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Chapter 7

This webpage reproduces an appendix in
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
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Appendix B

 p149  Appendix "A"

Holmes, Colonel Josiah Greenwood, born in 1845 at St. Catherines, Ontario, where his family had been settled since its arrival from England in 1835. In 1865, young Holmes joined the three year old Nineteenth (Militia) Battalion of Infantry, being commissioned Ensign on December 15th. He was posted to No. 3 Company (St. Catherines) amongst whose members were two gentlemen, F. W. Benson and H. C. Thacker, who afterwards reached high rank in the Permanent Force. On the 14th of November, 1868, Ensign Holmes was commissioned Lieut. in the St. Catherines Battery of Garrison Artillery, being promoted to Captain on 26th April, 1872. He served in the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870, receiving the medal and two clasps.

On the formation of the two batteries of Garrison Artillery, "A" battery was formed in Ontario by taking volunteers from Artillery units in that Province, while "B" battery was formed in the Province of Quebec, being authorized in Militia General Orders on 20th October, 1871. Lieut. Holmes having offered his services, he was ordered by telegram of 28th October, 1871, to join "A" battery. After a period of trial and special training, during which time he was borne supernumerary to the establishment of the St. Catherines battery, he was commissioned Lieut. in the Permanent Artillery on 10th July, 1874, being then stationed at Kingston, where the battery was in charge of the forts, armaments and stores, as well as forming a School of Artillery for Officers and Non‑Commissioned-Officers of the Militia.

He was promoted Captain on 1st August, 1882, having already been given brevet rank of Major on 26th April, 1877. In 1878, he wrote a fine essay: "On the Proportions of Artillery (field, siege and garrison) required for the present force of Active Militia of the Dominion, with suggestions as to their organization, equipment and localization", and this was awarded the first prize by the Dominion Artillery Association. In the spring of 1883, Major Holmes was specially selected for duty on the Pacific Coast and appointed acting Deputy Adjutant General, with Sergeant-Major Kinsella from Kingston, as the only member of the Permanent Force under his command. Major Holmes was appointed D. A. G. on 1st May, 1883, and was promoted  p150 Lieut.‑Colonel on 10th of August following. His duties were to train the Militia, report as to new units to be formed, changes in the defence works, and to conduct schools of instruction for Officers and N. C. O.'s of the Militia. Sergeant-Major Kinsella acted as the Brigade Sergeant-Major of the Militia Artillery, in addition to his other duties.

The long overdue "C" battery arrived via the C. P. R. on 11th November, 1887, when Colonel Holmes was then confirmed in the office of D. A. G., which was then antedated to 1st May, 1883, and on 10th August, 1888, was appointed Commandant of the School of Artillery at Victoria. On the 25th August, 1893, he was moved to Winnipeg, returning to M. D. No. 11, on 1st April, 1901, as District Officer Commanding, and retired in 1909. He died in Victoria on the 13th May, 1928. Many of the above records have been obtained from a unique scrap album kept by the late Colonel Holmes and now in the possession of his son, Colonel W. J. Holmes of Victoria.

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