The album contains numerous photos of his time in Shanghai and Hong Kong where he played various sports for the Shanghai Recreation Club in the mid 1920s. I think Frank travelled from the Far East to British Columbia in the late 1920. There are photos in his album of Tranquille, Vancouver, Capilano etc. Frank died in 1966 and is buried in a cemetery in Ryde - one of Sydney's northern suburbs.” 

Roger also unearthed a newspaper clipping from a game St Saviours played in Seattle:

We are very grateful to Graham Wright for sharing his story and to Roger Barnes for researching further.  If you discover something from the attic or basement that might of interest, we'd love to hear from you. 

Additional Archival Photo CREDITS: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3357 - St. Saviors Football Team Photographer Stuart Thomson CVA 1187-36 - [St. Saviour's Anglican Church, exterior] creator: Artona Studios


About BC Soccer:

BC Soccer is the provincial sport governing body with the mission to govern, promote and develop the game of soccer in British Columbia in a professional and progressive manner. Established in 1907, BC Soccer is the largest provincial sports organization (PSO) in BC and the third largest soccer-specific PSO in Canada with over 150,000 participants.  As a professional not-for-profit society and a member of Canada Soccer, BC Soccer is committed to providing the widest opportunities for existing and potential participants, as well as provide support in the most effective and appropriate way for current players, parents, volunteers, member clubs, leagues, and districts.

BC Soccer is comprised of more than 120,000 registered players, over 2,200 registered referees, and thousands of volunteer coaches, administrators, and soccer leaders. Working with its 40 member Youth Districts and 11 Adult Leagues as well as their affiliate member clubs, BC Soccer operates under the guiding principles of Professional Leadership, Passionate Service and Progressive Collaboration. In managing its relationships throughout the larger soccer community, BC Soccer’s vision is to ensure every British Columbian has the opportunity to be involved in soccer as part of a lifelong commitment to an active, healthy and involved lifestyle.