HISTORY OF WORK POINT BARRACKS
by Jack Bates
PART 3 — 1894 to 1906
Files from Dave Unwin
THE GARRISON CUP
There was a silver cup in competition for the championship of the Victoria Association Football League prior to 1904. It was a challenge cup and any team that won it three years in succession could keep it permanently. The Garrison team, made up of players from the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers Regiments Imperial troops had won the City League in 1901 — 1902, 1902 — 1903, and 1903 — 1904 and therefore retained the original cup. There is no record of that cup’s name or who presented it, but it was referred to as the City Cup. When the garrison team captured it for keeps, they in turn presented another silver cup for similar competition.
The “Garrison Cup” is a beautiful trophy! It is a large, eight sided, cup with a decorated handle, spout and lid. The cup is porcelain lined and rests on a round ebony stand or base. Engravings read “Victoria District Association Football League Challenge Cup” — “Presented by The Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers, Work Point Barracks — 1904.”
The garrison team won it again in 1904 — 1905, however, the Imperial Garrison departed for Britain in 1906 ending their reign as city champions.
According to Dave, the Garrison Cup is still played for here locally as the league championship trophy, it is however “Garrison Cup # 3.”
Work Point Barracks
Rudyard Kipling now stands rebuked for sundry “sanguinary” remarks and for divers other things written in equally “bad taste” and the immortal playrights will also please take notice that from and after this date they must no longer “hitch their trousers as sailors do just so.” Or perhaps it is the wretched reporter may not do what his betters have done.
March 6, 1904
Activity at Esquimalt. — Although there is no unusual display of naval activity at Esquimalt harbor at present, with the Flora in dry dock, the Egeria, undergoing repairs and all the other vessels of the fleet in southern waters, it is a fact nevertheless that greater activity prevails ashore in the navy yard and about the fortifications than has perhaps been seen before. Over at the magazine at Parson’s Bridge, where formerly one picket was guarding, six are now on duty, and all points of importance staffs have recently doubled.
Barracks for Seamen. — A new brick building is in course of erection at the navy yard to be used as barracks for seamen in such cases as that which has just arisen in connection with the Egeria. The crew, owing to the overhauling which the ship is receiving, have to live on shore. The building is being constructed with that degree of solidity which characterizes all the buildings in the navy yard. Within the last three or four years nearly all the old wooden buildings of the yard have been replaced with such structures.
Acquired Property. — Between two and three acres of land have been acquired by the Church of England on the eastern side of Esquimalt road, adjoining the property on which the commodore’s residence now stands, and up the hill a little way from the Canteen grounds. At present it is intended only for a rectory, but while it is announced that no definite plans have been decided on for the removal of the church from its present position, there is a report that the building must be out of the way by the time the big guns are ready for service in September. The necessity of this has been almost demonstrated within the last few days, when the windows of the church were shattered through some blasts discharged on the hill, which shocks would be slight compared with the firing of the big guns. These, when pointed seaward, take a range over the building, and for this reason the church has got to go.
March 11, 1904
SOCIAL AT BARRACKS
Officers Entertained Many Friends on Wednesday Evening Last
The Warrant Officers, Staff Sergeants and Sergeants’ Club, gave their third social on Wednesday evening last, in the Fives Court, Work Point Barracks. The proceedings were graced by the presence of numerous lady friends and the club from Victoria and neighborhood. The military friends from the Fifth regiment were also well represented.
Games, shooting, etc, were provided in the portion of the spacious hall, the remainder of the floor being allotted for the devotees of the “light fantastic”, the music for which was efficiently provided by the well known Sehl-Bently combination.
During the evening Sergeants Turner and Whitting obliged with songs, and whilst refreshments were being served, friends of the Royal Navy were good enough to provide representatives for songs, serious and otherwise.
The enjoyable evening was then brought to a close by the M.C. Mr. Fenton, R.E., announcing “God Save The King”.
The club trusts their many friends will honor them with their presence on the occasion of the next social, invitations for which will be issued in due course.
March 13, 1904
Run From Barracks
The run of the Hunt Club from the Barracks yesterday afternoon was a good one, there being twenty out including three ladies. There was a high wind blowing, which played havoc with the trail. The course was over the golf links, Transfer fields, Knox’s land, Johnston and Mercer’s land, finishing up on the Gorge road. Parts of the run were very heavy going owing to the recent rains.
The hares led off with the usual five minutes law and were in sight for most of the run, the hounds being close behind them all the way. Three of the leading ones caught them two fields from cover, those who had the honor being “Battler”, “Phoro” and “Rebna”. The two latter came a beautiful “twirler” over some formidable slip rails, but nothing daunted, quickly remounted, and overtook the hares as above stated. Besides these two spills, there were three others, but fortunately no damage was done. Most of the field put in an appearance at the finish. The horses and riders were very tired, and the hares were glad to reach cover. Next Saturday the run takes place from Colwood.
March 22, 1904
R.G.A. Has a Good Run
The second paper chase of the 58 Co., R.C.A., this season, took place last week, when Br. Harrison and Gr. McCardy were dispatched as hares loaded with scent (paper). It proved a great success, the hares got home in 70 minutes. On this occasion Capt. Muspratt-Williams was the only officer who went the whole course.
The previous week Lt. Geary selected the course. Strange to say he took on more than he was capable of performing, his condition, scrambling home the last mile was deplorable, as he was manfully bringing up the “rear”.
March 23, 1904
Strength at Esquimalt. — The military expert of the Vancouver World is of the opinion that Esquimalt possesses no strategic value and …imagination an ultimate invasion of Victoria by way of Saanich. He says “That Victoria would be at the mercy of the Americans — despite its proximity to Esquimalt — is admitted by the experts. It will be remembered that some time ago a United States cutter was found in Saanich Harbor. When its presence was discovered it gave some lame excuse about coming for fresh eggs or something like that. As a matter of fact, no one at Esquimalt can be convinced that the cutter was not taking soundings. Study the map and it will be seen how easily a landing could be made at Saanich harbor from which an enemy could descend on Victoria and threaten Esquimalt itself. Yea, verily !
March 27, 1904
Improvements at Barracks. — The new parade ground at Work Point barracks is beginning to assume a more level shape and considerable work is being done in a way of clearing up the grounds. When completed the grounds will be twice the size of the old recreation field and will be a very great acquisition to the garrison.
The Navy Yard. — The announcement that in this year’s naval estimated no provision has been made for building operations in the Esquimalt naval yard is disappointing to many. It is taken to mean that the coming year will be one of inactivity in so far as the construction of new works is concerned, although in other respects the yard is always busy. It will be the first year in many that will not have witnessed the erection of a number of fine new stone and brick buildings.
June 16, 1904
The Sham Battle: The men of the 5th regiment are taking great interest in the sham battle arranged for Monday next with the sixth regiment from Vancouver. The fifth regiment will take up a position at or in the neighbourhood of Rodd Hill fortress, and the sixth will occupy entrenchments at Langford Plains or thereabouts. What will make the conflict of more than usual interest is the use of field artillery. There will be four 13-pounder guns with the fifth and they will be in charge of members of No.’s 1 and 2 companies, Captains Currie and Langford. It will be necessary in order that the fifth may reach Rodd Hill in good time for the “Fall in” to be sounded at Macaulay Point at about 6:30 o’clock. The militia will take a boat for the fortress from the harbor, and immediately upon arriving there the officers will receive orders regarding the disposition of their men.
November 1, 1904
Removed to Barracks. — Gunner Buckles, of Work Point, the victim of the street car accident on Saturday evening, was yesterday removed from the Jubilee Hospital to the barracks. He is doing very nicely and will be about before long.
November 5, 1904
For Work Point. — Among the passengers from Vancouver on the Charmer yesterday evening was a large party of Royal Engineers who are to be stationed at Work Point barracks. They came via Halifax, their arrival at the latter point having been chronicled in the Colonist a few days ago.
November 13, 1904
At Signal Hill. — An important stage of the work in progress at Signal Hill has been reached. More rock has to be blasted but the bulk of that in the way has already been removed and the laying of concrete is about to be commenced. Some six thousand square feet of concrete is to be laid before the big guns, now lying detached at the foot of the hill, have been mounted. The amount of rock that has been blasted out of where the entrenchments are to be placed can in a manner be approximated when it is stated that all that contained in the new roadway leading to the crest of the hill, plus 6,000 square feet which has been crushed, came out of the hole.
Work Point. — Regarding the rumors respecting contemplated changes at Work Point barracks, Lieut. Colonel English says the force now stationed there is larger than usual. A detachment of 100 men, which arrived here some weeks ago, had been sent on from Halifax sooner than had been expected. Therefore, there are now 450 men in barracks, while the regular force was 350. In consequence almost all available accommodation was taken up, and the Colonel said he did not think room could be made for more than ten or twenty additional soldiers. The fact that there is now a larger force at Work Point than has been stationed there in the past, effectually disposed of the rumor that the strength is to be reduced.
Collegiate Cadets. — The parents and friends of the school will be glad to hear that No. 1 cadet company is making very satisfactory progress towards efficiency under the able instruction of Sergeant Major Caven, who has the boys well in hand. The drills take place on Tuesdays and Fridays, and are attended by the full strength of the company. The sergeant’s stripes have been awarded to Spencer I. Phair, Pitts I. Hill and the corporals to Biizard and Pauline, Bennett having relinquished his stripe to play the drum, which with the bugle has been added to the equipment for several weeks past. A musical drill will form part of the entertainment at the school distribution of prizes on December 16th.
The Fifth’s Smoker. — About the middle of next month the Fifth Regiment will hold a smoker under the auspices of the different company associations. The affair promises to be a huge success. The largest local hall available will be secured for the purpose, and tobacco and cigars are to be liberally dispensed. There will be skirt dances, amateur boxing exhibitions and other features of a most novel character.
Regimental order. — In a regimental order issued yesterday notification is given that company officers may obtain the necessary articles to complete their company equipment by requisitioning on Q.M. stores, but will make their own arrangements for numbering. The officer commanding has been pleased to approve of the following promotions: To be Regimental Sergt. Major — Acting Sergt. Major E. McDougall. In No. 5 Company — To be Sergeants — Acting Sergeant W.H. Spurrier, vice Sergeant F.A. Futcher, taken his discharge; Gr. F.W.L. Harrop, vice Company Sergeant Major E. McDougall, promoted.