by Jack Bates

PART 2 — 1887 to 1893


Daily Colonist
January 9, 1889


To the editor: In taking a stroll the other day on the tongue of land occupied by the new unoccupied “C” Battery barracks, I noticed, to my astonishment, that the sewage pipes open into the charming West bay, within the harbour, instead of, as the public have been led to understand would be the case, being carried through the tongue to the other side facing the open. This ought to be generally known before the nuisance begins which it will be unnecessary for me to dilate on.

January 1, 1890

January 13, 1889

Gunner Graham, who deserted from “C” Battery a short time and afterwards returned in penitence, has been dismissed for his misconduct.

March 6, 1889


The Minister of Militia is a difficult man to get any thing from, except promises. Members from all parts of Canada complain of his immovability and say he cannot be induced to favour any expenditure for militia purposes in any province, save Quebec. “C” Battery barracks is a glaring case in point and the feeling to which I have referred found expression the other day in a question put by Mr. Wilson, of Elgin, who asked: What amount has been expended in paying for repairs and other works at the Quebec Citadel since the first of June, 1887 ?. What amount was voted by parliament for such works since the date mentioned ?. What amount has been expended upon barracks for “C” Battery, British Columbia ?. Is it true that the money appropriated by Parliament to provide barracks for “C” Battery has been expended upon the Quebec Citadel ?. If so, how much ?.

Sir Adolphe Caron replied the amount expended for repairs and for the other works on the Quebec Citadel since 1st June 1887, up to the 30th June, 1888, was $7232.70. The vote for construction and repairs was $75,000, and no particular amount was voted for the special work at the Citadel of Quebec, the vote having granted for the general requirements of the service. The estimates for the repairs at the Citadel for that period amounted to $13,080, and the amount expended as already stated, was $7,232.70. The amount voted for the barracks in British Columbia for 1887 – 88 was $14,000; there was expended up to 30th June, 1888, $8,945.75, leaving a balance on the 30th June, 1888, of $5,045.25. No part of the money voted for the barracks in British Columbia has been applied for any other purpose than that for which it was granted by Parliament.

Col. Prior has been hammering away at Sir Adolphe in reference to supplying the battery with that accommodation which it absolutely needs, and finding that it was almost impossible to stir him, your able member saw Sir John Mcdonald and laid the whole case before him. The Premier was not a little surprised to learn the circumstances, and at his request Col. Prior has put his representations into writing, which will be submitted to the privy council in due course, and he is hopeful of securing a good appropriation in the supplementary estimates. The minister of militia seems to have got the idea into his head that if he asks for an appropriation for “C” Battery there will be a big kick from Vancouver, but to this Col. Prior retorted that surely the minister ought to have the moral courage to supply shelter for one of the permanent corps on the ground of absolute need, totally regardless of local feeling or jealousy. Relative to the rivalry between Victoria and Vancouver, he pointed out that many Victorians are personally interested in the Terminal city, and were just as anxious to see it progress as their own city. They would, however, insist, and continue to insist that Victoria should receive fair play. The minister of militia requires to be plainly spoken to now and again, and Prior is a man competent to perform that task.

March 9, 1889

Colonel Prior Succeeds in Securing a Promise for an
Appropriation for “C” Battery

Ottawa, March 8, Col. Prior is sticking to the ministers like a leech, and had better luck today. Sir Adolphe Caron finally promised to recommend the placing of an appropriation on the supplementary estimates to build officer’s quarters, guard house and cook house for “C” Battery this year. It is said that the amount will be twenty thousand dollars, but this, of course, is subject to the government’s decision.

March 17, 1889


I telegraphed The Colonist late last night that Lieut. Col. Prior, by dint of pertinacity, had at last succeeded in securing Sir Adolphe Caron’s promise that the buildings for “C” Battery shall be gone on with this year. Although the extent of the buildings may not be everything that the people of Victoria require, or rather that are essential for the comfort and effective housing of the officers and men, still on the principle that half a loaf is better than no bread, the promise of officer’s quarters, guard house and cook house is something. Sir Adolphe Caron has been confronted with his own solemn promise made to the people of Victoria at the banquet given to him on the occasion of his visit and customary as it is for him to make promises and wriggle out of the performance of them when he conveniently can, there was no going behind this promise. People hereabouts are beginning to realize something of the position of affairs with you and it would not surprise me if the Minister of Militia comes in for some hard knocks when the estimates are again taken up. It is known that he was desirous of crowding the entire battery into the three huts already erected, but the Headquarters staff declined to father the proposal and Sir Adolphe had not the effrontery to do it, however much it may have been his heart’s desire. Come what may, the full amount of $50,000 which the department officials say is necessary to give adequate accommodation to the Battery will have to be spent sooner or later, and Sir Adolphe had better face the music now.

March 31, 1889


Col. Prior Makes Able Speech in Its Favor
Sir Adolphe’s Reply
Comments of Other Members

Ottawa, March 23.

In the debate last evening on the militia estimates Col. Prior rose and said before this item passes, I desire to say a few words as to “C” Battery, which is placed in British Columbia. I am sorry to see that the Minister of Militia has not seen fit to place an amount in the estimates sufficient to complete the barracks for that battery.

Sir Adolphe Caron, interrupting — That does not come under my estimates. That is under public works.

Col. Prior — We were promised the advent of that battery but we had almost given up al hopes of seeing them when at last they arrived, and we were very glad to welcome our brothers in arms from the east. At that time there were no proper barracks for them, and there are not yet. The only place which was at all fit to receive them was what is called the agricultural hall, which is not at all suited to the purpose for which it is being used. It is simply a board shed, battened. When the weather is good, as everyone knows it always is in British Columbia in the summer, it is all well enough, but in the winter it is altogether unfit for the purpose of barracks. The battery arrived in Victoria in October, 1887, and I think it was in December, 1887, that the Minister of Militia paid us a visit, and inspected “C” Battery and the local militia. At a banquet which was given to him there, the hon. Gentleman stated to those who were present that he had bought a site for the erection of the barracks, that a contract had been let, and that the barracks would be completed at once. No doubt the hon. Gentleman meant what he said at the time, but his promise, like a good many more promises, has been broken, for up to the present time the only thing which has been done has been to erect three small huts for the gunners. There are no quarters for the officers, there is no cook house, there are no cells, there are no married sergeant’s quarters, no married men’s quarters, no parade ground, but simply three huts in the midst of a dense wood. I cannot blame the Minister of Militia, because there may be circumstances over which he has no control. Last year he told us he was in the hands of the Finance Minister. I trust the Finance Minister and the Minister of Militia will put their heads together and see if they cannot do more justice to these men, for it is an injustice to treat them as the fine body of men as can be found in the world in the manner in which they are being treated. I have heard it said that, if they do not like to put up with it, they can resign. I do not think any hon. Gentleman on the floor of this House would make that remark if he thought of what he was saying, because these men contracted to give their services to the government for certain considerations, in the same way as any clerk who is engaged by a merchant. They contracted to give their services for a certain amount of money per day, certain quarters, and certain allowances, which are all laid down by the rules and regulations of the militia. I believe these men have done their duty and have carried out their contract, but I regret to say that I don’t think the government have carried out theirs in this particular. In regard to the pay of these men, the officers particularly are labouring under great disadvantages in being stationed in British Columbia, because of the great difference in the cost of living between British Columbia and the east. I have here a scale of prices of certain things and of certain services rendered which I will not detain the House by reading, but this statement of prices was compiled by the contractor who supplies the battery with groceries. He gives a long list of the articles which he supplies, and proves that the prices paid in British Columbia over the prices paid for the same articles in the east are from 25 to 40 per cent more. I have another list here of services and labor. This has been compiled by a gentleman who lived many years in eastern Canada, and has lived five or six years in British Columbia, and he knows what he is talking about. I will mention only a few of the items. He says that repairs to boots and shoes costs 100 per cent more, tailoring 100 per cent more, milk 100 per cent more, cab hire 75 per cent more, horse hire 75 per cent more; and there is another item which is of great importance in a country like ours where we want population, and, as he has a large family, I have no doubt he is competent to speak in regard to it, and that is that a monthly nurse charges 125 per cent more. I do not now anything about that myself, but I am sure he would not have put that down unless he had proved it. I know that all Imperial Officers who have been stationed in Victoria or Esquimalt have got an extra allowance on account of the extra cost of living there. I have a letter from a gentleman who has been for the last two years an Imperial army officer, in which he says:

“Dear Sir: With reference to your enquiry about my extra pay while on duty at the station. I have to say that I practically receive double the pay, over and above all allowances, when on ordinary pay. There are several precedents of this recognition by the Imperial authorities, that owing to the high price of everything in the province, some compensation should be made for the additional expenses unavoidably incurred by officers on duty. I think I am correct in stating that all the officers of the Imperial service who have visited Esquimalt on duty, have invariably been granted extra pay.

Now, sir, this is from an Imperial officer, who was on duty at Esquimalt for a long time. I may state that even the banks agree that their officers should have more. Here is a letter from the manager of the Bank of British North America, in Victoria.

“Dear Sir: In answer to your letter of the 1st instant, I would inform you that an allowance pay, $500 per annum, is made to our clerks while serving the bank in Victoria, to compensate them for the additional cost of living here, as compared with Ontario and Quebec.

Now, when you take that into consideration, and also the fact that the post office officials who are in the pay of this government at the present time in British Columbia, are allowed, I think, 25 per cent extra for provisional allowances, and also taking into consideration the fact that the government have agreed to give the gunners of “C” Battery an extra 25 per cent advance on their wages – their wages reaching the enormous sum of 50 cents a day – I think that when you look at all these facts, you must agree that if it is necessary for the gunners to have that increase, it must be far more necessary for the officers to have an increase. I may say that the officers find the heavy expense of living in a great hardship at the present time, owing to their not having proper quarters. It must be remembered that they are brought into contact with officers in the Imperial service, and they have to keep up a certain appearance, and I do not think any hon. Gentleman in this House would for a moment expect an officer of Canada to behave otherwise, or live differently, from any other officer of any other country. It is very difficult today for an officer to live on the salary they got from the government, and the only way they can do it is to allow them free fuel, and free quarters and cheap soldier’s service. An officer must come to grief unless he has either the one or the other, that is the only way he can get on. I do not ask you to take my unsupported opinion, but I will refer you to the report of the general officer commanding the militia in Canada, in which, reporting to the Minister of Militia, he says:

“I hope the barracks for this school will be finished this year – This is in regard to “C” Battery – as they are at a great disadvantage at present. I still think that some addition should be granted to the allowances of this battery as a special case. The general cost of living in Victoria being greater than in the rest of the Dominion, the addition being in the shape of an allowance to cover increased cost of messing and to be regulated by a sliding scale for the several ranks.”

I am perfectly aware that the officers are allowed a certain small allowance at the present time for lodgings, but it is simply nothing for a place like Victoria. I may also state that some of the married sergeants, and some of the married men, are living in sheds that were out up on the fair grounds for the accommodation of the horses exhibited at the agricultural show. I have seen them on a rainy day nearly drowned out. I do not think this is the right way to treat our militia men who are serving the country, and no wonder there is a good deal of grumbling and many desertions. I will not take the time of the House in stating what buildings I think are necessary to be put up by the Minister of Militia, because I believe that after he has read the reports again he will do what is right. But I think he ought to give the men what exactly they are entitled to, nothing more and nothing less. I have asked him before, I am asking him now, and I shall continue to ask until he either gives me a very good reason why he should not give an extra allowance, or else yield to our reasonable request. Last summer I was very glad to see both the members from Hamilton visiting Victoria, and I hope they will endorse what I have said as to the barracks which they visited. I can state without hesitation that if the minister will confer with the general commanding, or with any of the permanent heads, or others who ought to know, and who do know, he will find that they all agree in saying that it is imperatively necessary that the barracks should be built for that battery, and that the battery should have some extra allowance.

Sir Adolphe Caron — My hon. Friend was rather severe, I think, when he stated in his opening remarks, that my promises were made to be broken.

Col. Prior — Oh, no. I did not say that.

Sir Adolphe Caron — I think the only difficulty between my hon. Friend and myself is that he fancies, possibly, that I may take a little more time than I should in carrying out my promises, but it is certainly my intention to carry out all the promises I have made to the hon. Gentleman. With reference to the barracks, it is true that the quarters of the battery at present are not what I should like them to be. As the hon. gentleman stated, I went to Victoria and selected a site, and I gave orders to commence building the huts. The estimates which the minister of public works will bring down will show, that I never considered that what had been done was all that we intended to do so far as “C” Battery is concerned. The hon. gentleman speaks of the expense of living being far greater in Victoria than in Ontario or Quebec. Well, that is an evil which is being cured with the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, by means of which communication is easily had with the east. The difference in the expenses are being reduced every day. I think it would be a very invidious distinction to make any difference in the pay between the batteries in the Dominion of Canada. The principle upon which all the military forces are organized is that the same pay shall be given to all members of the force of equal grade. The hon. gentleman states that we have made a difference in so far as the rank and file are concerned. We made this difference, that if they carried out their term of engagement for three years they should receive at the end of the period a bonus of 10 per cent per head in addition to the ordinary payment, or 60 per cent. At that time it was considered an inducement to get some members of the other batteries who enlisted in “C” Battery, to go out to British Columbia. I was very glad indeed to see how well “C” Battery was received by all the members of our military force in British Columbia. They were treated as comrades, and the good feeling shown them has increased ever since they have been serving with the ordinary militia in British Columbia. I think that when the plan which is contemplated is carried out, the hon. gentleman will agree that we desire to treat “C” Battery in Victoria fully as well as any other battery in Canada. I know very well that they have to put up with very many inconveniences, but the new barracks will be so perfect that I hope it will make them forget the little inconvenience which they have suffered. I am sure the hon. gentleman has shown a great deal of interest, he has spoken to me time and again about the matter, and I think he will find that what I have promised to do for “C” Battery will be fully carried out.

Col. Prior — The Minister misunderstood me when he supposed that I said that his promises had been broken. I said that his promises were made to be broken - there is a great deal of difference. In regard to the difference in the cost of living, I may state that although the hon. gentleman says that the completion of the Canadian Pacific railway brings down the prices, Mr. Smith, the Deputy Minister of Marine, told me, after he had taken a trip down the coast to San Francisco, that he had come to the conclusion that Victoria was one of the dearest places to live in on the whole Pacific coast. They are higher, and they will continue to be higher.

Sir Adolphe Caron — In regard to supplies, we find that the prices in the contracts for supplies in British Columbia are about the same as in other districts. I do not know whether the contractor was so anxious to supply “C” Battery that he reduced his prices, but the contracts are at about the same prices as in other districts.

Mr. McMullen — I see that $28,000 were expended last year on “C” Battery. $300 is down for six months ground rent. To whom was that paid. I was looking over the place when I visited there, and I thought it a very high rent.

Sir Adolphe Caron — It is not for ground rent. It is for the barracks which the “C” Battery are now occupying.

Mr. Wilson (Elgin) — What amount was appropriated to “C” Battery last session, and what amount has been expended to date ?

Sir Adolphe Caron — $50,000 for payment of staff officers, men and maintenance of the battery.

Mr. Wilson (Elgin) — Has the total sum been expended ?

Sir Adolphe Caron — I presented a return to a question put by the hon. member. I think about $7000 has been expended upon the new building and an appropriation will appear in the estimates brought down by the Minister of Public Works.

Mr. Wilson (Elgin) — It is clear that the department had money with which it could have improved the condition of “C” Battery. There appears to be no reason why the work was not carried on more rapidly. Can the minister give any reasonable explanation ? If he cannot, the hon. member had just cause to complain that the men should be compelled to live in barracks such as he described. As to the question of expenses of living, that is a different question; but the House should know why “C” Battery had not the amount appropriated devoted to the purpose for which it was voted.

Sir Adolphe Caron — The sole reason why a balance remained was that we could not have commenced without a further appropriation to carry out the work of constructing the barracks to be put up for the force.

Mr. Chisholm — I endorse everything that has been said by my colleague from British Columbia (Mr. Prior), in regard to the higher cost of living in British Columbia. I desire to enquire whether it is the intent of the government to do this year something towards fortifying the city of Vancouver, which is the terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the port of landing of the Chinese steamers.

Sir Adolphe Caron — I can only answer the hon. gentleman , as I have already replied to another hon. gentleman, that the question of defence is now being studied by a commission that has been appointed, and the government of Canada and the Imperial government have been in communication in regard to the same question. I am not in a position to give the hon. gentleman any further information at present.

The item then passed.

The following transcripts are from letters written in reference to members of “C” Battery occupying the new barracks huts completed in June 1888:

Inspector of Artillery, Ottawa…8 April, 1889
To: Comd RCA, Victoria.


Parade state of 31st inst shows a Corporal and 8 gunners in command at new barracks. Information requested by return as to the authority under which these buildings have been occupied. Full particulars requested.

DT Irwin, Lieut Col
Com of RCA

23 – 4- 89
To Off Com of Dept of Artillery:

Lt Colonel Holmes had no right to occupy any part of the new Barracks without authority, and by so doing has rendered himself responsible for any damage done.

Lieut …………….

To Lt Col D.T. Irwin
Com of R.C.A.
Victoria, B.C.
April 16th, 1889.


The detachment is occupying one barrack room at the new Barracks by permission of the acting D.A.G.

They are employed in Artillery District work and are also clearing the barracks square in order that the Battery may have a place to go into camp during the summer.

It was also considered advisable that the men should in turn have a change from the wretched place now occupied as barracks.

This has been entirely upon my own responsibility.

JG Holmes, Lt Col

From Lt Col J. G. Holmes, Comd, R.S.A.
To Lt Col D.T. Irwin, Comdg C.A. Regt.

Victoria B.C.
June 14th, 1889

Sir, I have the honor with reference to the attached news regarding the occupation of the new barracks at Work Point to report as follows:

I beg respectfully to say that it is a matter of surprise to me to be informed that I am not responsible for the care of the buildings and property. Ever since the matter of building of barracks here has been talked of I have been written to, and when construction was actually commenced the supervision was placed in the hands of the Hon Mr (Now Sir Joseph) Trutch and myself. Since Sir Joseph went to England during the past summer all matters connected with the buildings have been referred to me by the Architect in charge of the works, and in completion, he handed me the keys informing me that he had orders to do so, and that his connection with the work was to cease.

I could therefore only feel that I was as Acting D.A.Gen entirely responsible for their care and preservation and say that in all official correspondence concerning these buildings my connection with them was always referred to as acting D.A.G. and not as Com of R.S.A.

Now with regard to the occupation. Had I left these buildings unoccupied, and they been damaged or destroyed, would I not have been held culpably negligent in the matter ! I certainly felt that I would have been

The barracks are built on property that has always been a favourite camping spot for Indians from the Coast visiting Victoria. These Indians obtain liquor in the town, and drink and carouse on this spot on their journey home. Several parties of them were in the early part of the year turned off by the men in charge.

Many parties from Victoria have also in years past been in the habit of holding picnics on this ground, building fires for the purpose of cooking etc and still do so. Knowing as I did all this and feeling, especially after the fire on Brother’s island, how great the risk was. I in my capacity as Comdt R.S.A. thought it best to place a small detachment in charge who could owing to the nearness to Macauley Point, be of use in looking after the battery there as well as clear the barrack square, and thus lessen the damage from brush fires as well as securing a place for the men of the Battery to camp during the summer in order that they might go through a course of drill with the heavy 7 inch M.L. guns at the Battery.

You are aware that the temporary barracks in Victoria are four (4) miles away preventing any 7 inch drill being done. There is neither room to camp, nor water supply at the Battery and beyond the guns being moved weekly nothing can be done in the way of drill, as the lessee of the land adjoining objects to the men camping on his ground as was done last year.

The men of the detachment, consisting of one corporal and three gunners, are all volunteers for the work, and have been changed from time to time. They have cleared a large portion of the land and thus saved to the Department a considerable sum, as well as facilitated to location and construction of other buildings whenever they should be commenced.

As regards damage to the existing buildings, there has been none, but on the contrary, owing to the drainage being kept open, and fires made in the buildings, they are in a much better state than they would have been otherwise consequent on the extremely wet winter here. Should I have erred, through what I may call zeal for the service and an earnest wish to do all that I could to advance the interests of the Department and the force under my command. I can only say that I am very sorry. I have always tried to do what was right, never hesitated to assume responsibility where necessary.

I can only say in conclusion that I hope this explanation will prove satisfactory, and should I have failed in making matters clear, the fact that I have not yet quite recovered from a severe illness, and am consequently weak and really unfit to write a long letter may be my excuse.

I hope my action may be approved but should it not be I will withdraw from the occupation and would request that I hand the keys of the buildings…., and charge of the property.

I have the honor to be
Sir, Your obedient servant
JG Holmes, Lt Col RCA
Comdt RSA


Forwarded in explanation of the course pursued by Lt Col Holmes. It will be noticed that the latter states that the architect in charge handed him the keys by order.

DT Irwin, Lt Col
Com of CA Regt

The following are letters written regarding a fence line built on the new Work Point boundary:

Hudson’s Bay Company Office
Victoria, B.C. 17th April 1889

Lieut. Col. Holmes
Deputy Adjutant General


With reference to my conferences with you, & to my letter of 26th November last to Mr. Jackson the Government Solicitor here, after an interview with him on the subject in consequence of my previous application to the Minister of Militia & Defence, I now beg to inform you that the Puget Sound Agricultural Company have erected the necessary fencing on the portions requiring to be fenced of the lines between their land & the site of the Government Barracks at Work Point – say 1040 feet of strong post & rail fence, at a cost of $90.36.

On behalf of the PSA Coy I shall be glad to receive payment of one half of the disbursement, say $45.18 which is a proper charge against the government as adjoining owner.

Yours obediently
Alex Munro

Victoria, BC

From Lt Col Holmes      A DOC MD 11

To Adjutant General

I have the honor to forward herewith a letter received from the agent of the property adjoining the Barracks site at Work Point.

The fence mentioned therein has been erected but it is of a very flimsy character and of no use to the department as a permanent enclosure of our land.

I think however that it is only fair that the half of the cost as stated for by him as such should be paid as it was absolutely necessary that this land should be enclosed and it could only be done by this means.

I have the honor to be
Sir, Your Obedient Servant
JG Holmes, Lt Col

Fred Middleton
M General

Alex Munro was the Chief Factor Accountant for the HBC Co and resided at 6 Michigan St.

Daily Colonist
June 4, 1889

The Westminster Way

The Westminster correspondent of the News Advertiser says that: Major Peters of “C” Battery inspected the Artillery and Rifle companies, which turned out in full strength Saturday afternoon at the cricket ground. The exercises were far from creditable, although the men were not to blame at all, as they were confused by contradictory and unknown orders, and entirely lost their confidence both in themselves and in their officers. Major Peters in very plain terms told several of the latter gentlemen that they did not know anything of the drill, and without an exception the officers made a very poor show of themselves indeed. The march past and its attendant manoeuvres were fairly well done, but the inspecting officer ordered commanders of companies to put their men through even the simplest evolutions the result was an exposure of ignorance of duty. After the Major had satisfied himself as to the inefficiency of the officers, he ordered the artillery up to the Crescent Battery, opposite Brownsville, where the two 24 pounder guns had been hauled in the morning ignominiously behind a common dray. No. 2 gun had the honor of making the best score. A shrapnel shell from this target shattered the target and altered its position. Sixteen shots were fired by each gun, and Major Peters was very much pleased with the practice made, and said the Westminster Battery did not need breach loading guns, when they could do such excellent work with the old muzzle loaders.

July 9, 1889


Two of the members of “C” Battery were arrested at 1:30 this morning for creating a disturbance on Broad street. They were most abusive when arrested and resisted the police, who took them to the station. Both will be charged to- day with assaulting constables, as well as with disturbing the police.

August 29, 1889

On August 29th, 1889, ground was broken for the new quarters of the officers of "C" Battery, R.C.A., at Work Point.

Through 1889, the Militia of the Province of British Columbia, M.D. # 11 with HQ’s in Victoria, consisted of "C" Battery, Regiment of Canadian Artillery, British Columbia Brigade of Garrison Artillery also with HQ’s in Victoria, consisting of No. 1 Battery in New Westminster, # 2, 3 and 4 Batteries located in Victoria. There were two Rifle Companies as well, Victoria (1874) and New Westminster (1877).

Col. J.G. Holmes Commandant, "C" Battery, Royal School of Artillery is shown in residence at the barracks in the 1889 Victoria directory. Major James Peters, Commanding Officer "C" Battery resided on Fairfield Rd, and Capt. Thomas R. Benson, adjutant "C" Battery, resided at 39 Cook St, to name a few.

August 31, 1889

Ottawa — Aug. 30.
The Militia Department has ordered the Union jack to be flown daily from “C” Battery quarters, instead of on holidays solely.

September 4, 1889

The Dynamo’s Joke

The Victoria and Esquimalt Telephone Company have at present in operation at the central office a small water power dynamo, used for ringing the subscribers being by buttons. This little dynamo, on a clear night, sends out a whistling sound that can be heard for quite a distance. Last evening it was taken by several for the whistling of one of the Alaska steamers overdue, and without waiting to investigate, a couple of enterprising hackmen made a useless trip to the outer wharf. The secret of the deception was fully explained to them on their return.

Shot and shell practice from the 6 inch guns in Macaulay’s Point battery took place yesterday by detachments from “C” Battery.

And still the Battery buildings contract does not materialize.

The men of “C” Battery now engage in daily gun practice, with the 7 inch guns on Macaulay Point.

September 6, 1889

“C” Battery R.C.A. returns to barracks today. The men are well bronzed by their few weeks in camp.

September 28, 1889


Plans Approved for Officer’s Quarters for “C” Battery

Lieut. Quinlan Promoted to be Captain of No. 3 Battery, Victoria
Major Peters on Behalf of “C” Battery Challenges Eastern Corps
To Shoot a Telegraphic Match

Ottawa, Sept. 27. Lieut. J. Quinlan becomes captain of No. 3 Battery, Victoria, vice Major Nicholles, promoted. Capt. Snowden has retired, retaining rank.

A.F. Cotton has been appointed second Lieutenant of the New Westminster Rifles, vice Rickman, resigned.

Major Peters, on behalf of “C” Battery, challenges any other permanent corps to shoot a telegraphic match, 30 men a side.

The plans for the officer’s quarters of “C” Battery have been approved. Tenders will be called probably next week.

September 19, 1889

"C" Battery Sports

The annual sports of “C” Battery, R.C.A., took place at Beacon Hill yesterday, commencing at 9 A.M. The weather was all that could be wished for, and the boys turned out in full forces. The events were very keenly contested. During the afternoon many of the Fair sex were present at the grounds, contributing to the success of the meeting.

The programme was under the management of the officers, ably assisted by Sergt. Major Mulcahy. The referees were Capt. Benson and Lieut. Ogilvie; starter Lieut. Gaudet. The donkey race created much amusement, each competitor being compelled to carry a jockey on his back. Several of the animals becoming violent, returned to the winning post without their riders. In the egg race each man carried an egg on a spoon, the object being to carry it safely through the race. Many of them shared the fate of “Humpty Dumpty”, much to the amusement of the spectators. Staff Sergt. Kennedy deserves special mention for his very creditable performance, and was undoubtedly the lion of the day, Sergt. Brimstone being next in order of merit.

Results not included.


All arrangements have been perfected for the holding of the artillery practice on Friday and Saturday, 20th and 21st instant, at Finlayson Point Battery. A new platform has been laid and a telephone wire will connect the range party with the battery. The target cannot be placed as originally intended, viz, on Brotchie Ledge; it will therefore be anchored about 500 yards to the east of Clover Point.

In consequence of a recent decision of the Dominion Artillery Asociation, it has become necessary to make a change in the prize list. Under the new conditions the three detachments firing for the D.A.A. prizes will compete against other (Fou it is believed) batteries in Canada, firing at their respective local headquarters for the following prizes:

To detachment making the highest aggregate $15.00
To the 2nd $10.00
Individual prizes: One prize of $9, two of $6, two of $5, two of $4, and two of $3       $45.00

To the three detachments not engaged in this competition the officers of the B.C.B.G.A. will give prizes for competition amongst them. The object in offering these prizes is to place the detachments not firing in the D.A.A. competitions on the same footing as those so engaged. In awarding them, therefore, the points gained in the eastern batteries will be adopted as the standard of comparison, so that, practically, both detachments of each of the local batteries will be in competition with those in the east.


Library and Archives Canada
October 15, 1889

(From M. & D. Docket A. 7931) Report from the D.A.G. of M.D. No. 11, (Commandant of the Royal School of Artillery) to the Adjutant General of Militia – 15th October, 1889 – In regard to “C” Battery buildings, gun shed, etc.


I have the honor to report that the following work at the new barracks at this station will be necessary in order that they may be occupied by “C” Battery, R.C.A.

I attach plan showing approximate sites of the principal buildings.


Buildings required: Officer’s quarters, etc, etc. Guard Room, prisoner’s room and Provost cells. Offices and Quarter Master stores. Staff Sergeants and Sergeants married quarters.

4 offices 18’ X 18’ and store 18’ X 36’ four rooms and kitchen each quarter. It will be almost impossible to have the above in lodgings, as there are no houses nearer than three miles which can be rented.

Cook House
About 20’ X 24’ with taps, wood shed etc.

Work Shops
Carpenter’s, tailor’s and shoemaker’s each about 16’ X 20’.

Should have about eight stalls in order that officers keeping horses on their private account may have room in addition to Commandant and Battery.

Gun and Waggon Shed
Should be large enough to contain ten guns and wagons. We have now four guns and limbers and two wagons on charge and this will only leave room for four private vehicles.

Married Soldier’s Quarters
Same reasons apply as are given regarding married sergeants.

Library, Canteen and Recreation Room
I recommend this to be a two story building, ground floor to contain recreation room, passage and canteen with small cellar below for vegetables, beer, etc.
Upstairs to contain canteen, steward’s rooms and library.

Sergeant’s Mess and Sergeant Major’s Quarters
Sergeant’s mess to contain mess room 14’ X 24’, ante room 14’ X 18’ with pantry off 6’ X 14’, cellar below.

Sergeant Major’s quarters four rooms and kitchen, similar to other married staff sergeants.

Hospital, Surgery and Kitchen with Non Commissioned Officer in charge quarters.
Two wards with office and surgery, kitchen and two rooms for non commissioned officer, one detached ward for semi contagious diseases, water taps, bathroom and W.C. and hospital store.
Two story building.

In order to permit of approach to officer’s quarters and other buildings roads are absolutely necessary, to render the buildings habitable and the cheapest material is gravel Roads must be at least 18’ wide and there will be about (800) eight hundred lineal feet required.

To connect various buildings about 4620 lineal feet required 4’ X 6 feet in width.

Barrack Square
This must be cleared and gravelled.

In connection with all three preceeding items I must state positively that these are absolutely necessary. This is a wet winter climate and for six months unless this work is done, the barrack square and grounds will be a morass utterly impracticable for wagons of any sort and thus prevent the bringing in of supplies, fuel, etc.

This will be about 4500 feet with drain.

Fencing and Main Gate
Plans and estimates have been already submitted.

Water Pipe and Hydrants
For water supply and prevention of fire. Five more hydrants will be needed.

This should be constructed in order that all military stores might be landed here, as eventually both military store buildings and magazine must be erected in the barrack enclosure.

Drill Shed and Gymnasium
Building vey necessary, especially in the wet winter months. Size 100’ x 50’.

Revettment to Water From on North Side
This can be done very cheaply and the reclaimed land will be worth more than the cost. It will also give more room where it is much required owing to the men’s barrack buildings being larger than originally recommended by me.

Men’s W.C.
It will permit of W.C. being erected over tide water and save a large sum for cleaning as well as water supply.

The present W.C. will cost the public at least $20.00 a month for water alone, more in one year than the cost of a new building on a water site.

Eave Troughs to Barrack Buildings
These are absolutely necessary. At present the rain from the roofs is damaging the foundation walls of the huts.

Present system flimsy and unsatisfactory. Windows let down by iron rods and catches always breaking. One barrack room used as a camp hospital in a month’s occupation broke nearly every one in the room.

I recommend that these be closed and a metal ventilator be placed in roof over each room and connecting with centre of ceiling.

General remarks
In all buildings occupied as quarters rooms should be provided with cupboards or clothes closets, and other similar conveniences.

Estimates should also be prepared for all necessary outbuildings such as water closets for married quarters and fuel sheds, fences to back premises are also necessary in offices, non commissioned officers and married men’s quarters.

I have the honor Sir
Your obedient servant
Snd J.G.Holmes, Lt. Col.
Commandant, R.S.A.

N.B.     A flag staff will also be necessary, it should be about one hundred and twenty feet high (120’)


Daily Colonist
November 1, 1889

Ottawa. Oct. 31.   H.E. Binstall, of Quebec, has been appointed lieutenant of “C” Battery. He was formerly a cadet of the Royal Military College.

E.W. Mathews becomes provisional lieutenant of “C” Battery of British Columbia artillery, vice Quinlan promoted.

November 15, 1889

B.C.B.G.A Matters

It is understood that an effort will shortly be made to organize a fourth battery in this city in connection with the B.C.B.G.A. There are at present only three batteries of volunteers in Victoria and at last inspection the parade state showed ninety seven present all told. For a city boasting of a population of 15,000 whites, the number serving in the militia seems to be abnormally small, but this is partly accounted for by the great disadvantages under which the force works in this city. Victoria should be able to show a battalion of at least six full companies, and no doubt the city fathers are in a position to donate a site towards the accommodation of this will be taken – the erection of proper accommodation for the men.

November 24, 1889

Still Before the Council

A private telegram received from Ottawa last evening contains the information that nothing has yet been done in regard to the acceptance of any tender for the construction of “C” Battery barracks. The matter is still before the council.

December 22, 1889


Capt. Shears Appointment as Appraiser Confirmed

The New Drill Shed to be a Credit to Victoria

Contract Awarded for Officer’s Quarters “C” Battery Barracks
Clerk Appointed

An Additional Battery of Artillery to be Formed – A Subsidy Urged for the
Victoria Saanich Railway – Col. Prior en Route Home

(From our own correspondent)

Ottawa, Dec. 21.   Lieut. Col. Prior, while here, has been exerting himself in the interests of Victoria with great results.

At today’s meeting of the cabinet the contract for the officer’s quarters at the new “C” Battery barracks, was awarded to Woodward & Munday, the contract price being about $26,000. Work will be commenced about the beginning of April. Mr. Edward Mallandaine will be appointed clerk of the works.

In the matter of the new drill shed, the grant of $ 15,000 will be conditional on the city giving a site in a central locality. The building will be 180 by 75 feet and a credit to Victoria.

An additional battery is to be formed to take the place of the disbanded rifle corps.

Col. Prior interviewed Sir John today, and urged that a subsidy be granted the Victoria Saanich Railway. He left for home tonight, well satisfied with the result of his visit.

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