HISTORY OF WORK POINT BARRACKS
by Jack Bates
PART 2 — 1887 to 1893
Col. Holmes called to Ottawa to Assume its Formation
(Special to the Colonist)
Ottawa, July 21 — Sir A. Caron, minister of Militia, expects Col. Holmes here tomorrow to take over the formation of Battery "C". In the meantime a poster to the following effect appears on the walls of Portsmouth, England.
"Wanted, pensioners of the Royal Marine Artillery for service in British Columbia, under the Canadian Government. Pensioners volunteering for service as above must have been discharged with character not inferior to good; must be unmarried; not over 40 years of age; in good health; not less than five feet six inches in height and 34 .... They will be required to pass a medical examination in England, and those selected will be conveyed to Canada free of expense, and on arrival there enlisted for a period of three years. The Canadian governments do not undertake to provide men with free passage back to England at the termination of their agreement, as it is expected they will become permanent settlers in the Dominion. Pensions of men who are accepted for this service will be paid in Canada."
Then follows the rates of pay similar to those paid "A" and "B" batteries. Applicants must present themselves to the colonel commandant, Kestrel Barracks, Portsmouth.
September 27, 1887
"A" and "B" Batteries Contribute Fifty-Five and Forty-Five Men Each to "C"
(Special to the Colonist)
Ottawa, Sept. 26. — "A" Battery, Kingston, contributes fifty-five men for service in British Columbia; "B" Battery, Quebec, forty-five. Thirteen are married, the maximum number allowed by the department being fifteen. A large number of applications is coming in from all of the country from men anxious to enlist in "C" Battery, but the department refuses all, as it is suspected many of them merely want a free trip to the Pacific coast and will then skip over to the states.
It is rumoured that the British Columbia government will be asked to contribute towards the support of the detachment of mounted police in Kootenay District.
September 28, 1887
Orders Received to Prepare Quarters for the Men
Yesterday afternoon Lt.–Col. Holmes, acting D.A.G., received a telegram from Sir A. Caron, minister of the militia, directing him to prepare quarters for the reception of "C" Battery. The preparations will probably take two weeks, and as soon as Col. Holmes reports everything ready the battery will start for this station, and will arrive about the end of October. The order to "prepare quarters" is the first tangible command in connection with the now famous battery which has been received here, and it now seems that after four years marching and counter-marching on the part of the authorities that "C" Battery will shortly have a "local habitation" as well as a name.
Lieut’s. Ogilvie and Benson of "A" Battery
Kingston, Sept 17. — This morning orders were received at "A" Battery asking for forty men to be supplied for service in "C" Battery, British Columbia. A similar number will be taken from "B" Battery. Fifteen married men from each corps are allowed. Volunteers were asked for by the commandant after the orders were read. It is said that the officers of "C" Battery will be Lieut. Col. Holmes in command, Captain Peters of "A" Battery, Lieutenants Ogilvie and Benson from "B" Battery.
The order that came to "B" Battery was to the effect that eight non commissioned officers and forty gunners were needed to help equip "C" Battery. They ask as volunteers men of good conduct and of more than six months in the service. Today a long list of names was sent in, and this major Wilson has forwarded to Ottawa.
Ottawa, Sept. 18. — The Department of Militia has decided to proceed at once with the organization of "C" Battery at Esquimalt, B.C. The efforts made in England to secure pensioners of the Royal Marine Artillery for the Canadian service having failed, it has been determined to call for sufficient volunteers from the existing batteries, "A" and "B", to compose the half of the "C". All those willing to serve will be re enlisted for the full term of three years at the standard rate of pay, forty cents a day. In addition to this, however, there will be the good conduct pay, and as an extra inducement to the men to go to British Columbia a bonus of ten cents a day will be paid on the expiration of the three years service, about $110. This it is thought will be a guarantee against desertion. The scheme to bring men from England failed, it is understood, because most of the pensioners were married men, and the cost of transporting them and their families from the old Country to the Pacific coast would have been very great.
Kingston, Sept. 18. — Lieut’s. Ogilvie and Benson, of "A" Battery, have received orders to report at "C" Battery, British Columbia. Eighty men have volunteered to go with them, and all will have gone by Thursday, October 6th.
Ottawa, Sept. 19. — Fifty men each are wanted from "A" and "B" Batteries to form the nucleus of "C". The existing batteries are at present up to their full strength, and it is thought there will be no difficulty in filing up the ranks if fifty vacancies are created in each. "A" and "B" Batteries are on the roster for a change of stations next year, but "C" will be retained at Esquimalt until 1893. A number of applications have been received at the department from men anxious to enlist for service in British Columbia.
Kingston, Sept. 20. — It is understood that Major Peters and Lieut. Rutherford of "A" Battery, and Lieut’s. Ogilvie and Benson, of "B" Battery, with forty men from each battery, will proceed shortly to British Columbia to "C" Battery.
October 1, 1887
"C" BATTERY TO ARRIVE HERE IN THREE WEEKS
The men of "C" Battery leave for Victoria in about three week, or sooner, if the agricultural hall is ready for them. The Canadian Pacific Railway transports them for $50 a head.
October 14, 1887
General orders Regulating the Formation of the Battery
We give below the militia general orders, issued by Major Gen. Fred Middleton, commander of the Canadian Militia, concerning the formation, equipment and direction of "C" Battery, soon to be stationed in Agricultural hall, Victoria.
Ottawa, 6th, Oct., 1887.
General Orders (16)
Regiment of Canadian Artillery.
Authority having issued for the organization of "C" Battery of Artillery, to be stationed in British Columbia, the 100 non commissioned officers and gunners required to form that battery will be furnished by "A" and "B" Batteries of Artillery, from men who have not less than 3 months service, and who are of good character.
The men will be re-enlisted by the commandants of the respective batteries they are leaving for three years service in "C" Battery. They will be given regimental numbers in "C" Battery from one upwards, and will thereafter cease to be designated by the numbers they now have in "A" and "B" Batteries. They will not be allowed to purchase their discharge until they have served 18 months in "C" Battery.
Not more than 15 non commissioned officers and gunners of the total strength, are to be married men, but quarters cannot be guaranteed at present for the wives and children of any, except staff sergeants and sergeants.
The services of the men who re-enlist in "C" Battery will be considered as continuous as to issues of clothing and kits, and good conduct pay earned under existing enlistments. They will receive their daily pay to date they embark for British Columbia, from the battery they are leaving, and will thereafter be included in the pay lists of "C" Battery.
In addition to their daily and good conduct pay, a gratuity at the rate of ten cents per diem will be paid to each non commissioned officer and gunner on completion of his three years service, or on discharge if medically unfit, if the disability is contracted on service subsequent to re-enlistment in "C" Battery, or in the case of death on service to surviving wife and family.
An issue of 100 rifles, valises, mess tins and sets of accoutrements, and 40 rounds of ball ammunition per man, will be made to the Battery before leaving. The rifles will be carried on the train with the battery in arm chests.
The non commissioned officers and gunners will retain the clothing, great coats and kits which have been issued to them by the batteries they are now serving in, and will thereafter receive the periodical issues they become entitled to by regulation from the "C" Battery.
Two blankets per man will be issued for use on the sleeping car en route to British Columbia. On arrival at destination these articles will be accounted for and handed over to the Commandant for reissue for battery purposes.
Fifteen circular tents and fifteen camp kettles will be issued to the battery for use en route should an emergency arise, and to be delivered to the Superintendent of Stores at Victoria on arrival of the battery.
As horses are not required for the purpose of this battery, none are to be taken or subsisted at the public expense.
The wives and children, but not servants, of officers, non commissioned officers and gunners will, if they proceed with the battery, have free transport from the headquarters of the batteries in which they are now serving to the station of "C" Battery in British Columbia. The officers, non commissioned officers and gunners and their wives and children will be subsisted en route (3 meals during each 24 hours) by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. The officer in charge will see that due provision is made by the company for the supply of meals, and of rations in cases of accident or necessary detention of the train at places en route where subsistence cannot be otherwise obtained. He will satisfy himself that the railway cars are at all times supplied with enough water for drinking and sanitary purpose, and will observe and carry out the regulations and orders in other respects relating to transport of all who are under his command.
Conveyance of Baggage and Stores
The following will apply to the officers and men of "C" Battery when ordered to proceed to Victoria, British Columbia:
The weight of personal baggage to be conveyed by officers, N.C. officers and men at the public expense, will be regulated by the following scale, and will be inclusive of the quantity carried free by railway or other conveyance. The rates for officers will be governed by the officer´s substantive rank.
Note. — Exclusive of the personal equipment of each soldier, including greatcoat, blankets, valise & c., which is carried free of charge with the soldier.
Money Allowance in lieu of Quarters
The following allowances will be issued when public accommodation is not available, to enable lodgings to be provided, and will not be admissible for persons in receipt of a consolidated rate of pay which includes provision for the hire of quarters:
If a commanding officer in lodgings retains a room in barracks, apart from the commanding officer’s office or orderly room, appropriated as such, the rate of $1 a day will be subject to a deduction of 25 cents a day if the room retained excludes an officer from barracks.
Whenever there may be the regulated accommodation in barracks for all the officers of a corps no lodging allowance is admissible, and those married officers who in such case prefer to live out of barracks, and are permitted to do so, will do so at their own expense.
Claims, for allowance in lieu of quarters must be supported by certificates that the officer actually provided for himself with lodgings and was not and could not be accommodated in any building belonging to or hired by, the government.
Fuel and Light
The scale of issues of Fuel and Light for British Columbia will be on the basis laid down in the Regulations for Ontario.
A commuted allowance in lieu of Fuel and Light will be issued:
Claims for allowances for Fuel and Light must be supported by a certificate specifying that the person concerned has drawn no issue of Fuel and Light in kind during the period for which the allowance in lieu is claimed.
Fred Middleton. Maj. Gen’l.
October 23, 1887
BARRACKS FOR BATTERY "C"
The Agricultural hall Rapidly Assuming a New Appearance
A representative of THE COLONIST visited the agricultural hall yesterday with a view of obtaining some information as to the changes now going forward at that place which is being fitted up for the reception of the non commissioned officers and men of Battery "C" who are to arrive here shortly. Upon reaching the buildings, it was seen that active work was going forward. The busy sound of saw and hammer as the carpenters fashioned the lumber into the shapes for use was accompanied by the check of the mason’s trowel as the work of building chimneys went on. A remarkable transformation was being made in the interior of the hall proper, as well as important changes in the outbuildings, and under Col. Holmes’ direction the place built to exhibit the fruits of husbandry and peace is rapidly assuming the look of a place of war.
A gang of ten carpenters with masons and laborers, have wrought many changes and are making the hall a most comfortable place for the men who are to shortly arrive. Around the body of the hall, on the ground floor, are numerous rooms which will be used as mess and sleeping rooms, cook house, wash rooms, etc, by the men, the middle of the hall being left open to be used as a general assembly and recreation room. Around the galleries more rooms have also been built, with accommodations for men, with separate apartments for the sergeants. A cook room is also on this landing where the sergeant’s mess will be established. A wash and bathroom are also there. In the cook rooms five large stoves are to be set up, while ten heater stoves are to be distributed about the building for the purpose of keeping it warmed during the cold weather. A large drain is being constructed to carry off all the waste water from the building, and the two inch water pipes for the supply of water are being put in.
In the outbuildings material changes have also been made, the sheds being rebuilt and fitted. One portion is to be finished as two dwellings houses, where the sergeants who have wives will live. Store and carriage houses and stables are also provided, and a canteen, as well as the usual guardroom.
Sleeping accommodations for 120 men have been provided in the main building, the bunks being made folding, so that in the day time they can be closed up, giving much more room. Should it be necessary, more bunks can be added at any time. A surgery has also been built.
The new sidewalk to the hall is being laid, and as it is six feet in width, it forms a very fine approach to the barracks, and the council are to be commended in voting for one of that width, as no doubt the barracks will form quite a point of interest to visitors.
November 2, 1887
The militia general orders announce the following officers appointed in the new "C" Battery at Victoria; Lieut. And Capt. Peters is created major and detached from "B" Battery, as also are Capt. Thomas Benson and Lieut. George H. Ogilvie from "A" Battery, all being attached to "C" Battery. Major Vidal, of "B" company, R.I.S.C. has been detached from that company of the same corps. Lieut. C.J.Q. Coursol, of "B" company, is created a captain and remains with that company.
November 3, 1887
"C" Battery will not arrive Thursday evening, as stated by the Times. The scissors editor has not given his wonted attention to the columns of The Colonist, or else he would have seen that the hitch between the militia department and the C.P.R., respecting their transport, is still unsettled.
November 4, 1887
Ottawa, Nov. 3 — Orders were issued today for the departure of "C" Battery by tomorrow night’s through train to the pacific coast. The railway company will furnish rations en route, but in order to provide for unforeseen contingencies the battery will take along a complete campaign outfit.
November 8, 1887
Reception for "C" Battery
Orders have been issued for the artillery (with their band) and the Victoria Rifle Company, to parade at 7:00 o’clock p.m., on Thursday next, for the purpose of receiving the officers and men of "C" Battery, R.C.A., on their arrival here and escorting them to the barracks. In the event of the Battery not arriving at Vancouver on time notice will be given of any change in the hour for the parade.
November 11, 1887
Arrives in Victoria at Eleven O’clock Last Night
They are Met by the Citizens and Militia and Given a Rousing Welcome
The Battery is Composed of a Fine Looking Company of
Three Cheers Given and Returned
The long looked for "C" Battery has at last arrived, after four years waiting for the government’s promise to be fulfilled, and though they were late in arriving, the Princess Louise not reaching the wharf until 11 o’clock, they were given an enthusiastic welcome.
The Local Militia ...
under command of Lieutenant Colonel Wolfenden, and consisting of a detachment of the B.C.G.A. and the Victoria Rifles, to the number of 125, they were drawn up on the wharf, together with the military band, under Prof. Aguis. On the landing above were gathered a large crowd of Victoria’s citizens, anxious to catch the first glimpse of our standing army.
The citizen's committee, composed of His Worship Mayor Fell and D. W. Higgins, M.P.P., Couns Coughlan and Braden and Messers Thos. Russell and Chas Hayward, accompanied by K.C. Baker, M.P., Neal Shakespeare, M.P., and several members of the provincial legislature met Lieut. Col. Holmes and the officers of the battery and extended them a welcome.
While the steamer was being docked the band played suitable airs. At last the gang plank was run out, and owing to the small space on the steamer the members of the battery were ordered ashore and formed in line on the wharf facing the local militia. There was one general comment in regard to the battery’s appearance, and that was highly favourable. They are nearly all young men, of splendid physiques, and their movements were gone through in perfect time. After the order "stand at ease" had been given, Lieut.Col. Wolfenden called for ...
Three Cheers For The New Arrivals ...
which were given with great heartiness, the band playing "The Campbells are Comin". Colonel Holmes called for three cheers from his men in return, which were rousingly sounded. The line of march was then taken up, the local militia being first and then the Battery. As they passed up the wharf the assembled populace cheered them lustily. The route taken to ...
Agricultural Hall ...
the temporary barracks, was along Wharf street up to Fort, along Government to Humboldt, then via the latter to the entrance of Beacon Hill park.
When the men arrived at the barracks they were dismissed and soon afterwards were seated, taking up all the available room at the three long tables set apart for the supper.
Was a most substantial one, the very thing for the soldiers. All imaginable kinds of fowls, meats and drinks were served, and for a long time the waiters were kept busy attending to the wants of the men. Beside each plate was placed a pretty Japanese napkin.
Mayor Fell sat at the head of the center table, and was supported by Senator Macdonald, E.C. Baker, M.P., N. Shakespeare, M.P., D.W. Higgins, M.P.P., Couns Coughlan and Braden and Messrs Thos. Russell and C. Hayward. After the viands had vanished from off the tables, the bugler the attention and ...
Mayor Fell ...
who was heartily cheered on rising said, Officers and men of "C" Battery, I as mayor of Victoria, and in the name of the citizens of this fair city, give you a hearty welcome to our midst. In the absence of the Lieut. Governor, I take upon myself to give you a welcome, not only from Victoria, but from the whole province of British Columbia. There are a number of us who have lived in Victoria for many years and we are proud of our city, and I hope you will remain living here, for the longer you remain here the prouder you will feel of it. Your stay here will, I hope, be to the advantage of our sovereign lady, Queen Victoria, who will live for ages in the minds of her loyal subjects. No sovereign equal to her has ever sat on the throne of the United Kingdom and I am certain that we all feel proud of being her subjects. Allow me to congratulate you on your safe arrival and also I must congratulate the officers on having the command of such a fine body of men. I know you will do honor to the part of the country you come from and I am certain you will also be an honor to the province in which you now are. You will be true men, honourable men, and as such you will receive the confidence and respect of LL THE Victorians. I now call upon Senator Macdonald to say a few words. The mayor’s remarks were received with enthusiastic applause at frequent intervals.
Senator Macdonald was received with loud cheering and after it had subsided he said: We expected you here some two years ago, but now that you are here I must say that your presence marks an era of in the history of our city. The government cares for the people of British Columbia, and now we feel sure that our shores are guarded by true and loyal, as well as thorough disciplined men. The Victorians must thank their representatives for your presence here. The fact of there being regular troops here will be of great use to the volunteer forces here and the mayor and the citizens will now be able to sleep in perfect security. I offer you a hearty and cordial welcome to Victoria. (Applause)
His Worship then called upon Mr. K.C. Baker, M.P., who said that he would not say as much as ample opportunity will be given to those present to hear him at other times. He joined the Mayor and Senator Macdonald in according the officers and men of "C’ Battery a hearty welcome.
Mr. N. Shakespeare, M.P., on being called upon, said he would welcome the men to this portion of Canada. Thanks were due to the minister of militia, for the presence of "C" Battery here. He congratulated the officers on the good appearance of the men. Again he welcomed the men with all heartiness.
The Mayor then proposed "Major Peters" , and after that gallant officer’s health was drank, he responded by thanking the officers and citizens for the cordial way in which they had received the officers and men of "C" Battery. Before he left for Victoria he heard that the British Columbians did not wish to have anything to do with the Eastern Canadians, but now he knew different. When they arrived at the summit of the Rockies they felt like the proverbial hen on the proverbial fence, that is, they did not know whether to stop or go on. They came on, however, and now he was very glad to say they were gratified they had come. We are few in number, but if any Victoria citizens would go down to the wharf tomorrow they would see some more. There were fifteen families coming and in the fifteen families there were thirty eight children. He rejoiced in being the happy father of four of the thirty eight. In this Italian climate that Victoria was favoured with, he hoped that his new population would soon help to increase the population. The gallant officer then said that sure the men would endeavour to perform their duty as true British soldiers and hoped that the citizens of Victoria would never have to regret that "C" Battery arrived in their city. (Applause)
Here Major Peters sat down and one of the men of "C" Battery called for three cheers for the Major, which was heartily responded to.
Col. Holmes passed a few remarks and said that he too, would like to thank the mayor and citizens of Victoria for the kind reception they had accorded "C" Battery. Comfortable quarters had been erected for the men, and he must thank the mayor and council for placing a sidewalk to the barracks. The sidewalk was six feet wide, but if this sort of thing was going to last very long the sidewalk would have to be at least twenty six feet wide. Colonel Holmes then proposed "Mayor Fell", and the mayor’s health was drunk with "a recht gude willie waught".
The mayor then rose and with a few feeling remarks called for three cheers for Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria. The entire assembly rose to their feet and with caps waving in the air gave three rousing cheers, and the band striking up the national anthem, the men joining in, made the building re echo the loyal strains. Lt. Col. Holmes then gave the order and the volunteers filed out, leaving their comrades of "C" Battery in quiet possession of their new quarters. Thus was brought to a close a reunion which is hoped will be the first of many more, and which has already caused a feeling of good fellowship to spring up between our new friends and their entertainers.
The remarks of the officers in thanking the citizens for their kind welcome were reiterated by the men who took the compliment in the same good spirit with which it was offered.
To the committee are due the thanks of the citizens for the excellent arrangements made and for their untiring endeavors to carry out the same.
Following is a complete list of the officers, non-commissioned officers and men:
The arrangements which have been made for the accommodation of "C" Battery in Agricultural Hall are better than soldiers have generally to put up with. On the ground floor are the dining hall, sergeant’s room and four barrack rooms, each containing twenty four beds. The dining hall is very large and can seat 250 people. Last night plates were laid for 210 and then there was the half of one of the three long tables not taken up. The beds in the barrack rooms are of the usual folding pattern, that is, when they are not being used they can be folded into half the usual space they would otherwise take up. The sergeants sleep three in a room, in apartments attached to and connecting with the barrack rooms. Upstairs are the commanding officer’s office, (orderly room), the master gunner’s room, the major’s office, the officer’s mess, the wine store, the sergeant’s mess and two barrack rooms, so that altogether there is accommodation for 14 men and eighteen sergeants, although, as yet, there are only eighty six men, including sergeants, in the building. The commissioned officers will reside in private quarters in the city. Outside the hall and in the yard is the canteen where the men may purchase their drinks, tobacco, etc, without being obliged to go down town to do so.
November 12, 1887
It is stated that the Dominion government will select a site on the Songish Indian reserve for a permanent barracks for "C" Battery.
Members of "C" Battery were seen on the streets yesterday; they were generally admired.
November 17, 1887
From Chas. Hayward, stating that the sums donated for the reception of "C" Battery had proved inadequate, and asking assistance from the council as there is a deficiency of $181.50.
Coun. Higgins moved that the sum be paid out of the revenue of the corporation; seconded by Coun. Giant and carried.
November 25, 1887
SIR ADOLPHE CARON
Arrives in Victoria Last Night and is Warmly Welcomed
Adjutant General Powell and Mr. Royal, M.P., Accompany Him
Sir Adolphe Caron, minister of militia, arrived on the steamer Princess Louise last evening. Sir Adolphe was accompanied by Lady Caron and Miss Caron, and by Adjutant General Powell, Mr. Joe Royal, M. P. for Provencher, and Mr. Benoit, private secretary.
A detachment of "C" Battery composed of forty men under Lieut. Ogilvie was drawn up in line on the wharf. As soon as the gang plank was run out, Lieut. Col. Holmes, Major Peters, Capt. Benson, Capt. Jones, district paymaster, and Lieut. Lang, R.E., together with Senator Macdonald, E.C. Baker, M.P., Hon. J.H. Turner, Lieut. Col. Wolfenden, major Prior and several leading citizens boarded the steamer, and met Sir Adolphe on the saloon deck, where they warmly welcomed him to Victoria. Greetings over, the party proceeded on shore, and Sir Adolphe was given the customary salute by the guard of honor, which the minister gracefully acknowledged, and after which the detachment marched off to barracks.
Sir Adolphe, Lady Caron, Miss Caron and other members of the party then took carriages, and proceeded to the Driard, where they will remain during their stay.
To a representative of the Colonist Sir Adolphe said that his trip over the Canadian Pacific, and especially through the mountains of British Columbia, was one of great pleasure. It was his first visit to the coast, and he was charmed beyond measure with the grand and lovely scenery along the route. Although some delays had occurred in carrying out the promise to station a battery in Victoria, he had sent them along as an advance guard, and he would assure Victorians that they were the finest body of men in the regiment. His visit here was principally for the purpose of selecting a site for the erection of permanent barracks for "C" Battery and as soon as a location was decided upon, he would proceed immediately with the work of letting the contracts for their construction. Other departmental business would also occupy his attention as it was his desire to become acquainted with every detail of his department, and to see what progress was being made by the force in this Province.
Being asked if his visit had any connection with the proposed fortifications, Sir Adolphe said that Col. O’Brien, who visited Esquimalt last year, had handed in his report to the Imperial authorities, but the latter had not yet communicated with the Dominion Government on the subject, but when they did, his government would be in a position to proceed immediately with the works. It afforded him, he said, a great deal of pleasure to come to this Province, and he thought such visits should be more frequent among public men.