Topic: Wolseley Barracks
This image of Wolseley Hall, printed in the programme of the 1895 Military Review, shows the training battery position at the south east corner of the building.
London, Military District No. 1, and The Military School; 1895
From the Programme of the 76th anniversary: Her Majesty's birthday, May 24th, 1895: grand military review at London, Ont. (1895). Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2009 with funding from Ontario Council of University Libraries
London's military history dates as far back as 1838, in January of which year the 32nd Regiment arrived here, and the place for the first time became a military post. With more or less regularity, Imperial troops were stationed here till the breaking out of the Crimean war. Then Her Majesty's regular forces were withdrawn from Canada, and it was not until February, 1862, when trouble threatened over the Trent affair, that the London garrison was again filled. From that year until the close of the American Civil War, various corps were stationed here, including the Royal Canadian Rifles, the 60th Rifles, the 53rd and 63rd Regiments, besides Military Train, Sappers and Miners, Batteries of Artillery, &tc. Many members of these secured their discharge while where, and to-day are among London's most respected citizens. As the majority of Londoners will remember, these troops were quartered in the barracks which had been erected on what is now the northern half of Victoria Park, but during the sixties the garrison grew to such dimensions that it was found necessary to use buildings on the old Ordnance Lands, on the east side of Wellington street, north of Dufferin avenue (then Duke street), as well as the old Royal Exchange on Ridout street, near Dundas, and other premises close by.
The presence in the city for years of Imperial troops could not but have its effect on the young men of the day. It inspired them with a martial ardor and enthusiasm that still animates the breasts of those who have not yet gone over to the great beyond, and has been transmitted to their sons—the young men who form the citizen-soldiers of to-day, and it is the development of this spirit that it is desired specially to deal with here.
First Military District
The military sentiment and organization in London had, in 1866, grown to such proportions that when the organization of districts was derided on, the Government had no hesitation in selecting London as the headquarters of Military District No. 1. Lieut.-Col. J.B. Taylor was gazetted Deputy Adjutant-General, and Lieut.-Col. James Moffat, Brigade Major. Both these gentlemen (since deceased) had taken active part in the formation of local companies, and their appointment was received with general favor by officers and men throughout the district. In 1882, Cols. Taylor and Moffat were succeeded respectively by Cols. Jackson and Aylmer, two thorough soldiers.
The Military School
In 1886 the Government realized the necessity for a Military School in the west, and London, being the headquarters of the district, was, of course, chosen as the location of the new institution of military education. The site selected is the most suitable it is possible to procure. Indeed, so satisfied was the department of this, that some years ago Carling's Heights, as the grounds surrounding Wolseley Barracks are called, was chosen as a permanent site for the holding of annual brigade camps.
The work of erection began on May 5th, 1886, and on March 31st, 1888, the school was opened. Col. Henry Smith was commissioned Commandant and Deputy Adjutant-General as well—positions which he continues to fill. The other members of the staff are—Major and Lieut.-Col. Vidal, commanding No. 1 Company, Royal Regiment of Canadian Infantry; Lieut, and Capt. Hemming; Lieut. and Capt. Dennison; Lieut. Carpenter and Surgeon-Major Hanovan. No. 1 Company, R.R.C.I., consists of a permanent force of about one hundred men. The staff is a most efficient one, the Commandant being one of the most thorough officers in the service in Canada—a fact ample proof of which is found in the splendid condition of No. 1 Company, and the thoroughness of the system of training employed in the school.