HISTORY OF WORK POINT BARRACKS
by Jack Bates
PART 2 — 1887 to 1893
Volunteer Soldiers Drill
Batteries 2, 3 and 4, of the B.C. B. G. A., turned out fifty strong for the drill, at the new market, last evening, under the instruction of Sergt. Major Mulcahy of “C” Battery. In order to be in readiness to furnish the guard of honor at the opening of the Legistlature they will drill again, under Sergt. Major Mulcahy on Monday next. A smoking concert by the combined batteries is now on the tapis.
January 10, 1893
One C. Chermard, canteen sergeant of “C” Battery, has taken his way henceward. About $75 or $100 of the funds disappeared about the same time. Chermard, as sergeant in charge of the canteen, had supplies issued to him on which he was supposed to make returns every week; the returns are not yet in. The money – likewise the man – is liable to arrest for desertion if it fails to report for duty within 21 days.
January 24, 1893
Tenders were issued by the Department of Public works, Ottawa, on January 13, 1893 for the several works required in the erection of “Powder Magazine, Artillery Barracks, Victoria, B.C.”
January 29, 1893
The Sixth Annual Ball
The sergeant major, staff sergeants and sergeants of “C” Battery, R.C.A., will hold their sixth annual ball in the Racquet court, at the battery, on the evening of February 10. A large number of invitations have been issued.
February 16, 1893
THE DOMINION MILITIA
General Herbert presses for the Higher Education of Officers of the Schools
A New Rifle Cannot Be Issued Without Lengthy Preliminaries
The annual report of the Militia Department has heretofore covered the calendar year. For the future it will, like all other departmental reports, be for the fiscal year, ending June 3oth. In consequence of the change a supplemental pamphlet has been issued dealing with occurrences of the first six months of 1892, and the official reports on the drill for the past season will not appear until next fall.
Standard For Permanent Officers
General Herbert in this supplement emphasizes his former recommendations to the Minister, and in addition offers many striking suggestions. He thinks that at least the permanent force – “C” Battery, R.C.A., should be more than amateur soldiers: “ There is much”, he says, “yet to be done to bring this small type of force up to the level of the important duties devolving upon it. I regret that it has not been found possible to give effect to my recommendations, intending towards the higher education of the officers, and I submit these again for your favourable consideration. The officers of the permanent force must be professional soldiers, and to attain that character they must devote themselves to the serious study of the profession they have adopted. They have little to look forward to in the way of material advantages, and they have therefore the right to expect that the means be provided to them for that education by which they can become fitted to perform efficiently their duties as instructors of the militia.
As an encouragement to the members, General Herbert notes that the Imperial Government has expressed its willingness to confer medals for long service and good conduct on non commissioned officers and men of the Canadian permanent force under conditions similar to those governing such rewards in the regular army.
Responsibility of Volunteers
Absence without leave from inspection, the Major General remarks, has grown into a serious abuse in certain city corps, and measures have been taken to check it, so that any attempt to raise the standard of efficiency in those corps may not be rendered abortive.
A system of competition has been established in some of the districts, and prizes for the corps making the best showing have been offered by Sir Donald Smith in Montreal, and Sir Casimir Gzowski in Toronto district. General Herbert hopes to see prominent men come forward elsewhere with similar prizes, which are not expensive and are in the same nature of challenge trophies to be held from year to year by the annual winners.
The Proposed New Rifle
It would seem that there are several lengthy preliminaries that must be attended to before much abused Snider rifle can be withdrawn and replaced. General Middleton says:
“An inquiry has been instituted, which is still proceeding, with a view to ascertaining the most suitable small bore rifle and carbine with which to rearm the militia. There are, however, two points of the highest importance which have to be considered in connection with this question: There is at present a considerable reserve of Snider ammunition, and the supply is maintained by the Dominion Cartridge Factory. In order to manufacture the ammunition required for a modern small bore rifle, considerable changes of machinery would be necessary, while the smokeless compound which has taken the place of gunpowder in the modern firearm could not be procured in Canada.”
The Lack of Ranges
“There is not more than one rifle range in Canada on which practice could be carried out to the full effective range of a modern rifle. There are few that admit of practice at a longer range than 600 yards. The existence of abundant means for practicing rifle shooting is as necessary a condition for attaining efficiency as is the possession of good weapons. While earnestly desiring to see the introduction of a better firearm, I cannot but recognize that it would be a fruitless expenditure were modern weapons placed in the hands of the militia without due provision for the supply of ammunition to be used with them, or for the means of instructing the men in their use.
Reports on Local Corps
The British Columbia Brigade of Garrison Artillery and the Nanaimo Infantry Corps were among the few who did not complete their drill for 1891 – 92 in time for the publication of the inspection report in the volume for that year. They completed that drill in may last, target practice being omitted, and the acting Deputy Adjutant General, Lt. Col. Holmes, said of the Artillery: :”The headquarters batteries performed battalion drill under the Major fairly well. All the clothing of these battalions is worn out. The accoutrements are old and of several patterns. New issue recommended.” His report by batteries was:
“No. 1, Capt. Townley – This is a very good battery; ranks first in the Brigade in efficiency. Company drill, manual and firing exercises, well done. Armoury well kept and interior economy very good.”
“No. 2, Lieut. Sargisom – This battery showed two well drilled gun detachments. Battery in good order; ranks third in Brigade efficiency. Company drill, manual and firing exercises well done. Armoury well kept and interior economy fair.”
“No. 3, Capt. Quinlan – Battery in fair order; ranks fourth in Brigade efficiency. Company drill, manual and firing exercises fairly done; armoury well kept, and interior economy poor.”
No. 4, Capt. Smallfield – Battery in very good order; ranks second in Brigade in efficiency. Manual and firing exercises and company drill well done. Armoury well kept; interior economy very good.”
General Herbert’s Comment
The General Officer Commanding thus modifies the reports above quoted: “The remarks of the D.A.G. can only be accepted in a relative sense. The Brigade is not in a satisfactory condition, though this is not due to any want of zeal on the part of the officers, who have had great difficulties to contend with. To obtain any degree of efficiency, the establishment must be increased and organized on a sound basis.”
The Nanaimo Infantry Company is thus commented upon by General Herbert: “At my inspection on the 8th September the state of organization of this company appeared to be very imperfect, and proper steps had not been taken by the D.A.G. to put it on a proper footing.
February 21, 1893
A communication was read from the Secretary of State, intimating that tenders had been called for the erection of a powder magazine; that the work would be proceeded with without delay, and the magazine removed from Beacon Hill Park as soon as possible.
February 22, 1893
The Ex Manager’s Benefit
The box sheet is now open at Jamieson’s bookstore for Daniel Selim’s benefit, which is to take place at the Victoria theatre on the 28th inst. Mr. Selim will for the first time favour the Victorians with a vocal solo, and amongst the many attractions on the programme, which will be shortly published, is a coronet solo by Carey of the “C” Battery band, a lad of fifteen years, who has a most promising future as a soloist.
February 25, 1893
The reorganization of the militia services will, I hear, affect British Columbia in an important degree. It is stated that the negotiations which have been going on with the Imperial authorities on the subject of the fortifications of Esquimalt are practically concluded, and that this year will see a considerable expenditure in the vicinity of Victoria for the purpose of thoroughly fortifying the Western gateway of the Dominion. In addition to the heavy armament with which the fortifications will be equipped, it is said also to be in contemplation to bring out 100 men of the Royal Marine artillery for the purpose of properly manning the fortifications. It will be remembered that a suggestion of this kind was mooted two or three years ago, and that then the people of the mainland thought there would be a likelihood of “C” Battery being transferred to the vicinity of Vancouver. I hear, however, that this will not follow in the event of the Marine artillery being brought out; the condition upon which Imperial troops will be stationed at Esquimalt being that they should be supplementary or complimentary to a Canadian force there. Moreover, Col. Prior will be expected to strengthen his brigade of garrison artillery, bringing it up to the number of 480 men. The necessary authority will be forthcoming for this increase as soon as all the details of the arrangement with the Imperial authorities are perfected. This will doubtless be welcome news to your readers. It involves the expenditure of a very large sum of money, and will make Victoria one of the most important stations on the Pacific Coast.
March 25, 1893
GOOD-BYE TO “C” BATTERY
Information Received That the Men of Col. Holmes Command
Before the summer of 1893 comes to an end it is more than probable that Victorians will be called upon to bid good bye to Col. Holmes of “C” Battery and all its gallant men, the little family of Canadian regulars who now make Work Point their home being transferred in a body to the Citadel at Quebec. The matter has been discussed at the barracks not infrequently during the past few months, and last evening the following definite particulars were received in the form of a dispatch to the Colonist from Quebec city:
A great change, it appears, is to take place this spring in the Canadian regular army, and the following information in connection has just been obtained upon the best authority.”
“Two guns from “B” Battery here will be moved with their detachments, replacing “A” Battery at Kingston, which becomes a field division, the foot division of “A” Battery and all of “C” Battery from British Columbia coming to the Citadel at Quebec.”
“The two remaining squads here will be transferred to quarters at the Cavalry School, which is to be moved to Toronto. It is reported that Lieut. Col. Montizambert will be given command of the three batteries.”
Lieut. Col. Holmes not having returned from Nanaimo, could not be interviewed last evening in regard to the above dispatch. Other officers of the battery were talked to, however, none of whom, expressed any surprise. The information, they say, has been expected for some time – in fact such an arrangement was hinted at by Major General Herbert during is recent trip to Victoria.
In the event of “C” Battery leaving for the East this year, it is expected that their quarters will be handed over to the Imperial authorities and taken possession of by Marine Artillery under the orders of the Admiral of the north Pacific Station. Nothing yet is known who will succeed Col. Holmes as Deputy Adjutant General, nor are any details of the change obtainable at the battery barracks.
March 28, 1893
Further Expenditures in British Columbia — The B.C.B.G.A. to be Augmented
For Esquimalt’s defences the following amounts are proposed: Dominion contribution towards the capital expenditure for works and buildings, $70,000; to pay detachment of Royal Engineers or Marine Artillery to replace “C” Battery, $35,000.
One thousand dollars is allowed Mrs. Gordon, widow of the late member; there is a gratuity to Dr. Davie, on the closing of the Marine Hospital at Victoria of $100, and to George Unwin, keeper, $500.
For the purchase of modern firearms for the militia, $16,000.
The British Columbian members are in high spirits over the decided action regarding the Esquimalt defences. I learn tonight that Canada’s expenditure will amount to a quarter of a million. The fort will be made one of the strongest in the world. The Imperial Government will contribute as its share eighteen or twenty powerful guns of the latest pattern. Her total contribution will greatly exceed Canada’s.
It is decided that “C” Battery will be withdrawn. The Minister of Militia says that at the earliest possible moment that arrangements can be made their barracks will be occupied by the Royal Marine Artillery or Engineers.
The British Columbia Garrison Artillery will be increased to a strength of 500 men, 100 each being at Westminster and Vancouver, the remainder at Victoria. Col. Prior sought to obtain the formation of a separate brigade for the Mainland, but the authorities would not permit it.
March 31, 1893
Capt. May, C.B., R.N., delivered his lecture on gunnery, more particularly as applied to coast defence against naval attack, at “C” Battery barracks yesterday afternoon. He had an appreciative audience, which included many visitors besides the officers and men of the battery, and the interest was well sustained throughout the hour and a half occupied in delivery. Col. Holmes tendered to Capt. May a vote of thanks very heartily accorded to him for the kindness which prompted him to lecture them.
Three letters concerning acquisition of property at Macaulay Point by the Dominion government from the Hudson’s Bay Company:
Hudson’s Bay House
Dear Sir: — I beg to hand you plan of the property, Macaulay Point, which the Dominion Government purchased some years ago, and for which they also paid.
If this plan meets with your approval, I should feel much obliged if you will kindly initial it and return it to me at your convenience.
Hudson’s Bay House
Dear Colonel Holmes: — I beg to thank you very much for your letter of 8th inst., and am having the plan amended as you suggest and a duplicate will be made, both of which will be shortly transmitted to you.
Thanking you for your attention,
Hudson’s Bay House
Dear Colonel Holmes. As desired in your letter of 8th inst., I now beg to hand you plan in duplicate of Macaulay’s Point.
You will observe I have had Lot 1, Block 15, colored pink. I leave it to you to make the marginal note you refer to that is “that this is the site for the battery transferred to the government of Canada.”
If you will kindly do this and sign it, I shall feel greatly obliged.
Yours Faithfully, JW xxxxxxxx Acct
Copies of the maps I have not located to date.
At “C” Battery
Sergeant Major M.G. Blanchard, of No. 3 battery, B.C.G.A., yesterday completed a three months course at the Royal School of Instruction in connection with “C” Battery, and duly passed for a first class certificate.
Sergeant Redding has taken charge of the canteen at the barracks.
The first of a series of matches of the “C” Battery Rifle Association was held lately, the first prize being won by Quarter Master Sergeant Prevost, and the second by Gunner McNeill.
Major Peters’ trophy for the gunners of “C” Battery is this month held by Gunner Davis, who won with it exemption from guard duty for that period.
The approaching transfer to the east is the great topic of discussion at the barracks. There is as yet no definite information as to the date of departure, which may possibly be quite distant. The battery is now at its authorized strength of about one hundred, one fourth of whom have been recruited here, the remainder being made up of the drafts from Kingston and Quebec.
April 27, 1893
Contract # 2264 was signed on this date by the contractor William Rockett to erect a Magazine on the island in West Bay. The drawing was titled “Artillery Barracks — Victoria, B.C. Magazine.”
This building became Royal Engineer stores, the PPCLI carpenter / shoe maker’s workshop and finally a soap factory after the munitions were moved to the new magazine (WP 1030) erected in 1898. This magazine remains in tact today.
April 30, 1893
THE LEAGUE ENTRIES
Capt. Quinlan yesterday forwarded to the treasurer at Toronto the entry money for the seven teams of the B.C.G.A. who will participate in the matches of the Canadian Military Rifle League. These entries include two teams from the Westminster batteries. Of the five from this city, one will be made of the ten best shots available from the three batteries; and there will be two teams from No. 2, and one each from No. 3 and No. 4. A civilian team, in the organization of which Capt. Fletcher and Senator McInnes are interested, will probably be entered next week. The regulars of “C” Battery have not yet been represented by a team in the league matches, probably because their arm is the Martini, while the Snider is used by the league; but the batteries of the R.C.A. at Kingston and Quebec have always entered.
The reduction just made by the Militia Department in the price of ammunition will give a great impetus to shooting Snider will, at $8 per thousand rounds, be just half the former price; and the reduction on Martini is twenty five per cent. The manufacture of Martini ammunition was commenced at the Government factory at Quebec early in last year, and the facilities are more than equal to any demand likely to arise. There s an immense reserve of Snider ammunition, and as that arm is apt to be shelved before many years, the great reduction is no doubt made with a view to a “clearing sale.”
THE NEW RIFLE
The matter of making at Quebec the ammunition for the new service rifle is already under consideration, and in his last report the Superintendent of the factory says:
“It would be worth considering if a new small bore rifle could not be obtained by converting Martini Henry rifles into Martini Metford, substituting a small bore barrel to the present .45 calibre, without altering the breech and lock mechanism, replacing, however, the “fore end” of wood by one of a shape suitable to take the small bore barrel, and altering some minor parts. A pattern has been scaled to convert Martini Henry carbines in manner for artillery and cavalry service in England. Thus a good and stout small bore rifle would be obtained, and if at any future time the Lee Metford magazine rifle was introduced, both arms would be available, taking the same ammunition. The converted martini rifle would shoot as far and as accurately as the Lee Metford rifle of the British service. It would be a single loader but still much more accurate than the Martini Henry, with a practically much longer point blank range, and a hardly perceptible recoil, instead of the violent one now felt when firing the Martini Henry rifle.
May 17, 1893
An Unfortunate Accident
On Monday afternoon signalman F. Wright, of H.M.S. Garnet, while aloft in connection with his duties lost his balance and fell to the deck, sustaining injuries which resulted in his death about a quarter of an hour afterwards. His head was badly crushed, several ribs were broken and besides there were some internal injuries which were so serious that nothing could be done to save his life. Deceased was 18 years of age on Sunday last, and was very popular with his fellow bluejackets. His only relative is a widowed mother in England. The funeral takes place this afternoon at 2 P.M. to the naval cemetery with full naval honors, “C” Battery band attending. The services will be conducted by Rev. Father Van Nevel.
May 30, 1893
President Van Horne’s Movements — Want to Have “C” Battery
Vancouver, May 29. — President Van Horne’s sudden visit to Whatcom this morning was to take over the Bellingham Bay and British Columbia railway, which the C’P’R’ has acquired. A deputation of the City Council had been appointed to offer 15 tears exemption fro taxation of the new station buildings should they be erected this summer; but they failed to meet him.
By resolution tonight, the Council will make a strong effort to have “C” Battery located here.
June 1, 1893
WANTED: A nurse, or housemaid, accustomed to partial care of children. Apply during mornings or evenings, to Mrs. Peters, “C” Battery Barracks.
THE VISITING MINISTERS
Inspection of the Military Properties — Completion of the Drill Shed Urged
Hon. John G. Haggard and Hon. J.C. Patterson have extended their stay in Victoria, and will spend today, also here, taking the boat for Vancouver tomorrow morning. Yesterday they visited several of the Dominion properties, notably the military institutions in connection with Mr. Patterson’s department. Early in the morning they were shown the drill shed, and Lt. Col. Prior, M.P., urged the advisability of having it pushed to completion as rapidly as possible, and of having a first class wooden floor laid. The Minister of Militia promised to lay the matter before the officers of the Department of Public Works, that department having charge of the construction.
The “C” Battery barracks were next visited. There the whole force was paraded for the inspection of the ministers, and put through various exercises to show the general proficiency attained. The quarters of the officers and men were also inspected. Subsequently, an exhibition of firing with the big guns was given, the practice showing great proficiency.
The Ministers also visited Esquimalt, the graving dock being the great object of interest there.
The rifle range deputation will wait upon them today.
June 4, 1893
A deputation of influential citizens waited upon the Minister of Militia at Vancouver to request that a local military force, other than the proposed battery of garrison artillery be established there, and also that when “C” Battery is removed from Victoria it should be stationed at Vancouver. Hon. Mr. Patterson did not give any encouragement, nor could he very well, in the face of General Herbert’s strong protest against the authorization of any force except garrison artillery. As to “C” Battery the Minister said nothing definite had been decided upon. It goes without saying, however, so long as the battery remains in British Columbia it will be stationed at Victoria, as one main reason for its maintenance is to provide an artillery school, which would be out of place in a city where there is no artillery force. At Westminster the Minister expressed the hope that he would be able to lay the corner stone of a new drill hall there next year. As he spoke in Victoria also of being here again in a twelve month, it is evident that his intention is to repeat the visit.
June 8, 1893
THE SPORTSMEN’S ASSOCIATION TOURNAMENT
It is anticipated that the meeting of sportsmen at the great trap shooting tournament at Victoria, commencing on Wednesday, June 14, and continuing for four days, will be a much larger gathering than any the association has had. The beautiful medals and trophies, together with the cash prizes and entrance fees to the several events, aggregate over $1000, for which the competition will be keen and spirited by the representatives of about thirty gun clubs from Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, and no doubt there will be several cracks from Eastern clubs and California. The tournament will be held at Macaulay Point, a beautiful and picturesque spot. The grounds are admirably fitted up, no pains being spared by the local gun clubs to have everything completely arranged for successfully carrying out the programme, as well as for the comfort and accommodation, not only of the shooters, but for the general public who may desire to witness the sport. It is commendable on the part of the city gun clubs that no charge is made for admission. The grounds will present the appearance of a miniature city of tents and awnings, neatly and cosily arranged, affording a picture of beauty and novelty.
July 18, 1893
The Work is to be Commenced Very Soon and Pushed Rapidly to Completion
Those who have been looking forward with expectancy to the commencement of the work on the Esquimalt harbour fortifications will be pleased to know that assurances have been received that active operations will be commenced at an early date and will be pushed forward to completion with all possible dispatch.
This information is contained in a private letter received at Esquimalt a few days ago, and though nothing but the broad statement is made, it comes from a quarter which ensures reliability. It is further learned that there will be two detachments of regulars sent out to British Columbia in the near future. One detachment will be of Royal Artillery and the other of the Royal Engineers. Major General Herbert who, some months ago, was sent for to go to England to receive instructions and to consult with the Home Office in reference to the fortifications, is now back to Canada. He is expected to arrive in Ottawa next week and will doubtless then have definite information as to the plans.
There seems to be general misunderstanding as to the nature of the proposed fortifications. Many are of the opinion that they will be very extensive indeed, but the naval men and others in a position to know, do not agree with this idea. They think the main fortifications will be the placing of the big guns on advantageous locations with embankments thrown up in front for protection. There will have to be some quarters erected for the regulars who are to come out and a general improvement will be made at Esquimalt, but not of the same extensive character as some of the articles published by American newspapers would indicate.
July 20, 1893
THE SOLDIER’S SURPRISE
Members of No. 4 Company Called Upon to Repulse a Night Attack
Ah, then and there was hurrying to and fro
And there was mounting in hot haste this steed
While thronged the company with terror dumb
Byron’s vivid description was realized by all those who chanced to be on the camp ground of brave Company 4 (B.C.B.G.A.) in the still dark hours of yesterday morning, and the quiet stars then looked down upon a scene the like of which is seldom presented to their gaze.
Fortunately, no one was killed or seriously wounded, though one or two competent gunners are still in the surgical ward, having split their sides laughing, and Messrs. H.A. Holmes and K. Finlayson are the victims of the best practical joke of the season. It all came about this way:
Number 4, Captain Smallfield’s company have been under canvas at Macaulay Point since Saturday last, and strict military discipline is maintained. Tuesday evening Company 2 met for drill, and there was a well founded belief out in the camp that the boys of No. 2 would march out and take the camp by surprise. Messrs. Homes and Finlayson knew this and laid their plans accordingly.
As the evening hours went by and Company 2 failed to appear the guardians of the camp grew more and more suspicious. Did they meditate a night attack ? Were they barbarians to fall upon men while they slept ? It looked that way, and honor demanded that the camp should not be taken at least not without a battling for existence and victory.
At first it was thought that a picket should be thrown out, but as the daring defenders of the canvas homes were worn and weary it was finally decided to double the guard and trust the rest to Providence that protects brave men. So it was ordered, and soon the snores of the sleepers rose as soft music on the summer air.
At 11 o’clock the sentry reported a stampede of cattle toward the camp and the guard fell in, while three men were sent out to reconnoitre, believing the enemy to be close at hand. A command of “Right Wheel” was distinctly heard by the guard, with the sound of muffled voices. And they at once concluded that No. 2 Company was advancing through the adjoining woods.
This was deemed amply sufficient to arouse the camp and the bugler having received the word from the corporal of the guard, the “Assembly” soon brought the soldiers back from the realm of dreamland.
They rolled up and tumbled up, in the greatest diversity of apparel, but all in strictly undress uniform, and soon were in formation. All had their rifles, side arms and trousers; none had tunics or forage caps and not a few had forgotten that a night march in stocking feet is far from comfortable.
Hardly had the company formed for the defence of their temporary homes when the reconnoitering party returned with a prisoner, Mr. Holmes, who was lodged in the guard tent and charged as a “spy”. Finlayson eluded his pursuers in the darkness , and finding that Holmes was inclined to be musical in captivity, his release was soon ordered. The joke was explained and everybody laughed.
But the end was not there. “C” Battery from their barracks had heard the “assembly,” and turned out with military promptitude, prepared to fight foemen or fire, whichever threatened. Not finding either at home, they concluded that their citizen comrades must be in danger, and at once Sergt. Major Mulcachey and a file of men proceeded to the camp to volunteer assistance. It was not required, and when the moon came out, a little after three in the morning, the snores of the soldiery again awoke the echoes from the distant Olympians.
No. 4 Company B.C.B.G.A., Rose Bay Camp, July 20, 1893
The Company will, this evening, tender a reception to their friends from the city, a cordial invitation being extended to members of Companies 2 and 3, who are requested to bring their lady friends with them. Every member of No. 4 is expected to turn out so that the welcome to comrades and friends may be a hearty one. For the benefit of invited lady friends, a large boat will leave McIntosh’s at 7:45 p.m. Below is given the programme for the evening:
July 25, 1893
St Saviour’s Church, Victoria West, was filled to its capacity on Sunday morning, the congregation being especially large owing to the attendance of No. 4 Company, B.C.B.G.A. and “C” Battery. The pulpit was ably filled by the pastor, Rev. W.D. Barber, whose discourse was very interesting and appropriate. After forming into rank at Macaulay Point, where they were camping, the militiamen proceeded to “C” Battery grounds where they were joined by the regulars. See August 10, 1909.
August 3, 1893
“C” BATTERY TO LEAVE
Definite Instructions Received That The Barracks
Mail Advices Awaited — The Destination Will Probably Be Quebec
Lieutenant Colonel Holmes, officer commanding “C” Battery, which has been stationed here for some years past, received an official telegram yesterday morning from Ottawa, ordering him to hold himself and men in readiness to leave for the east. How soon the “marching orders” will be received is not known positively, but it is presumed the mail will bring instructions from Ottawa as to what the authorities wish, and also as to the destination. The prevailing impression is that the battery will go to Quebec, relieving B Battery, which will go to Kingston, and A Battery, now at Kingston, will in all probability be sent to some other point.
Although it has been for some time past well known that “C” Battery was to be removed from Victoria, the news of its early departure will be received with surprise and much regret. Officers and men have many friends here who will be sorry to see them depart, and while wishing them all joy in whatever portion of the Dominion they may be sent, many would have liked them to remain on the coast. It is hinted, however, that the “vacancy” that will be caused, will be filled by a corps of the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers, who are to come out from England, but how soon those will arrive is a question to which the answer is not at present forthcoming.
August 5, 1893
Advices were received here yesterday that the first detachment of Royal Marine Artillery for Victoria left England on August 1, and they may therefore be expected to arrive in about three week’s time. The detachment, which is composed of seventeen men in charge of an officer, will occupy C Battery barracks at Macaulay Point, which will be by that time vacated, and shortly after the balance of the Artillery, about seventy five men, may be expected. The Royal Engineers, who are also to be sent here, will probably arrive in about a month’s time. Their number is not yet known here.
August 10, 1893
The Changes in the Esquimalt Armament and Fortifications
Ottawa, Aug. 9 — General Herbert returned today from a visit to Goderich, where the Minister of Militia is staying. I am now in a position to give some information with regard to the proposed military changes consequent upon the proposed construction and manning of the fortifications at Esquimalt. A detachment of Royal Marine Artillery, consisting of about twenty men, at the present time en route to Canada, who are expected to pass Winnipeg about the eighteenth, will arrive in Victoria about August 21. This detachment will be followed next month by another of about 80 men, making a total of 100. The reason why they are not all sent out together was because nearly all the Royal Marines on home service have been engaged in the Naval maneuvers off the Irish coast. As soon as the first contingent reaches Esquimalt “C” Battery of Canadian Artillery will come east but the precise destination of the battery has not yet been decided upon, inasmuch as the question of the reorganization of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery is under consideration. Major Muirhead of the Royal Engineers, second assistant in the Building Works branch of the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, is expected in Ottawa this week. When he arrives, arrangements will be perfected for commencing the construction of the fortifications and pushing them to completion. General Herbert says the guns which will be placed in the fortifications will be of the most recent type. In fact the armament will be a very strong one.
August 11, 1893
Lieutenant Colonel Holmes, of “C” Battery, yesterday received a telegram to the effect that the battery would leave for the east on August 21. No destination was stated.
An Ottawa dispatch announces that Major Muirhead, of the Royal Engineers, is now on his way from England to take charge of the construction of fortifications at Esquimalt.
Regulars at the Dominion Rifle Matches — Military Changes
Ottawa, Aug 10 — Col. Hamilton, of the King’s Regiment, of Halifax, has telegraphed Col. Bacon, secretary of the Dominion Rifle Association, asking in how many competitions men from the regulars could participate in provided a team were sent to Ottawa, and whether they could use the magazine rifle or not. Col. Bacon replied that regulars would be enabled to take part in all the competitions except three, and that of course they must shoot with the Martini Henry rifle.
In connection with the proposed reorganization of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, it is reported that “C” Battery will be removed to Quebec to take the place of the cavalry school, which goes to Toronto. “A” Battery, at Kingston, will probably be strengthened and converted into field artillery, while “B” and “C” batteries will amalgamate and constitute a strong battery of garrison artillery.
August 12, 1893
The Westminster Gazette Asks Whether They Can be Regarded as Instances of Britain’s Self Sacrifice
London, Aug. 11. — Lord Aberdeen’s friends in the Colonies express great pleasure that England and Canada are working to remedy the defenceless state of Esquimalt. The Westminster Gazette, taking the Imperial Federation view of Sir Charles Tupper, asks the Imperial federation league whether it regards this as an instance of England’s self sacrifice in the defence of the Colonies. Why, if Canada belonged to the United States, England must only create such a naval station on some island specially bought for the purpose.
The “Mona” to be Raffled
The yacht “Mona”, the property of Sergt. Major Mulcahey, of “C” Battery, will be raffled on Saturday, the 19th inst. The Mona is well known as one of the finest of her size in these waters, having a large and comfortable cabin, and being in every way a capital cruising boat. She has a lead keel, and it is practically impossible to capsize her; it was owing to this that she was able to show dry decks after the race in which the Scud turned over.
August 15, 1893
On Friday the customs officers at this port, seized a man of war’s boat which was in possession of four runaways from the other side. One of them belonged to Battery “C” and the other three were from the crew of the Royal Arthur, which is also lying at Esquimalt. When the runaways landed they offered to pay the usual entrance fees in the hope that they could sell the boat, but Deputy Collector Clark refused to receive the fee as he could easily see by their uniforms that they were members of the British Navy. The marshal received a telegram Sunday from the chief of police of Victoria in which he offered a reward for the recovery of the boat. Port Angeles Tribune Times.
Important Militia Changes — Major Lake to be Quarter Master General
Ottawa, Aug. 14 — These are stirring days in military circles, in view of the changes actually occurring and pending. Today a department order was issued to Colonel Turnbull, commanding the Royal Canadian Dragoons at Quebec, to proceed to Toronto with his regiment by the middle of next week. The Dragoons will be located there. The first batch of Royal Marine Artillery for British Columbia passed through Ottawa early this morning. They will arrive at Esquimalt on Friday, and within twenty four hours after entering the barracks there “C” Battery will leave for the east. Quebec will be the destination of this battery, the barracks vacated by the Cavalry Regiment affording accommodation to the artillerymen.
The contemplated changes in the militia staff will not be known for two or three weeks. The matter is standing over until the return of Hon. J.C. Paterson. It has been definitely settled that Major Percy H. N. Lake, of the East Lancashire regiment, will be Quartermaster General of Militia, provision for which office was made by Parliament last session. Major Lake was born June 29, 1855, and claims Canada as the land of his nativity. He joined the artillery August 12, 1873; saw active service during the Afghan war in 1878; was acting assistant field engineer of the Southern Afghanistan field force; was with the Eastern Soudan contingent at Suakim, in 1885, in the capacity of Deputy Adjutant General and Quartermaster General to the Intelligence department. He has likewise been employed as chief of the Colonial section of the Intelligence Department by the war office. This appointment which he vacates to come to Canada is that of Deputy Assistant General at Dublin. Major Lake’s term of service in Canada will be for five years, his appointment being based on the same principle that governs the appointment of professors in the Royal Military College in Kingston. One of his most important duties will be to put the force on a footing ready for active service. This includes the mobilization of the militia force, consisting of the militia or permanent corps and the preparation of a scheme. Major Lake was specially trained in this particular branch, and is well qualified to undertake the work in Canada. General Herbert says that the newspapers statement that Major Lake is a personal friend of his is a mistake, except in so far as he hopes all good officers are his friends.
Postmasters are informed that cut flowers will be passed as fifth class matter, at the rate of one cent per ounce.
Several convictions have been occurred recently of persons discovered enclosing letter, or writing the equivalent to letters, in newspapers. The lowest fine is ten dollars.
Among the contemplated changes in the militia staff is the retirement of Col. Villiers, D.A.G., at Winnipeg, his position being filled by the transfer of Col. Holmes, of Victoria, to that point. The position of D.A.G. in British Columbia has not been filled.
Teams from the Seventh Kings regiment at Halifax and H.M.S. Blake, will attend the rifle matches here.
W.F. King, the Alaska boundary commissioner, leaves for the Pacific coast on Wednesday. He will visit the seven Canadian parties now in the field, returning to Ottawa early in October. This year Canadian observers are operating along the coast following the trend of the mountain range parallel with which the boundary runs. Next year the surveyors will go inland, but as the rivers are canoeable for several of the parties only, pack teams will have to be obtained. As no animals can be procured in the country suitable for the work, they will have to be conveyed from Victoria.
August 16, 1893
“WELCOME TO THE PRINCE”
“C” Battery Thunders Its Salute — The Premier Greets The Prince
A salute of twenty one guns from Battery Point yesterday morning told the citizens of British Columbia that the big white Empress of Japan had arrived, and that somewhere among the passengers who crowded the decks and looked out over the sunny straits to the city, was one whom Great Britain delights to honor – His Imperial Japanese Highness, Prince Kamateu Yorihito, who may someday be Emperor of the Land of the Rising Sun.
For weeks past cablegrams and telegrams from the Imperial Government and concerning this young man have been coming to the Canadian authorities, and all express the same wish of the home government that the Prince, during his short stay in Canada, might be shown every courtesy. Hence it was that “C” Battery saluted the arrival of the Empress and that a few moments later a launch from H.M.S. Royal Arthur ran along side the mail steamship and an officer of the flagship expressed Admiral Stephenson’s welcome. Hon. Theodore Davie, Premier and Attorney General, who was taken out on the handsome Provincial launch Eileen, was the next visitor to shake the Prince’s hand and assure him of British Columbia’s welcome and hope that his stay on the American continent would be pleasant and profitable.
August 18, 1893
The sergeants of “C” Battery were, last evening, entertained to a farewell dinner in the Hotel Victoria by the sergeant’s mess of the B.C.B.G.A. Though got up on very short notice the affair was remarkably enjoyable, and no fault could be found with the very excellent menu provided. Some twenty five guests sat down at table, Staff Sergeant McConnan in the chair, the vice chair being filled by Company Sergeant Major Blanchard. After the attack on the commissariat was finished, songs, speeches and recitations were given by various of the non coms present. The Queen, the service, “C” Battery, our guests, and the usual toasts were enthusiastically received. Songs were given by Col. Sergt Blanchard, Sergts, Anderson, Twiss, Holland and Braund, of the B.C.B.G.A.. Sergt Major Mulcahy and Sergts Lapointe, Croft and Cox, of “C” Battery, Sergts Anderson, B.C.B.G.A.; Wanless, Gallagher, Q.M.S. Provost, of “C” Battery, and corporal McConnan, B.C.B.G.A., contributed recitations and speeches to the general entertainment, “Retreat” not being sounded till the early hours of this morning.
August 19, 1893
The First Detachment Arrives Here From Portsmouth
By the Premier last evening there arrived in Victoria the first detachment of the Royal Marine Artillery Company which is to be stationed here in place of “C” Battery. Lieutenants Temple and Barnes are in command, having three sergeants and fourteen men. As soon as the boat arrived the detachment marched out to Macaulay Point, where supper was waiting for them, and they were given a cordial welcome to their new home by those who are so soon to leave.
The men are a fine looking lot, all of great apparent physical power and of much intelligence. They are known as “Royal Marine Artillery Submarine Miners”, and have all taken special courses in submarine work. The balance of the company will probably leave for here in about two or three months, and will consist of garrison men and more submarine miners. When the detachment which arrived last night left England it was not known when their comrades were coming.
Now that the Royal Artillery men are here a better idea is obtainable of the character of the fortifications than was given before. There will be a few large guns placed in advantageous positions on the banks of the harbor, but the main defences will be submarine, and will be of such a character that when completed Esquimalt harbor will be practically impregnable, and it will be possible for a handful of men on shore to keep any fleet in the world outside.
THEY LEAVE TODAY
“C” Battery to Vacate the Macaulay Point Barracks This Evening for Quebec
To Sail on the Premier at 12 o’clock Midnight — The Officers Entertained
In accordance with the instructions received fro the Department of Militia and Defence at Ottawa, a few weeks ago, the officers and men of “C” Battery are tonight to leave Victoria and proceed to Quebec. It has been arranged for the Premier to leave at 12 o’clock midnight, so as to arrive in Vancouver in ample time to catch the C.P.R. express from the east and still have time to make the transfer of the heavy baggage which will be of necessity taken along. The C.P.R. will take the battery to Quebec district, and will arrive at the new headquarters in just about one week from today.
Needless to say the departure of “C” Battery is regretted by the citizens generally, and more especially by those who have been business and social relations with the Canadian regulars. In a great many different ways has this regret been shown, and officers and men alike know that they carry with them the best wishes of the many friends left behind, for their continued happiness and prosperity. The departing officers and a number of their local friends were entertained last evening at the Union Club, where a happy time was spent, and many a bumper was drunk to the success of “C” Battery in whatever part of Canada they may be called to. The only remaining officer from the battery is Major Peters, whose appointment as D.A.G. for the district is a most popular one.
August 20, 1893
FAREWELL “C” BATTERY
The Soldier Boys Leave Macaulay Point And Are En Route to Quebec
Escorted to The Boat by The Royal Arthur Band — The Parting Keenly Felt
“C” Battery has gone, and the well known figures of officers and men who have been seen on the streets of Victoria for several years past, will be seen no more. They left on the Premier at midnight, and by this time are en route to Quebec, where they are to be stationed for the next three years or more.
It was with feelings of deep regret that the citizens saw the battery boys depart, but the “send off” was none the less hearty on this account. All day long there was life and business at the barracks, where everyone was preparing for the move and bidding adieu to the many friends to be left behind. At 10 o’clock the march to the boat was begun, the battery being joined in town by the band from H.M.S. Royal Arthur, which played familiar airs. As the soldier boys marched through the streets they were cheered and applauded by the crowds gathered on the sidewalks, and more especially was this the case when the company reached the corner of Government and Fort streets, and again the cheering was renewed when they marched down the incline to the wharf. There was an immense crowd here congregated to say good bye and as the band played “Auld Lang Syne,” “For They are Jolly Good Fellows,” and like familiar airs, the enthusiasm of the spectators knew no bounds. Three hearty cheers were given for the departing soldiery, followed by any number of “tigers.”
Amongst others down to say good bye to “C” Battery were Lt. Col. Prior and the officers of the volunteer artillery. Col. Prior was much affected at the parting, and in a most feeling speech expressed to Col. Holmes and officers how deep was his regret that they were going away. Col. Holmes, responding, said he, too, felt keenly his departure from Victoria, where his stay had been made most pleasant by the many kindnesses of numerous friends.
Similar sentiments were expressed by the other officers, and when the final hand shaking was done, those who were not going away left the boat sad and sorry that their former associates had left.
Time and again has it been the lot of the citizens of Victoria to bid farewell to detachments of the representatives, both on sea and land, of the dignity and power of the mother country, the leave taking having invariably been a regretful one, those who manned the “wooden walls” having, when ashore, made for themselves many friends, who were, indeed, sorry to see the last of them. The girls and boys they left behind them have, by associations, been led to feel an interest in and a sympathy with them which did not altogether pass away as the echo of their footsteps became lost in the distance. Many there are who hold them in happy memory, and not a few residents first came here clad in Her Majesty’s uniform.
Within the last day or two Victorians and British Columbians have been speeding guests who were not only Britons all, but were united to them by even a closer brotherhood, that of being Canadians; attired in the uniform of our beloved Dominion, and each the representative of some one or other of the confederated provinces. Their departure, last night, will by many be regarded as the severing – temporary, it is to be hoped, of a bond of immediate family relationship, and the future of the travelers will be watched with no small amount of hearty interest. Both officers and men of “C” Battery have won the sincere respect of this community, the feeling being that, although inevitable, it is all too soon to say “Farewell!” While speeding the parting, we heartily welcome the coming guests, who are descended from the sires from whom we have sprung. The bands which unite the empire in all its parts, cannot be made too strong, and it is with conflicting emotions that we again say “Farewell !” “Welcome !”
The advance party of the R.M.A., via the C.P.R., arrived at Victoria August 19th, 1893, under Lieut’s F.N.Templer and G.E.Barnes, with 19 N.C.O.’s and gunners who had been trained in handling submarine mines at Chatham under the sappers. The main body arrived at Victoria via Montreal on March 28th, 1894, under Lieut. – Col. G.A. L. Rawstorne, making a total of 3 officers including Lieut. G.R.Poole and 75 other ranks.
On the departure of “C” battery for Quebec, Lieut. Col. James Peters, R.C.A., remained behind and took over the duties of D.A.G. of the militia in British Columbia, this work being carried out from the officer’s quarters in the barracks.
The members of “C” Battery having formed a considerable portion of the congregation of St Saviour’s church, Victoria West, Rev. W.D. Barber referred in feeling language to their departures from British Columbia in the course of his morning sermon of Sunday last. Col. Holmes will more particularly be missed in St Saviour’s, as he was the representative of the church in Synod.
The non commissioned officers and men of “C” Battery, who went away to Quebec on Saturday night, desired the Colonist to convey their thanks to Mr. Carter, of the St George’s Hotel, and Mr. Lawson, of the City Brewery, for hospitalities received by them prior to their departure and also during the period of their stay here.
Mr. E. Pferdner, late bandmaster of “C” Battery band, has now a proposition on foot to establish a first class band in Victoria, and so far as he has proceeded in this direction he has met with great support and no small amount of success. The suggestion has been made to him that the new band should be a semi military organization in connection with and under the patronage of the local corps of volunteer artillery. If the scheme can be carried through on this basis, there seems to be no reason why a first class band should not be got together, one that would be a credit to the city and would be available whenever wanted.
August 25, 1893
“C” Battery passed through on the delayed express train, last night, for Quebec. Col. Holmes, late commandant of the battery, dropped off here, to assume the duties of D.A.G., succeeding Lieut. Col.Villiers.
August 26, 1893
Important Changes Made in the Militia Staff for Economical Reasons
Lieut. Col. J. Holmes, from the Royal Canadian Artillery, Victoria, to be D.A.G. of district No. 10, Winnipeg, to date from August 25. Major J. Peters, from the Royal Canadian Artillery, to be D.A.G. of district No. 11, British Columbia, to date from August 25, 1893.
Quartermaster Palmer, of “C” Battery, is placed on the retired list with a gratuity. Major Peters is granted the temporary rank of Lieut. Colonel while holding the appointment as D.A.G. in British Columbia.
The companies of the British Columbia Garrison battalion are renumbered, with headquarters as follows: Numbers 1, 2 & 3 at Victoria; No. 4 at Westminster; No. 5 at Vancouver, when organized.
August 31, 1893
General Herbert went to Quebec today to see that “C” Battery was properly quartered.
September 2, 1893
WELCOMED IN WINNIPEG
“C” Battery at the Manitoba Capital
Winnipeg Tribune: “A number of the local militia officers gathered at the C.P.R. station Wednesday evening to greet the members of “C” Battery of Canadian Artillery, who are en route to Quebec, being transferred from Victoria to the ancient capital. The corps were comfortably quartered in two tourist coaches, with the kitchen car attached. There were about 75 men, the full strength having been somewhat reduced by a number purchasing their discharge to continue residence in the Pacific province, and in addition the wives and children of the married men were on board.
“While there had been reports to the effect that Lieut. Col. Holmes, commandant of “C” Battery, was likely to succeed to the office of Deputy Adjutant General of this district, local officers were somewhat surprised at the station on learning that Col. Holmes had been appointed, and that he would remain here. The new district officer is well known to several citizens, and was greeted by many old time associates in the East. He will take charge at once. Mrs. Holmes accompanied her husband, but is ill, and on her arrival here it was necessary to call in the aid of a physician. They are for the present guests at the Clarendon, and already many officers of the local corps have called and paid their respects to the new Deputy Adjutant General.
“Josiah Greenwood Holmes, successor of Lt. Col.Villiers, is a Canadian, being born in the Niagara district in November, 1845, and commenced his military career as a bugler in the old Lincoln battalion of infantry in 1861, and was ensign in the corps during the Fenian raid of 1867. On the organization of the St. Catherine’s garrison artillery corps, J.G. Holmes was gazetted as Lieutenant in November, 1868, and promoted to its captaincy in April, 1872. Lt. Col. Holmes has been associated with the Canadian regular artillery since its inception, and, in fact, was one of the promoters of the movement. He was gazetted as senior Lieutenant of “A” Battery, stationed at Kingston, and after some years service there was transferred to Quebec and promoted to the rank of Captain in August, 1882. A few months later the rank of major was conferred, and in 1883 Major Holmes was gazetted as Lieutenant Colonel and appointed as commandant of “C” Battery, stationed at Victoria, B.C. On his removal to the Pacific province he was also appointed Deputy Adjutant General of the district, and has held these positions for ten years, receiving official intimation of his charge to district No.10 on Friday of last week.
October 28, 1893
A competition with 64 pounders took place at Quebec recently, between teams of eight representing “C” and “B” batteries respectively. “C” Battery won by 18 points.
United Service Lodge, A.F. & A.M., No. 24, B.C.R.
Globe Hotel, Esquimalt, 31st October, 1893. A meeting of the Masonic Brethren of the Fleet took place on the evening of the above date at the Globe Hotel to discuss the advisability of forming a Masonic Lodge to be located at Esquimalt, B.C. After some discussion it was proposed by Bro. Brown of H.M.S. Royal Arthur and seconded by Bro. Leggett of H.M.S. Royal Arthur that W. Bro. Hickey, Bro. Muir and Bro. Fox form themselves into a committee to ascertain if sufficient Resident Brethren of Esquimalt, B.C., were willing to assist the Brethren of the Fleet in establishing a Lodge to be located in Esquimalt, B.C. On being put to the meeting it was carried unanimously.
On December 11, 1893, the Dispensation was issued by M.W. Brother Sibree Clarke, Grand Master. There were 25 founding members.
United Service Lodge, U.D., held its first Communication on December 18, 1893.
Meetings were held in the upper part of the Blue Ribbon Hall, rented for $10 per month.
The granting of a warrant was completed on June 21, 1894, the No. 24 being issued.
Further history of the Lodge to follow.
United Services Golf Course
Construction of one of the oldest golf courses in British Columbia, the Macaulay Golf Course commenced in October 1893, soon after the arrival of the Royal Marine Artillery. Two golf enthusiasts among the officers of the R.M.A. were responsible for these links, Captain (later Colonel) George Edward Barnes and Lieutenant Frederick Templer.
See April 10, 1995 for more on the golf links.
Victoria City Council Meeting minutes:
Ald. Styles moved that letters be addressed to Messrs. Prior and Earle, M.P.’s, requesting them to again call the attention of the Dominion Government to the powder magazine on Beacon Hill, it being a dangerous nuisance. It was six years, he pointed out, since he had first moved in this matter.
Ald. Bragg seconded the resolution, and suggested that the Park committee should wait on the ministers.
Ald. Belyra moved, in amendment, that the Chief of the Fire Department be authorized to remove it at once.
Ald. Baker thought at least the Chief of Police should find out what there is in the magazine, and if there was any powder it ought to be removed at once, without asking the Dominion Government or anyone else.
Ald. Munn reminded the Council that Col. Holmes had threatened to send a detachment of “C” Battery to protect the magazine when once before a committee of citizens had threatened to remove it. He would not advise the proposed action, but thought the corporation should “give it to the ministers red hot” while they were here. The Government had, to his knowledge, been promising for more than three years to remove it in a few weeks.
Ald. Belyra changed his resolution to read, “If the magazine be not removed within thirty days.”
Ald. Harris and Ald. Styles thought it better to keep strictly within the law.
The Mayor said the Provincial Government, owners of the land, had given authority to erect this magazine. It would not add to the dignity of the Council to pass a resolution that it could not carry out.
The amendment was withdrawn and the original resolution was carried.
December 5, 1893
A letter from Col. E.G. Prior, M.P., acknowledged the receipt of the resolution of the Council respecting the powder magazine, and stated that he had been unable to find the cause of the delay in removing it, but had written to Ottawa about the matter.
Ald. Munn said the chief of the fire department had sent a communication to the fire wardens, calling attention to the quantity of powder stored there, and the wardens having written to Col. Peters, the D.A.G., had got some information on the matter. They had ascertained that the magazine and Beacon Hill Park were to be turned over to the Royal Artillery upon their arrival here, but that for the present they were in charge of the Admiral, with whom the fire wardens had been advised to communicate.
Ald. Belyra moved that the attention of the Admiral be called to the matter, and that he be respectfully requested to have the powder removed immediately. Carried.
December 9, 1893
A letter from Colonel Prior was read, stating that the powder in the magazine at Beacon Hill was to have been moved to the new magazine at the barracks by the Dominion Government. The barracks, however, had now been turned over to the imperial Government, and the removal could not take place till all the men from England to be stationed there had arrived. The matter would be attended to in the spring no doubt.
“The flowers that ----,” began one alderman plaintively, but he was sharply cut off with the motion “Received and filed” from Ald. Munn.
This was carried with an addition by Ald. Belyra to the effect that the city enquire into its rights and powers of having the powder removed.