by Jack Bates

PART 10 — 1995 to 2015


March 31, 2003

A report labelled “Macaulay Point, Esquimalt: Archaeological Inventory” was produced by Millennia Research Limited of Victoria. This report was prepared for the Public Works and Government Services of Canada on behalf of the Department of National Defence. This 34 page report contains a history, plans, photos and results of the survey.

Esquimalt News
May 28, 2003

Regiment Has Strong Roots in Esquimalt

Ceremony Marks The Site Where Canada Prepared to Fight The Russians

The 5th (BC) Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA), has a strong historical connection to Esquimalt.

In fact, the Victoria based army reserve unit unveiled a monument at Work Point Barracks on May 18 while commemorating its 125th anniversary. The regiment is a descendent of the first Canadian army unit that was stationed in Greater Victoria in 1878.

Lt. Cmdr. Gerry Pash, of navy public affairs at CFB Esquimalt, emceed the ceremony for the unveiling of the stone cairn with a commemorative plaque at Work Point Barracks.

“It does indeed mark the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the first regular force Canadian military in Victoria,” he says.

Pash says the cairn has been established in recognition of the contributions “C” Battery, 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (RCHA), which was stationed at Work Point Barracks from 1887 – 1893. The monument was officially unveiled by retired Major General John Arch MacInnes, Colonel Commandant of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, and Major Craig Dalton, who commands the modern day “C” Battery, RCHA from Shilo, Manitoba.

Pash notes that in 1871, when the colony of British Columbia joined the Dominion of Canada and became a province, the responsibility of defence for the new province passed from Great Britain to the Dominion. With Great Britain no longer responsible for defence, he said there were fears the remoteness of the west coast from the rest of Canada, would mean the region was poorly defended.

But on July 20, 1878 the Victoria Battery of Garrison Artillery was formed in response to a threat of war with Russia (which, of course, never materialized).

“That group fired its first round from a seven inch gun at Macaulay Point on July 26,” says Pash, about the first time the unit conducted a test run with one of its guns.

Three days later, the 28 man unit fired a 13 gun salute for the opening of the third provincial assembly, he points out. The unit continued to operate coastal defence batteries at Macaulay Point until 1887 when they were replaced by “C” Battery, RCHA.

In 1893, the unit was replaced by a garrison of Royal Marine Artillery, through an agreement between Canada and Great Britain.

That unit, says Pash, was eventually augmented by the new 5th (BC) Regiment, Canadian Artillery in 1898. “The rest, they say, is history.”

The May 18 ceremony coincided with a change of command ceremony for the 5th (BC) Field Regiment at the Bay Street Armoury in the afternoon.

Lt. Col. David Ross formally took over command of the Regiment from Lt. Col. Lloyd Sherrard.

Photo. The cairn occupies the historic site at Work Point of Canada’s first regular military force on the West Coast.

The cairn reads:

18 MAY 2003

“C” Battery, Regiment of Canadian Artillery at the time, is actually the forerunner to “C” Battery, RCHA, which was authorized January 15, 1915 as part of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery Brigade in WW 1.

“C” Battery moved into Work Point in 1890 although three huts for them were built in 1888. Of the three originals, only building # 1004 remains, currently named the “Stettler” building. It is also a FHBRO Recognized building.


During the year, the WESTEINDE Group, Design Build Division, constructed the new NOTC (Venture) Phase II, Accommodation, Dining and Galley Facilities at Work Point. The accommodation block is named The Admiral Sir Charles E. Kingsmill Kt. Building numbered 1372, and the galley is numbered 1373. Between the accommodation building and the dining / galley buildings is a statue of “Venture Cadet 1954 – 1966”.

To allow for landscaping around the new building, the weigh scale and shack built in 1904, # 1088, was removed from the site by the contractor in July. Unfortunately, the 1903 ornate steel approach, weigh scale and hut, all mysteriously disappeared with no record available of the transaction or their new locations. The ornate approach came from England and was stamped with: “To Weigh 5 Tons No. 3755” and “PARNALL & SONS Ltd. MAKERS BRISTOL.” A case of “out of sight out of mind,” and heritage value seemed to be viewed as irrelevant in favour of landscaping.

Suffice to say I have more on this topic if anyone is interested, and the structures are still absent!

Weigh Scales, Shed and Ornamental Approach Grate

Library Archives Corner
February 19, 2004

An article about the discovery in the attic of the Officer’s Mess and Quarters of 1891 childhood letters written to Aubrey Holmes, the son of Lt. Colonel JG Holmes, at the time the Commanding Officer of “C” Battery, who resided in that residence with his family.

(See PDF Work Point 1027 Holmes letters)

June 28, 2004

Work Point’s Golf Hill Engulfed in Flames

Golf Hill in Work Point looks charred and desolate after a fire scorched the area last Tuesday. The blaze burned about half a hectare of land, fuelling itself on grass, brush and trees. Assistant Fire Chief Randy Morton says the Base Fire Department arrived on scene within three minutes of receiving the first of 15 911 calls from concerned citizens who saw the thick smoke blanketing the neighbourhood.

When they arrived at 4:15 p.m. they were confronted with a wall of flame three metres high and 40 metres wide along the ridge of Golf Hill. They quickly set to work pumping water through a ladder truck and fire engine to prevent the flames from reaching the married quarters behind the hill on Bewdley Avenue.

Initially CFB Esquimalt Fire and Rescue deployed 10 firefighters to the scene, but found the tinder dry conditions prevented them from containing the fire on their own, so they called in more units from the base and an engine from the Esquimalt Fire Department to assist. “I just kept on adding resources until I was sure we could get it under control,” said Morton. By the time the fire was contained at 5:30 p.m. 22 firefighters were battling the blaze.

The department also got help from residents of the Work Point married quarters who hauled hoses for the fire fighters once the flames were under control. “They really put in a lot of effort handling those lines for us,” said Morton. “It was a great help.” Morton says shifting winds and heavy brush make wild fires more unpredictable than structural or shipboard fires.

At one point on Tuesday the fire looked like it was headed for the thick wood lands around McLoughlin Point, but a gust of wind reversed the direction of the flames and sent them towards the Work Point married quarters. Dry conditions in the area made the fire particularly stubborn to extinguish and firefighters were still on the scene Wednesday keeping watch over any hotspots that flared up and doused them with water and foam.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, though Morton believes youth playing with matches was the likely source of the blaze.

July 19, 2004

A Community in Bloom

Amateur and expert green thumbs showed off the fruits (and vegetables) of their labour the morning of July 11, at the second annual Work Point Community Garden competition. Event organizer Maxime Rogers led the attending gardeners through the maze of organic garden plots in an attempt to pick a winner in the best new garden, most improved garden, and best overall garden categories.

Each plot, with its assortment of fruits, vegetables and bright flowers was judged according to its neatness, diversity of species, productivity of the plants and types of flowers. Some good natured rivalries even sprang up amongst the more experienced gardeners leading up to the competition. “I told Goodie (Harper) in the spring that I’d take her to town,” said Rogers. “She said, Max, I’m not even trying.”

The community garden draws all sorts of people to its soil, from the newly married to the long retired, civilian and military, and from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Rogers says they have members from Cuba, South Africa, Wales and Kenya tending plots in the garden. There’s even a “Best Babies” garden for Esquimalt Neighbourhood House gardeners and a box for their young children to dig in the dirt.

Asked why people become involved in the community garden, Rogers said, “Passion. A desperate urge to get dirty. Maybe the desire for self-sufficiency.” The scores for the day were tabulated back at the Military Family Resources Centre, which the group uses as its clubhouse. After the winners of the competition were declared and their prizes handed out, Rogers auctioned off produce from her own garden.

Proceeds from auctioning the large heads of broccoli and fresh garlic went to the “Women for Women” project, a non- profit organization dedicated to seeing a community garden established in Kabul, Afghanistan. Rogers calls the idea “Gardeners without Borders.” Those interested in participating in the Work Point Community Garden can contact Maxime Rogers at 384-4661.

Plots are principally available for military personnel regardless of where they live, although some civilian requests will be considered. Plots are 15 ft. by 15 ft. and cost $35 per year, while 30 ft. by 30 ft. plots are $50.

September 13, 2004

Film Crew Turns Work Point Into the Presidio

Through the magic of film, CFB Esquimalt’s Work Point will transform into the famous an Francisco Presidio military base this week. A film crew from the Island North Film Commission and 50 trailers of movie making equipment has converged on the Naval Officer Training Centre to film the tentatively title “Murder at the Presidio.” The film features Lou Diamond Phillips and Jason Priestly, and centres on the investigation of a murder involving a decorated U.S. Marine.

Last week, the Naden main gate closed for much of the day as the crew filmed scenes using the gate as a backdrop. This week they are filming on the parade square, inside the Haida building and in the administration building. The neighbouring community can expect some disruption Friday night, as filming extends into the night, and on Saturday morning as the crew and trucks pack up and rumble out of Work Point in the early morning.

Times Colonist
December 5, 2004


Aubrey Holmes,
the son of the Work Point Garrison’s Commanding Officer in the 1890’s,
stashed the letters he received from friends and relatives
behind an attic playhouse.

By J. Cecil Berezowski

(See PDFs A Window Into History PDF 1, and PDF 2, and PDF 3)


Coincidental with the removal of the weigh scale, approach grate and hut in 2004, the original men’s canteen building # 1087, built in 1903, was demolished in March of 2005 to allow for improvements to landscaping and parking around the new NOTC accommodation building, and afforded new perimeter fencing to be placed in October.

The Agreement of Purchase and Sale of the Guardhouse and associated property was signed on May 9, 2005 by Xhamasung Holdings LLP and the seller Transport Canada. (Article 6 contains the Heritage Section 6.01)

Times Colonist
July 23, 2005

First Nations Move In On Westbay Marina RV Park

The Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations have quietly purchased the recreational vehicle park at Westbay Marina from Transport Canada for $1.88 million.

Esquimalt First Nations Chief Andy Thomas confirmed the deal this week, saying a “limited liability partnership” of the two aboriginal groups acquired the 3.2 hectare waterfront property and the access road to it.

Thomas said the First Nations hope to increase their presence in the bay and elsewhere in Victoria harbour.

“We’ve been invisible far too long and we want to play a part in the role of the economy of the harbour,” Thomas said.

The First Nations established a development corporation called Xhamasung Holdings LLP expressly for the purchase of the Westbay property.

The RV park is run by lawyer Mark Lindholm, operator of Westbay marina, whose lease on the property will continue for another 12 years. Lindholm could not be reached for comment.

Transport Canada spokeswoman Ruth Casey said the federal department also plans to sell its Westbay water lots, leased by three marinas, but not immediately.

Asked why the federal department did not announce the sale of the RV park property on May 9, when the deal was concluded, Casey said the agency has dozens of properties in the Victoria area. “We don’t put out a press release every time we sell a property.”

Stewart Johnston, chairman of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, said he was stunned to learn of the sale.

The authority had counted on taking control of the Westbay property as part of the federal government’s harbour divestiture process.

Johnston said the authority hoped revenue from the marinas and RV park would help finance its other developments around the harbour, so when Thomas recently informed the authority of its acquisition, “it was a big surprise.”

However, Thomas said the First nations are part owners of the harbour authority and want to benefit from waterfront development.


“The RV park behind the boats at Westbay Marina is owned by a company created by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.”

Esquimalt News
September 21, 2005

Buildings Must Be Preserved

In August 1968, the Department of National Defence sold two Signal Hill buildings, 1522 and 1526 Esquimalt Rd. for $200. These historical military-era structures were destined for demolition. However, they were saved by the efforts of then Esquimalt-Saanich MP David Anderson, Victoria MP David Groos and the “public will.” With the co-operation of Public Works Minister Arthur Laing, Anderson and Groos took “the request to save and re-occupy” to Ottawa. To the praise of community and constituents this challenge was successful, and the buildings are in use to this day. Can history repeat itself?

Currently a few remaining Canadian built historical buildings in Work Point are destined for destruction, or soon could be. They are: the original “C” Battery barracks # 1004, built in 1888; the “C” Battery Guardhouse at the entrance to Work Point # 1001, built in 1891 (now Transport Canada); the “C” Battery officer’s quarters and mess #1027, built in 1890; the coastal defence ammunition magazine # 1030, built in 897 (not included in recent DND heritage studies) and the administration building # 1020, built in 1918, the original HQ of the CWAC. The four buildings have Heritage Recognized status, one is unoccupied, two are occupied but in a deteriorated state, and one is abandoned in obvious neglect along with the magazine.

It is too late to preserve the 1903 weigh scales and shed, they have been removed, contrary to DND study recommendations. Also of local concern is the dedicated area of the saluting base with flag staff and gun. While there are expressed and committed local groups interested in utilizing these buildings, no resolve has materialized, and in the meantime demolition through neglect looms ever closer. I believe the “public will” is there…and history can repeat itself.

Jack Bates

Esquimalt News
October 26, 2005

Ottawa Ignores B.C. Heritage

In recent correspondence, the Minister of National Defence stated that “Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site has captured and portrays the role of Work Point Barracks in the coastal defence of Canada in this area.” The CFB Esquimalt Base Commander has stated that “local military history is extremely well told at Fort Rodd Hill Park, the Base Museum, and various regimental museums in the Armouries.”

Fort Rodd Hill, through Parks Canada, is an excellent historical exhibit of coastal defence batteries in this area but does not acknowledge the 100 years plus of Garrison duty at Work Point Barracks in Esquimalt by various elements of the Canadian Army and others stationed there as early as 1887.

The Naval and Military Museum in Naden is a superb location for naval history, but is an indifferent location for Work Point Barracks heritage. Lt. Joan Kennedy’s CWAC memorial plaque outside the base museum doesn’t reference headquarters at Work Point. The local Regimental museums deserve immense credit for dedicated and ongoing representation of their individual Regiment’s lineage.

Under cover of the above DND statements, Work Point’s recognized federal heritage buildings and others are being abandoned, neglected, destined for demolition, or transferred away with lands to eventual elimination. In addition, once the Naval Officers Training Centre is completed in work Point, it will have been at the expense of the Canadian Army’s century-plus proud existence and tradition in Esquimalt, save for a couple of plaques and street names. Does anyone notice?

Jack Bates, Victoria

November 9, 2005

Veteran Fears For Park if Sewage Plant is Built Nearby

Once a year, Jack Stevens, an old soldier, meets an old army buddy at Macaulay Point to reminisce. It was at Macaulay Fortress back in 1939 that Stevens met Peter Maule. Stevens manned the six inch guns there for about a year and a half.

After long military careers, both retired here. They meet in Macaulay Point Park down by the old gun emplacements, and picnic. Now Stevens, 85, is upset that Esquimalt Mayor Darwin Robinson has agreed to allow a future sewage plant nearby.

“I feel pretty good about having that place kept as a decent place for people to go and have a sit around and walk their dogs,” Stevens said. He said the area already sometimes stinks of sewage and a treatment plant nearby couldn’t help but make the problem worse.

Robinson said Stevens has nothing to worry about and Macaulay Point Park won’t be affected. Rather, he said, a future plant would be built on DND property at Macaulay Plains. His idea would be to allow the Capital Regional District to bury the plant and even see sludge barged away rather than trucked away, he said.

“I think I can get them (the CRD) under two acres behind the pumping station with everything underground,” Robinson said. “There’s Macaulay Plains and Macaulay Point. Macaulay Point’s the park, that we lease from the federal government or DND, and Macaulay Plains is the 1.1 acre site of the pumping station. What we’re looking at is three acres in total if I can get them down to the two acres underground.”

Macaulay Point isn’t the only military site that some feel is under siege in this, the federally declared Year of the Veteran. Just down the road in the former Work Point Barracks, the old waterfront officer’s mess, oldest Canadian-built military facility in Western Canada, is boarded up and slated for “deconstruction” – to be torn down. That frustrates retired Lt. Col. Cecil Berezowski, who as a junior officer lived there.

Work Point was home to Canada’s most westerly army garrison from 1887 until 1994 when the navy took over after the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry left. The officer’s mess was built in 1890. The Work Point Arts Project would like to see the building preserved for use as a visual arts centre, but Berezowski said their pleas are falling on deaf ears.

“The navy wants to rip it down in the worst bloody way,” he said. “They are creating a college campus for HMCS Venture (the naval officer training school).” Requests to Defence Minister Bill Graham to have the mess’s status reviewed by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada for possible designation as a national historic site have been refused, Berezowski said. “The navy isn’t interested, and anything that has any army connotation is being rapidly removed,” he said.

CFB Esquimalt spokesman Capt. Darin Guenette said a request for proposals to either “deconstruct” or move the building is about to be issued. He said the base consulted with the federal heritage buildings review office, which determined that although the building had a heritage character, “Deconstruction was an acceptable outcome. So all efforts it would have taken to maintain it and upgrade it were probably unreasonable.”


Jack Stevens stands on the former gun emplacements of Macaulay Fortress, now Macaulay Point Park, where he likes to walk and occasionally meet an old army buddy for picnics. He’s worried that the stench of a future sewage treatment plant will spoil the area. Below is a 1939 photo of Stevens manning the guns at Macaulay Fortress.


Esquimalt News
January 4, 2006


Esquimalt aims to reclaim $100,000 provincial grant

Politicians are scrambling to retrieve a $100,000 grant from the provincial government. In 2001, the Provincial Capital Commission issued the grant to finance the construction of the Macaulay Point – West Bay walkway. After sitting in municipal coffers for the past three years, the province revoked the grant last month. The Township planned for the scenic pathway to wind the whole length of the Esquimalt’s shoreline and link to Victoria’s walkways.

Counc. Basil Boulton, who recently returned to council after a one term hiatus, said it was a “premature” grant from the province, which was a direct result of the provincial election at the time. Esquimalt didn’t have adequate time to negotiate permission from the Department of National Defence to the run path through their property, Boulton said. Military families were concerned that construction of a public walkway would infringe on the privacy they enjoy while living in a closed community.

As a result, DND officials rejected the municipalty’s request at the time. While the city attempted to design alternative pathways that would bypass the federal land, plans never materialized and the project ground to a halt. In September, Esquimalt received a letter from the PCC requesting an update on the project. The council of the day requested permission to reallocate the funds for the Gorge Park / Creek Estuary Restoration Project, but the PCC declined and subsequently retracted the money.

Boultn, who said he pushed for resolution with DND’s local leaders in 2001, said council didn’t know enough about the walkway when they confirmed that the Township would be unable to utilize the funds. Boulton said he plans to approach the PCC and retrieve the grant, and he hopes to initiate talks about the pathway with DND again. “No one was fighting for the project on the previous council. I think council didn’t understand the implications,” he said. “It came up as one of those routine housekeeping items and council was blindsided on the background.”

Boulton, however, remains optimistic that the new council will be able to make steps towards reclaiming the grant. “We’ve had quite a change in staff since then,” he said. “We worked so hard to get it. We can’t just say, “We don’t care” and just let it go.” This is an important thing for this community. If we build it, people will want to come here. It is important strategically.”

He expressed the hope that the military will see how a walkway would become an asset to the community. “The first order of priority is to talk with the PCC,” he said. The next meeting is Jan. 19. “Whether the money is gone forever, I don’t know,” he said. “But I will fight to get it back.”

I tried to gain access to the “file” in 2014 to no avail, nobody wanted to respond and unfortunately Basil passed away a number of years ago.

Esquimalt News
January 20, 2006


Local Served on Macaulay Point Batteries

Doug Nelson knew his military history. Nelson, who passed away peacefully on Tuesday December 15 at the age of 87, compiled a massive collection of historical information about the Canadian military in the basement of his Munro street home. He won numerous awards and accolades for his contributions to mostly local military history and served with various heritage advisory committees.

A former commanding officer of the 5th (BC) Field Regiment (A reserve artillery regiment based in the Bay Street Armoury), Nelson contributed extensively to the development of the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum for his old regiment. In fact, Nelson was one of the founders of the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum, which officially opened in 1985.

“Basically, he started the archives,” said Joseph Lenarcik, assistant curator at the base museum. Nelson collected historical Materials and petitioned for the establishment of the base museum for many years, he said. “He kept the idea of the museum at the forefront, and I think that without his support it would never happened,” Lenarcik said.

Nelson continued to provide photographs and other historical items to the base museum over the years, he said. The base museum received 55 boxes of pictures and clippings from newspaper stories from nelson after he passed away. “We’ve used a lot of his photographs either for our exhibits or for loaning out copies to people who are writing books or making films,” Lenarcik said.

Nelson was very organized and meticulous so staff and volunteers at the base museum only had to record items on the ledger and place them in the appropriate area of the museum, he said. Lenarcik recalls having to depend on Nelson for information on a number of occasions. “Whenever he would come to me it was always to ball me out because I would have a question from somebody that I couldn’t answer,” he said.

After retiring from the federal government in the early 1970’s, Nelson took a keen interest in developing the collection for the 5th (BC) Field Regiment’s museum in the Bay Street Armoury, said Brad Woolven, a retired Major with the militia unit and current director of the regiment’s museum. “When I got involved with (the regiment’s museum) Doug was my primary source for information,” he said.

Nelson joined what was then known as the 5th (BC) Coast Brigade, Royal Canadian Artillery in 195 as a drummer. He eventually became a gunner in the regiment and served at the gun emplacements at Macaulay Point and Albert head from 1935 – 38. Nelson received a posting with the 112th Light Anti- Aircraft Battery, RCA and was sent to England during the Second World War in 1942. He received a commission as an officer in 1944.

After the war, Nelson returned to Greater Victoria and eventually commanded the 5th regiment, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. His extensive knowledge of the history of the artillery in Greater Victoria made Woolven’s job as director of the regiment’s museum much easier. “He was the go-to guy for information on coast artillery at Macaulay Point (and elsewhere in) Greater Victoria,” Woolven said. Nelson was predeceased by his wife Renee, who passed away last May. A memorial service was held for Nelson on January 12.

Doug was a fixture in Esquimalt for many years, I used to visit him in his basement and marvel at the quantity of books, rolls, folders and other resources stuck up in the floor joists he referred to and allowed me access. Our families knew each other, through The Boy Scout Association and as neighbours, and I believe he hired my dad into the civil service after the war. I missed his “old chum” reference when we talked. He was the worthy and respected unofficial base historian and their museum named its library after Doug in his memory.

Lookout - News
March 20, 2006

Disaster Response Course Helps Employees Prepare for the Worst

In the derelict jail at Work Point students from the Light Urban Search and Rescue (LUSAR) course climb through debris and over broken furniture. Their mission is to find and evacuate mock casualties during a simulated disaster exercise. It isn’t an easy exercise, but it is an important one.

“We live in one of the most seismically active zones in Canada,” says Dick Orman, first aid and disaster response training officer.

Vancouver Island is located on the western edge of the North American Plate, which is snagged on the Juan de Fuca plate. The tension generated by the rubbing of the two seismic plates will eventually cause a serious earthquake.

Having military and civilian personnel across the base trained in LUSAR gives an added advantage in survivability. Odds are, with the devastation city wide, the base will be on its own for at least 72 hours. LUSAR is a good compliment to the heavy urban search and rescue capabilities of the Pacific Naval Construction Troop (PNCT). LUSAR teams would do initial assessment of buildings and rescue operations during a disaster, and the PNCT would be the resource called for more involved rescue operations.

To date, more than 300 military personnel and DND employees have trained in disaster search and rescue. The five day course runs 10 times a year at Work Point, and teaches emergency response procedures for a variety of crises, including first aid and searching a collapsed building.

The course blends both classroom instruction and field exercises. In the classroom, students learn first aid skills such as oxygen therapy and treating severe bleeding. Later in the week they learn emergency protocols for searching and rescuing casualties, such as applying a KED to a casualty in a disaster zone, and the symbols used to label disaster sires. Students are also introduced to urban search and rescue equipment, which is stored in nine emergency boxes.(E Box) located throughout CFB Esquimalt. Each giant orange E Box contains emergency supplies, drinking water and food, emergency blankets, tools, radios, a generator, medical kits, and other equipment essential to a disaster zone.

After learning emergency guidelines in the classroom, students practice their knowledge in a simulated disaster zone. Fitted with headlamps, helmets, kneepads, work gloves and goggles, several three person search teams are dispatched to chart hazards and locate casualties.

They are sent to Work Point’s jail, which is constantly “redecorated” by disaster response instructors to provide an authentic disaster environment. The jail is packed with broken furniture, metal scraps and other awkward debris. Stank smells and pitch black darkness, broken only by the student’s flashlights, make the experience authentic. Large speakers pipe noise of an aftershock while search teams conduct their operations.

“We want to keep the training as real as possible,” says Cpl Kat Davis, a first aid and disaster instructor.

Despite the life and death importance of the search, teams move slowly and meticulously. They must systematically search everywhere, while remaining mindful of their own safety. When they locate their mock casualty they radio back to the E Box command centre and request another rescue team to evacuate the injured person. Another three person rescue team attaches the casualty to a half splint and pulls them out. Once out in the open, the casualty will be evacuated to the E Box. It is a long and exhausting process; one that will be repeated many times before the day is over.

After surviving the damaged building scenario in the old jail, students are tested on searching for, and rescuing casualties from a completely demolished building. Army Engineers constructed the demolished building with sea containers, wood and concrete. Through this concrete maze, students again must search for casualties and attempt to drag the bodies through narrow shoots and then carry them over a quarter of a kilometre back to the E Box.

It’s an arduous process, even more challenging than the jail. But it’s also critical practice to improve skills that can save lives, says Orman.

Interested personnel may register via their training coordinator by sending correspondence to “+POESBFAIT@POESB@Esquimalt,” or call 363 -5610 or Dick Orman at 363-7235.

Photo to come.

LUSAR students prepare to evacuate a mock casualty after extracting him from the Work Point jail in a disaster response exercise.

The Officer’s Mess and Quarters, building # 1027, that for 116 years was a landmark Canadian built military building on Canada’s west coast, was demolished or “deconstructed” by Ralmax Development Corp. in the summer of 2006 under contract from the DND. It was fully functional for over one hundred of those years and in good repair up until perhaps 2002 including dishes, furniture, appliances, fireplaces and the pool table.

Since 2001 when news of the pending demise of the building first surfaced, a battle to save and utilize the building in situ was waged, led by the tireless Work Point Arts Project Society and its numerous community minded members. This dedicated team produced cost estimates, renovation proposals and business plan documentation promoting its use rather than demolish or relocate it.

Initially approached by DND, Nickel Bros. House Moving Ltd. had advertised the building on their web site and a 2001 contract to move the building off site to Lopez Island was apparently later negated by the DND in favour of it remaining a Canadian only item. A RFP and further tendering followed and although there were differences of opinion as to the preferred location for the building, it remained in situ, neither to be relocated or as it turned out, preserved. Another relocation option to Ladysmith did not materialize. The current Base Commander at one point had diverted demolition in favour of searching for other proposals and the building through all the hectic and much discourse, survived until 2006.

A “demolition by neglect” tactic under way by many a view, 1027 eventually lost out to actual demolition. Another term “constructed disposal” seems ironic. The building had been evaluated as secure and sound by a local Seismic Consultant but deteriorated as services were cut off while maintenance and usage dwindled. The demolition process confirmed just how sound, well constructed and worthy the building actually was.

Although evaluated and identified in 1982, 1989 and 2001 as having primary heritage importance by DND and Parks Canada studies, and having received “Recognized” status by the Federal Heritage Building Review Office, the building fell into a state of disrepair over the few years. A challenge that the building should have qualified for the “Classified” status failed, and a search of the 13 Classified buildings / structures in B.C. reveals that the Officer’s Mess should have compared with Building # DY 101 in the Dockyard, the “Admirals House” (1991),” Hatley Castle” at Royal Roads University (1986), Fort Rodd Hill’s “Lower Battery, Upper Battery and Belmont Battery,” (1997), “Fisgard Lighthouse and Dwelling” (1997), all rated as Classified.

DY 101 is the only classified building in the CFB Esquimalt inventory.

The Heritage Magazine 2004 Winter publication included an article regarding the gloomy outlook for WP1027, and in their Summer 2006 issue, the final story to which I provided photographs for that publication. Between the timing of these articles, the heritage community including consultants, politicians of the three levels of government, and activists all engaged in supporting the retention of the building for a variety of reasons.

Three local councils, Esquimalt, Victoria and View Royal all voted in favour of support for the building in last minute efforts. The Hallmark Society and The Land Conservancy both published their support along with the Heritage Society of BC. Articles of support also appeared in the Platinum and Focus Magazines as well as the Esquimalt News, the Times Colonist, the Royal United Services of Vancouver Island and other community newsletters. Historical highlights of the building were also published by the CFB Museum and the Lookout.

The WPAPS business case had been submitted, articles and letters written, meetings held with tours of the site, an application for Historic Site Status was submitted to HSMBC as well as a counter intervention petition to FHBRO, but the countless amount of emotion and energy expended to save 1027 was all wasted time. Distant Ottawa departments and the local DND proceeded with the distasteful process contrary to and much to the chagrin of a great number of people and organizations.

In the end, the final notification of intent to proceed with the demolition came from the Minister of National Defence, Gordon O’Connor, and locally Capt. Mike Williamson, CFB Esquimalt Base Commander, scripted that “I am confident that the DND’s current intentions with respect to the Work Point site represent the maximum benefit to all Canadians.” Strange, nobody seems to remember any officials from Ottawa visiting the site, and I’m not so sure that the Canadian “military family” was best served by the loss of the building, nor the” wanting to be engaged” local community.

Finally, the contractor of note, Ralmax, gave notice and published for a last minute buyer and perhaps a new home for the building prior to starting the demolition process. Nobody responded and the work started, sadly ending an era in Canada’s, British Columbia’s, Victoria’s and Esquimalt’s history, with some historical token reminders of the iconic building’s lifetime scattered about the community.

If there were recent ghost stories to be told about the Officer’s Mess, they would be ones of its demise, and tell of the June 1977- 3 PPCLI Heritage Committee dedication naming it “The GEORGE PEARKES BUILDING,” “ The present site of the Work Point Officer’s Mess was selected by Lt. Col. J.C. Holmes, of the 11 Military District in 1883. The building was constructed circa 1890 and served as the residence of the commandant and field officers until it was re designated the Officer’s Mess.”; the Corporation of the Township’s “ Esquimalt Heritage Building” plaque once affixed to the building under the bronze “WORK POINT BARRACKS OFFICER’S MESS THIS BUILDING WAS CONSTRUCTED CIRCA 1892 AS THE OFFICER’S MESS AND QUARTERS FOR “C” BATTERY ROYAL CANADIAN ARTILLERY” plaque was quietly removed along with an ornate black steel fireplace; the FHBRO evaluation / intervention process; the National Historic Site Application and the local DND intent and methods. “Apparently new was the Naval requirement! I understand the additional costs of dealing with HazMat related “deconstructed” materials after the fact by DND was quite eyebrow raising and deflated the presence of the buzz word “deconstruction” used instead of the real term of “demolition.” A complete travesty in my view and it may happen again!

Times Colonist
April 28, 2006

Work Point: Leave It Alone

Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor has authorized the demolition or removal from the site of the 1889 officer’s quarters from Work Point. He has stated the building’s removal “represents the maximum benefit to all Canadians.”

As old as Craigdarroch castle, and older than the Parliament Buildings, the Officer’s Quarters were built as a series of row houses. These wooden houses are perhaps the largest wooden residential construction left in British Columbia of their age.

Though remodeled somewhat, the building still retains original fireplaces, doors, grand staircases, and its prime original location. The only reason there has not been more learned debate about the building’s future is its location on National defence land, with its attendant limited access. The location of the building on Victoria’s inner harbour is remarkable – the only part of Victoria’s early history still intact on the harbour after 112 years.

There are at least two community groups that have been diligently working to provide alternate new uses for this significant building for the last year. The Land Conservancy has offered to assist in arranging for the preservation of this building on its site. It appears that the Department of National defence has other plans. There are other places in North America (in the US) where historic buildings are preserved with public access within defence (read: security conscious) properties, so that rational for demolition is not valid. The building, through the government is owned by the people. How can it so easily dismissed?

O’Connor has ignored letters from municipalities, individuals and groups in making this decision. He has missed an opportunity to respect Canadians with a decision that was truly of maximum benefit to all of them. What will become of the site now?

Stuart Stark
Heritage Consultant

April 28, 2006

Disconnected From the Community

CFB Esquimalt officials and Department of National Defence officials in Ottawa, by pursuing the destruction of the 1890 Officer’s Mess and Quarters at Work Point Barracks in Esquimalt, are disconnecting from the co-operative efforts of every level of government in this area to save the building for future reuse by the community.

Their demonstrated ignorance toward Canadian military heritage issues for this site and ill response mechanisms over the last number of years show that they have no accountability for their procedures. Perhaps an inquiry into the issues should be required at this 11th hour.

Jack Bates

Times Colonist
May 2, 2006

Work Point Barracks Might Be Saved

A local company awarded the tender to deconstruct the historic Work Point Barracks is trying to save the building by having it moved to another site. Ralmax Development Corp. needs to find a buyer and home for the building within the next month. After that, it will have to start deconstructing the structure in order to meet its September deadline to have it gone from its waterfront perch on Department of National Defence property in Esquimalt. The site is to be cleared and re-landscaped by that time.

With deconstruction, as much of the material as possible is salvaged, sold and reused. “We’d prefer to see it saved, but we do have a contract that requires us to have the site cleared one way or the other,” said Brad Wilkerson, contracts manager with Ralmax.

Several politicians and community groups have been working to save the barracks, built in 1889 as a terrace of row houses for the officers of the “C” Battery of the Canadian Artillery and vacant for years. Community members and some local politicians were lobbying the federal government, which declared the building surplus in 1999, to hold off on awarding any contract to demolish the building. But DND was notified by the minister of national defence last week to proceed with tendering the project. It was awarded to Ralmax at a cost of $289,000, with the proviso that the company deconstruct as much of the site as possible, rather than demolishing it.

Although the building has been declared surplus, its prime waterfront location has not. Wilkerson said Ralmax is open to offers on the building, which would have been barged to a new home. The entire building could be removed, or portions of it.

One of the groups lobbying to have the building saved was The Land Conservancy. Deputy executive director Ian Fawcett said it would be a “tragedy” for the building to be deconstructed. “It’s a building that is owned by the people of Canada and is part of our heritage. We find it quite objectionable the minister would simply say it’s not important,” said Fawcett.

Esquimalt News
May 19, 2006

Bye, Bye, Barracks

Efforts to save a historic building at Work Point are almost in their death throes. Esquimalt’s politicians received the official word of doom from the Federal Government Monday, with letters from CFB Esquimalt Commander Capt. Mike Williamson and Minister of National Defence Gordon O’Connor.

The Township of Esquimalt wrote O’Connor suggesting that the Federal Government divest the land to Esquimalt for the purpose of a regional art centre. Backed by letters from local MLA’s and MP Keith Martin, local residents also asked the Federal Government to halt destruction. That bid, however, fell short.

The current building is neither “required nor usable” by DND, O’Connor wrote, but “the site on which it is located cannot be severed and reported for at least five to ten years because of adjoining DND activities.” The federal Conservative Party has committed to increasing the number of men and women serving in the Armed Forces, and O’Connor explained that the “re-investment in DND and the associated Canadian Forces transformation” necessitated a more cautious approach when it came to divesting DND land.

Appeals as to heritage value of the old barracks – constructed in 1890 – also fell on deaf ears. O’Connor noted that the old Work Point Barracks, often known as Building 1027, is listed as “recognized” by federal heritage authorities, rather than the “more stringent Classified” heritage designation. Further, “the arts centre proposal to occupy Building 1027 was conceived before (Sept. 11, 2001), when public access to Work Point as considered low–risk,” O’Connor added.

Williamson, whose letter outlined similar points, added that the arts centre proposal would necessitate DND’s commitment to a long term lease and public access onto Federal land. “DND cannot commit to either,” he stated. Work to remove recyclable materials is underway, with the bulk of the structure slated to be removed by early August 2006. All work will be complete by September, Williamson stated.

June 12, 2006

Basic Officer Training at Venture NOTC

Basic Officer training is not only offered by Canadian Forces Leadership Recruit School St. Jean, it is also offered at CFB Esquimalt. Venture, the Naval Officers Training Centre (NOTC) is host to navy and air force initial assessment phase (IAP) and the basic officer training program (BOTP) candidates from April 30 to July 11. Successful participants will become MARS, Logistics and Intelligence officers.

The course offered by NOTC is accredited by the Canadian Defence Academy and shares the same curriculum as CFLRS St. Jean. Thus, reservists completing this IAP/BOTP will not have to repeat the course if they decide to enrol into the regular force. Regular force candidates take this course. However, this year’s students are all reservists. Usually, one BOTC serial is held per year from April through July. There is “capacity for more training, but we need a larger staff devoted to it,” says BOTC Company Chief CPO2 Dennis Oliphant. Four full time staff members are dedicated to BOTC: the officer in charge (OIC), company chief and two senior non-commissioned officer (NCO) instructors. The company ramps up their manning in April for the summer season.

Quick Figures:

  • 61 IAP candidates
  • 72 potential candidates for BOTP
  • 7 NCM staff, general duties
  • 14 NCO instructors (3 full time)
  • 6 officer instructors (1 full time)

Unlike CFLRS St. Jean, which has assets such as Personnel Support Programs, supply, and other logistical support on site, BOTC uses CFB Esquimalt resources. “This year we are getting excellent support from the base,” said OIC LCdr Shawn Connelly. This year, instruction of skills such as drills, weapons handling and topography will be by cadre. This method allows for one or two instructors to teach one subject, rather than each instructor teaching all subjects. This allows platoon staff to focus on administration and discipline, while still allowing for efficient curriculum delivery.

Most of this year’s candidates range from 19 to 25 years of age, with some personnel over 40. Successful students will be able to cope with stressors such as increased physical activity with little rest. Time management, logical thinking and teamwork are crucial for those wishing to pass their field tasks; an essential component of all junior leadership courses in the CF. Work Point is a logical location for naval reservists training to be officers. The condensed 10 and a half week course allows for two of the three modules of the Naval Environmental Training Program, Officer (NETP-O) to be completed at NOTC immediately following BOTC. Officer candidates complete the final module of their NETP-O course at their home units via distributed training and become eligible to attend MARS III the following summer.

Over the next two weeks, these candidates will hone their topography skills in the field and weapons handling skills at the range.

CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum
June 29, 2006


On 29th June, 2006, at CFB Esquimalt, a plaque was dedicated in the Museum Square at Naden to recognize the significance of four naval station sites as an historic district of national significance.

The Esquimalt Naval Sites are the Dockyard at Esquimalt; the former Royal Navy hospital buildings at Naden which now house CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum; the Veteran’s Cemetery, also known as God’s Acre (formerly the Royal navy cemetery); and Cole Island (formerly the munitions depot for the Dockyard).

Vol. 2, No. 2 (Summer 2006)

Continuing Canadian Naval Officer Training in the 21st Century
Pages 25 – 29

This publication covers the History, Transformation, Today and The Future of the NOTC and its establishment in Work Point Barracks. Included are references to buildings at Work Point and re- dedicating (WP 1094) on December 12, 1997, as well as the new buildings built for the NOTC.

Click here to view a PDF version of this report.

Fort Rodd Hill
November 29, 2006
Dale Mumford


This report, written by Dale Mumford, contains two Appendices, one on British and Canadian military nomenclature used and the second on range and rates of fire of artillery guns.

Click here to view a PDF version of this report.


Fort Rodd Hill
January 30, 2007
Dale Mumford


This report, written by Dale Mumford, is an introduction to the History of Artillery in B.C. and surviving examples of Artillery on Vancouver Island – Victoria and also Vancouver and New Westminster.

Click here to view a PDF version of this report.


National Archives of Canada
February 2008
Dale Mumford

Compiled by my friend Dale Mumford, a personality most dedicated to military history, is a list of personnel and units which were part of the Victoria/Esquimalt Coast Defences during World War 2. File : “Historical Notes”.

Click here to view a PDF version of this report.

The Lookout
February 25, 2008

Army Greens Return to Work Point

It’s been 10 years since army greens have filled Work Point’s halls, and instructor Sgt. Gord Cutting says they’re glad to be back.

The army reservist recruits are staying at Work Point barracks during their basic training course.

“We’re really looking forward to spending some time working side by side with navy personnel,” says Sgt. Cutting. “Even though we’re all military, we don’t often get the chance to work together and anytime we are in concert, even on a smaller scale, it allows us to form working relationships which benefit everyone.”

Usually reservist recruit training is held at Albert Head, but due to scheduling the facility was unavailable for this rotation.

“The Work Point facilities are more modern than those at Albert Head. There is current technology like Powerpoint installed in the classrooms, and the grounds offer more amenities,” he says.

The training takes place on weekends from January to May, with recruits coming from all over Vancouver Island. During their weekend stays, they sleep in the old PPCLI barracks in building 1092.

Their day begins at 5:30 am with inspections and physical training, followed by an afternoon of classes including weapons service, navigation and drill basics, more physical training and a study period.

“They don’t get to hit the sheets until eleven o’clock at night,” says Sgt. Cutting. “It’s a long day made even longer by the fact these recruits have other commitments. Being a reservist is a second, sometimes even a third job for them.”

The reservist training provides the recruits with the necessary instruction to be proficient as a reservist.

“After basic training, they may want to continue on during the summer months with more advanced training,” he says.

Sgt. Cutting is one of two instructors that has returned from a tour in Afghanistan, and plans on using his experiences as a unique teaching tool.

“Bringing experiences to the table as a teacher gives a certain kind of credibility to what you’re teaching,” he says. “Even using small anecdotes of when the methods have been applicable in real life drive the lessons home a little more effectively.”

Instructor M Cpl Ken Himes, a medic with the reserves, brings over 20 years experience to the teaching table. He was posted to Work Point 27 years ago with the PPCLI, and says while some of the facility’s scenery may have changed, it still has the same character.

“The grounds are rich with great history and promises of future successes,” says M Cpl Himes. “At one point there were over 600 people posted at Work Point and each of them emerged from its gates a better soldier. I myself lived there and can attest to the limitless possibilities Work Point has to offer.”

He, like Sgt. Cutting, is excited to be working alongside navy personnel.

“There is of course a little rivalry between the two organizations,” says M Cpl Himes. “But at the heart of it all we each embrace learning from each other.”

Goldstream News Gazette
September 24, 2008


Land eyed for sewage treatment plant could fall within treaty claim

The Capital Regional District is warning the Federal Government that a proposed sewage treatment system could pit the greater Victoria against First Nations. And it’s a position the CRD doesn’t want to be in.

If the CRD chooses to proceed with its original plans to construct a sewage treatment plant at Macaulay Point, part of the $1.3 billion draft for secondary sewage treatment, federal land for the project will be required from the Department of National Defence. That land would have to be surplus to be considered for outside development, in which case it would be open to First Nations claims.

The CRD board fears competing interests for federal land will put both parties in direct competition to the detriment of efforts to develop good relationships between First Nations and the region. There is also the possibility legal challenges would delay the sewage treatment project. “There isn’t a lot of land around available for (First Nations in the CRD) and they need new land,” said CRD chair Denise Blackwell.

Esquimalt First Nation Chief Andy Thomas said Esquimalt First Nation holds 18 hectares, where 150 members live, but it’s quickly being used up. “Land is a big issue for us and we always got our ear to the ground,” Thomas said. Blackwell requested the appointment of a federal official to work directly with the CRD and neighbouring First nations to seek a “win-win” solution to competing land needs. Treaty negotiations involve First Nations and the Provincial and Federal governments.

But Federal Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl does not see the Ministry as having a role in the issue yet. “I see this as a matter of discussion between you and the First Nations and would encourage you to continue to work closely with those First nations who may be impacted by the development,” Strahl wrote in a letter to the CRD. He also said lands may only be acquired by First nations within existing policies and that Canada cannot guarantee requested land by First nations will meet requirements to be considered for additions to Reserves.

Although disappointed by the minister’s response, Blackwell is hopeful the Federal Government will intervene if a situation proves necessary. Songhees Chief Robert Sam did not return phone calls.

For more to this topic, Google: “Historical Timeline of Waste Water Treatment in the CRD.”

The Old Cemeteries Society
Favourite Ghost Stories

Disaster at Point Ellice Bridge

It was May 26, 1896, and Queen Victoria’s birthday celebrations were in full swing. The highlight of the holiday was an event at Macaulay Point, organized by the military. Everybody who was anybody planned to attend. Bicycles were oiled and carriages were pressed into service for the journey out of town across the Point Ellice Bridge. Picnics were packed. Excitement was in the air. Nobody wanted to miss this special occasion. Those who didn’t have self-pedalled or horse drawn wheels used the oldest form of transport of all – Shanks’ Pony – or rode the public streetcar.

Car No. 16 was jammed with 140 merrymakers when it nosed its way across the bridge. The bridge was a wooden structure and not in good repair. Nor was it designed for heavily laden streetcars. On that fateful day, the inevitable happened. As Car No. 16 rumbled onto the span, there was a loud creak, followed by an almighty crash as car and passengers plunged into the waters below. Many who were trapped in the crowded car quickly drowned. Many more were killed or injured by falling timbers. A few lucky souls managed to escape and swim to shore. In all, 55 people lost their lives that terrible day. It was – still is – the worst streetcar catastrophe on record in North America.

Since then, a wavering red light has been seen in the area on many occasions, most recently by two Australians nurses camping in the Point Ellice House garden. The red light seems to hover and glide just above the shoreline. Nobody knows where it comes from. Maybe it’s someone walking along the shore or rowing across Selkirk Water. Maybe it’s a figment of someone’s imagination. Or maybe it’s the special lamp of a grieving mother, father, sister or brother, searching vainly for a loved one who was lost in the terrible disaster at Point Ellice Bridge.

Murder at Work Point Barracks

When Anna first saw the man in the 19th century military uniform talking to the boy in the nightshirt, she wasn’t afraid – or even particularly surprised. Anna was used to seeing ghostly strangers in her home. After all, she and her family had lived in the apartment at Work Point Barracks since 1977, and everybody knew the place was haunted. In fact, Anna wasn’t the only one who’d seen the pair. An officer staying in the building had also seen the spirits. He awoke one night to find them standing in his room, a man in a high-necked military tunic engaged in conversation with a boy in night attire. Who were they? And why were they talking so earnestly in what used to be the Officer’s Mess at Work Point? History provides us with a possible explanation.

Built in 1892, Work Point Barracks was the scene, some 18 years later, of a murder. On August 10, 1910, Captain Peter Elliston, Commander of No. 5 Company stationed at Work Point Barracks, was shot dead as he walked across the parade square at 9 a.m. The main suspect was Gunner Thomas Allen. A veteran soldier who had served in India, South Africa, Jamaica and Malta, Allen had a drinking and drug problem, and he was angry about Captain Elliston’s attempts to curb drug and alcohol us eon the base. Allen fled after the shooting, took refuge briefly at St. George’s Inn on Esquimalt road, then was captured in a nearby field.

At the 1911 fall assizes, Allen was convicted of murder and sentenced to hang. However, he appealed the verdict, citing drunkenness, and the sentence was reduced to manslaughter.

About a year later, during a clean-up at the barracks, Allen’s kit bag was found. In it was a diary showing clearly that he had deliberately plotted to murder Elliston. By then it was too late. Allen eventually served a 10 year sentence. When he was released, he left the island, and ended up selling newspapers in downtown Vancouver.

Who was the ghost at Work Point Barracks? Could it have been Captain Elliston? He certainly would have been familiar with the mess, and may even have stayed there before his wife and family joined him from England. The family moved into a small house on Quadra street. Only a few months before her husband was murdered, Mrs. Elliston died there suddenly, leaving two young children Among the other strange happenings at Work Point, Anna and her husband occasionally saw a small boy, not one of their own running around in the TV room. Was the ghost Captain Elliston talking to one of his orphaned sons? Will they ever be able to rest?


June 5, 2009

I met one of the owner’s principles and his representative agent today by chance at the Guardhouse when I was attending to the disarray around the site. I then contacted the agent regarding “adopting” the building for its preservation in July and he afforded me with keys and a thank you, good luck. A great start in preserving this landmark building which ideally represents the history of Work Point Barracks I thought. This to avoid the “demolition by neglect” scenario again which is a common theme practiced to eliminate unwanted buildings. The building is sound and still possesses value but needs upkeep. It had been upgraded to suit the conditions of sale in 2005 and a heritage clause was included as well as a professionally detailed Heritage Record Report required by the FHBRO, unlike that of the recently demolished officer’s mess.

The Lookout
August 17, 2009

Anniversary Marked With Refurbished Cairn

Fifty years ago, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II came to Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park and presented her colour and a new regimental colour to Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Last Monday, PPCLI soldiers from the past and present gathered in the same spot to celebrate the regiment’s 95th birthday and to unveil and rededicate a refurbished stone cairn that marks that special occasion.

Don Robertson addressed the crowd gathered on the former parade square to remember that extraordinary day when he was the commander of the colour party that escorted the old colour. Standing alongside fellow soldiers, from those he served with in the Second Word War to those about to deploy to Afghanistan, he said, “It’s hard to believe it was 50 years ago. It was a very dry summer and there was no pavement here to stand on. It was a dust bowl. There were 10,000 people here. It’s a good garrison town, Victoria.”

The 1st and 3rd Battalions were once stationed at Esquimalt’s Work Point Barracks and a camp at Gordon Head. “We have over 700 monuments spread throughout the countryside,” said PPCLI Colonel of the Regiment and Master of Ceremonies BGen (ret’d) Joseph Gollner as he unveiled the cairn. “We are now working with our (PPCLI) Association branches to fix them up.”

Regimental headquarters in Edmonton hired a Victoria company to restore the cairn to its former glory by power washing it and repainting each etched letter. Four members from Regimental Headquarters made the trip to Vicooria to attend the celebration, which wrapped up with a lunch at the Trafalgar / ProPatria Legion Branch 292 on Gorge Road.

Photo: PPCLI celebrates 95 years

BGen (ret’d) Joseph Gollner, Colonel of the Regiment, unveils a refurbished cairn dedicated to Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Beacon Hill Park on August 10.

About The PPCLI

The regiment was stood up in Ottawa in August 1914, as a result of the offer of Captain Andrew Hamilton Gault to provide $100,000 to finance and equip a battalion for overseas service. Mobilization began on August 11th and eight days later it was completed as soldiers flocked to Ottawa from every part of Canada. In just over a week the regiment grew to 1,098 all ranks, with 1,049 of those members having seen previous service in South Africa or in the forces of the British Empire.

LCol Francis D. Farquhar, an officer of the Coldstream Guards who was Military Secretary to His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught and Stathearn, the Governor General of Canada, was selected to command the new battalion. LCol Farquhar suggested the Regiment bear the name of the Duke’s youngest daughter, Her Royal Highness Princess Patricia of Connaught.

The full title of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Mobile Infantry was too long for everyday use, and the new unit became known as “PPCLI”, with “PP’s” or “Pip Pip’s,” the most common variants. The Regiment has been awarded 39 battle honours, a United States Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation and two Commander in Chief Commendations for its overseas service.

In October, the “Ocean Lady” occupants, 76 Tamil men, were held at Macaulay Plains and in the Gymnasium pending processing, it looked like a POW camp.


The Land Titles plans for the R/W to be dedicated as road, the extension of Head St in front of the Guardhouse, was signatory on March 30. 2010 by the parties involved, the Township of Esquimalt and Transport Canada. The sale of the Guardhouse and property was May 9, 2005.


In 2010, the Public Works and Government Services of Canada performed a legal survey of parts of the DND property at Macaulay Point, taking photographs and producing two proposed VIP plan. Proposed are two lots: Lot A possibly the Macaulay Point Park fence line and & B, Clifton Terrace r/w or road allowance. This project was PW&GSC Project # R.038846.001, SF # 3202.01 and BC # 3121.01 and references DND 2013 / 2014.

It was noted for the 2010 Royal Canadian Naval Centennial that numerous buildings were painted in naval blue colour. WP 1004, WP 1020, WP 1031 and WP 1079 were refinished as was the commemorative 3” WW 1 anti-aircraft gun at the saluting battery, not really a naval gun.

Programs for two ceremonies:

The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada

Celebrating 150 Years of Service to Canada
Since 26 April, 1860

In the Presence of the Colonel in Chief
Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra KG, GVCO

Unveiling of Commemorative Cairn
2:00 pm – 20 April, 2010

At Naval Officers Training Centre - VENTURE
Formerly Work Point Barracks


Today we are gathering to commemorate the service of two of the Battalions of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. Formed in Toronto in 1860, the Regiment is Canada’s oldest continuously serving infantry unit. Two of its Regular Army Battalions were stationed in Victoria during the cold war, 2nd Battalion returned from Korea in 1955 to Gordon Head Camp, now the University of Victoria prior to departure to Germany on 1957. The 1st Battalion returned from NATO duty in Germany in 1963 and was at Work Point Barracks until re-designated Third Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light infantry in 1970.

The Queen’s Own Rifles have a long and proud record of service to Canada, fighting its first engagement in 1866 near Ridgeway, Ontario against Fenian Raiders from the United States. The deaths of 9 soldiers at that time heralded sacrifices in campaigns throughout the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries serving in the North West Rebellion, Boer war, First and Second World Wars, Korea, NATO duty, Cyprus and other Peacekeeping Operations and today in Afghanistan.

The Cairn being unveiled today symbolizes the dedication and sacrifice of soldiers of the Regiment in War and Peace. It also reflects the affection, admiration and appreciation of all riflemen of the Queen’s Own for their service to the Regiment and to Canada of our Colonel in Chief, Her Royal Highness, Princess Alexandra, KG, GCVO. We will celebrate her 50 years as our Colonel in Chief as well as our 150th birthday. She will travel to Calgary, then on to Toronto to participate in events commemorating this very significant chapter in Canadian military annals.

Following the Reception here today, which is for Queen’s Own Association members and invited guests, Her Royal Highness will depart at 2:55 pm to join her other regiment, The Canadian Scottish for a reception at Bay Street Armoury.

Unfortunately at the last moment Princess Alexandra sent her regrets as she was not able to attend the ceremony.

QOR of C


150th Anniversary of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada

Plaque Dedication

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
4:00 p.m.

University of Victoria

Historical Background

The gathering today, at this site of the old main gate to Gordon Head military barracks, marks a number of historical events in the military history of this area. Since before Confederation, the Victoria and district have been regarded as strategically important to the Royal Navy and later to the Maritime Forces of Canada.

Royal Artillery shore batteries protected the west coast until the early 1900’s, when Canadian gunners took over the task of harbour defence. As part of bringing BC into Confederation, the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed to the lower mainland and Canada provided Armed Forces for the protection of this area.

Gordon Head served for years as a signals station and later in World War II, as an officer training school. The 2nd Battalion, The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada moved into the barracks in 1955 after it returned from Korea. The role of the camp changed significantly in late 1957 when the battalion was deployed to Germany for NATO duties.

The battalion was the last army unit to occupy what was to become a major part of the University of Victoria. L Col John Doerksen, the officer who “turned over the keys,” is with us today to participate in the unveiling of the new plaque.

Her Royal Highness, Princess Alexandra, KG, GCVO our Colonel in Chief, officially opened the Centennial Stadium on 19 May, 1967. She was attended by a 100 man Guard of honour and the Bugle band from the 1st Battalion, as Canada celebrated its 100th birthday year.

The Colonel in Chief sends her very best wishes on this, The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada’s 150th anniversary, and “thanks for remembering” to all present today and also to the University of Victoria for its contribution to, and support of, this event.

Music courtesy of 5th (BC) Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery band.

The plaque reads:


Unveiled by Colonel Paul F. Hughes, CD
On 20th April, 2010, during the visit to Victoria of
Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, KG, GCVO
Colonel in Chief, The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada
Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of her Regiment
Stationed here from 1955 to 1957

There were two plaques already in place, and this one was placed in the center between the two.

On the left:



On the right:

The plaque is a scaled model of the camp as it was at its peak time, showing the huts, roads and the two existing entrance posts mentioned on the plaque above.

August 13, 2010

The MV Sun Sea arrived in Esquimalt Harbour carrying 492 migrant passengers, 380 men, 63 women and 49 children. This followed the MV Ocean Lady which arrived here in October 2009 with 76 Tamil migrants aboard.


June 20, 2011

The Statement of Significance for the former Work Point Barracks Guardhouse, WP 1001, was written by the Esquimalt Heritage Advisory Committee and approved by the Esquimalt council. The building at 445 Head Street will be added to the Esquimalt Heritage Registry and forwarded on to Heritage BC. The Staff Report was DEV-11-049.


Civic Address:
#1- Head Street, Work Point Guard House (old DND bldg.1001)

Legal Description of Property:
Lot A, Section 11, Esquimalt District, Plan 78775, Area 0.175 ha.

Description of Historic Place:

This one storey Wood Frame Military Guard House was constructed in 1890-91 on land that was the principal access point to the newly established Work Point Barracks and Garrison Headquarters of MD (11) BC (1887), home of Canada's most westerly army garrison. Apart from the role to control access and provide facilities for security personnel, it contained four short term detainment compounds with cement and brick walls over to two feet thick, which are fixed to the building structure. It served as an integral part of this military establishment from the time of Queen Victoria to the present Queen Elizabeth II. During that time, Canadians in general and British Columbians in particular, marched passed the Guard House to serve during the Boer War, the Great War, World War 2, also the Korean War, and peacekeeping. Some great persons in history checked through this entry point including Royalty. The building is in situ although it has been sectioned off from the rest of the surviving barracks and through a trade between DND and the Department of Transportation, ended up in the ownership of a private consortium.

Heritage Value:

1. Architectural Significance

No. 1 Head Street is one of the last surviving Guard Houses of this design in Canada; the other two are in eastern provinces of Quebec and Nova Scotia, although one has been rebuilt (see attached photos). No. 1 was designed by the Department of Public Works, based on preliminary sketches provided by architect, Henry James of the engineering Department of Militia and Defence. It was one of the first of three buildings constructed during the founding stage of Work Point barracks, from 1887-91, constructed from fir originating from the large stands felled at Work Point by C Battery. Virtually intact, complete with arcaded porch, it had some minor modifications to the exterior; the construction of the rear annex and trim removed from the front pillars. All doors and fenestration are original except 2 large front window panels. The interior remains intact with its original four caved ceiling cells, the latter had bars and doors removed and two converted to washroom space.

2. Social Significance

It is visually prominent by virtue of its location at the gate to Work Point Barracks, through which all visitors and military personnel had to pass to enter or exit the site.

Some notably historical figures checked through this gate such as Major James Peters, Lt.-Col. Josiah G. Holmes, Lt.-Col. Arthur Currie (later Sir Arthur), HRH Prince of Wales 1919 (abdicated), Brig-Gen. Andrew G. L. McNaughton, Gen. R. 0. Alexander, Lt. Col. Joan Kennedy (started CWAC), Maj-Gen. George R. Pearkes, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and lastly Lady Patricia Ramsay, Colonel-in-Chief in residence at WP Officers' Mess. Among the many military units that served at Work Point and passed through this landmark was a who's who of regiments that defended Canada, which included the Canadian Artillery (later known as the Royal Canadian Artillery), the Royal Marine Artillery, Royal Engineers, and Royal Garrison Artillery, B Company, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (later the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada) and finally the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

3. Cultural Significance

The Guard House stands out because of its distinctive design and proportions and as a landmark to a significant stage in the development in BC's Coastal Defences.

As the gateway to the historically rich Work Point Barracks, this guard house was definitely linked with role of coastal defence and part of the process in British Columbia's joining Confederation. The spin-off was the injection of community influence from the rest of Canada, into the social fabric of British Columbia.

Character-Defining Elements:

Key elements that define the heritage character of #1 - Head Street include:

  • Location overlooking West Bay on Victoria harbour.
  • It is visible from outside the Work Point boundaries and visually prominent at the end of Head Street. It is also visible from its shoreline along West Bay.
  • An attractive, compact, distinctive one-story structure, with steep, slightly flared hipped roof. The main (south) elevation contains a central doubleleaf door with flanking windows, and is deeply recessed behind a partially enclosed arcaded porch.
  • The Guard House has been designated in the past as having primary heritage value by CFB and Esquimalt historians and a designated heritage value by Parks Canada. It lost its Federal Heritage status when it was sold to the private sector. It is evident that now is the time to preserve No.1.
Work Point Guard House
Work Point Guard House with Royal Marine Artillery Gunners at attention (L) and
Recreation and Reading Room with Sappers lounging in fromt (R), ca. 1900
Guard House, Royal Military College, St. Jean, Richelieu, Quebec, c. 1885
Photo: DND, 1984
Place d'Armes Guard House 1740's (reconstruction), Fortress of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia
Photo: Louisbourg Guardhouses,  Canadian Historic Sites, Occasional Papers No. 12,
Parks Canada
Plans for Work Point Guard House

At the time of my hosting an “open house” at the Guardhouse on June 5th, the Barracks mess hall, building # 1090, was being demolished, it was built in 1954. The area was later paved.

September 1, 2011

I was given the prized set of two books, “PPCLI 1914 – 1919” by Ralph Hodder-Williams printed in 1923, as a gift from Ed Hansen, ex PPCLI and President of the PPCLI Retired Warrant Officers and Senior NCO’s Club here in Victoria. Rosemary and I had met Ed and Linda Hansen in 2001 and became friends. Earlier Ed had given me a VHS recording of the 1989 Trooping of the colours held at U Vic Stadium where my dad was one of two special guests, both WW1 veterans and ex members of the PPCLI. Sadly Ed passed away on January 29, 2012. He would have had the presence and strut but also the compassion of the venerable “Regimental Sergeant major.”

December 10, 2011

I had known of George Wilkinson, referred to me a number of years ago by my uncle Walter Phillips who knew of him as they were both born in Esquimalt and attended Esquimalt schools together. Finally today I visited George and confirmed that he had joined “B” Company PPCLI in 1935 and knew my dad and many others of the time. At the formal re-opening of the Guardhouse by the PPCLI cadets on January 31, 2012, George was asked to be the reviewing officer and he obliged them. It was a very memorable event. George has since revealed many of the interesting and amusing local happenings, with great detail, of Work Point Barracks from 1935 to 1939 when he departed for active service with the PPCLI. The house that George and his family lived in at 1342 Liverpool St is now Building # 69 in Naden. It is used for social purposes and within there is the “George Wilkinson Room” named after him.

One particular note was the expression of duty spoken when on guard duty at the Work Point Barracks Guardhouse, or Guardroom: “I am sentry No 1. My beat extends from the main gate to the end of the sidewalk. I will walk my beat in a smart and soldier like manner, and I will pay complements to all Officers. I will turn out the Guard at Reveille and Retreat and to all General Officers. I will turn out the Guard to all unarmed parties numerically stronger than the Guard. I will remain at my post until properly relieved.”

As you can tell, George has tremendous recall!


By the end of January, the two remaining 1939 vintage huts at Macaulay Point, #’s WP 1184 and 1203, were demolished. They were last used a few years ago by the “Rainbow” Sea Cadets. The “CFB Esquimalt Urban Search and Rescue” facility is currently being built on the site.

Victoria News
January 27, 2012

Esquimalt Guardhouse New Home to Army Cadets

Move marks a return of Army presence at CFB Esquimalt’s Work Point

Laughter fills the room where five friends sit. Their dark green uniforms stand out against the milky white walls of the new home of the largest army cadet corps on the island. The teenage boys quickly set to work studying the lessons before them.

The 59 year old corps relocated to the 21 year old guardhouse at the entrance to CFB Esquimalt’s Work Point property in November. The move will be officially celebrated Tuesday (Jan.31), marking the cadet’s happy return to their former home at Work Point, after four years spent sharing space at high Point Church in Vic West.

“We like this building a lot more,” said 15 year old cadet Sgt. Curtis Whittla. “Its just ours.” The youth with 2483 Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps say they feel more connected to their Corp’s history. Until 1994, Work Point was home to the 3rd Battalion PPCLI before it moved to Calgary, then Edmonton.

The guardhouse passed from the Department of National Defence to Transport Canada, before it was sold in 2005 to Esquimalt First Nation and the Songhees Nation. It has largely sat empty for years. When the cadets moved in, they were thrilled to find two jail cells that were used when Work Point was home to one of the first units of the Royal Canadian Artillery. The building dates back to 1891.

“I think it’s nice to be back in a building with military history,” said 15 year old cadet Sgt. Alastair Dillstone. The move caps off much effort spent building the corps from 12 members in 2008 to 50 today. The male and female youth, ages 12 to 18, come from across Greater Victoria to learn from seven instructors. ”I’m happy, excited, thrilled,” Capt. Madeleine Dahl, the corps’ commanding officer, said of the move. “It’s definitely going to build on our success.”

The guardhouse serves as home base to the cadets’ adventure training program, but cadets also hone their skills at the Work Point gym and parade square on week nights and weekends. “It’s definitely where we belong as a cadet corps,” said 16 year old cadet Sgt. Tyler Calhoon-Cardinal.


Army cadet Sgt. Curtis Whittla, 15, stands in a doorway inside the new home of the largest army cadet corps on the island. The 50 member group moved into the 121 year old guardhouse at the entrance to CFB Esquimalt’s Work Point property in November.

More Online. Check out our photo montage of the army cadet corps in its new digs at the Work Point Guardhouse.

January 31, 2012

The 2483 PPCLI Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps held a ribbon cutting ceremony in honour of the opening of the Guardhouse as their headquarters and training centre. It was well attended by many various groups all grateful that the cadets will have a new home back at Work Point and also with respect for the building itself to be re-occupied with a community purpose. This is a great story.

The Lookout
February 6, 2012

Cadets Return to Work Point

In front of local military and civilian representatives, the 2483 Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps (PPCLI, RCACC) officially relocated to their new accommodation in Work Point last week. The Corps cut the ribbon on their lease of the historic 121 year old guardhouse that stands just outside the gate of the current Work Point perimeter.

For the past three and a half years, the Corps had been conducting their activities at the Highpoint Community Church in Vic West, but with their numbers quadrupling to 50 cadets this year, they needed more room. “The church kindly took us in when we were homeless,” says Capt. Madeleine Dahl, the Corps Commanding Officer. “We had a great relationship with them, but we outgrew the space.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony took place under clear and crisp night skies as representatives from the Township of Esquimalt, Esquimalt and Songhees Nation, the Army Cadet League of Canada, the Regional Cadet Support Unit (Pacific), the PPCLI Association, several representatives of various Royal Canadian Legions as well as other service associations, the Naval officers Training Centre, and other friends and families of the Corps attentively looked on.

Following an inspection of the Corps by Esquimalt native and second world war veteran, LCol (ret’d) George Wilkinson, a handful of representatives gave monetary donations to Capt. Dahl on behalf of various groups and organizations. With the formal portion of the ceremony complete, the Corps awarded a few of its personnel with medals and promotions before everyone entered the building for a tour. As the large crowd socialized over cake and other goodies, LCol (ret’d) Wilkinson shared the significances of an organization such as the cadets for younger generations, relating it to the tight knit groups he fought with in wartime.

“They get to mix with other kids and learn how to take a knock in the nose maybe,” says the former member of “B” Company PPCLI with a laugh, “You’ve got to get them away from mom (for a bit), it’s a good life for a kid.”

The one story wood framed guardhouse provides the corps with adequate space to hold weekly meetings. Being a stone’s throw away from Work Point means they also have access to additional facilities to host their larger events. “We have a great relationship with the Naval Officer’s Training Centre so we us e the Nixon Gym as well as their seamanship classrooms,” say Capt. Dahl. “We do our training over there so the cadets have to march back and forth a little, but we appreciate the support from the navy tremendously.”

Built in 1891 by Ontario contractor George McFarland, the guardhouse became unoccupied in 1994 when the 3rd Battalion PPCLI was relocated away from Work Point. In 2005, it was sold by Transport Canada, who had acquired it from the DND, to Xhamasung Holdings LLP, a company comprised of the Esquimalt and Songhees nations. After the sale, Jack Bates from the Organization for Preservation of Canadian Military Heritage, was given permission by the Esquimalt and Songhees representatives to adopt the facility and perform routine maintenance.

When Bates heard the Corps needed a new home, he arranged through proper authorities for the building to have a new tenant. Before being sold, the guardhouse was one of three military guardhouses in Canada’s Federal Heritage Registry. When it sold and was no longer a federal building, it lost the designation. Currently it’s listed in the Esquimalt Community Heritage Registry and applications are being prepared to apply for Provincial Heritage Recognition and reinstatement to the Federal Historic Places registry once again.

When originally constructed, the guardhouse at Work Point coincided with a main gate, fencing, a cook house, married quarters and a canteen for “C” Battery, Regiment of Canadian Artillery. Although minor exterior modifications had been previously made, the building remained intact until about 1940 when it was modified with guard’s sleeping quarters in the rear, new cells, and a washroom. Imperial and Canadian military personnel have been filing past the building from Work Point to fight in conflicts dating back to the Boer War.

The PPCLI Army cadets are accepting new recruits between the ages of 12 - 18, and meet on Tuesday evenings at the work Point Guardhouse from 6:30 – 9:30 pm weekly.


Above: On Jan. 31, 2483 PPCLI RCACC officially moved into their new accommodations at the historic Guardhouse at Work Point. In front of a throng of invited military, veteran, and civilian guests, the ribbon was cut on their new home marking their return to Esquimalt for the first time since 2008. Here Cdt Lemieux, C/CWO Worth, Chief Andy Thomas from Esquimalt Nation, Lynda Hundleby, Acting Mayor of Esquimalt, and Capt. Madeleine Dahl commanding officer of the corps cut the ribbon at the Guardhouse’s front entrance.

Right: Capt. Madeleine Dahl, commanding officer of the corps, and Chief Andy Thomas from Esquimalt Nation, cut a cake that was made for the night’s festivities.

Above: C/CWO Worth stands at attention with LCol (ret’d) George Wilkinson, a former member of PPCLI, a Second World War veteran, and Reviewing Officer for the inspection of the Corps.

February 9, 2012


Click here for Pre WW 1 Scrap Book of newspaper articles on activity of the militia units in the Victoria area. This is a very large PDF file.

March 27, 2012

The FHBRO contacted the Township of Esquimalt, advising them of pending demolition of the pioneer 1897 John Jardine house at 316 Anson street, WP 1163, and asked for historical information. This caused much reaction in the community and correspondence to follow. Don Mann Excavating was awarded a contract for demolition and after community reaction, including the Hallmark Society, it was revised to include a sell and relocation option, Nickel Bros. House Movers were then consulted and involved.

March 2012

The FHBRO notified interested parties that they are doing a study of the buildings and fortifications at Fort Macaulay. I have offered to provide historical data for their study and amongst correspondence it was revealed they were not to have a site visit included. This was a problem with the report on 316 Anson to which I have challenged.

Heritage Canada Foundation
Heritage 2012 Magazine
Vol. XV, No.2

Earlier in the year I had provided information on request by Carolyn Quinn for the story of the Guardhouse and its possible extension of existence by being re-occupied, and gratefully by the PPCLI Army Cadet Corps. An article called “Esquimalt’s Jack Bates – The Guardian of the Guardhouse” was in the “Faces and Places” section in June’s issue of the Heritage Magazine.

(See PDF Faces and Place article)

June 8, 2012

In support of the Esquimalt Heritage document regarding Work Point Barracks as the HQ of Pacific Command from October 30, 1940 to November 30, 1942, including operational responsibilities of the G.O.C. in C., following are excerpts from three publications and Victoria Directory listings: Jack Bates OPCMH

The CANADIAN ARMY 1939 – 1945
An Official Historical Summary by Col. CP Stacey, 1948 DND


Page 42

In October, 1940, came the authorization of a Pacific Command parallel to that already set up on the Atlantic. The first G.O.C. in C. was Major General RO Alexander. This command comprehended the whole of Military Districts No. 11 and 13 (that is, the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, the Yukon and the adjacent portions of the North West Territories)

Page 44

Early in June 1942 the war came closer to British Columbia. The Japanese now occupied the islands of Kiska and Attu in the Aleutians. On the 20th of the month shells fell on Canadian soil when an enemy submarine fired at the wireless station and light at Estevan Point, Vancouver Island. There was much anxiety on the west coast, and General Stuart, the Chief of Defence Staff, himself assumed for some time the duties of G.O.C. in C. Pacific Command. In September, General Pearkes, formerly G.O.C. 1st Canadian Division, returned from England to take over this appointment.


SIX YEARS OF WAR, VOL 1. Defending The Soil Of Canada 1939 - 1945
by Col. CP Stacey M of ND 1955. DND

Page 172 (1942)

However, they produced on 10 March a new formula under which the senior member of The Joint Services Committee on each coast would be designated Commander in Chief of the defences on that coast, and would exercise, in emergency, strategic direction of the other two services as well as tactical command of his own. This arrangement the War Committee approved on 18 March.* Under it General Alexander became Commander in Chief, West Coast Command. 126. See footnote 126: “Documents in H.Q.S. 5199 – VOL. 2.”

When the two new divisional headquarters were formed, the 6th Division (commanded by Maj Gen AE Potts) took responsibility for Vancouver Island, with its headquarters at Esquimalt.


“FOR MOST CONSPICUOUS BRAVERY”, the biography of Major General GR Pearkes VC, by Reginald Roy. ISBN 0-7748-0068-2.

Page 174 (1942)

Pearkes from McNaughton: “that I was to take over and be responsible for all the defences of the West Coast, and that the Air Force and the Navy would come under me in an emergency.”


Lt Gen Stuart to JL Ralston M of ND: Noted that the person holding the appointment of the General Officer Commanding - in - Chief, Pacific Command should be acceptable to the other two services, should have overseas experience, should be “be one who already has the confidence of the Canadian people as a good fighting soldier,” and finally, “have the energy and knowledge needed to train and fight this important command.”

Stuart mentioned he had consulted the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, both of whom, he wrote, “consider the appointment an excellent one.”

When Pearkes arrived in Esquimalt on 6 September he assumed charge of a command which encompassed all of British Columbia, Alberta, the Yukon Territory, and the District of Mackenzie of the Northwest Territories.

Page 178

Lt Gen Stuart, acting GOC in C, Pacific Command, and CGS, drew up a document to define Pearkes authority. 12 See page 361, footnote 12: D.Hist., “Instructions for the Guidance of General Officers Commanding -in-Chief, Atlantic and Pacific Commands, September 4th, 1942.”

Page 180

Pearkes was also charged with co-operating with the senior Naval and Air Force commanders in the preparation of plans and conduct of combined operations under the general instructions issued by NDHQ. It was his task, too, to initiate and control all measures requiring “the preservation of internal security and the protection of vulnerable points which were military responsibilities in his command.”

Although Work Point in Esquimalt had been the site of district headquarters for well over half a century, it was vulnerable to a seaborne raid. On 8 September Pearkes had his first meeting with the Joint Services Committee. This committee, chaired by Major General Pearkes, was composed of the three senior commanders of the Navy (Rear Admiral VG Brodeur), Army, and Air Force (A/V/M/ LF Stevenson). They met regularly to co-ordinate plans and policy with the GOC in C acting as primus inter pares. (First among equals or peers) Here Stevenson gave a resume of the negotiations for acquiring the property of the Jericho Country Club in Vancouver and the progress of construction for housing and headquarters of the three services at Jericho Beach.

When Pearkes and his staff moved to Vancouver at the end of November, however, it marked the beginning of a long period of harmonious association with his opposite numbers in the other two services.


Victoria Directory 1941

Ron O Alexander (Gertrude) DOC MD 11 and Pacific Command h. Work Point Barracks

Victoria Directory 1942

Maj Gen Ron O Alexander (G) Can Gov’t GOC in C Pacific Command h. Work Point Barracks

Victoria Directory 1943

AE Potts General OC Work Point Barracks
JS Preston Brigadier Work Point Barracks


G.O.C. in C. for Pacific Command (Work Point Barracks - Oct 30, 1940 to November 30, 1942)

Maj Gen RO Alexander - Oct 30, 1940 to June 30, 1942

Lt Gen K Stuart - July 1, 1942 to Sept 1, 1942

Maj Gen GR Pearkes - Sept 2, 1942 to Feb 15, 1945

Maj Gen FF Worthington - Apr 1, 1945 to Jan 26, 1946

To help the cause of including reference to Work Point Barracks and its role in the Official Esquimalt History, which is sadly lacking, I provided the information below to the Esquimalt HAC. I’m not so sure it was graciously received or entertained as it turned out, even though it was endorsed as correct by the CFB Esquimalt Base Museum.

June 2012

The Military Police issued a parking ticket to a car, owned by one of the tenants (PPCLI Army Cadets) parked on the Guardhouse property, and the Commanding Officer was notified to attend traffic court. The issue of the parking ticket was later reviewed and resolved with no further action taken. Lack of communication!

September 6, 2012

I had been asked by Shaw Cable to do a “walk around” and an interview at Fort Macaulay where I would relate the history of the existing infrastructure. It was quite enjoyable and a very nice day. The bit was shown on “The Daily” Friday night and is to be retained on “Youtube.” There is appreciation and value to being on the site.

Click here to view this Youtube video.

Victoria News
September 7, 2012


At Historic Saint Saviour's, 310 Henry St. at Catherine near Esquimalt Rd.


Starting September 16 - “Battle of Britain Sunday”

Once the Garrison church for the British forces stationed at Work Point Barracks, it is now re-established as an active church. This is where my maternal grandparents and grand uncle / aunt were married when serving with the Royal Engineers. Sir Arthur Currie was also married there and of course the Eastick family members were early parishioners helping to build the church.

September 25, 2012

I was asked to do an interview with the Victoria News regarding the house at 316 Anson street and the article appeared in the paper, “Old DND home in Esquimalt placed on surplus list.” The Hallmark Society also wrote an article on the house in their Fall issue supporting the building and its heritage value.

Victoria News
November 2, 2012


CFB Esquimalt spent less than one third of the recommended amount of its budget on repairs and maintenance last year, an auditor general’s report has revealed. Auditor General Michael Fergusonreleased his report on DND property Oct. 23, and found CFB Esquimalt spent only 0.39 percent of its budget on repairs and maintenance, the worst of the 19 bases that were compared.

A national target of 1.4 percent of spending was achieved only by CFB Kingston. “Inrastructure is likely to continue deteriorating until the DND consistently meets the standard level of spending,” Ferguson said in the report.

Base officials told Ferguson part of the problem is they do not receive maintenance and repair funding from the federal government on a schedule that matches budget planning. A DNDresponse to the report said the department has one of the largest and most complex federal portfolios, with approximately 21,000 buildings, 2.25 million hectares of land, 5,500 kilometers of roads, and 3,000 kilometers of water, storm and sewer pipes.

DND officials agreed with all of Ferguson’s recommendations, which included the need to centralize property management to improve efficiency. The department did not respond to several requests for comment on CFB Esquimalt’s repair and maintenance record.

Nothing new on the lack of response from the base brass or the BCEO!

November 7, 2012


Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt spent less than one third of the recommendedamount of its budget on repairs and maintenance last year, an auditor general’s report has revealed. Auditor GeneralMichael Ferguson released his report on DND property Oct. 23, and found CFB Esquimalt spent only 0.39 per cent of its budget on repairs and maintenance, the least of the 19 DND bases that were compared.

A national target of 1.4 per cent of spending was achieved only by CFB Kingston. “Infrastructure is likely to continue deteriorating until the DND consistently meets the minimum standard level of spending,” Ferguson said in the report.

Base officials told Ferguson part of the problem is they do not receive maintenance and repair funding from the federal government on a schedule that matches budget planning. Capt. Jenn Jackson, public affairs officer at CFB Esquimalt, said the base is aware of the issues raised by the auditor general and has already increased repair and maintenance spending to $15.7 million – or just over one percent – this year. “It should also be noted that the number reported in the auditor general’s report does not include funds from budgets not specific to the Base Construction Engineering Unit, which are also used for infrastructure maintenance on the base,” Jackson said in an email.

CFB Esquimalt is comprised of 865 buildings spread over 23 sites, making it one of the most complex DND infrastructure portfolios. The base also maintains 120 kilometers of roads, 99 kilometers of water lines, 8 main jetties and 3 shore based weapons ranges, Jackson said. Nearly 400 buildings are 50 years or older on the base, and 30 buildings are scheduled for major maintenance or epair in the next fiscal year, she said.

DND officials have agreed with all of Ferguson’s recommendations, which include the need to centralize property management to improve efficiency. The Federal Government will spend $40 bllion over the next 20 years to maintain and build new DND infrastructure through its Canada First Defence Strategy, including $3.4 billion already announced for specific projects.

Peter MacKay
Minister of National Defence
November 14, 2012

In response to a letter from Marilyn Day regarding Fort Macaulay, the MND sent the following:

Dear Ms. Day: Thank you for your email of September 23, 2012, concerning the history of Macaulay Point.

The Department of National Defence (DND) is the custodian of this site and has asked the Federal Buildings Review Office to evaluate the various structures to determine whether they should be designated as Federal Heritage Buildings. We are not expecting this review to be completed for quite a few months, and DND is not planning to take any further action regarding this site at this time. Should you wish to discuss this further, please contact Mr. Alaine Lafreniere at 613-995-5479 or Alaine.Lafreniere@forces.gc.ca.

I trust this information is helpful, and thank you again for writing.


Peter MacKay
Minister of National Defence

December 4, 2012

Deconstruction started on the PMQ at 343 – 353 Anson street, apparently there was a contamination problem and the building had been empty for a couple of years. This block was built in the early fifties.

Heritage BC
December 6, 2012

A free Public Talk was hosted by Heritage BC and the City of Colwood on the history of Cole Island and included reference to Macaulay Point to my pleasant surprise. Richard Linzey of Heritage BC was the narrator.

Cole Island Heritage Conservation Plan
Community Workshop
December 8, 2012

The BC Heritage Branch and the City of Colwood also co-hosted this workshop, it was very well supported and a number of recommendations and opinions were realized.

December 17, 2012

The Macaulay Point Park lease agreement (MOR) has been finalized for the next five years with commitments made by the DND and the Township to monitor, promote and protect the Park and its public interests. This of course includes the “Historic Fort Zone,” identified in the 2009 Macaulay Point Natural Area Management Plan.

December 31, 2012

This was the proposed end of this issue of the Garrison History of Work Point Barracks after twenty-two months. Currently the house at 316 Anson street still stands, albeit prepped for a relocation and the power cut off, its future still unknown. The Fort Macaulay historical data is being accumulated by the FHBRO for its study from various sources and hopefully the results will help promotion, not destruction, of this valuable community asset. The Township Council meetings and the Heritage Advisory Committee meetings have lately included reference to 316 Anson and Macaulay Point, all with one common denominator, the DND. Hopefully public interest shown in other heritage projects locally will promote energy and political will in recognizing Work Point Barracks and Fort Macaulay as enhancing the history of the Township of Esquimalt, rather than exclusion from it.

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