A temporary marker that's stood tall for over a century in one of Swift Current's cemeteries could be replaced in-the-near-future with an upgraded gravestone.

The marker belongs to Comrade and Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Nurse Dorothy Brocken who died in 1919 at the Swift Current hospital.

Past President of the Royal Canadian Legion, Jim Pratt, discovered the marker in 2021 and was intrigued that the grave laid outside of the Veterans Plot inside the Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

He then shared his find with Legion members including John Griffin who is a genealogist. Since then, Griffin, the public relations officer for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 56, dove down a rabbit hole to uncover more about Brocken.

"I was having trouble, I couldn't find her on any censuses," he explained. "It does happen but not very often that I can't find a snippet. I started digging into it a little more and from the research that I've conducted, I'm 90 per cent sure that Dorothy Brocken is in fact a lady named Dorothy Bochin."

Griffin_Bochin_markerGriffin standing alongside Bochin's grave 

Bochin (nee Witter) was born in Bolton, England, in late 1890. She met her future husband Charles B. Bochin at a convalescent hospital during WWI where he was recovering from injuries and, Griffin believes, she was working. 

"I haven't found any evidence to prove she was a VAD nurse, unfortunately, they just didn't keep as many records," he said. "I think I won't ever find evidence of that specifically but whoever put up the marker originally must have had that knowledge. She must have told somebody."

Charles, an Australian serviceman, would have then been sent back to his home country and discharged shortly after they tied the knot on October 3, 1918.

Bochin herself then attempted to head to Australia to meet up with her newlywed. She left England on New Year's Eve in 1918 on a ship bound for Canada arriving 10 days later and boarding a train heading westward. 

"She was travelling across Canada on the document, it specifically states her purpose for coming to Canada, is to travel across to get to Vancouver to sail to Australia," he said. "From what I know on the probate record from this lady, she got sick and died at the Swift Current hospital. From the death certificate, it turned out to be Spanish Flu."

The Legion applied to receive funding for a proper marker for Brochin recently but was denied because she wasn't military. They tried a few other avenues but to no avail. 

"So we decided as a branch we would step up and purchase the marker for her," he said. "We believe it's the least we could do because, even though she wasn't military, she still served. She cared for our wounded and we're forever grateful to her for that."

The new marker is in the process of being constructed by Grasslands Memorial in Morse with hopes to unveil it in 2024.

"Just waiting for me to put all the information together and make sure all the dates are correct, as I do want to be sure," he said. "After that, we will have it engraved and installed."

Griffin is hoping they'll be able to hold a little ceremony to honour Brochin, 105 years after she passed away.

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