HISTORY OF WORK POINT BARRACKS
by Jack Bates
PART 2 — 1887 to 1893
Library and Archives Canada
"Minister of Militia and Defence — Agreement with Joshua Holland, with security cheque for $675.50, for the erection of barrack buildings in the vicinity of Victoria, B.C." Mikan No. 3758476.
A series of letters between Joshua Holland and Ottawa covering payment for the construction of the three huts at Work Point barracks.
Dated 28th December 1887
Her Majesty the Queen and Joshua Holland
TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME, I Joshua Holland of Victoria British Columbia,
WHEREAS the Honorable Minister of Militia and Defence of Canada has caused to be prepared and exhibited at the office of the Honorable Joseph William trutch the agent of the government of the Dominion of Canada in Victoria B.C. drawings and specifications for the erection of three barrack buildings n the Vicinity of Victoria B.C. And the said Joseph William Trutch as such agent as aforesaid has by advertisement published in the Victoria Colonist and Victoria Standard newspapers invited tenders for the construction and erection of such buildings as aforesaid in accordance with the said drawings and specifications. And in the said advertisement it was stated that no tender would be considered unless an accepted Bank cheque or deposit certificate for a sum equal to 5 per centum of the gross amount of the price tendered payable to the order of the Honorable Minister of Militia and Defence were enclosed therewith, which would forfeited if the party tendering declined to enter into a contract for the work when called upon to do so or fail to complete the work when contracted for.
AND WHEREAS Joshua Holland of Victoria B.C. tendered for the construction and erection of the said buildings and his tender was accompanied by a cheque on the Bank of British Columbia for $675.00 drawn by the said Joshua Holland in favour of the Honorable the Minister of Militia and Defence and dated the 16th December 1887 and his tender was accepted.
AND WHEREAS by Indenture of even date herewith and made between the said Joshua Holland of the one part and Her majesty Queen Victoria represented therein by the Minister of Militia and Defence of the other part the said Joshua Holland contracted with Her Majesty at his own expense to erect and construct the buildings in the said contract mentioned according to the aforesaid plans and specifications and subject to all other the terms conditions and stipulations in the contract mentioned or set forth.
AND WHEREAS it has been further agreed, that the cheque of the said Joshua Holland for the sum of $675.00 should be retained as a security for the full and complete performance of the said contract.
AND WHEREAS YE that I the said Joshua Holland do hereby declare that the said cheque shall be held and retained by the said Joseph William Trutch or other agent for the time being of the Minister of Militia and Defence of Canada for the time being or by the said Minister to be returned to me in case I shall in all things observe and perform my part of the said contract and in default to hold the said cheque and the moneys to be received in respect thereof for the use of Her Majesty Her Heirs or Successors.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 28th day of December A.D. 1887.
Signed sealed and delivered in presence of _____________ (snd) Joshua Holland
1st. March, 1888.
I am directed by the Minister of Militia and Defence to inform you that an amount of $5,000 will be placed at your disposal for the payment of contractor’s claims for labouring men’s wages, etc, for the building of barrack huts at Victoria. You are authorized to pay such of the contractor’s accounts as bear the certificates of the Honorable Mr. Trutch and the Deputy Adjutant General of the District.
I have the honor to be
(Snd) C.Eng Panet Colonel
Captain A.W. Jones,
You will greatly oblige by forwarding me as order on Capt. A.W. Jones (Your District paymaster) for six hundred and seventy-five dollars ($675.00). Being amount of my deposit for the faithful performance of my contract for Men’s Quarters "C" Battery R.C.A. The work having been completed to the entire satisfaction of your architect in charge some two and a half months ago, as final certificate will show.
Col. C. Eng Panet
28th December, 1888
In reply to your letter of the 17th instant, I have the honor to inform you that Paymaster Jones has been directed to return your cheque, provided that the contract has been properly performed.
I have the honor to be
Mr. J. Holland
28th December, 1888
Capt. A.W. Jones
Mr. Joshua Holland having written to this department to obtain the security cheque furnished by him for the erection of the Barrack Buildings, I answered him "Paymaster Jones has been directed to return your cheque, provided that the contract has been properly performed." Please return the cheque accordingly, provided you are in possession of the proper certifications.
(snd) C Eng Panet
Cheque endorse’ par le dispute
Col. C. Eng Panet
I have repeatedly called upon your district paymaster (Capt. Jones) requesting a settlement of my contract for "C" Battery barracks having furnished him with the necessary certificate that the work as been carried out faithfully some three months ago and received from you through him my deposit for the faithful performance of the works. I cannot understand what your reasons can be for not forwarding the balance of one thousand, seven hundred and eighty one dollars & 65/100.
This amount being of very material service to me in my business, you will greatly oblige by forwarding it immediately.
25th February, 1889
In acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 11th instant, I have the honor to inform you that the cheque referred to has been transmitted to paymaster Jones, from this office, on the 28th December last.
I have the honor to be
(snd) C Eng Panet
Mr. J. Holland
Joshua Holland was a Construction and Builder who resided at 60 John St.
"C" Battery Ball
The ball given by the non-commissioned officers and men of "C" Battery at the barracks last evening was a most successful affair. The main floor of Agricultural Hall was the scene of the dance, the walls being gaily decorated with flags of all nations, with evergreens and streamers strung across the hall. The grounds and building were lighted by electricity, a number of lamps being at various portions of the building. Major Peters and other officers of the battery and militia were present. Fully seventy-five couples participated in the dancing, the sweethearts and wives of the artillerymen and a number of invited guests. The music was furnished by the Battery band, and to its delightful strains the dancers kept merry time. A splendid supper and numerous refreshments were provided, while the general arrangements of the event were excellent. The Sergeants of the battery, under whose particular direction the ball was given, well deserve the great success which attended their initial "hop." After dancing into the small hours of the morning, the company departed, one and all voting that they had passed an exceptionally pleasant time.
February 24, 1888
"Praise For "C" Battery"
Col. Mansargh, of the Imperial Brigade of Artillery, Tipperary, who is at the Russel, states that "C" Battery, stationed at Victoria, B.C., is one of the finest batteries he has ever seen. "The artillery," he added, "can compare favourably with those in the same branch of the Imperial service. Ottawa - Evening Journal. [The Colonel is borne out in his opinion by all Victorians. The men who constitute the battery are a fine lot of fellows, and their appearance when they march out under the direction of the commanding officer is most creditable. The "Queen City" is proud of her gallant defenders.]
April 1, 1888
A Team of then members from the B.C.G.A., under Lieut. Irving, and ten members from "C" Battery under Col. Holmes, had a friendly match at the Clover Point butts on Friday afternoon. The "C" Battery team defeated the local battery at every range, and on the total by 45 points. Excellent shooting was done by both teams. Major Peters and Dr. Duncan made the highest scores.
"C" Battery vs James Bay
An interesting game of baseball was played on Beacon Hill Friday afternoon between members of "C" Battery and the James Bay Baseball Club. "C" Battery was assisted by Bake and Borthwick. Five lively innings were played, "C" Battery winning by a score of 7 to 5. The crowd on the hill was much amused at the way in which the Battery boys handled the bat, and several of them will not be in a condition to use the musket for the next week. The game was umpired by J.T. Fee.
The Battery Band
By kind permission of the commandant and officers of "C" Battery, R.C.A., the band of the Corps, under leadership of Prof. Agius, will (weather permitting) play at Beacon Hill tomorrow afternoon, from 3 till 4:30 o’clock, the following selections:
A. Agius, Bandmaster
April 21, 1888
"C" Battery’s New Quartermaster
Capt. Palmer, the newly appointed Quartermaster for "C" Battery, is on his way to Victoria from Kingston. He replaces Capt. White, who resigned and is now a resident of Quebec City. The new quartermaster is a native of Prince Edward Island.
May 2, 1888
ROBBED WHILE ASLEEP
A Blue Jacket Falls Asleep at the Club Theatre
Yesterday a bluejacket from H.M.S .Wild Swan obtained leave after having been ninety days aboard the ship and during the afternoon made the acquaintance of a couple of "C" Battery men. In the evening the three attended the Club Theatre and sat in the front seat. During the evening the bluejacket fell asleep, and while snoring audibly one of his companions named John Daron, placed his hand in his breast and abstracted his pocket book. This was noticed by a couple of men sitting behind the trio. In the course of a little while the bluejacket awoke, and desiring to treat his friends sought his pocketbook, but it was gone from its accustomed place. He searched his pockets and took off his hat, thinking it might be there. He stood up and asked his new friends if they had seen his pocket book, and hunted around for it. The two men who saw the theft informed Deputy Sheriff Langley, and he secured the services of Sergt. Shepherd and Officer Lindsay. After the performance was over Daron was quickly arrested and taken to the cells. On being searched the missing pocket book was discovered, much to the relief and disgust of the blue jacket, who was incensed at the shabby treatment he had received. Daron will be tried this morning, and as the two civilians can swear to the act, he will no doubt be given an adequate sentence.
May 6, 1888
John Daron was sentenced to two months imprisonment on the charge of robbing a blue jacket. Murphy, charged with being an accessory to the theft, was dismissed.
Not The Man
Bomb. Gordan, of "C" Battery, says that Gunner Murphy, who was arrested on Thursday morning of being an accessory to the robbery of a blue jacket on Tuesday night, is not the man who accidentally blew out the brains of a comrade in the Northwest Rebellion. The Murphy who committed the unfortunate mistake is also a member of "C" Battery and is at present undergoing imprisonment; hence the cause of mistaking one man for the other. Gunner Murphy was discharged from custody yesterday, there being no case against him.
And now the scene is set. The site of the original Work Point Barracks contained 11.95 acres and was situated on a prominence overlooking the entrance to Victoria Harbour. The parcel of land was purchased for $5400 from the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, a subsidiary of the Hudson’s Bay Company. It is referenced as "Plan With Fee 9029 A" This part of the "Absolute Fee Plan Book", archived in the LTO Victoria, requires a Volume and Portfolio #’s to continue a search. The parcel was located in the area named after John Wark who died December 22, 1861. He was a Chief Factor of the HBC, first on their books in 1814, pronounced, written and carried forward as "Work." Work Island still exists off the shore of the point. He was buried in the Church Reserve Cemetery which is the old Pioneer Cemetery. His son Henry died June 19, 1856 and is also buried there, likely moved from the Johnson street burial ground in 1859 /60.
My good friend Ken "Wark" says he should try to claim "Work" island for his family.
Adjacent and integral to Work Point is Macaulay Point, site of the three 7" RML gun earthworks battery located strategically to defend Victoria Harbour with range to Esquimalt Harbour. Its 2.97 acre portion of Viewfield Farm was purchased from the HBC under "Plan With Fee 17520 A." See January 1, 1954 for an additional land purchase reference. Macaulay Point was named after Donald Macaulay, an HBC employee for over thirty years who died by accidental drowning September 19, 1868 in Esquimalt waters. He is buried in Pioneer Square with his "Indian Princess" wife Margaret who died in July 1869. His great, great, granddaughter Constance O’Leary has applied to the township of Esquimalt for a commemorative plaque to be placed somewhere on the point. See January 4, 1910 for more on Donald.
Relative to Work Point is Beren’s Island. In August 1875, a contract was let to Mr. Louis Baker of Montreal to build two Light Stations, one at Entrance Island in Nanaimo and the other at Beren’s Island, off Work Point. The contract amount was $6900. In February 1876, he withdrew all the money and absconded from Nanaimo on the steamer Goliath. James Gordon was hired and completed the works. Beren’s Island lighthouse became an automated beacon in 1925.
It is of historical significance that the first Canadian Army Permanent Force unit, for land defence of Vancouver Island was initiated in 1887 at Work Point Barracks, twenty three years before a Canadian Naval Permanent Force was established in Esquimalt in 1910. The Royal Navy had commenced a withdrawal of ships and men from Esquimalt in 1905.
"C" BATTERY BARRACKS
The Work in Progress on the New Site
The location of "C" Battery on Work Point necessitated the construction of a road to the site by the Provincial government and this work has recently been completed. The road diverges from the Esquimalt road about a mile from Russell’s station. And winds its way through leafy surroundings and past the well cultivated H.B.Co.’s farm to the place on which the general barracks are now in course of construction. The road is of good width, well drained, and ballasted with excellent material and with use will make a splendid roadway.
The buildings at present being erected are three in number, of like design, about fifty feet apart and backing on West Bay. Each is 112 x 21 feet with projection in rear of 71/2 x 32 feet. They are one storey in height with high sloping roof and projecting ….They are built on Cobble hill stone foundations, and are composed of boarding, tar paper and rustic, the roof and walls being painted with fire proof paint. Entrance is through the center, through a large porch. The door opens into a hall, 10 x 12, two sergeant’s rooms being off this at the side, with barrack rooms at either end, capable of accommodating 36 men. The buildings are heated by hot air, distributed from furnaces in the basement in the central portion of each. The barrack rooms will be sheeted with wood and painted, the central portion lathed and plastered. The barracks will be well heated, ventilated and drained, and amid pleasant surroundings there is no reason why life should not pass pleasantly. Mr. Joshua Holland, the contractor, commenced clearing the ground in February, and expects to have the work completed by the latter part of June.
The site for the barracks is a very favourable one, and its selection redounds to the discernation of the commander, Lt. Col Holmes, who, as was stated by him at the Dunsmuir banquet, made the choice shortly after his first arrival in Victoria. It occupies 11 acres on Work Point, being surrounded by water on three sides, making it convenient from a practical point, and excellent from a strategical standpoint. The residence of the Commandant and field officers will occupy a pleasant position on the summit of the rise from the beach, facing the straits and the ever changing panorama of the mountains opposite. The residences of the unmarried officers will be in front of the parade ground. The hospital and houses of the married men will be on the opposite side of the parade ground from the commandant’s residence. The buildings will thus be in the form of a hollow square. The land not occupied by the force, facing the outer wharf, will be used as a recreation ground. The point is well known to Victorians as being one of the loveliest portions of the suburbs, and with necessary clearing and improving, "C" Battery will have probably the most attractive quarters in every way of any force of regulars on the continent. There are delightful little bays indenting the beach of Rose Bay, where it will be possible to make safe and excellent bathing grounds. It is the intention also to arrange a couple of tennis courts on the eastern side of the parade ground.
Beyond the Confines of the barracks site are large stretches of cleared land, where games, the steeple chase, and other sports can be held, and the high rocks at convenient points form natural grand stands for viewing the plain. The woods are of spruce, scrub oak, maples and small shrubbery, and when thinned out will force a picturesque park, where it will be a pleasure to stroll or in while away the hours amid the leafy loveliness.
No doubt when all work has been completed, and officers and men are snugly ensconced in their quarters, the grounds of "C" Battery will attract many visitors, and in the evening, with the band playing, the waters in the neighbourhood will be thronged with boats containing our citizens. As there is always an abundance of hospitality extended in connection with barrack life, their receptions are sure to be among the most fashionable events of Victoria society life.
The road to the grounds is at present in excellent order, and a drive to them will repay the visitor. By boat they are always available by a short pull to just beyond Beren’s Light or into the calm waters of Rose Bay.
May 13, 1888
THE MILITIA ESTIMATES
Col. Holmes and Major Peters’ Opinion of the Canadian Snider Ammunition
(From our own correspondent)
Ottawa, May 5. The Commons
May 15, 1888
FIGHTING THEIR BATTLES O’ER AGAIN
The Sergeants’ Mess of "C" Battery Celebrate
The members of the sergeant’s mess of "C" Battery celebrated the third anniversary of the battle of Batoche by a banquet, held in the mess room of the barracks, on Saturday evning last. Amongst those who were present and who took an active part in the capture of Batoche during the memorable Northwest Rebellion, were Sergt. Major Mulcahy, Staff Sergt. Mellon, and Corporal reading, although over fifty members of the battery were in the campaign, they then forming a portion of "A" Battery.
The banquet proved a very pleasant affair, and several enjoyable hours were spent on song, anecdote and reminiscences of the battle and the campaign. The principle toats were: "The Queen", the "President of the United States", "Our Departed Comrades", (drank in silence), and "Gallant Major Peters", who led "A" Battery through the entire campaign. Various anecdotes were released in connection with the taking of Batoche, which occurred on the 12th of May, 1885, and of the active part Major Peters took in suppressing the rebellion.
Among other incidents of the campaign related, the following will prove of interest. At the battle of Fish Creek, on April 24th, 1885, it became necessary to charge down a certain ravine, and in the face of hordes of ambushed rebels Major Peters led a mere handful of men down the deathly gap. The bullets rained on the little band of heroes almost as thick as hail; but the gallant Major led his men through the ravine up to their waists in mud and water and exposed to a deadly fire. Before returning to a place of safety the little band was sadly thinned, a mere remnant only surviving the charge, and amongst the few uninjured being Major Peters and Sergt. Major Mulcahy.
In connection with the capture of Batoche it was mentioned that Gabriel Dumont, who is now visiting eastern Canada, has boasted at Quebec that he held Batoche for four days with only fifteen men against four thousand of the soldiers. Now in commenting upon this statement, it was related by one of the sergeants that the entire attacking force numbered only 900, and this number included about 300 teamsters and other auxiliaries who were non-fighters, and out of Dumont’s fifteen there were 82 killed, 150 wounded and about 100 taken prisoners. This was as far as known, although it was believed that the actual loss of the enemy was much greater. This statement shows how much reliance is to be placed upon what Dumont may say in referring to the rebellion.
May 24, 1888
Doran, the private of "C" Battery, who was given two months for robbing from the person in the Club Theatre, has been discharged from the battery, Col. Holmes having received permission to do so from Ottawa.
In digging the six trenches necessary for drainage for "C" Battery barracks on Work Point, the fact was developed that there was a large deposit of clay suitable for manufacturing brick. Had this been known before, the lovely barracks site might have been utilized for brick manufacturing, the shipping facilities being admirable for that purpose.
June 7, 1888
"C" Battery, headed by their band, will march out to Beacon Hill this morning for field day exercises.
June 13, 1888
ESQUIMALT THE STATION
Lord Sudeley called the attention of the House of Lords on Monday night, to the superior advantage of Burrard Inlet over Esquimalt as a naval station, on the Pacific coast. Lord Elphinstone on behalf of the government said that the authorities had been divided in their opinion on the subject, but after full consideration the government thought it unwise to transfer the naval station from Esquimalt to the Inlet, which in time of war might become a mere cul de sac for war ships. The government is prepared to spend 31,000 lbs on armaments for Esquimalt; 10,000 lbs on submarine stores and 10,000 lbs on submarine buildings. The real question of the present times for the Imperial government and Canada was that of the garrison.
June 14, 1888
The officers of the B.C.B.G.A. having found it impossible to keep up an efficient band, owing to the lack of a certain number of good musicians who would take an interest in the Artillery, have decided to dismiss their present band, and have made arrangements with the officers of "C" Battery to have the use of theirs whenever required.
June 16, 1888
The left division of "C" Battery, twenty-five in number, has been encamped at Macaulay’s Point for the past ten days. The men are undergoing a daily drill with the big guns stationed at the point, and when the daily drill is over they spend their time in recreation. The division will break camp about Monday next and return to barracks, when another division of the battery will go into camp.
June 20, 1888
Work at the barracks, Sailor Bay, is proceeding with commendable rapidity, the three buildings are all closed in and the roofs shingled. The buildings rest on stone foundations. Between the double weather-boarding, felt paper has been introduced, so as to add to the warmth of the rooms. The road made by the government to the barracks is one of the most substantial in the country.
June 21, 1888
"C" BATTERY BARRACKS
The three buildings for the unmarried men of "C" Battery are completed, but it is difficult to understand how they can be occupied. The houses for the married men have not been built, no hospitals or other buildings have been provided, besides which the residences of the Commandant and other officers are lacking. It is understood that plans are prepared for all of these, but no appropriation for their construction has been made. It would be impossible to locate the single men of the battery at Work Point while the married men remained in town and the officers anywhere. It is difficult enough as it is to keep proper discipline at the temporary barracks at Beacon Hill; but in the event of distribution of the men as above, the battery would deteriorate from a well drilled body of men into a mob. They would have the same freedom as a war-ship crew, with the latter on board and all officers resident in the city. If the Minister of Militia desires the battery be located in Victoria to retain its present standard, it is highly necessary that he immediately take steps to secure the completion of the barracks commenced at Work Point. Although the appropriation made in the estimates is only sufficient to pay for the work so far done, it is obvious that a point should be strained and a sum sufficient to carry on the work arranged for by order in council. Unless the quarters are completed it will be inconvenient in the extreme for the battery, since they will have to vacate their present quarters at Agricultural hall in time to allow the holding of the exhibition in October next.
There was much debate in London on the above issue but Esquimalt prevailed over Burrard Inlet and the construction at Work Point Barracks continued. Clearing of the primeval forest by members of the battery commenced in February, construction began on the three planned barracks buildings and completed in June, 1888 by Mr. Joshua Holland.
The building closest to the entrance gate is # 1004, still in use today, believed to be the first of the three completed. $17,916.50 was the contract price for the three "huts", plus $739.50 for fittings and additions. It appears that one of the buildings was to be used as a Sergeant’s Mess in the early years.
On July 16th, 1888 "C" Battery was sent to Skeena to the scene of Indian trouble, and returned on August 25th. A most excellent article was written by Ronald Greene and published in the British Columbia History magazine, Vol. 40, No 1. Incidentally, in the 1891 photograph of the battery, the 13 tear old trumpeter’s name was Herbert Proctor.
Major-General Fred Middleton, of NW Rebellion fame, arrived in Victoria in October for a visit to HMS Caroline in Esquimalt and "C" Battery as well as Macaulay Camp and Work Point. Tragically on October 3rd, while firing a salute on board HMS Caroline in honor of Major General Middleton’s visit to the warship, a cannon on board burst and blew off the head and arm of Thos. Drury, and seriously injuring William Langley in the feet.
How It Fired
Gunner A. W. Marshall, of "C" Battery, writes to this paper, claiming that the fire on Brother’s Island was not caused through his burning brush. There was no sign of fire at 6 o’clock on the evening of the 13th. He had frequently found fires there after picnic parties or from Indians camping.
Militia and Defence
From: Lt. Col. J.G. Holmes, Comdt R.S.A.
To: Lt. Col. D.J. Irwin, Commanding Regt. C. Artillery
I have the honor to report the burning of Brother’s Island at this station on 14th Inst.
There is nothing to show how the fire originated but it was evidently started from campfires being built in the bush and communicating with the grass and brush which covered the island.
A district gunner visited the island the day previous when everything was all right.
The Magazine which was of wood and the Artillery store are both burned and the ground plate forms of the guns badly damaged.
There was only a small quantity of powder stored on the island owing to the dangerous condition of the magazine, and which was previously reported.
I have not considered it necessary to hold a Court of Enquiry as no evidence is obtainable as to origin of fire.
Scratched out paragraph.
I may say again that the Magazine at Beacon Hill still is quite exposed — that it contains 20,000 lbs powder – that there are no signs of a new Magazine being built in the new Barrack enclosure – and that if an explosion occurs there will be a great deal of damage and probably loss of life.
I attach list of losses of stores.
I have the honor to be
Everything from axes to sights for the two 64 pdr and the 8"gun was listed. It was then recommended by Col. DJ Irwin, Inspector, that they be replaced and suitable buildings erected for Artillery Stores and Expense Magazine.
"C" BATTERY, R.C.A.
Major General Sir Fred Middleton will this morning inspect "C" Battery, R.C.A., at 10 o’clock parade on Beacon Hill.
The general is the very picture of health, very little changed in appearance during the last few years. Grizzled and gray, with a face powerful and commanding, he is every inch a soldier and worthy to stand at the head of the military of Canada
The object which the distinguished officer has in visiting the west is to inspect the force on the coast and the sites of projected fortifications which the government has recently taken into consideration. He will remain long enough to make his inspection thorough in every respect, and will take into consideration the numerous complaints which have been made in regard to the neglect of the Dominion Government to provide suitable provisions for the comfort and efficiency of the detachment at Victoria.
In reference to the volunteer force, the General expresses himself warmly in favor of anything which may be done to suggest the strength and usefulness of this very important branch of the service.
Always heart and soul in acting for the good of the service of which he is an honored member, it is totally probable that General Middleton will make such recommendations to the government at Ottawa as will lead them to take prompt action in reference to the many provisions yet to be made in this portion of the country before the troops can be placed on a thoroughly first class standing.
As yet the General has arranged no programme for the disposal of his time in Victoria, but it will be almost entirely occupied in the work which calls him westward.
"C" BATTERY REMAINS
Major general Sir Fred Middleton arrived in Victoria on Sunday evening, and is now in the city for the purpose of inspecting and reporting on the efficiency and equipment of "C" Battery. Under existing circumstances, the result of the dilatory action and parsimonious measures adopted by the Government, the duty assigned the General cannot well be a pleasant time. He will find that just as the inclement season is approaching, officers and men are compelled, by the neglect of the Government to provide them, with suitable barrack accommodation, to endure the unnecessary hardship of tent life. He will find that the numerous requests of the officers of the battery for necessaries to ensure the efficiency of the force, which should have been anticipated by the Government, have in many cases been pigeonholed without even the courtesy of an acknowledgement. He will find that the new quarters being prepared for the occupation by the battery, are not of sufficient size to ensure the comfort of officers or men. He will observe that the equipment of the battery has been conducted in the same niggardly manner, which has distinguished the Dominion Government in every provision they have made for the force, and the officers and men are in a painful state of uncertainty as to what future disposition will be made of the battery, there being no definite information in the possession of the officers to contradict the rumors current that they are about to be removed to the mainland. The Provincial Government has acted generously in advance of the Dominion, in building an excellent road, which apparently will be of little use for the many months to come unless the Dominion Government decides on making a more adequate provision for one of the finest military organizations in Canada today. A comparison of the equipment of the American battery at Port Townsend with the British force at Victoria is not very pleasant. The American strength is supplemented by every necessary that will add to the comfort or utility of the force. It is to be hoped that the Dominion Government may, upon the report of Sir Fred resolve on immediate action in the interests of "C" Battery, ultimately their own interests, and that their action may be sufficiently generous to make up for the neglect which has thus far been their marked characteristic.
October 9, 1888
GEN. MIDDLETON'S PROGRAMME
"C" Battery Inspected at Dress Parade and In Field Marching Order Yesterday
At ten o’clock yesterday morning "C" Battery, R.C.A., paraded in field day order on Beacon Hill, where they were inspected by Major General Sir Fred Middleton. The General was accompanied at the review by Lt. Col. Holmes, of the battery. Major Peters was in command, with Lieut. Ogilve as right guide and Lieut. Gaudet as left guide; while the General’s staff consisted of Lt. Col. Prior, B.C.G.A., Staff Surgeon Duncan, of the battery, and Capt. Palmer. A large number of spectators witnessed the inspection, which, as was anticipated, was thorough and complete in every particular. Among the spectators were Lady Middleton, Mrs. Peters, Capt. Wise and officers of her Majesty’s Navy at Esquimalt. The appearance of the men on parade was excellent, and the manual was executed with neatness and precision, indicative of hard work on the part of both officers and men. The dress parade and inspection occupied about half an hour, and the men were then dispatched to camp, and made their appearance again on parade at about eleven in their celebrated "Skeena" fighting order. The mining pack, etc, composing the equipment of the troops on the Skeena River expedition, was worn and another half hour put in, in skirmishing. The inspection proves the battery in many particulars to be in a fine state of efficiency, while a visit to the camp shows that it, too, is a model of good arrangement.
The General again lunched with the officers of the battery on Tuesday, and spent the afternoon in inspecting the interior economy and books of the troops. Last evening he and Lady Middleton dines with Colonel and Mrs. Prior at the Priory.
Today the General will inspect the sires of the proposed fortifications at Esquimalt and elsewhere, and this evening will be entertained by the officers of British Columbia garrison artillery at dinner at the Union Club. Friday has been fixed upon for the inspection of the local militia.
General and Lady Middleton will be present at the opening of the exhibition and the General will grace the dinner at the Clarence with his presence tomorrow evening. The distinguished visitors express themselves as highly pleased with all they have seen of Victoria, and will remain for about a week in the Queen City of the West.
October 10, 1888
"C" BATTERY REMOVAL
It will be seen by reference to our telegraphic columns that the militia department are considering the advisability of removing "C" Battery from Victoria to Vancouver. Such a move on the part of the government has been rumored for some time past, but it was not thought possible that the assurance of Sir Adophe Caron, minister of militia, when here last year that the battery would be located in Victoria, would be falsified; and the fact that the battery was located here, the site at Finlayson point purchased, and some of the buildings erected gave color to this belief. But it would seem as though faith were again to be broken with Victoria. It was not enough that its San Francisco mail service was discontinued without its knowledge, that promises and appropriations regarding the deep sea fisheries were withdrawn, and previous petitioned harbour improvements delayed, but there is now the possibility that an established institution is to be removed from among us. We have been a long suffering and patient people, and have up to the present mildly remonstrated through our members and the board of trade. Different measures are now necessary. Half measures are insufficient. Let a public meeting be called at once, and a protest made to Ottawa in terms that will not be misunderstood. Let it be known that Victoria will not submit to any further indignity being heaped upon her, and that if the suggestion contained in our correspondence message is to be carried out, then the allegiance of Victoria with a government and party that has betrayed its interests no longer exists. We have every reason to believe that our correspondent is well informed as to what is transpiring, and we would strongly urge upon our citizens, if they desire to vindicate Victoria’s rights, to act and at once.
(From the speech of Sir Adolphe Caron at the banquet at the Driard, December 2, 1887) "Rising again, Sir Adolphe Caron briefly remarked that the best guarantee of the permanent establishment of "C" Battery in Victoria was the proof sheet which he held in his hand calling for tenders for the construction in Victoria of a barracks for the corps." (Cheers, which emerged in to "For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow," during the singing of which the speaker resumed his seat.)
October 11, 1888
THE RUMORED REMOVAL OF THE BATTERY
Ald. Couglan said he has been informed that it is proposed to remove "C" Battery from Victoria. As this would be a very serious blow to Victoria, he thought that an effort should be made by her citizens to enter an emphatic protest to the Dominion Government against such action. He would move that a public meeting be called for the purpose of protesting again the removal of the battery on Saturday evening next.
The resolution was seconded by Ald. Wilson, and was amended, with the addition that Senators and members of the local house be invited to attend.
Mayor Grant thought the removal of the battery would be a most unwarranted action on the part of the Dominion Government. He referred to Sir Adolphe Caron’s remarks at the banquet at the Driard last year, which assured the people of Victoria that the battery would be stationed permanently at Victoria. He had no objection to seeing a "D" Battery at Vancouver but "C" Battery should remain in Victoria.
Ald. Vigelius thought that the council should immediately send their protest to the Dominion Government against the suggested removal of the battery.
October 11, 1888
"C" BATTERY REMOVAL
The general expression of opinion on the streets yesterday on the subject of the removal of "C" Battery from Victoria, was that some decided stand should at once be taken. The board of aldermen coincided with the general statement, and Ald. Coughlan’s resolution to hold a public meeting in order that a strong protest might be made was unanimously endorsed. There can be no doubt that mighty influences are being brought to bear upon the government to have the battery removed to Vancouver. It is even hinted by those who are in a position to know, that Sir Adolphe, in spite of his assurance to the contrary last year at the banquet, is not averse to the change. It is difficult to think that the Dominion Government, having plighted its word to Victoria, and having expended a considerable sum in purchasing a site and erecting buildings for the battery, should now ignore these facts. Whether true or not, it is widely believed C.P.R. influence dominates at Ottawa, but it is scarcely credible that a government, which has received so much from Victoria in the shape of revenue and support of its policy, should go to the length of becoming a town lot boomer to the detriment of this city. If, ignoring this constituency’s protests and undoubted rights, "C" Battery’s headquarters are changed, our people can only come to one conclusion, that the government has allied itself with the C.P.R. to "boom" Vancouver at the expense of Victoria. We trust that such will not prove to be the case; and if prompt action is now taken the assurance may be given that there is no intention of breaking faith, and that "C" Battery will remain permanently with us. However, there is an effort being put forth to induce the Government to make the change, and it is incumbent upon ourselves to counteract it. No better means can be taken than a public expression of opinion and the passage of a memorial to the Government, protesting in respectful, but unmistakable, terms against such an act of bad faith and injustice.
MAGAZINE, BEACON HILL PARK
To the editor: In a recent issue appears the following sentence: "It is not constructed as a magazine should be constructed." I may be allowed perhaps, to describe how it is constructed for the benefit of those who, not so fortunate as yourself, have not seen it. It is built of brick in two compartments for rifle and artillery cartridges, with a 12 in division wall between, all on stone foundations. The roof has one inch of cement mortar on close boards and covered eaves included, with best tin twice painted, and efficient lightning conductors on both ends of the building. The floor is of 2 in plank on joists and secured with spikes, the heads of the latter covered with wood buttons as the deck of a vessel. The outside doors (no windows) are lined with yellow metal, close nailed. No iron used for fastenings or hinges.
Ventilators are formed in the walls that no malicious person may introduce light or fire through the opening.
The whole building is surrounded at a distance of six feet with 8 ft brick wall – I think, 18 in thick.
Proper drains have been provided.
One Deputy Adjutant General, at least, expressed his opinion that it was the best ventilated and driest magazine he had entered in some time. The late Inspector Bowden, formerly of the Sappers and miners, stated when a building similar to this one was proposed, to be built near the drill shed: If a neighboring building 12 feet off or there abouts, was burning he was willing to stand on the top of the magazine and take chances. I would respectfully state this building is hardly open to the condemnation of the quoted opening sentence.
As to site, I have nothing to say; but a rocky ridge intervening between it and the nearest building, some hundreds of feet distant, would doubtless receive the brunt of the explosion, if it ever occurs.
Victoria, Oct. 3, 1888.
Edward Mallandine was the MD #11 Paymaster in 1878 and later appointed Clerk of the Works for the building of the Officer’s Mess at Work Point in 1890.
October 12, 1888
"C" BATTERY COMING
The World was the first to announce that "C" Battery would be removed from Victoria. It will be seen by reference to another column that the Ottawa correspondent of The Colonist, who is supposed to have the ear of the Ministry, verifies our statement. The matter is one for general jubilzation. The red coats will be very welcome, and will probably find the Canadian air which this city breathes much more congenial than that which prevails in the old fashioned capital. Naturally the Victorians feel very much annoyed over the department’s action, but it is hoped they will not do anything so silly as to hold indignation meetings or detach their support from Government. The Militia Department are actuated by a desire to strengthen the defences of the coast in the best possible manner, and surely our esteemed contemporary will not deny that Burrard Inlet needs guarding. Esquimalt will continue to be the great place d'armes. The Colonist and its readers ought to be satisfied with that.
October 13, 1888
Don’t forget the public meeting in the City hall tonight to protest against the removal of "C" Battery.
THE MEETING TONIGHT
A telegram from our Ottawa correspondent, which appears in another column, indicates that the militia department have obtained information from the Imperial authorities which makes the removal of "C" Battery altogether improbable. Although this is the case, it is desirable that the public of Victoria should place on record their strong disapproval of any attempt to break faith with it in so important a matter. Happily for the City the imperial authorities are not to be swayed by the selfish desires of railway town boomers, and have justly rebuked the endeavour to render an important work of defence a means of increasing the price of town lots, while the object intended that of defending the coast would be neglected. The Dominion Government should be urged to at once proceed with the work of providing "C" Battery with the necessary quarters, and generally to place it upon the same footing as that of "A" and "B" Batteries in eastern Canada. A well attended meeting to-night and a fair discussion of the question will be productive of good results. The Federal authorities should be informed by memorial or resolution that this constituency will not submit to be humiliated and injured to gratify the selfish dictates of the C.P.R., which corporation is no doubt the "interacted" party referred to in the dispatch.
October 14, 1888
"C" BATTERY REMAINS
Sir Adolphe Caron says there is no Truth to the Rumored Removal of the Battery from Victoria. The Department is Alive to its Duty in Reference to Barracks Accommodation.
With reference to the rumoured removal of "C" Battery from Victoria, on Friday last Lieut.-Col. Prior, M.P., sent the following despatch to Sir Adolphe Caron.
Victoria, B.C., Oct. 12th.
To Sir A.P. Caron, M. of M., Ottawa — Rumored here that government is thinking of removing "C" Battery to Vancouver. Great indignation. Meeting called for Saturday night. Wire me if any truth in report.
The following reply to the above was received by Col. Prior yesterday:
Ottawa, Ont., Oct. 13.
To K.G. Prior — No truth in rumor of removal of "C" Battery from Victoria. Department is alive to its duty in reference to barrack accommodation.
No Change to be Made in the Location of "C" Battery Barracks.
(From our Own Correspondent)
Ottawa, Oct.13. — The Minister of Militia was seen again today, and informed your correspondent it had been decided not to make any change in the location of "C" Battery Barracks.
November 1, 1888
AT THE NAVAL YARD
The repairs at the Naval Yard are now well under way. A new light board fence 8 to 10 feet high extends from coast to coast, about 600 yards. It is now being neatly painted both inside and out. A new and substantial cart shed has been completed, 35 feet long by 18. New shot and anchor racks have also been built, and the torpedo shed is being entirely rebuilt.
The magazine on Magazine Island is being generally repaired; a new floor is being laid and many necessary alterations are being made. The guard room also has been practically rebuilt, new floors are being laid, and the building will be treated to a fresh coat of paint all over, inside and out. The yard is looking neat as a pin, and the visitors during the past week have been more numerous than ever.
November 2, 1888
An Unreliable Timekeeper
The noonday gun at "C" Battery barracks is an unreliable index of the time of day. For the past several weeks the watch makers have been doing a trade in the repairing line. The watch owners claimed that their timekeepers were very erratic, losing and gaining ten and fifteen minutes a day. The repairers were puzzled, as the watches seemed to be in good order, and while in their possession kept excellent time. They charged customers a couple of dollars to satisfy the latter’s desire to possess perfect timekeepers. At last it dawned upon some of the owners of the wayward watches that they had been regulating them by the noonday gun of the battery, and that it was the gunner who was at fault, and not the watches. It appeared on enquiry that the gunner’s time was taken from a small clock, which was either knocked down or the works stopped by the concussion of the shot, and was started again by guess work. Hence the alleged noon day gun was sometimes fired in the forenoon, sometimes in the afternoon, and occasionally at noon. It is now suggested that if "C" Battery desires to obtain any reputation as a correct time index, that a telephone be put in and the time o’day be sent in from Redfern’s for the noon day gun.
December 13, 1888
Deserters From "C" Battery
On Monday morning, two men named Graham and Hill, both belonging to "C" Battery, R.C.A., procured a horse and buggy at Barlow’s livery stable on Trounce Alley, stating that they were going to Saanich for a day’s shooting. Graham at one time held a position on the city police force, and before that was in the naval service, and on joining the battery was placed in charge of the canteen. His companion, Hill, ranked as gunner in the battery. They were given a light black horse, and a three spring buggy, drove away and have not yet returned. Mr. Barlow becoming anxious instituted a thorough search yesterday for the missing turnout, and finally found horse and buggy at the Prarie Hotel, North Saanich. The two batterymen were not to be found. It is supposed that they visited the reserve in Saanich, and procured the services of an Indian to take them over to San Juan in his canoe. Cases of desertion are fortunately very rare in the Battery and neither of the missing men could have had any plausible reason for acting as they have. Graham was in receipt of a substantial pension, and both he and his companion have always conducted themselves properly during the time they have served in the battery.