HISTORY OF WORK POINT BARRACKS
by Jack Bates
PART 4 — 1907 to 1918
WORK POINT GARRISON NEEDS REINFORCEMENT
Desertions From the Fortress have Been Quite Frequent of Late
Those in charge of the Work Point garrison are looking forward to another reinforcement from the eastern recruiting stations. At present the force is not sufficiently large, being about half the required numerical strength. Some months ago about 25 men were sent from eastern Canada in order to assist in maintaining the Esquimalt defences. This, however, did not help matters appreciably, and although it is possible to carry on the ordinary routine with the available troops, their augmentation is generally considered imperative if it is intended that the garrison duties should be attended to satisfactorily.
Some difficulty has been experienced since the local fortresses have been taken over by the Canadian government in preventing the desertion of numbers of the soldiers. It is authoritatively reported that several have succeeded in escaping the vigilance of their superiors in rank, taking the steamer to Seattle or other Sound points, and there entering employment in different lines of trade. In most instances those who have done this have been members of the Royal Engineers, having a knowledge, which is gained in the ordinary course of their training, of mercantile pursuits of which some understanding is required in the conduct of a campaign along modern lines. Those who have been successful in getting away have, it is reported, written to their former companions in arms, informing them of the high scale of wages in vogue throughout the United States. As a result many of those now in the service have been rendered somewhat dissatisfied with their conditions.
May 4, 1907
Three deserters have escaped from the Work Point barracks – Corporal Macbeth and Gunners Ryan and Hadfield. The two former escaped a few nights ago and were captured by Constable Clayards on board the steamer Princess Victoria just before that vessel sailed for Vancouver. They were taken to barracks and placed in the guardroom with Hadfield as sentry in charge. The next night the sentry accompanied them in their flight.
The Fifth Regiment will go into their annual camp at Macaulay Point on Sunday, June 10, for a fourteen or sixteen day stay, when the usual camp training and drill will be engaged in. Two of the companies will practice on the six inch guns and the third company will practice on the field guns.
SOLDIERS IN CAMP
Royal Garrison Artillery Went Under Canvas at Rodd Hill Yesterday
The Royal Garrison Artillery went into camp on Wednesday morning at Rodd Hill. Practically all the Work Point force has gone under canvas and will remain there for over a week. During the outing both officers and men will be subjected to a rigid course of training. Actual firing commences on Monday. In the morning the 6 inch guns will be in use and during the afternoon the 12 pound ordnance will be brought into active play. A moving target, towed about the straits within sight of the fort, will be utilized as a mark. It is understood that the different gun teams of the corps are out for records so that some exceptionally high class shooting is expected.
WILL RECOMMEND AN INCREASE IN GARRISON
Dominion Officer has Just Completed an Inspection of Esquimalt Defences
Lieutenant Colonel P. Weatherbe, O.C., R.C.E. at Halifax, whose departure for the east was mentioned in the Colonist of Saturday, has just completed an official tour of the Canadian military stations, commencing at Halifax and including, Quebec, Toronto, London, Kingston, Montreal, St. Johns, P.Q., Ottawa and Victoria. He has been on the road for the past month.
As a result of his visit it is altogether likely that he will recommend an increase in the number of men stationed here. The number stationed here is about 130, including engineers, artillery, ordnance, pay department, army service corps and army medical corps. At Halifax there are over 1,500 men and any supplementary draft will probably come from there.
The complement at present is quite inadequate to take charge of the work at work Point and Esquimalt fortifications, and the matter will probably be brought to the attention of the authorities by Colonel Weatherbe.
October 25, 1907
SAILORS VICTORS OVER SOLDIERS
Garrison Beaten by Shearwater Football Team in Decisive Fashion
H.M.S. Shearwater football team made an auspicious beginning in the Victoria District league series yesterday when they won from the garrison at Work Point barracks in decisive fashion by a score of 5 goals in all. The sailors had it on the soldiers all the way and soon after the start it was plain to be seen that it would be only a matter of how big the score would be. Quite a few spectators witnessed the game.
The Shearwater team proved to be well balanced aggregation, strong in both attack and defence. The forwards showed great speed on the ball and played a nice combination game. They scored three goals in the first half and two in the second period, one of the latter goals being from a penalty kick in front of the goal. Findlay was responsible for two goals, the Collier brothers for one each and Connor the odd one. The Garrison did not play as well as against the Fifth Regiment last Saturday, their team work being faulty and the men slow. They played through the second half with only ten men, Rondeau quitting, but strangely enough they did better when a man short than with the full team on the field.
The teams displayed good spirit throughout and the game was very cleanly contested. The Garrison apparently realized however that they were up against it, for their play lacked their accustomed snap. The Shearwater men should cut quite a figure in the championship race this season judging on yesterday’s form. Findlay, the centre forward, is a splendid player and the men along side of him are both unselfish and good. The halves are better than the average while the fullbacks are both good kicks. Wyatt in goal pulled off several clever saves.
This is the way the teams line up: Garrison – Goal, Macdonald; backs, Sullivan, Wardner; halves, Dunn, Bailey, Rondeau; forwards, Chapman, Ingle, Dogan, Robertson, Greenwood.
H.M.S. Shearwater – Goal, Wyatt; backs, Williams, Clarkson; halves, Holmes, Connor, Fortune; forwards, Partleton, Burrows, Findlay, R.Collier, A. Collier.
Referee – R. Kell.
November 1, 1907
HOLIDAY SOCCER GAMES PRODUCE BIG SURPRISES
Garrison Defeats Esquimalt While Y.M.C.A. and Fifth Regiment Tie
The holiday games in the Victoria District League produced a couple of unlooked for results. The Garrison won in decisive fashion from the Esquimalt team by a score of three games to one, while the best the Y.M.C.A. team could do with the Fifth Regiment was to get a draw, two goals all. The results of the games leave the league standing as follows:
Games tomorrow: Garrison vs Victoria United, Work Point Barracks; Shearwater vs James Bay A.A., Oak Bay; Y.M.C.A. vs Esquimalt, Oak Bay.
November 10, 1907
WILL RECOMMEND AN INCREASE IN GARRISON
Dominion Officer Has Just Completed an Inspection of Esquimalt Defences
Lieut. Col. P. Weatherby, O.C., R.C.E. at Halifax, whose departure for the east was mentioned in the Colonist of Saturday, has just completed an official tour of the Canadian military stations, recommending at Halifax and including Quebec, Toronto, London, Kingston, Montreal, St. Johns, P.Q., Ottawa, and Victoria. He has been on the road for the past month.
As a result of his visit it is altogether likely that he will recommend an increase in the number of men stationed here. The number stationed here is about 130, including engineers, artillery, ordnance, pay department, army service corps and medical corps. At Halifax there are over 1,500 men and any supplementary draft will probably come from there.
The compliment at present is quite inadequate to take charge of the work at Work Point and Esquimalt fortifications, and the matter will probably be brought to the attention of the authorities by Colonel Weatherby.
November 10, 1907
More Men For Garrison
Tomorrow a draft of twenty five non-commissioned officers and men of the R.C.G.A. at Quebec will leave to join the garrison at Work Point barracks. They will be under the command of Lieut. A.B. Macdonald and will bring the garrison up to strength. Owing to the difficulty in getting sufficient men to enlist here drafts from the east from time to time are necessary.
Among the 25 men from Quebec were # 4116 Gunner Percy Buxton, in service 9 months, and brother # 4117 Gunner Fred Buxton, in service 6 months. They arrived at Work Point Barracks on November 11, 1907, and were now members of No. 5 Company, R.C.G.A.
I have the honour to confirm a coded telegram sent to you yesterday, of which the following is a translation: “Authority requested to enlist for Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery beyond establishment, up to 10. Good class of recruits offering.”
In connection with the above I beg to state that the establishment of No. 5 Co. R.C.G.A. is 92 N.C.O.’s & men, the present strength of the Coy. Is 70, and with the arrival of the draft of 25 now en route from Quebec will be 95 – 3 over establishment. As a good class of recruits are now offering for enlistment, and casualties such as discharges by purchase, time expired, and desertions are always going on, I strongly recommend that authority be given for enlistments over establishment up to at least ten gunners.
I have the honour to be,
I am directed by the Minister in Militia Council to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 9th instant (5460), and in reply, regret to state that the vote available for pay, & c, of the permanent force will not permit of the enlistment of men beyond the establishment at present authorized.
2. It is hoped, however, that every effort will be made to keep the unit up to its authorized strength.