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HISTORY OF WORK POINT BARRACKS

by Jack Bates

PART 3 — 1894 to 1906


1897

Daily Colonist
January 20, 1897

THE CITY

Seventy old 64 pounder shells were carted from Macaulay Point to the drill hall yesterday, in charge of a squad of artillerymen, and added to the heap of projectiles already there,

April 11, 1897

THE CITY

An interesting programme for the militia is arranged for Good Friday, when Fort Macaulay will be manned by the First Battalion and the soldiers given the benefit of a day’s training under Lieut. Col. Rawstorne and his instructors from the R.M.A. The battalion will leave the drill hall at 10 o’clock in field day order, and will march to Macaulay Point, by way of the railway bridge. On arriving there the 6 inch B.L. guns and the Nordenfeldts and Maxims of the moveable armament will be manned by No. 2 and 3, while the battery of field guns will be manoeuvred by No. 1 company. In addition the depression range finder will be operated. Drill on these guns, together with infantry drill, skirmishing, etc., will occupy the time until 1 p.m., when all hands will “stand easy” until 2 o’clock. Then the whole will march into the fort, which will be manned as under war conditions, with full details for ammunition supply, dial numbers, R.R.F. detachment, etc. The maxims will be used at practice at a target anchored in the straits, and an hour will be occupied at this and then the battalion will form line, with reserves, etc., outside the fort practicing the attack formation with blank ammunition and thus concluding the day’s outing. The men will be marched back to the drill shed and dismissed.

June 20, 1897

TO MACAULAY POINT

The Commodious Str. Mischief

Will run from Turner, Beeton & Co. wharf, foot of Yates st., to Macaulay Point every one half hour on Monday, commencing at 1 p.m. FARE for round trip, 25 cents, come early and avoid the rush.

August 4, 1897

It is understood that Lt. Col. Peters, D.O.C., has advised headquarters that the members attending the late class of instruction in the armament of Fort Macaulay have all passed the requisite examination very creditably, it is not the intention to issue special certification for this course, but the fact will be duly notd in general orders.

On November 13, 1897, 23 year old Sapper Arthur Sidney Thomas arrived in Victoria from Halifax to join the 18 Fortress Company, Royal Engineers, at Work Point. He enlisted in England in February 1892 and was in Halifax since November 1895. He met my grandmother’s twin sister Fannie Walter, while being posted at Rodd Hill constructing the batteries, he was a bricklayer by trade. They were married on July 10, 1900 at St. Saviour’s church in Vic West and had four daughters. They built the extant family home at 1303 Lyall St in 1909. He went on to serve overseas with the 67th Bn (Western Scots), in the First War. He died in 1927 and is buried at Ross Bay cemetery. They daughters were named, Frances, Dorothy, Kitty and Eileen. A memorial brick was placed on their behalf at Esquimalt in 2012.

Detachment 18th Company Royal Engineers building a demonstration bridge at the
south end of the current Lagoon Bridge 1897
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October 20, 1897

BEFORE VICTORIA WAS

Admiral Sir Nowell Salmon Contrasts the City of Today
With the Scene in '52

Interesting Reminiscences of a Distinguished Naval Visitor

Nearly forty-five years ago – on Christmas Eve 1852, the steam frigate Thetis, coal laden for Esquimalt naval station, went ashore at Macaulay’s Point in a howling gale, and there reposed for hours to the bitter cold of that awful night, a seventeen year old naval cadet suffered agonies which the lapse of year can never efface from his memory. Nowell Salmon, now Sir Admiral Nowell Salamon, K.G.B., V.O., was that naval cadet, and now, even after nearly half a century has elapsed, it is little to be wondered at that upon revisiting the scene of that memorable experience he should feel a renewal of the thankfulness which was inspired by his escape from the imminent peril of that night. How this rescue of the crew of the Thetis was effected by a boat sent out by Mr. Macaulay, partly manned by sailors from one of the warships which had sheltered there during the storm that drove the Thetis ashore, is now a matter of history. Admiral Salmon, with the modesty characteristic of the true hero, had little to say when seen by a Colonist representative on board the Miowera, en route to the Sandwich Islands, in regard to that night’s experience, and was still more reticent as to the manner in which at the Relief of Lucknow, serving with Sir William Peel’s Naval Brigade on shore, he won the most coveted of distinctions, the Victoria Cross, which was bestowed upon him in 1857, when he was only twenty-two years of age.

Continued.


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