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PRESERVATION
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HISTORY OF WORK POINT BARRACKS

by Jack Bates

PART 4 — 1907 to 1918


1917

Esquimalt Archives

Signal Hill Gunners as listed 1917 directory. Pages 1-5.

WW1 – Gunners and others – Esquimalt (during war – then after) . Pages 1-14.

Two lists as detailed, courtesy Sherri Robinson.

Times
January 8, 1917

CYCLISTS PLATOON

Third Unit Being Raised Here For Overseas Service

Lieut. F.E. Dorchester, late of the 72nd Highlanders and now officer commanding the newly aythorized Cyclists’ Platoon, is expected in the city within the next few days for the purpose of securing recruits for the new platoon. It should be observed that all recruits will ecieve their training here, andin view of the fact that under forty men go to form the required number for a Cyclist’ Platoon, as soon as the proper strength has been raised, the men will proceed overseas.

This will be the third platoon raised in Brirish Columbia, and is a branch of the servicer wherein men may get their full share of incident and interesting experience.Those who are intending to join would do well to secure ibformation without delay from Capt. C. Tweedale, D.I.O., at Work Point.

January 20, 1917

SOLDIERS AND UNIFORMS

To the Editor: Regarding an article which appeared in the Times of the 18th, referring to returned soldiers wearing uniforms after discharge, I now beg permission to insert a few words from the point of view of one of the men most concerned.

When I was discharged recently, I was given the princely sum of $8 and told that it was the clothing allowance, and was inrended to enable a man to purchase a complete civilian outfit. I hastened into the city and proceeded to spend my $8 on clothing and bought a pair of boots and a pair of socks, the price of which amounted to $7.

I then realized that there remained a balance of $1 with which to clothe the rest of my body, and I debated for some time as to how to spend that dollar to advantage ultimatelty arriving at the conclusion that a loin cloth was the only dollar article which a man could wear and at the same time observe the principal rules of propriety.

But having spent sometime in a German prison, I had no desire to pay a lengthy visit to the lock up in this city, a visit I should certainly have paid had I appeared in the main streets garbed only in boots, socks, a loin cloth and a cane.

Therefore, I ask, how is it possible for a man to cloth himself on $8 and at the same time be decent.

But, to be serious, I hjave plenty of clothing myself, but such is not always the case with returned men, and it is for those who may be less fortunate that I am pointing out the unfairness of an order prohibiting the wearing of uniform by a returned soldier, who attaches a sentimental value to his uniform which few people realize.

A RETURNED SOLDIER

January, 1917

TWO SOLDIERS ARE HURT ON CAR TRACK

In Darkness of Saturday Night Esquimalt Car Overtakes Belated Pedestrians

To the list of accidents already reported on the Esquimalt road, through soldiers and sailors walking on the car track, after nightfall, has to be added another on Saturday evening.

A street car shortly after nine o’clock overtook a couple of figures in the dark section of the roadway between the Canteen road and Signal Hill, and though the motorman, J. Teney, sounded a warning, the men appeared not to notice. The car was travelling slowly, and the fender threw them clear off the track.

Both proved to be privates of the 143rd Battalion, with week end passes to Vancouver in their pockets. Pte. P. Salves was hurried to the Royal Jubilee Hospital, after examination by Dr. Boak, suffering from concussion of the brain, while Pte. Tirney’s injuries not being so discernible, he was removed to hospital for examination. The city, and Cameron & Calwell’s ambulances removed the injured men, the former on request of the B.C. Electric Railway. Chief Palmer attended on behalf of the Esquimalt Police.

Daily Colonist
January 23, 1917

Regarding courses of instruction held at Work Point, a Lieut. Loveland is credited with: “Last fall he took out a Lieutenant’s certificate at Work Point and then transferred to the 230th Forestry Battalion. While associated with that unit he was in charge of Vancouver Island recruiting in which he was highly successful. Being a tried soldier of active experience, as well as a competent woodsman and forestry expert, Lieut. Loveland is the ideal type of officer for a forestry battalion.

February 16, 1917

Tanker Arrives

The tank steamer, Col. E.L. Drake, which left San Francisco on Monday morning with a cargo of oil for Victoria and Vancouver, arrived here yesterday morning and commenced discharging at the Imperial Oil Company’s wharf at McLaughlin Point.

Colonist
March 24, 1917

MILITARY NOTES

Katamasa Kato is probably the first Japanese to be listed among Canada’s returning soldiers. He arrived with the party of veterans which reached Victoria on Thursday afternoon and is now undergoing treatment at the Esquimalt Military Convalescent Hospital as a shell shock patient. Kato was at Medicine Hat when war broke out and enlisted in one of the reinforcement drafts for the Princess Patricia’s as soon as given the opportunity. When passing through Vancouver he was met by a delegation of Japanese residents who presented him with a silver medal suspended from ribbons representing the colors of the allies. The inscription was “In recognition of services rendered to Great Britain in 1914.” Local Japanese held a celebration in his honor also.

Colonist
March 24, 1917

MYSTERY SURROUNDS WORK POINT FIRE

Administration Building at Barracks Burnt to Ground
Records Lost After Hard Fight Against Flames

A fire which started early yesterday morning completely gutted the Administration Building at Work Point Barracks and destroyed, besides the structure itself, a mass of valuable papers relative to the military organization of British Columbia. The flames were subdued shortly after 6 o’clock, after a corps of over 100 men – both soldiers and firemen from the Victoria West Station, directed by Chief Davis and Deputy Chief Stewart, had fought them for two hours.

The actual loss in dollars is difficult to estimate, as the value of the documents destroyed would be hard to fix, and it has not yet been definitely ascertained just what was lost and what was saved. The building itself was probably worth between $10,000 and $12,000, it being a frame affair of one story, built on a foundation of concrete. It occupied a commanding position to the east of the drill grounds in the centre of the Barracks area. Insurance arrangements were made at Ottawa and figures were not available here.

Origin is Mystery

Mystery still surrounds the origin of the fire. A board of investigation, composed of several officers of the headquarters staff, held a fairly exhaustive inquiry yesterday. Its finding will not be made public until it has been received at Ottawa, where all evidence will be forwarded immediately. It is understood, however, that the cause of the outbreak has not yet been ascertained, and probably never will be, as the time of the fire was long after everyone at the Barracks, except the guard, had retired for the night. As the building was entirely vacated on Thursday afternoon by about 5:30 o’clock and the flames were not noticed until 4 a.m. – ten and a half hours later – it is probable that a cigarette butt thrown among refuse, or defective chimneys, were responsible.

Rain Damaged Papers

Temporary quarters for the departments formerly occupying the Administration have been established in No. 4 Hut, immediately adjacent. The records and papers that were saved were carried there as soon as the fire was under control, and all day yesterday was spent in sorting them out and filing them. The heavy rain damaged a good many of the documents that were not burnt, but the majority were not even soiled.

No. 3 Hut, now occupied by the 5th Regiment, C.G.A., as headquarters, will also be taken over. This will cause the removal of the 5th to the new drill hall. Practically the entire contents of the Paymaster’s office, where it is believed the fire commenced, was lost. The files and furniture of the office of the District Intelligence Officer, the Commanding Officer of the Royal Canadian Engineers, Department of Alien Reservists, The D.O.C., Assistant Adjutant General and the D.S.A, were also partially destroyed, although the most valuable material was saved through the energy and courage of the fire fighters.

The extensive files in the Central Registry Office, probably the most valuable of them all, were got out of the flaming building just in time. It was thought at first they had been removed, and it was not discovered that they were still inside until the entire framework was a mass of flames. Volunteers were called for and Ptes. Duane and J. Macfarlane, of L Company, Royal Canadian Regiment, responded. Wrapping wet towels around their heads to protect themselves from falling shingles or beams, the two dashed in and rolled the big cabinets containing the papers out of the windows. The cases were smashed by the fall, but their contents were undamaged.

Major H. Ritchie, of the Royal Engineers, was the first to notice the flames from hid house, only a few yards from the Administration Building. He sounded the alarm at 4 o’clock and in a few moments every man in the Barracks had turned out and was engaged in combatting the fire. Under the supervision of their officers 100 men worked without ceasing until the flames were finally overcome about two hours later. Fire Chief Davis answered a call sent into City Headquarters and was at the scene of the action in his own car before the fire had got much headway. He ordered out No. 4 engine, of the Victoria West Fire Hall, and this, together with the hose installed at the Barracks, was effective in protecting the Officer’s Quarters, situated just west of the Administration Building. Deputy Chief Stewart reported shortly afterward and the two directed the fire-fighting operations until danger was past.

Weather a Handicap

The weather could hardly have been worse. When the fire first burst through the roof a strong northerly wind was blowing. This fanned the flame until they were subdued and greatly handicapped the firemen and the soldiers. No sooner had the wind veered around and the contents of the building removed to the tennis lawn nearby, then a driving rain started and furthered the work of destruction. Tarpaulins were hurriedly spread over the material and it was rushed into adjacent buildings as rapidly as possible, the operation necessitating the withdrawal of several of the men needed for other duties.

The fire lit up the sky so that it could be seen from miles away, and hundreds of Esquimalt residents hastened to the scene. The gates were locked, however, and all civilians were excluded from the grounds.

April 17, 1917

PLANTING MAPLES AT ESQUIMALT SCHOOL

Trees Will Commemorate Former ...

Maple trees will be planted next Wednesday at the Lampson Street School in memory of its late assistant principal, Lieut. Jack Dowler, and three former pupils, Pte. Guest, Hardie and Nankerville, who have died in the present war.

A marble plaque was unveiled by the Township of Esquimalt to acknowledge Esquimalt students killed during the First World War

The ceremony will take place in the school grounds, commencing at 2:30 o’clock, and clergyman from the Esquimalt churches will conduct appropriate services. The school cadet corps will form a guard of honor. All residents of Esquimalt are cordially invited to attend the planting, which should be of an exceedingly impressive character.

The Program

Daily Colonist
May 3, 1917

COMMEMORATE HEROES OF ESQUIMALT SCHOOL

Impressive Ceremony at Lampson Street Institution When Maples Are Planted
Cadet Corps Participates

Six hundred residents of Esquimalt attended, yesterday afternoon, the planting of maples at Lampson Street School to commemorate former assistant principle Lieut. Jack Dowler and three old boys who have made the supreme sacrifice for their country in battle.

The ceremony took place in the eastern corner of the school grounds, at the junction of the Old Esquimalt Road and Lampson Street. The trees were planted in an inclosed area, and after the sods had been replaced a firing party, under Capt. Ian McKay, of the school cadet corps, fired three volleys, accompanied by the playing of the Last Post. Mr. Leonard Tait, chairman of the Esquimalt School Board, acted as master of ceremonies, and the clergymen of all three denominations represented by a church in the municipality took some part in the service. Rev. W. Baugh Allen, of St. Paul’s Naval and Garrison church, opened the ceremony with prayer, and it was closed by Rev. Robert Hughes, of the Esquimalt Methodist church, while Rev. Father J.F. Silver, of the Roman Catholic Church, delivered an impassioned address on the significance of the occasion.

“It is sweet and noble to die for one’s country!” declared Father Silver. “That phrase, now quite familiar, gives us not only what was the pagan idea of good citizenship, but it also expresses in its best sense the highest conception of what Christian citizenship should be, and the men in honor whose memory we are assembled here today attained to the full measure of citizenship by going out to the field of battle and there laying down their lives, not only for the mighty Empir4e which was endangered, but also to ensure the safety of us who are left at home.

War’s Test of Citizenship

“In times of peace the burden of good citizenship rests comparatively light upon us; for the most part it means obedience to the law, respect for lawful authority, contribution of goods and occasionally personal service. But when the life of the state is threatened, then is the time citizens must be prepared to sacrifice all to defend it. War is the most severe test of citizenship, and true citizenship in a war of this character demands nothing but real heroism. We are here to pay tribute to the bravery and heroism of these true men, who, in the critical time of this country’s need, responded to the call. They went forth to war. They left their homes, severing perhaps the dearest ties that bind strong human hearts, sacrificing the comforts of life, subjecting themselves to hardship in unaccustomed surroundings, and bravely they made the supreme sacrifice, and by falling on the blood soaked battlefield of Europe, added their names to the long and glorious list which shall live for all time in the annals of history”.

“It takes occasions of this kind to make us value at its full that sublime courage which has shown us once more what men can be; to make us realize the power of that sacred spirit of patriotism which raises even the ordinary soldier to the rank of a hero”.

Memory Will Not Die

“And today the planting of the maples, which in time will grow to great trees, will remind us and generations yet to come that during the greatest conflict of all time there went out from the classrooms of this splendid school men who were not afraid to put into practice the lessons they taught and learned, who were not afraid to go out and die in the fight of right against might, in defence of a cause which they knew to be just. – Lieut. Dowler, Ptes. Guest, Hardie and Nankivell, we salute you fallen heroes; and though you lie buries far across the sea, yet your deeds still live, and may the memory of what you have done be an inspiration to us all”.

The four trees, in memory of Lieut. Jack Dowler, Ptes. Hardie, Guest and Nankivell, were planted respectively by Mrs. (Col.) Peters, Mrs. Fitzherbert Bullen, Mrs. Harry Pooley, and Mrs. Bilson.

The school cadet corps paraded seventy five strong, under Cadet Major P. Mulcahy, and formed a guard of honor at the ceremony, which was closed by the singing of the National Anthem.

Following the planting, refreshments were served in the domestic science class rooms by Mrs. Mulcahy, Mrs. Cunningham, Mrs. Manthrop, Mrs. Tait, Mrs. Stacey and Miss McKinnon, assisted by other teachers of the school.

The maple trees were supplied by Mr. Leonard Leigh, and were grown at his residence on Lampson street.

May 8, 1917

VICTORIA NURSES LEAVE FOR OVERSEAS

Another Party Departs for Montreal to Enter Service
Of Medical Corps Others Now Enroute

Eight more Victoria nurses for overseas left the city yesterday and are now on their way to Montreal, where they will be assigned to their various units and given transportation to England, to serve in the Canadian Army Medical Corps.

Those in yesterday’s party were Misses. Leonora Gregory Allen, Jessie Nelson King from the Work Point Hospital; Beatrice McNair, Jane Dennison, Clover Jane Walker, Lillian Annie Garrard, Grace Isobel Bruce, Ray McLeish.

Other local nurses who are well on their way east are Misses Meta Adele Perry, Rachel Morrison, May Lea, May Taylor Shand, Helmina Hamilton, Jessie Ethylwyn McLaughlin, Olive Beatrice Duncan and Carry Middleton Roxon.

June 2, 1917

MILITARY NOTES

Military authorites at Work Point have been induced to again remind officers that they are no t to wear their uniforms in the United States, except with special authority obtained from militia headquarters, which will not be granted except for special duty.

The Prairie Hotel, Saanichton, and the Sidney Hotel, Sidney, have been placed out of bounds for troops, dating from yesterday, according to an announcement made at Work Point yesterday.

Anyone knowing the present whereabouts of George Inkley, late of the 88th Regiment, Victoria, is requested to communicate with the A.A., D.M.S., Military District No. 11, Work Point.

Brigadier R.G.E. Leckie, D.S.O., C.M.G., who is returning to take over the commandof Military District No. 11 after active service overseas for the past two years and a half, will arrive in Vancouver this morning. He was expected to have reached the coast yesterday, but was unable to makre connections.

A party of returned soldiers arrived in Victoria yesterday afternoon and were conveyed by motor to the Esquimalt Military Convalescent Hospital. The men were: Cpl. E. Aspinault, Ptes. J. Brennan, A. Brougherton, A. Termandy, G. Gott, W. Johnson, M. McFadyen, J. Richards, E. Scarfe, J. Doherty, G. Craycott, Morrison, Quigg, Smith. Sergt. Evans, Cpls. Edwards, Harris, Hadden, Sapper C. Fielding and Gnr. McMillan. The veterans represented almost every setion of the province.

REJECTED MEN GO TO NON-COMBATANT UNITS

Recruits Eligible For Service With Infantry Will be Transferred
To Forestry and Railroad Corps

Instructions have been received at Work Point to the effect that men found on medical examination to be unfit for infantry units, but fit for forestry or railway construction corps, are to be transferred to the nearest depot of each.

In the case of men already enlisted in infantry and subsequently found unfit for each unit, but fit for forestry or railway construction services, the authority for transfer of these men must be obtained from the A.A.G. in charge of the administration, M.D. No. 11, Work Point, before such is carried out.

June 14, 1917

WOULD BUILD SHRINE TO ESQUIMALT HEROES

Residents Give Support to Proposed Erection of Memorial
in Honor of Soldiers and Sailors

The proposal to erect a “war shrine” in memory of the Esquimalt soldiers who have entered the army or navy during the present war is meeting with general support throughout the municipality, and a public meeting to discuss the details of the proposition will be held within the next few days.

The matter was considered at some length at a meeting held Thursday night at Heald’s hall, Esquimalt, and the following committee was appointed to ascertain the sentiment of the residents regarding the plan: Rev. W.W. Bolton, Rev. Father J. Silva, Rev. Robert Hughes, Capt. A. Mulcahy, Messrs. T.H. Slater and S.J. Heald, Miss Pooley and Mrs. Nelson.

The cost of erecting such a memorial, it is said, would amount to $300, and it is believed by those supporting the movement that this sum can easily be secured through public subscription. The shrine would be of white enamel, the names inscribed in black characters, while receptacles for flowers would be affixed. It would be in the form of a triptych and about 14 feet in height. It has been suggested that the location be near St. Paul’s Naval and Garrison church.

June 20, 1917

TO PRESERVE MEMORY OF ESQUIMALT HEROES

War Shrine to Commemorate Their War Service Will be Erected Immediately
Contributions Asked

Residents of Esquimalt, at a meeting held in the Rex theatre last night, decided unanimously in favor of the immediate erection of a war shrine, commemorating the men that have gone forward from their municipality to fight on land or sea in the present war.

A start will be made at once in building the shrine, which will be an imposing affair, 14 feet high constructed of wood with a heavy coating of white enamel. It will stand in the northwest corner of the grounds of ST. Paul’s naval and garrison church. The front section of the shrine will contain seven panels, the centre one being for the names of those who have given their lives for their country, and the outside ones for those who have enlisted and have been on active service during the war. Below will be placed receptacles for flowers, while above will be a crucifix, under which will be inscribes: “Greater love hath no man than this, he gave his life for his brethren”. At the foot of the panels will be inscribed on a single panel the names of the donors.

Reeve Coles was chairman of this meeting, and about fifty persons were in the theatre, the principal address being given by rev. W.W. Bolton, who explained the nature and purpose of the war shrine. Reeve Coles and Mr. Bolton, together with an architect who is anonymously rendering his services free, will form a committee to hasten construction, and a general committee composed of members of the Esquimalt clergy, Red Cross, and other patriotic societies will attend to the other details, such as the securing of names for the honor roll, and caring for the shrine after it has been completed.

Public Will Subscribe

The cost of the shrine is set at $250, the lumber and painting being furnished at special rates, while the designing is to be done gratuitously. The money will be raised by public subscription, and Reeve Coles told the Colonist last night that donations of any amount, from 5c upwards, would be welcomed by the committee. Circular letters will be addressed to every resident of Esquimalt, asking for a contribution, and it is expected that by the time it gets fairly underway there will be no lack of funds. The shrine will be finished in about two months, it is estimated.

There are 150 names already to be placed on the roll of honor, and it is believed that there are fully another 100 more. Arrangements will be made so that names can be added as found necessary.

September 2, 1917

Where Memories of Heroes of Great War Will be Perpetuated

Photo.

Here is a view of the war shrine erected in front of St. Paul’s Naval and Garrison church, Esquimalt, in commemoration of the war service of Esquimalt’s sons and daughters who have volunteered for active service. The shrine was formally opened by Major General Leckie last Sunday.

Dates of related articles covering the names, ceremony and photos are:
July 29: Tribute to Esquimalt Heroes
August 24: Esquimalt’s Memorial to Its Fallen Heroes
August 26: Unveil War Shrine at Esquimalt Today
August 28: Hundreds Witness Unveiling Service
September 2: Gen. Leckie Speaks at Esquimalt Ceremony

Times
November 22, 1917

ESQUIMALT CADETS INSPECTED BY DUKE

Boys, Veterans and I.O.D.E. Congratulated by His Excellency the Governor

The soldiers of yesterday and the soldiers of tomorrow presented a brave appearance in the grounds of the Lampson Street school yesterday afternoon on the occasion of the visit of His Ezcellency the Governor General. Drawn up on one side were the Esquimalt School Cadet Corps under Lieut. J.M. Paterson, and on the other, the little band of the British Campaigners Association under the command of President Beaumont Boggs.

His Excellency, who was accompanied by His Honor the Lieutenant Governor and Mrs. Barnard, Loed Richard Neville, C.V.O., C.M.G., Compttoller of the Household, Captain V.F. Bulkeley Johnston, A.D.C., and Lt. Col. the Hon. Harold G. Henderson was greeted by Capt. Mulcahy, R.G.A., Reeve Coles and Principle Francis.

Soldierly Bearing

The Governor General was warm in his commendation of the smart, soldierly appearance of the boys of the Cadet Corps, His Excellency learnt, from Cadet Major Mulcahy, of the work accomplished by the troop assembled to greet him, his interest in their wee being reflecting visibly in the cheerful accountances of the youngsters who are imbued with the idea that to ensure peace is to prepare for war.

The link with the past battles of the empire was provided by those stalwarts of old, the members of the British Campaigners Association. To each one of these veterans His Excellency directed some question and manifested considerable interest in their deeds performed in some instances more than half a century ago. Despite his four score years and two, the “youthful” bearing of George Smith, a naval veteran, stirred within the Duke a modicum of envy. “I hope I may look as young as you when I am eighty-two,” said His Excellency, as he greeted heartily the old campaigner.

Presentation

Not the least pleasing ceremony was the presentation to His Excellency of Mrs. H.W. Bishop, regent of the Esquimalt Chapter, I.O.D.E., together with those members of the organization who were able to be present. Subsequent to the singing of “O Canada” by the assembled school children, the Governor General presented the thrice won shield, and a cup to the Cadet Corps.

In felicitous terms the Duke expressed his admiration of the splendid record of the cadets, coupled with the hope that the years would see the fulfillment of the promise which they had so early shown, of the glory of the past achievements of the Veterans, which laid the foundations for the work being so successfully carrie don today, and of the wonderful efforts of the women of the British Empire. Referring to the school children as the citizens of tomorrow of the country for which their fathers and brothers were fighting, the Governor General won the hearts of the pupils by his announcement of a holiday to-day in commemoration of his first visit to the school.

Daily Colonist
November 24, 1917

OLD GLORY FLIES FROM CITY HALL

Old Glory flew from the tower of the Victoria City Hall yesterday for the first time in history. It was right up at the top of the mast beside the Union Jack.

The mayor yesterday morning issued orders that the Stars and Stripes be raised in honor of the party of 300 United States naval and military officers and their wives who came over for the Victory Loan Ball. Mr. Evan Davies, custodian of the flags at the city hall, assisted by Mr. Martin, ran up the United States emblem.

The mayor is preparing a memorandum of the occasion which he will ask the city council to endorse Monday night. The memorandum will then be files for all time among the city’s records.

The Stars and Stripes also flew over the Parliament buildings yesterday.


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