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Chapter 2

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Esquimalt Naval Base

Frederick V. Longstaff

The Victoria Book & Stationery Company, Ltd.
Victoria, B. C. 1941

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Chapter 4

 p33  Chapter III

Great Britain and Canada Share Responsibility

Much could be written about the civil wars and insurrections in South America from 1871, which continued till 1891 in Chili and till 1895 in Peru. These civil wars were some of the reasons why so few of the ships on the station could be spared to proceed north to Esquimalt during the seventies and especially at the time of the scare of war with Russia, as detailed elsewhere.

In 1871 it was too early for the young Dominion to assume the responsibility for the defence of its new Province on the Pacific coast. This period was too early for the Dominion Government to realize the desirability of the provision for sea‑power or trade route protection being inserted in the famous Act of Union. It was true that the Colonial Defence Act of 1865 provided for the authorization of local naval defence forces or units, which was at once taken full advantage of in the Australian States. In Canada the Act was only used to authorize the owning and manning of ships by the Civil Department of the Dominion Government, namely the Marine and Fisheries, which were authorized to wear the Blue Ensign with the arms of Canada on a shield in the fly. But the defence of both coasts and shipping was still left in the hands of the Royal Navy.​1 Therefore it can be claimed that most of the factors in 1871 were against the newly formed Dominion authorizing and raising Officers and Ratings for a Naval Service and buying ships to form a squadron for the defence of the Pacific Ocean trade. The population was too sparse and too small, while the inhabitants were not sufficiently sea minded to support the Government in this, nor was there much Canadian Pacific Ocean trade to protect.

While the Royal Navy still was solely responsible for the security of sea borne commerce passing Halifax and Esquimalt about 1866, yet we find the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada were paying for the hire of gun‑boats for summer duty on the St. Lawrence and on the Great Lakes. We also find there were at the time of the Fenian Raid in June, 1866, a few companies of Naval Volunteers,  p34 the one at Dunville in particular served afloat on the Niagara River.​1a There were also some Naval officers and Ratings doing summer duty on these fresh water trade routes. At this time Captain Algernon Frederick Rous de Horsey​2 was then the Senior Naval Officer on the Lakes of Canada, flying his broad pendant in the wooden screw frigate Aurora of 2,558 tons. Captain de Horsey consequently had command of the gun‑boats serving on the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes. These little vessels consisted of two classes, those belonging to Imperial Navy and those hired by the Provincial Government of Upper Canada, but otherwise maintained by the Royal Navy. The gun‑boats were manned by ratings from the Aurora for the summer, who returned to the frigate for the winter, which was berthed in the St. Charles River where she was damaged by the ice during the winter 1866‑67. For the summer of 1867 the screw corvette Wolverine of 1,703 tons, Captain Thomas Cochrane, was stationed at Quebec. In the summer of 1866, there were five naval gun‑boats under Captain de Horsey for duty on the rivers and lakes, and in September of that year, Lieut.‑General Sir John Michel, K. C. B., Officer Commanding troops in Canada, discussed with Captain de Horsey the need for hiring two more gun‑boats. These little vessels were stationed, two on the St. Lawrence, two on Lake Ontario, one for the two lakes of Erie and Huron, and one for Erie alone. Captain de Horsey flew his flag in the Heron for the open season. During 1867, the Aurora was at Quebec while the Wolverine came up to Montreal. During 1866 H. M. corvette Niger, 1,070 tons, Captain J. H. Bruce, spent some weeks in the St. Lawrence.3

Owing to the complete and final withdrawal of the Imperial Troops from the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec in 1870, the Imperial regular instructors who helped the Militia Units in their training were also withdrawn.

This want of instructors was filled by the formation of two permanent Dominion Schools of Instruction, recruited from the Royal Artillery and Militia Units, but the officers for many years only held Militia Commissions and the men were Militia men on continuous service on a three year engagement. The Dominion Schools were  p35 formed on October the 29th, 1871, when "A" Battery was formed at Kingston and "B" Battery at Quebec. These schools issued certificates for cavalry, artillery and infantry. Both the Permanent Force units and the Staff of the land forces of Canada have grown out of the above two batteries, as well as the Royal North West Mounted Police, now expanded to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.4

It is instructive to note that the Permanent Force unit for land defence of Vancouver Island came into being in 1887, which was 23 years before the Permanent Naval Force was started, for the defence of the routes of Canadian ocean trade in 1910. During this period of 23 years, the Trans-Pacific carriers had changed from sail to steam, which latter were subsidized to carry British Mails to Hong Kong and Australia. The old established Blue Funnel Line and other companies extended services of their freighters from China and Japan to Vancouver Island in 1902. These services gradually expanded as trade flowed west over the newly built C. P. R., which reached the newly incorporated city on the site of the old Granville Townsite in 1886. The railway company had an uphill fight for many years before the volume of trade became large enough to pay for the line of steamers, so that the amount of Pacific trade from Canada, even in 1910, was not anything like the amount that it has attained since the Great War.

The arrival of Rear-Admiral Charles Farrell Hillyar, C. B., in Esquimalt harbour on 26th July, 1873, in the armour-clad ship Repulse, was an important historic occasion because he was the first Commander-in‑Chief of the ships on the station after the Colony of British Columbia had entered Confederation. Rear-Admiral Sir Arthur Farquhar in the Zealous had been in command of the station during the period of transition from Colonial to Dominion status. For the first part of Admiral Farquhar's commission he corresponded on all official business with the Colonial Governor, Anthony Musgrave, Esquire, at Victoria, but after the entrance into the Dominion he had to change over to the Governor General the Earl of Dufferin, and the letters are to be found in the files of the office of the Military Secretary at Ottawa, the mail then going via San Francisco. Rear-Admiral Hillyar only  p36 flew his Rear-Admiral's flag in the Repulse for a year, from 9th July, 1872, at Portsmouth until 26th July, 1873, at Esquimalt and most of this time was taken up by the voyage to Rio de Janeiro and rounding Cape Horn to Valparaiso, where a long stay was made, and then the voyage was continued up the west coast, calling at many ports. The Vice Admiral hoisted his new flag as Vice Admiral on arrival at Esquimalt on 26th July, 1873.

About two years earlier, "The Canada Gazette" of 21st October, 1871, gave in Militia General Orders, dated at Ottawa 16th October, a General Order concerning Military Districts:

"It is hereby ordered that the Province of Manitoba be henceforth called and known as Military District Number ten, and that the Province of British Columbia be henceforth called and known as Military District Number eleven."

In 1872 Colonel Robertson Ross, the Adjutant General, came west from Ottawa and after his long journey overland he recommended the formation of two companies of Volunteer Rifles at Victoria, and one each at Nanaimo, New Westminster and Burrard Inlet, together with the reorganization of the Colonial unit, the Seymour Artillery Company at New Westminster. An officer then called Deputy Adjutant General, was appointed to command the new District in the person of Captain Charles Frederick Houghton,​5a who was commissioned to the rank of Lieut.‑Colonel in the Militia to date 21st March, 1873. This date was also that of his appointment as D. A. G., for B. C., where he served until 31st March, 1881, when he was moved to Winnipeg. The office of D. A. G., for B. C., was then vacant until May, 1883, as Major Josiah Greenwood Holmes, R. C. A.,​17a was not appointed to it until May, 1883, and even this was only an acting appointment. It is thus clear that Lieut.‑Colonel J. G. Holmes was the second officer to hold this appointment and not the first, as is often stated. The only other officer on the District Staff, according to the Militia Lists, was the Paymaster, Captain Ronald John McDonald, to date 1st July, 1879, who had served as a Lieutenant in the 28th Regiment of Foot. This officer was also the Superintendent of Stores.

Let us return to the appointment of the "Commander-in‑Chief of the ships employed on the Pacific Station",  p37 as an old document in the B. C. Archives states. Vice-Admiral C. F. Hillyar was succeeded by Rear-Admiral Hon. Arthur Auckland Leopold Pedro Cochrane, C. B., in September, 1873, who came up the coast from San Francisco, having crossed the United States by train from the Atlantic coast. The Vice-Admiral was taken south in H. M. sloop Reindeer, Commander William Robert Kennedy, to San Francisco after he had hauled down his flag in Esquimalt. On the day the Reindeer sailed there were five men-of‑war in Esquimalt harbour with a total of 34 guns and 1,800 Officers and Ratings. They were H. M. iron battle­ship Repulse, Captain Charles Thomas Curme, H. M. sloop Tenedos, Captain Edward Hood Lingard Ray, H. M. sloop Reindeer, Commander W. R. Kennedy, H. M. gun vessel Myrmidon, Commander Honourable Richard Hare, and H. M. gunboat Boxer, Lieut. William Collins.

The Naval Base of Esquimalt was incomplete until the much overdue drydock was finished. This work was considered of such importance that its construction formed a part of the Terms of Union with the Dominion of Canada.​6a They say:

"The Dominion Government shall guarantee the interest for ten years from the date of the completion of the works, at any rate of five per cent per annum, on such sum, not exceeding £100,000 sterling, as may be required for the construction of a first class Graving Dock at Esquimalt."

The construction of the graving dock by the newly formed Province of B. C., was the rock upon which the Walkem Government was shattered, and its successor, the Beaven Government, also wrecked. To cut a long story short, the total cost was greatly under-estimated, especially so in regard to the quantity of cement, as between six and seven thousand tons instead of one hundred, were eventually required. In 1875 the contracts for the cofferdam and the pumping machinery were let in England, and the site was chosen, but the construction had not been started when the Walkem Government resigned in 1876. The Admiralty laid down the dimensions of the Dock so that it could take ships of the Nelson and the Northampton class, though neither of these were ever on the Station.​7 The plan was for the Provincial Government to have the Dock built by contract, receiving subsidies from the  p38 Dominion and Imperial Governments. The contract was carelessly drawn up and the conditions of the subsidies varied from time to time.8

The Walkem Government in 1880 entered into an agreement with F. B. McNamee for the building of the Dock, but the cost continued to mount and eventually much exceeded the estimate. A committee was appointed by the Provincial Legislature to enquire into the Graving Dock costs and matters. It sat during 1882 and reported to the Assembly on 27th March of that year. Its findings were a revelation and nearly upset the Government. The Dock construction did not progress satisfactorily and the contractors ceased work on April 2nd, in the same year. The Provincial Government took possession of the uncompleted work on 27th June, and decided to carry it on by day labour.

In 1882, the Governor General, The Marquis of Lorne and the Princess Louise visited the coast, arriving in H. M. corvette Comus, Captain James Wylie East, on 19th September, having travelled via Chicago and San Francisco from Ottawa.​9 After a few days rest in Government House, at Victoria, then called Carey Castle, they made a tour of the Province, holding many receptions. Several conferences were held to try and improve the understanding between the Dominion and the Province. The Vice-regal party sailed from Esquimalt in the Comus on 7th December, and returned to Ottawa via San Francisco. The desire to bring the Dominion and Provincial Governments into agreement without delay induced the Premier, Mr. Smithe, to introduce and pass in the Session of 1883, the "Island Railway, Graving Dock and Railway Lands Act."

During the Session of 1884, the Provincial Government passed the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Land Grant, The Peace River Land Grant, and the Graving Dock Transfer. The Dominion undertook to take over, complete and operate the Graving Dock as a Dominion work, repaying to the Province the sum already spent and a further sum of $250,000. The Dock was officially taken over by the Dominion on 24th August, 1883. On 12th April, 1884, the contract for its completion was let to Larkin, Connolly and Company of St. Catherines, Ontario. The last stone was laid on 26th June, 1886, and water was first let into the Dock on 1st April, 1887.

 p39  The drydock was officially opened on July 20th, 1887, in the presence of Lieut. Governor the Hon. Hugh Nelson, Rear-Admiral Sir Michael Culme-Seymour10 and a distinguished company. The ceremony consisted of the docking of the sloop-of‑war Cormorant11 of 1,130 tons and engines of 950 horsepower, [Commander Jasper E. T. Nicholl] and then pumping out the water. Thus was the Naval Establishment made more effective for dealing with the underwater repairs of ships both naval and mercantile, but it had taken twenty years to secure this result, because it was in August, 1869, that Rear-Admiral Honourable George F. Hastings had written to W. A. G. Young Esq., the Secretary of the Colony, advocating the same. Even when the drydock began to be used it was some years before the engineering equipment of the navy yard was increased to the then requirements, for it was not until 1890 that the first large repairs to ships were begun, and the idea of permanency was suggested by the erection of substantial brick buildings in the yard.

The Militia Department took from 1883 to 1887 to authorize, form and recruit up a third School of Artillery Unit to be known as "C" Battery so as to inaugurate a garrison of permanently embodied militia at Esquimalt. This battery was eventually recruited at Quebec by drafts from "A" and "B" Batteries, up to 100 N. C. O.'s and Gunners, and placed under the command of an officer who had distinguished himself in the Northwest Rebellion, namely Major James Peters,​12 who was assisted by Captain T. Benson, Lieut. G. H. Ogilvie, Surgeon J. A. Duncan, M. D., and Quartermaster G. R. White. The unit came west via the C. P. R. and it was the first body of regular troops to travel through the mountains to the Pacific Coast since the completion of the railroad. It arrived at Victoria in the Canadian Pacific Navigation steamer Princess Louise,​13a on November 10th, and marched to Beacon Hill where it was quartered in the Old Fair Buildings, while the officers and married N. C. O.'s and gunners had to seek private house accommodation nearby.

The arrival of a newly raised permanent unit of Canadian Artillery overland from the east for the garrison duties at Victoria and Esquimalt was the result of many factors at work since 1871. The change of the Colony of B. C. into a Province of Canada in July, 1871, started discussions between the Imperial and Dominion Governments  p40 regarding the responsibility as to payment for the troops and land defences of Esquimalt.

The systematic running of survey lines for the location of a Trans-Canada railroad through the mountains by the Dominion Government in 1872 under Mr. Sanford Fleming, emphasized the importance of inter-Provincial communications. In the summer of 1876, the railway Trans-Canada survey location lines across the Province touched salt water at (a) Burrard Inlet, (b) Howe Sound, (c) Bute Inlet, (d) North Bentinck Arm, (e) Dean Inlet, (f) Gardner Inlet, and (g) Skeena River. The Admiralty furnished many replies from Naval Officers on the Station through the Colonial Office, to questions from Mr. Sanford Fleming about the harbours and inlets.

The only sea fight taken part in by ships under the White Ensign between 1856 and 1914 took place in May, 1877, off the little Peruvian port of Ilo (then spelt Ylo) about 4,500 miles south of San Francisco and near the Chilian frontier. There one of the periodical revolutions was under way and the rebel flag was flying on the eleven year old Laird built iron turret ship Huascar, of 1,100 tons, armed with two 300‑pounder guns. The rebel ship attempted to levy contributions on the coast and interfered with several British ships. The British flagship, the four year old steam frigate Shah, (of 6,250 tons, with two 9‑inch, sixteen 7‑inch, and eight 6.3‑inch muzzle loading guns) flying the flag of Rear Admiral A. F. R. de Horsey, was supported by the new corvette Amethyst of 1,970 tons, (with fourteen 6.3‑inch muzzle loading guns) engaged the Huascar on the afternoon of 29th of May, 1877, after summoning her to surrender. The rebel ship carried armour from 2½ to 5½ inches, and as the 9‑inch gun at 1000 yards could pierce 9½ inches, while the 7‑inch would pierce 7½ inches of armour, neither of the British ships could expect to hurt the turret ship except at close range. The fight was mostly at 1,900 yard range, and the rebel ship escaped along the shore in the dark as Admiral de Horsey did not want to damage the town of Ilo, which was much in the line of fire.14

During this time Vancouver Island was under the shadow of war with Russia. For in the previous February, Admiral Phipps Hornby had brought the Mediterranean Squadron past Gallipoli and on the 13th had anchored off the entrance to the Golden Horn. The Russians, meeting  p41 at Adrianople none of the resistance they had met at Plevna, raced on to the Turkish capital only to find themselves forestalled. The British Navy was already in possession, with ungrudging, unacknowledged vigilance, watching over the peaceful interests of the world. News came to Victoria from San Francisco of the presence under Rear-Admiral Pauzino of a non‑homogeneous Russian Squadron at anchor off Mare Island Navy Yard. This small squadron was anything but a power­ful or effective one, the vessels were mostly of wood and some had been launched in 1857. The flagship was the old screw corvette Bayan, of 1,998 tons, with a main armament of four 6‑inch muzzle loading guns. The remaining five were small gun vessels of 706 tons down to 400 tons, with small guns, being the Vsadnick, Vostock, Tunguz, Japonetz and Gornostai. Variations in the spelling of the above ship names are to be found in the contemporary reference books and naval letters.15

All through April and May, 1877, alarm was felt by the people of Victoria and fresh representations were made to the Government at Ottawa for some sort of coast protection. This was some years before there was any clear professional naval opinion as to the effective tactics for coast and trade defence. An editorial in "The British Colonist" of 1st May, 1877, said:

"In the event of Great Britain declaring war against Russia, we wish to again direct the attention of the Authorities to the fact that the sea coast of this Province will be defenceless. The Russian war vessels now at San Francisco might batter down Victoria, shell the dockyard and seize or destroy the great collieries on the east coast of the Island. Property of the value of many millions of dollars lies absolutely at the mercy of an invader. The local (B. C.) Government have time and again drawn attention to our defenceless situation; we are not aware that any steps have been taken to materially increase the Naval Forces on this Station."

In spite of the apparent neglect of Vancouver Island, the Commander-in‑Chief had in reality done his best on this most difficult Station, by sending north the new corvette Opal, under Captain F. C. B. Robinson, to shadow the small Russian Squadron in the Bay of San Francisco. This squadron, according to the United States  p42 Naval records, had been at Mare Island Navy Yard from 21st January till 13th May for repairs and cleaning, but the flagship Bayan, under Captain Boyle had arrived there on the 28th December, 1876. When the squadron left the Naval anchorage on 13th May, it was only to move down the bay to the Golden Gate.

"The Colonist" printed a message dated 15th May, at San Francisco, "that the Vostock sails today under sealed orders. The rest of the squadron will follow during the week." On Monday, 5th May,​a the Turkish Minister at Washington notified the President, Mr. Hayes, that Turkey is at war with Russia. The Russian vessels at San Francisco are ordered to put to sea as soon as possible, to keep it a neutral port. The Gornostai and Japonetz left the Navy Yard 19th May. On 22nd June the Japonetz was back at the Navy Yard for repairs to her rudder, and on completion of the two days work, she is ordered to Vladivostock. "The Colonist" of 24th May, said H. M. S. Opal sailed from San Francisco on the 18th and arrived at Esquimalt on Friday, 25th, under Captain F. C. B. Robinson.

At this time the vessels at Esquimalt were the sloop Daring and the gun vessel Rocket, the crews of both vessels were well trained at their guns with constant practice at sea and ready to give a good account of themselves. The arrival of the Opal whose broadside was more power­ful than that of the Bayan and Abreck combined, brought about a concentration of three vessels at Esquimalt and thus counteracted the influence of the shadow of war. However the Russian Squadron did not show up in the Strait of Juan de Fuca this time. Additional protection to Vancouver Island, its towns and coal mines, arrived from the south in the form of the steam frigate Shah, (iron hull sheathed with oak) flagship to Rear Admiral de Horsey, and she stayed in Esquimalt harbour until 13th November, 1877, when she departed for the south.

The Imperial Russian corvette Craysser (also spelt Kreyzer), Captain C. N. Nasimoff, on a surveying voyage from Kronstadt entered Esquimalt harbour on 18th February, 1878, from Callao via San Francisco. She sailed unexpectedly the next day for Sitka. So sudden was her departure that she did not ship supplies which she had ordered from stores in Victoria, which however had been  p43 paid for. The U. S. Navy records state that she arrived at Mare Island Navy Yard on 24th June to clean her bottom and she sailed about 1st July.

Anxiety continued at Victoria all this summer, though Russia came to an agreement with Great Britain on 30th May, 1878. Early in this year, the Canadian Government under the Premier, the Hon. Alexander Mackenzie, suddenly realized that the absence of fortifications on the south end of Vancouver Island invited the attention of Russian cruising men-of‑war. This defenceless state of the Island was caused by the prolonged absence during a few years of the British naval vessels in Central and South American waters while protecting British interests. The Government in its extremity sent out one of its two Assistant Inspectors of Artillery in the person of Lieut.‑Colonel de La Chevios T. Irwin, R. A., from headquarters at Kingston, Ontario. This officer left Kingston on May 13th, 1878, and proceeded via the Central Pacific Railroad to San Francisco, thence by the steamer North Pacific to Victoria, where he arrived on 27th May.

"Since the Crimean days steam had become the prime motive power of navies, and was rapidly replacing sail-power in the mercantile marine." Thus wrote the late Sir G. S. Clarke in 1878.​16 He continued, "Coal must evidently play an important part in all operations on or across the sea; and all over the world British Harbours, with their coal stores, valuable shipping, and commercial wealth, lay open to destructive raids by an hostile vessel . . . Hurried and ineffectual measures were at once taken. Armaments of indifferent type were dispatched to distant ports, to be indifferently mounted after long delay. The principal result of the scare was thus the marked impulse given to coast fortifications."

There had been for some time in the Esquimalt yard a few worn naval guns in store, which had been re‑vented, and whose return to England had been delayed upon the request of Major General Sir Edward Selby Smith, the General Officer Commanding the Militia. Under the stimulus of the threat of war with Russia, the Admiralty in 1878 agreed to release these guns for use in local defence works, on the Dominion Government undertaking to pay for the moving and mounting of them. On his  p44 arrival in Victoria on May 27th, 1878, Lieut.‑Colonel Irwin, reported to the Deputy Adjutant General for B. C., Lieut.‑Colonel C. F. Houghton, and with him on the same day attended the first muster of the pioneer Battery of Militia Artillery under Captain C. T. Dupont, when 50 N. C. O.'s and gunners were present. The inspector of Artillery, Lieut.‑Colonel Irwin, obtained the advice of Captain F. Robinson, R. N., of H. M. corvette Opal, the then senior naval officer at Esquimalt, on choosing sites for the earthwork batteries. After the arrival of the flagship H. M. iron frigate Shah, he obtained the advice of Flag Captain F. G. D. Bedford, Captain A. L. S. Burrows, Royal Marine Artillery, and gunnery Lieut. Charles Lindsay, R. N., on the laying out of the earthworks, on Finlayson Point, Macaulay Point and Brothers Islands.

The batteries were built one by one by civilian labour, so that one had to be completed before the next was begun, and Colonel Irwin had both to direct and supervise all the work. Owing to the threat of war, the work on the defences was carried out daily from June 10th until August 30th, with only July 1st off, and the hours were 7.00 A.M. till 6.00 P.M., while the number of men varied from 12 to 28. The work of moving the guns and mountings to Brothers Island was carried out entirely by a party of seamen from the Opal, but sailors were paid by the Dominion Government.

In 1879 the need for a unit of the Permanent Artillery to care for the armament, ammunition, earthworks and to train the Militia in gunnery became apparent to the Commander-in‑Chief of the Pacific Station. Hence Rear-Admiral Frederick Henry Stirling with his flag in H. M. iron frigate Triumph, [Captain A. H. Markham, R. N.,] wrote to the Admiralty suggesting that one hundred Royal Marine Artillery gunners be specially detailed for garrison duty ashore in the Victoria Defences. It was pointed out that the flagship for the time being would be able to supply drafts to keep the garrison up to the establishment. However the Admiral was in advance of the times as the suggestion was turned down, because the Admiralty still considered that cost of local defence should be borne by Canada.

In the spring of 1883, Major J. G. Holmes​17b came out to the coast from "A" Battery at Kingston, being  p45 appointed acting Deputy Adjutant General for B. C. His duties were to train the Militia and report as to the new units and defences as well as conduct schools of instruction. The only "other ranks" of the Regiment of Canadian Artillery was Staff Sergeant Kinsella, from Quebec Citadel, who was an instructor and also acted for a few years as Brigade Sergeant-Major to the Militia Coast Brigade. The first Deputy Adjutant General for B. C. had been Lieut.‑Colonel Charles Frederick Houghton,​5b who had served as a Company officer in British infantry in the Crimean war. His appointment to M. D. No. 11 ran from March 21st, 1873, until March 31st, 1881. During the summer of 1883 additional Militia Batteries were authorized and recruited, two in Victoria and one in New Westminster. On October 12th, in the same year all four batteries were united into one Coast Brigade under Major C. T. Dupont at Victoria.

Let us consider what the Home Government were thinking about the question of the Defence of British possessions and commerce abroad. In 1879 Lord Beaconsfield's Government appointed a Royal Commission under the Earl of Carnarvon, "To inquire into the Defence of British Possessions and Commerce abroad." Three most valuable confidential Reports resulted, the last one being dated July 22nd, 1882. This was the period when the new idea that "Coast Defence grudgingly gave way to ocean or trade route defence" was taken up by "My Lords of the Admiralty". The Carnarvon reports were not published, but Sir George S. Clark​6b says:

"A mass of valuable information was collected; the condition of the mercantile marine, its needs and its habitual routes were analysed; Colonies were separately examined and coaling stations were selected; and the passive defence of the Imperial ports received exhaustive treatment."

As a probable consequence of the circulation of the above Defence Reports, the Canadian and Imperial Governments now (about 1884‑5) came to an agreement as to the allocation of the cost of the equipment and the permanent garrison for the defence works of the naval base on the far West Coast. In order that suitable defence works should be designed for the south end of Vancouver Island, the Imperial Government in 1886 sent  p46 out West the Chief Engineer Officer at Halifax, Lieut.‑Colonel Edmund Donough Collins O'Brien​18 together with the non‑commissioned officers (surveyors from the 18th Company Royal Engineers at Halifax) to survey and contour the country adjacent to Esquimalt harbour. This party crossed Canada via the newly completed C. P. Railway and arrived at Victoria on July 28th of the same year. Colonel O'Brien at once examined the ground and made his report as to suitable works, which was sent to the War Office, but it was a long time before the recommendations were forwarded to the Dominion Government together with the probable cost of the same.

In the year 1887 Lieut. John Irvine Lang, R. E., arrived in Victoria from Halifax to carry the survey to completion, the map consisting of six sheets (on the scale of six inches to the mile) which were soon published in England and were for many years the finest maps of any part of B. C. In 1887 the long looked for "C" Battery of Canadian Artillery, under the command of Major James Peters, arrived in Victoria on Thursday November 10th, after four years of waiting for the Government's promise to be fulfilled. The despatch of the Battery from Kingston had only been secured by the persistent work for a number of years of the local members of Parliament, Messrs. Edgar Crowe Baker and Noah Shakespeare. The Battery came from Burrard Inlet on the steamer Princess Louise,​13b of the Canadian Pacific Navigation Company, which arrived at 11 P.M., and was given an enthusiastic welcome. A Militia guard of 125 Officers and men under Lieut.‑Colonel R. Wolfenden, Artillery and Rifles was mounted to receive the first unit of the Permanent Force of Canada to be stationed on the Pacific Coast. The other officers of "C" Battery were Captain T. Benson, Quartermaster White, and Battery Sergeant Major A. Mulcahy.

Fourteen days later a small detachment of Staff arrived overland from Ottawa, namely Hon. Sir Joseph Philippe Rene Adolphe Caron, Lady Caron and family, with his personal staff, and Colonel Walker Powell, the Adjutant General of Militia. This was the first visit of this Minister of Militia and he was much struck with the beauties of mountainous scenery along the railroad. He stated that "C" Battery came as an advance guard, and his visit was to select a site for permanent barracks and then to let the contract for building of the same.  p47 In regard to the necessary up‑to‑date fortifications and the question of carrying out the work, Sir Adolphe stated that the report of Colonel O'Brien had gone to the Imperial Government but had not yet reached the Dominion Government. The Minister inspected the Militia units under the command of Lieut.‑Colonel R. Wolfenden on November 26th, and the same day he met Lieut.‑Governor H. Nelson and Rear-Admiral Sir Algernon Charles Fiaschi Heneage, K. C. B., in conference on defence matters. On December 1st it was officially announced that Work Point had been selected as the site for the permanent barracks.​b On the following day the Mayor gave a banquet in honour of Sir Adolphe and suite, at which the Militia and Staff were represented, but the Navy was not represented.

The record of the six years of service of the Permanent Force Battery at Victoria can be read in detail in the Annual Reports of the Department of Militia and Defence for the years from 1887 until 1894, to be found in the Sessional Papers. The establishment of "C" Battery was 100 N. C. O.'s and gunners, while "A" Battery at Kingston was 151, and "B" Battery at Quebec was 161. During the year 1888 the strength of "C" Battery was never up to establishment, though a number of recruits were enlisted but these were not enough to make good the losses by desertion and other causes. By reason of the many duties to be found, the establishment of the Battery was far too small, and Colonel Holmes​17c is found asking for an additional Lieutenant and 30 gunners. He also said that the provision of good up‑to‑date barracks without delay would do more to reduce desertion than anything else.

During the months of July and August, 1888 a force of six officers and 80 N. C. O.'s and gunners, with Lieut.‑Colonel E. G. Prior (Militia Coast Artillery Brigade) as a volunteer on the Staff, was sent north 800 miles to a point above Port Essington on the Skeena River to deal with a reported disturbance among the Indians. The legal re­quisition had been signed by three Justices to Peace who were also Cabinet Ministers. The Province paid for the supplies and transport. The Expedition was taken north in H. M. corvette Caroline of 1,420 tons, Captain Sir William Wiseman, R. N., which left Esquimalt on July 14th. The troops pitched camp a short distance above Port Essington, and the Provincial Constables were able, with  p48 the moral backing of the Battery, to restore quiet and confidence among the Indians, which condition spread along the river and coast with very effective quieting action. The steamer arranged for not turning up, Mr. Irving, the master of the Princess Louise, agreed to take the expedition back to Victoria which was reached on August 25th.

In the Annual Report for 1888, Major General F. Middleton remarked on the Skeena expedition: "though calling out these troops was perhaps strictly within the law, I submit it was not in accordance with the spirit of it, as I fancy it was never anticipated that troops should be sent 800 miles to assistant the civil law, nor was it anticipated that three magistrates should have power to consider (beginning) what might have turned out to be an Indian war." The general's remarks were supported by the refusal, in 1867, of Rear-Admiral the Hon. G. F. Hastings to comply with application by Governor Frederick Seymour to send marines to far off Cariboo. In this the Admiral was supported by "My Lords of the Admiralty". It is most interesting to note that Colonel Holmes was such a practical soldier that he equipped his men of the Unit with brown canvas uniforms, brown leather belts and canvas pack sacks greatly to their comfort, but to the great disgust of the strict General Middleton!

The first Schools of Instruction in Canada were provided by Artillery Officers and men, and in 1883 the Batteries were formed into a Regiment by the following General Order:

"A", "B", and "C" Batteries are hereby formed into a Regiment to be known as the "Regiment of Canadian Artillery", of which "Lieut.‑Colonel De la C. T. Irwin, Inspector of Artillery, is appointed to command."

In spite of the above mention of "C" Battery, this unit was not formed until 1887. In 1893 the designation Royal was granted by Her Majesty the Queen, to the Regiment of Canadian Artillery, the Canadian Dragoons and the Canadian Regiment of Infantry.

In 1893, after long negotiations, an agreement was reached between the Imperial and Dominion Governments for the fortifications of Esquimalt, and Canada purchased the sites for the forts and paid the Imperial Government $70,000 to build the forts, construct the submarine  p49 mining stores, and £42,000 to furnish modern armaments. A separate annual payment by Canada of $47,500 was made for the pay and allowances of the R. M. A. or R. E. detachments. A total capital sum of $146,000 was agreed upon for all the works at Esquimalt.19

In carrying out this agreement with Canada following the Carnarvon Report of 1882, the suggestion of Rear-Admiral F. H. Stirling, in 1879, was probably followed and the Royal Marine Artillery was chosen as the providing Regiment, while a small body of Sappers, skilled as mechanics and foremen of works, was maintained by drafts from Halifax.

The advance party of the R. M. A., via the C. P. R., arrived at Victoria on August 19th, 1893, under Lieuts. F. N. Templer and G. E. Barnes​20 with 19 N. C. O.'s and gunners who had been trained in handling submarine mines at Chatham under the Sappers. The main body arrived at Victoria via Montreal on March 28th, 1894, under Lieut.‑Colonel G. A. L. Rawstorne,​21 making a total of 3 Officers including Lieut. G. R. Poole and 75 other ranks.

It was some weeks before the flagship made her first call at Esquimalt since the arrival of the Marines overland; this event took place on May 19th, when no doubt the Officers and other ranks at Work Point Barracks called on their opposite numbers of the Marine Artillery on board the Royal Arthur under Lieut.‑Colonel A. L. S. Burrows and Lieut. C. E. Collard. The Marines at the barracks, being on land, came under the Army Act and so under the command of the G. O. C. Imperials in Canada, who was Lieut.‑General Sir John Ross, stationed at Halifax. The details of the Royal Engineers also came under the same command.

On the departure of "C" Battery for Quebec, Lieut.‑Col. James Peters, R. C. A., remained behind and took over the duties of D. A. G. of the Militia in British Columbia, this work being carried out from the Officers' quarters in the barracks. Lieutenant Templer​22 was relieved by Lieut. G. R. Poole​23 in 1894. The names of the Officers and other Ranks were borne on the books of the flagship, the first class cruiser Royal Arthur from 1893, till 1896, and the Imperieuse from 1896, till 1899. Time expired men were replaced from the flag and other ships and  p50 in 1896 Major W. F. Trotter​24 relieved Lieutenant-Colonel Rawstorne.

Provision for the organization of Royal Engineer Services on Vancouver Island​25 was inaugurated in 1893 by the arrival of Major H. H. Muirhead, R. E.​26 in August, from England. This officer would thus be the first Officer Commanding Royal Engineers since the time of Colonel R. C. Moody, 1859‑63, as Lieut.‑Col. E. D. C. O'Brien and Lieut. J. I. Lang were loaned from Halifax. In May, 1894, Lieutenant H. W. Gordon (nephew of General Charles George Gordon) with a detachment of twenty from the 18th (Fortress) Company at Halifax, arrived at Victoria. In November 1897, Lieutenant Gordon was relieved by Lieutenant G. C. E. Elliott, from Aldershot. The special job of these Sappers was to demolish the old earth and wood batteries, lay out and direct the building of new concrete and earth forts. The new armament was mounted by the Marine Artillery and consisted of six‑inch disappearing guns, then quite new. Schools of instruction were held at Victoria, Vancouver and New Westminster. Manning tables were made out and the members of the Fifth Regiment were trained on the new armament by the Marine Officers.

This stationing of Royal Marines in barracks on the Pacific Coast was not the first occasion on which it was done, as a company of the Royal Marine Light Infantry had been quartered on San Juan Island from 1860 till 1871. The "Imperial Naval Service Order-in‑Council" dated July 17th, 1893, says:

"Whereas it has been made necessary under arrangement with the Government of the Dominion of Canada to despatch a detachment of Officers and Men of the Royal Marines to Esquimalt for the purpose of local defence", and it proceeds to authorize a special allowance of 10/- per day for officers and 1/6 for each N. C. O. and Man, Army rate of allowances of 1/- per day to artificers was increased to 1/6. The health of the troops was provided for by the appointment in December, 1894, of Surgeon A. S. G. Bell,​27 R. N., "for duty at Esquimalt Barracks for service with detachments of Royal Marine Artillery and Royal Engineers."

In 1892 the Bering Sea Patrol consisted of the third class Cruiser Melpomene, Captain A. A. C. Parr  p51 senior officer, the sloop-of‑war Daphne, Commander C. R. Wood, and the steamer Danube of the Canadian Pacific Navigation Company as store ship and collier. The latter carried the late Mr. A. H. Maynard to photograph the seal rookeries for the Dominion Government.28

The naval Commanders-in‑Chief of the ships on the Pacific Station during the above six years were Rear-Admiral Henry Frederick Stephenson, from 1893 till 1896, and Rear-Admiral Lewis Anthony Beaumont from 1896 till the end of 1900. The flagships were the Royal Arthur which had two Flag Captains, Captain F. P. Trench, who died in May, 1895, when he was succeeded by Captain Frank Finnis; the Imperieuse, Captain C. H. Adain, which was relieved by Warspite, Captain T. P. Walker, in 1899, who was succeeded by Captain Colin R. Keppel at the end of 1900. When the Royal Arthur came out in 1893 under Captain F. P. Trench, she arrived at Esquimalt on June 19th, having made the fastest passage ever achieved from Portsmouth, which she left on March 18th, taking 84 days, of which 64 were at sea.​29 She passed the Warspite, Captain H. Lambton, in the Straits of Magellan, homeward bound, while the Melpomene was spoken further north, and the Pheasant was left at Coquimbo.

In April, 1876, Major H. H. Muirhead, R. E., was promoted Lieut.‑Colonel, so that on the relief of Lieut.‑Col. G. A. L. Rawstorne, R. M. A., by Major W. F. Trotter, R. M. A., Lieut.‑Col. H. H. Muirhead succeeded to the command of the garrison. On September 1st, 1898, Lieut.‑Col. Muirhead left the garrison on the completion of his term of foreign service, and was relieved by Major Alexander Grant, R. E., who was given the local rank of Lieut.‑Col. to date August 4th, 1899, while in command of the garrison at Esquimalt.

The Royal Marine Artillery Detachment under Major W. F. Trotter, with Captains G. E. Barnes​30 and G. R. Poole, left the garrison on September 25th, 1899, and proceeded via the C. P. R. to Montreal, whence the S. S. Bavarian conveyed them to Liverpool. This detachment thus completed six years' absence from Eastney. The relieving unit was the 19th Company (Western Division) Royal Garrison Artillery. A good group picture of the Marine Detachment was taken by the late Mr. Harold Fleming about 1896, and Mr. A. C. Boyce of Victoria has made a complete list of the members present, he being  p52 then a drummer in the group. The officers of the Fifth Regiment of Canadian Artillery presented the Marines with a large three-handled silver cup, which is now in the mess at Eastney.

The 19th Company (W. D.) Royal Garrison Artillery arrived under Major A. E. C. Myers, with Captain R. J. MacDonald as second in command, at Victoria on September 29th, 1899, via the C. P. R. from Halifax, with Major J. Moir, Md., Royal Army Medical Corps, as medical officer. An advance party had arrived on Friday, 22nd September, with Q. M. S. Norris of the Army Service Corps, two Sergeants and ten Gunners, to prepare and take over the quarters from the Marines. Lieut. Beer had graduated from the R. M. C. at Kingston in 1894. The South African war soon claimed Major Myers and Major J. G. E. Wynne succeeded him in command.

In June, 1900, the 48th Company (Submarine Miners) R. E., arrived from Chatham via the C. P. R. under Lieut. R. W. B. Bowdler to take over from the small detachment of R. M. A., specialists in the care of the observation and contact mines, together with the shore establishments. From Chatham in June, 1900, there arrived at Victoria, half of the 44th (Fortress) Company under Lieut. G. C. E. Elliott with 2nd Lieut. P. H. French, who on arrival became the two Divisional Officers. In March, 1901, Lieut. L. F. Blandy came from England and joined the 48th Company.31

The 19th Company, R. G. A., under Major Wynne, on December 3rd, 1901, sailed for Hong Kong in the S. S. Empress of China from Victoria, being the first Imperial troops to use the Canadian Pacific Mail Line. Bermuda provided the second relief in the shape of the 21st Company R. G. A. (W. D.), which arrived in Victoria on Sunday, December 1st, 1901, under Major W. Gurdon, with Captain A. E. Harrison as second in command.32

Let us cross the Pacific to Hong Kong, the naval base of the China Station. In 1900 this Station was in its thirty-sixth year, and its units consisted of three battle­ships, four first-class cruisers and three second-class cruisers, besides ships, destroyers and river gunboats. In addition to the real Chinese waters, this station included Japanese and Siberian waters, while to the south it extended to Singapore. Imperial Russia, too, had a  p53 number of the above three classes of warships in power­ful Pacific Fleet based at Port Arthur and Vladivostock. The Imperial Japanese Navy was reaching maturity with the advantage of being able to keep its battle fleet concentrated in home waters. The Russo-Japanese war of 1904‑5, centred at Port Arthur (which had only been under the Russian flag since 1897) was captured by Japan following the victory of Tsushima on May 27th and 28th, 1905, by the Japanese fleet under Admiral Togo over Admiral Rojestvensky's fleet, many of whose warships had a large proportion of untrained men of poor morale. The treaty of Portsmouth (U. S. A.) made a great change in the disposition of sea power and British Far Eastern policy underwent a great change. Next the German naval ensign appeared on the scene, being displayed by a strong and good shooting squadron based at Tsingtau. The French ensign was carried by a few ships based at Saigon. Following the acquisition of the Philippine Islands by the U. S. A. in 1899, the Stars and Stripes were carried on a number of power­ful ships, both battle­ships and cruisers. The U. S. Government even considered ordering a large number of its warships from the Atlantic to round South America so as to form a new fleet for general and permanent duty of protection of the Pacific Coast, at first to be based at Mare Island Dockyard in San Francisco Harbour.

Let us return to Vancouver Island, where on December 1st, 1901, the 21st Company R. G. A. (Western Division) had arrived at Victoria via the C. P. R. from Halifax, under Major W. Gurdon. In April, 1902, a renumbering of Garrison Artillery Companies took place owing to the merging of the Eastern, Southern, and Western Divisions into one roll, and for this reason the 21st Company Western became 83rd Company on the one Roll.

In December, 1903, the third relief of Imperial Troops moving Westward took place, when on Monday, 28th, the 83rd Company under Major W. Gurdon embarked at Victoria on the S. S. Empress of India for Hong Kong. The next day the 58th Company under Major C. E. English,​33 arrived in the S. S. Charmer from Vancouver, to which port they had travelled in a C. P. R. train from Halifax. During the journey, an experiment was tried of using hammocks slung in the cars for the soldiers. The 103rd Company R. G. A. made the sea passage from Bermuda under Brevet Lieut.‑Colonel A. B. Shute, to  p54 relieve the 58th Company at Halifax. Major English was given the local rank of Lieut.‑Colonel and thus as senior officer became Garrison Commander of the Esquimalt Defences.

In August, 1902, Lieut. the Hon. F. G. Hood, R. E., from England, joined the 48th Company. In August, 1903, Capt. C. G. Verstume Bunbury, replaced C. E. Elliott in the 44th Company, R. E., now referred to as 2/44th (Fortress) Company. In December, 1903, Major E. H. Bland replaced Lieut.‑Colonel A. Grant as O. C., R. E. In January, 1904, Captain D. Brady replaced Capt. B. W. B. Bowdler in command of the 48th Company. In October, 1904, Lieut. A. St. J. Yates replaced Lieut. L. F. Blandy, in the 48th Company. In July, 1905, as Submarine Mining as an Engineers' job, had been abolished, the 48th (Submarine Mining) Company became the 48th (Fortress) Co. In August, 1905, Lieut. P. H. French left the 2/44th Company and in April, 1906, this company returned to England, under Captain C. H. Verstume Bunbury. In the following June the 48th Company returned to England under Capt. D. Brady, assisted by Lieuts. Hon. F. G. Hood and A. St. J. Yates, and in July, 1906, Major E. H. Bland had completed handing over the works and stores to the Dominion Officers and he returned to England.

In 1905, the Imperial Government decided to call home as many small ships as possible, and to use the officers and ratings to man larger ships in home waters. Therefore, the coaling station and dockyards at Esquimalt, Halifax, Jamaica and Trincomalee were to be closed and put in charge of caretakers, and the troops manning the defences were eventually withdrawn. In Canada, owing to the cumulative effects of Colonial Defence Conferences and the work of Major General Sir Percy Henry Noel Lake​34 a better understanding of the treatment of trade defence was to be found in some members of the Government.

The agreement between the British and the Canadian Governments provided for the transfer of the sea defences of Esquimalt and Halifax to take place in 1905. In the case of Esquimalt, this was postponed until 1906, at the request of the Dominion. While the Imperial Staff Officers had only to administer the Garrisons of the forts, yet when Colonel J. G. Holmes, the third officer to command  p55 the District, took over the command of the Garrison, he had the extra work of administering the Active Militia all over the Province of British Columbia. From 1905 to 1906 the number of Imperial Officers in the Garrison was at its peak, there being fourteen and the Corps represented were: The Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Army Service Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps, Army Ordnance Department and the Army Pay Corps.35

The Imperial Garrison consisted of about 350 Officers, N. C. O.'s and Men. Of this number a rear party of six N. C. O.'s and Sappers was left behind, and the following officers remained in Canada to transfer to the Dominion Service: Lieut.‑Colonel E. English, Captain R. L. Muspratt-Williams, and Lieut. P. Elliston. The new No. 5 Company, Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery, received 34 N. C. O.'s and Gunners transferred from the Imperial Unit, while the 3rd Fortress Company, Royal Canadian Engineers, received 31 N. C. O.'s and Sappers. During the last week the forts were handed over complete with guns, instruments, ammunition and registers to Lieut. P. Elliston and Sergeant-Major A. Mulcahy representing Colonel Holmes, Royal Canadian Artillery.

A farewell public meeting was held on Wednesday, May 9th, in the Drill Hall, presided over by Mayor A. J. Morley, supported by prominent citizens. Lieut.‑Colonel English was on the platform, as well as the other Imperial Officers, while the other ranks had their seats on the floor of the Hall. A fine musical entertainment was provided. During the evening the Mayor presented a large silver cup to Lieut.‑Col. English as a farewell token by the citizens, which cup found a home in the United Service Club London. The inscription read: "Presented to the Imperial Troops on their departure from Canada, by the Citizens of Victoria." Each member of the Garrison received a photograph of the Cup and a copy of the Address containing many historical allusions. Colonel English replied on behalf of the officers and other ranks.

The main body of the Imperial troops left Victoria on Thursday, May 17th, at 8.00 A.M., on S. S. Charmer for Vancouver to take train over the C. P. R. It is interesting to note that the "Colonist" reported the presence of Lieut.‑Colonel R. Wolfenden, the senior retired officer of Militia, watching the departure. The troops were commanded by Major E. H. Bland, R. E., who took them  p56 via the C. P. R., and Montreal, to England. Owing to the Army reduction after the South African war, the 58th Company, R. G. A. and the 48th Company, R. E., were disbanded on their arrival in England in June, 1906.

Let us consider this most important act of "Replacement" of Imperial Units by Canadian Units of the same establishment and strength. On the 28th February, 1905, the Privy Council of Canada passed an Order-in‑Council, and a copy of this was sent on March 3rd, to the Imperial Government and received by it on the 13th of that month. Here is an extract:

"The minister recommends, as regards the manner in which the exchange of control should be made, that the Imperial Government be formally requested to allow the troops comprising the present garrisons of Halifax and Esquimalt:


1 Battalion of Infantry, R. G. R.,
2 companies of R. G. A.,
2 companies of R. E.


1 company of R. G. A.,
1½ companies of R. E.,

together with the Staff and Departmental details at each place, to remain until they can be Replaced by Canadian Troops."

This was a very important paragraph as it shows that the Canadian Cabinet were cognizant of the composition and strength of the garrisons of the two naval bases and coaling stations, and that the Cabinet agreed to Replace the Imperial troops, not to relieve them. If the word relieve had been used then the garrison could have been relieved by units of lesser strength. But as the word Replace was used, the Cabinet solemnly undertook on behalf of the Canadian People, to Replace the garrisons, not only unit for unit, but soldier for soldier; that is the units were to be of the same strength as those of the Imperial Units. This further implied that each successive Cabinet was solemnly bound by the Order-in‑Council to maintain the units at the strength laid down in the Imperial establishments.

Owing to the old obstacle of being so far away from Ottawa, the "lag" in progress was too much for the sending of orders promptly for the moving of the two  p57 9.2 inch guns left at the Ordnance Yard below Signal Hill, up to the gun platform in May, 1912. This was done later by a party of Gunners under Captain W. B. Almon, R. C. A. Up to August, 1914, the permanent Force Units never reached the necessary strength or standard of the Imperial Units and thus the maintenance and the instant readiness for war of the Defence Works suffered.

It is probable that if the transfer of the Esquimalt defences to the charge of the Dominion Forces had taken place during the time of the South African war, when the larger number of ships were on the Pacific Station and were patrolling the Empire trade route focal points, the Canadian Cabinet would have been more amenable to the advice of the professional heads of the Defence Department, to maintain the units at Esquimalt at the same strength as that of the former Imperial Units.

The Author's Notes:

1 The distribution of the non‑homogeneous ships and vessels on the Pacific Station along the 7,000 miles of that coast was uneven mainly because the Rear-Admiral considered that appeals for help by the British traders in Central and South American ports were of greater value to British trade than from the new province of Canada, which was located on and behind Vancouver Island. In nearly every case each ship was sent separately to a port or a stretch of coast to investigate trouble and correct the same. The Captain of a ship of whatever size, supported by his ship's company and armament, made a most effective ambassador to an obstinate South American Government. It should be borne in mind at that time, 1870 to 1899, that no system of Trade Defence Strategy had been worked out, understood or accepted by Flag Officers as a whole. It was not until after 1900 that this new strategy began to be put into practice. The pioneer writer on this subject was Captain Sir John Colomb of the Royal Marine Artillery, who published his first pamphlet in 1867, entitled "The Protection of Our Commerce and Distribution of our War forces Considered", which is mentioned by his brother Vice-Admiral P. H. Colomb on p1, in "Essays on Naval Defence", 3rd edition, pub. London, 1899. Captain Sir John Colomb had other papers on similar subjects in the Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, London, in 1871, 1879, 1881, 1883 and 1886. That veteran scientist Admiral the Right Hon. Sir Astley Cooper Key, G. C. B., D. C. L., F. R. S., was the author of an article on "Naval Defence of the Colonies", p284, August, 1886, "The Nineteenth Century". In 1889, Captain P. H. Colomb, R. N., wrote an article on "Imperial Defence" which is found as Chapter I, in the above mentioned book "Essays on Naval Defence", pub. 1899. The Vice-Admiral also gave papers before the R. U. S. I., London, which are to be found in its journals for 1878 (three),  p58 1879, and 1882. This does not claim to be a complete list of the works of the brothers Colomb. Both these writers advocated the use of cruising ships-of‑war on the ocean to protect the trade routes. From the above list of thinkers and leaders in the realm of strategy for steamships of war, it is evident that the idea of ocean trade defence had not become a fashionable doctrine for flag officers until after 1900.

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1a Denison, Lieutenant-Colonel George T., late commanding The Governor General's Body Guard. "Soldiering in Canada". Toronto, 1901, p101. Dunville Company Naval Volunteers.

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2 de Horsey, Algernon Frederick Rous, Rear-Admiral see "Lean's Navy List," January, 1879, London, p252. Entered Navy as Cadet, 1840, in which year he saw service on the coast of Syria; Mate in 1846; Lieut. 26th July, 1846; in 1851 appointed Flag‑Lieut. to Vice-Admiral Sir G. F. Seymour K. C. B., in flagship Cumberland in West Indies; commissioned screw corvette Brisk in 1859, for Cape of Good Hope station. During this commission he captured, after a hard chase, the Spanish slaver Manuela of 702 tons with 846 slaves on board; was Senior Officer at Jamaica in the corvette Wolverine during the rebellion of 1865, and received the thanks of the Governor; promoted Commander in 1853, and Captain in 1857. Was Senior Officer on the Lakes of Canada in the Aurora (built Pembroke, 1860) during the Fenian disturbances of 1866‑67, wintering the ship in the St. Charles river; A. D. C. to Queen Victoria, 1871‑75; commanded the Devastation, Victor, Wolverine, Aurora, and Aboukir in the West Indies; Commodore Jamaica, 1872‑75; Commanded the Brisk and Hector on the Cape and the Home stations; Commander-in‑Chief in the Pacific 6th August, 1876, till 2nd July, 1879, flag in the Shah; Rear-Admiral 7th May, 1875; Vice-Admiral 27th November, 1879; Admiral 29th April, 1885; retired 1892, and died 1922.

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3 W. Whitelaw, letter and memorandum to the writer from the Public Archives at Ottawa, dated 17th June, 1938.

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4 Thacker, Lieut.‑Colonel, H. C. "A Short History of the Royal Canadian Artillery" (Mimeographed). Halifax, 18th November, 1911. p19.

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5a 5b Houghton, Charles Frederick, was born on April 27th, 1839, and held commissions from 1855 to 1863 in the Imperial Army. Ensign 57th Regiment, 1.5.55; promoted Lieut. 26.2.56; the Crimean War, 1853, to March, 1856; Lieut. 5th Regiment of Infantry, 2.2.58; Lieut. 20th Regiment 31.3.58, promoted Captain 5.3.61. Sold out his commission on 30.6.63 when he came out to the Colony with an official letter of introduction to Governor Douglas, and he chose the Okanagan valley in which to settle. He was elected the first Federal member for Yale and Kootenay in the winter of 1871‑72. On the creation of the office of Deputy Adjutant General for B. C., Captain Houghton was commissioned to the rank of Lieut.‑Colonel in the Militia to date March 21st, 1873. This was also the date of his appointment as first D. A. G. in B. C., where he served until March 31st, 1881, when he was moved to Winnipeg until 1888, lastly to Montreal, where he retired.

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6a 6b From the Terms of the Union of Colony of B. C. with the Dominion of Canada, Section 12.

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7 In Navy List, June, 1875, the sister ships Nelson and Northampton of 7,322 tons and 6,640 horsepower, were only being built by Napier of Glasgow. They were ship rigged, iron armour-plated ships, twin screws and twelve guns. In summer of 1881, the Nelson proceeded to Australia under Captain J. E. Erskine who became Commodore on Station. The Northampton proceeded in 1881 to Bermuda as flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir F. Leopold McClintock. No record can be found of either of these ships having served on the Pacific Station.

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8 Howay, "British Columbia", Vol. II, p402‑414.

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9 Corvette Comus, commissioned Sheerness, October, 1879, by Captain James W. East for China Station. Built Glasgow, 1878, 2,380 tons, 2,450 horsepower, iron-sheathed and coppered.

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10 Culme-Seymour, Rear-Admiral Sir M., Bart., promoted to Flag rank, May, 1882, hoisted his flag on the armour-plated ship Triumph, July 4th, 1885 at Portsmouth for the Pacific. Young Seymour was born in 1836, entered the Navy in 1850, saw active service in Burma War, first year of Baltic War, then the Crimea, and the China Wars. Appointed Lieutenant, 1857, and Commander in 1859, out of Flagship Calcutta in China, where he was Flag‑Lieut. to Rear-Admiral Sir M. Culme-Seymour, and in which ship Mr. J. K. Laughton was Naval Instructor. Promoted Captain, 1865, and private secretary to Ward Hunt, Esquire, the First Lord, 1879‑82. Appointed C.‑in‑C., Channel Squadron, 1890‑92; C.‑in‑C., Mediterranean, 1893‑96; C.‑in‑C., Portsmouth, 1897. Appointed first and principal Aide-de‑Camp to the Queen, 1899.

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11 The tenth Cormorant was launched at Chatham in 1877, and as a hulk is still in commission afloat as the flagship of the Rear-Admiral-in‑Charge, Gibraltar. The seventh Cormorant, a paddle sloop-of‑war, was launched at Sheerness in 1842, of 1,057 tons and 300 horsepower. She visited Fort Victoria in 1846 and gave her name to Cormorant Street, in the City of Victoria. This seventh Cormorant was broken up at Deptford in 1853.

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12 Major James Peters, see appendix "B".

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13a 13b The sidewheel steamer Princess Louise, launched at New York in 1869 as the Olympia. She had a high walking beam engine. Was first in the Hudson's Bay Company's coast fleet, and in 1883, on the incorporation of the Canadian Pacific Navigation Company, she was taken over with other coasting steamers. On the formation of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company Coast Service in March, 1901, she was taken over by it from the C. P. N. Company.

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14 Mr. H. W. Wilson, "Battleships in Action", Sampson Low, Marston and Company Limited, Pub. London, 1926.

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15 Letters from the Commandant, Twelfth Naval District, Mare Island Navy Yard, to the writer in 1928, covering the years 1863‑78.

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16 Sir George S. Clarke, "Imperial Defence", Pub. London, 1897, p177.

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17a 17b 17c Holmes, Colonel Josiah Greenwood. For record of service, see Appendix "A".

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18 O'Brien, Edmund Donough Collins, was commissioned as Lieut. in the Royal Engineers in 1858, became Captain in 1872, Major in 1879, Lieut.‑Colonel in 1885, and brevet Colonel in 1889. Was commanding Royal Engineers in Canada, and stationed at Halifax at least during 1886‑88. In 1891 he was appointed to Command the Royal Engineers in the South Eastern District with headquarters at Dover. This was the first Officer of the Royal Engineers to serve on the Pacific Coast since Colonel R. C. Moody left in 1863.

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19 See Hansard, 1894, and Sessional Papers, Ottawa.

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20 Barnes, Lieut. George Edward. Commissioned in Royal Marine Artillery in 1883, promoted Captain in 1894. Served in South Africa, 1900‑02, as special service and railway Staff Officer. Was appointed Adjutant of Forfar and Kincardine Royal Garrison Artillery (Militia) on 3rd May, 1902. Became Major retired List in 1904, and Lieut.‑Colonel in 1919. Supplied such information concerning R. M. A. at Esquimalt to the writer on 28th March, 1928, from his home at Crofton on Vancouver Island. Died at Crofton, 1st November, 1928.

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21 Rawstorne, Lieut. George Albert Lawrence. Commissioned in the Royal Marine Artillery in 1868. Promoted Captain 1879, Major in 1887, and Lieut.‑Colonel in June, 1897, retiring in October, 1898. Served as Captain with the R. M. A. battalion through the Campaign in Egypt in 1882, actions at El Magfar, Tel‑el‑Mahuta, Kassassin on 28th August, and 9th September, and Tel‑el‑Kebir, with mention in Despatches. Was Assistant to the Professor of Fortification at the Royal Naval College from 1877‑78.

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22 Templer, Lieut. Frederick Napier. Commissioned in the Royal Marine Artillery in 1883, and according to Colonel Barnes, died at Bloemfontein in 1894, and had been replaced at Esquimalt by Lieut. G. R. Poole.

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23 Poole, Lieut. Gerald Robert. Commissioned in the Royal Artillery in 1885, promoted Captain, 1896, and obtained a special certificate at the Artillery College course. Brevet Major, 1906, Brevet Lieut.‑Colonel, 1913. Served in the Artillery Battalion of the Royal Naval Division in the Great War. Promoted Lieut.‑Colonel, 1916, Major-General in 1922, and Lieut.‑General retired in 1924. Received the C. B., C. M. G., and D. S. O. Died at Crofton on 20th October, 1937.

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24 Trotter, Major Warren Francis. Born, 1858, commissioned Lieut in R. M. A. in 1876, promoted Captain in 1886, first class Instructor of Gunnery in 1897, present in Superb as Lieut. at the bombardment of Alexandria, 11th July, 1882. Major, 1896, Hon. rank of Lieut.‑Colonel, 1899, as Barrack Master, Eastney. Hon. rank of Colonel, 1909. During the Great War was temp. Lieut.‑Col. in 1916.

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25 The names of all officers of the Royal Engineers and dates of their appointments and promotions in association with service on the Pacific Coast, are given here for the first time. It has been possible to give these details in full only with the assistance of "The Institution of Royal Engineers", Chatham, England, and the writer has to thank the Secretary, Lieut.‑Col.  p61 E. V. Binney, D. S. O., for two important letters dated 1st February and 8th March, 1938, which gave this valuable information. Having provided this framework of facts, it is left to another pen to write a full history of the contribution of the Defences of Esquimalt by the officers and other ranks of the Imperial Army.

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26 Muirhead, Major Herbert Hugh. Commissioned Lieut. in the Royal Engineers in 1871, promoted Captain in 1883, Major in 1889, and about 1893 was second Assistant, Building Works, of Ordnance Factories, Waltham Abbey, Lieut.‑Col., 1897, Brevet Colonel, 1901.

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27 Bell, Arthur Sydney Gordon, was commissioned Surgeon, R. N., in November, 1892, appointed to Aurora, Coast Guard ship at Bantry Bay. In December, 1894, appointed to the Imperieuse, flagship on the Pacific Station, for duty on shore at Esquimalt Barracks. Promoted Staff Surgeon in November, 1900; appointed to Cambridge at Devonport, 1904; to the Iphigenia in Home Fleet, in May, 1907. Promoted Fleet Surgeon retired in November, 1908. In the first part of the Great War, 1914‑18, he served in Victory for duty ashore in Portsmouth Dockyard.

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28 The late Mr. Albert H. Maynard, son of Mr. R. Maynard who was the pioneer photographer of Victoria in Colonial Days. Mr. Albert Maynard had a large collection of old naval photographs taken in Esquimalt and in the Sealing Islands. Naval historians owe a great debt of gratitude to this artist for having saved so many old ship and vessel pictures.

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29 The "Victoria Daily Colonist," June 20th, 1893.

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30 Letter dated Crofton, B. C., in 1928, from the late Colonel G. E. Barnes, C. B. E., late R. M. A., to the writer.

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31 Letter dated 1938, from the Secretary, Royal Engineer Institute, at Chatham.

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32 The "Victoria Daily Colonist," December 1st, 1901. The 21st Company arrived at Victoria 1st December.

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33 English, Charles Ernest. First Commissioned Lieut. in Royal Artillery on July 27th, 1880. In 1882, serving in the 9th Brigade, R. A.; served with the Bechuanaland Campaign, 1884‑85, with the Third Mounted Rifles. Promoted Captain January 14th, 1889, Professor at the Royal Military College, Kingston, about 1893; Major on September 8th, 1898. Commanding the 58th Company, R. G. A., in 1903, and arrived at Victoria from Halifax on December 29th, when he was given the local rank of Lieut.‑Colonel, and thus became the Commander of the Esquimalt garrison. Appointed to the Canadian Forces on April 1st, 1906, stationed at the Citadel, Quebec. Promoted Lieut.‑Colonel, R. G. A., July 15th, 1908; promoted Colonel, March 7th, 1912, and went on half pay on the following July 15th. During the war of 1914‑18, he commanded the 84th Brigade, R. F. A., in the 18th Division of the New Armies.

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34 Lake, Major-General, Sir P. H. N., K. C. B. See Appendix "C".

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35 From a large photograph taken in 1905, of all the Imperial Officers then serving in the Esquimalt garrison. Copy in possession of the writer. The writer also has photographs of combined pictures of some of the Imperial units taken at Work Point barracks 58th Company, R. G. A., and the Royal Engineer Detachment, Christmas 1904 and for 1905.

Thayer's Note: The Christmas 1904 Royal Engineers photograph is online at History of Work Point Barracks.

Thayer's Notes:

a May 5, 1877 was a Saturday.

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b See Jack Bates, History of Work Point Barracks, Part 2, 1887.

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