The Minute Book
Monday, 18 September 2017

The New Infantry School (1885)
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

The New Infantry School

The Sarnia Observer, 18 September, 1885

The project for mixing up the proposed new Infantry School in London, with a scheme for establishing permanent camp grounds in conjunction with the agricultural fairs there has happily fallen through. It was boomed with insidious art and much sophistry by the London Free Press for several years and so many outsiders connected with the Militia fell unconsciously into the trap that we fully expected to see the scheme succeed. But the promoters of it overshot their mark, Their greed was too apparent, and the citizens of London, by an overwhelming majority, sat down on them with crushing effect. We refrained from offering any suggestions or opinions in regard to the matter while the subject was before the ratepayers of London for settlement, because we felt that our motives would be misconstrued. The contest was made to assume a political complexion, from the fact that the chief party interested in combining the fair, the camp and the school in one grand combination was the Postmaster-General, Hon. John Carling. The scheme was made large and comprehensive so as to embrace a proposal for the purchase of carling farm as a site for the combined institutions, at a figure that many regarded as exorbitant—$75,000 for some hundred acres of land. Now that the people of London have knocked the combination on the head, a few remarks on the subject may be listened to with attention.

The establishment of an Infantry School in the Western District we regard with approval. It is needed in the interests of the militia force, and London, as headquarters of the militia district, is the proper place for it. The government has selected the city, very properly, as its location. The most suitable site for it is a matter requiring some consideration, but there are many eligible places in the neighbourhood, and no difficulty ought to be experienced in securing one. The barracks should be at some distance from the city, and the grounds surrounding it should be large enough for parade and drill purposes. Adjoining it, or as near as possible, a rifle range ought to be established, a first requirement of which should be absolute safety. Such a range could not be had at carling farm. If a site for the school could be had in the vicinity of Cove Ranges, it would answer the purposes well. The ranges could be leased or purchased by the government for the use of the local militia, as well as of the school.

A camp ground for the militia of the district is not a necessary adjunct of an Infantry School, nor is the proximity of an Infantry School a necessity for a camp ground. They have only a remote connection with each other, and ought not to have been considered as necessary complements. We are opposed to the holding of annual drill camps continuously in one place. One of the chief objects aimed at informing military camps for drill purposes is destroyed. The camps out to be held at different points in the district in each succeeding year, so that officers and men, staff as well as line, could be made acquainted with the leading features of the country, the means of access to any given point, the condition and direction of the roads, and all other information that should be of service to troops called out for a campaign in the district. The military features of salient points on the frontier ought to be especially familiar to the officers of the district who might be called upon in an emergency to guard these points at short notice. Camps in the vicinity of Amherstburg, Windsor, Sarnia, Goderich, Kincardine and Southampton, would tend to make the troops acquainted with the ground in these neighbourhoods, and field days and brigade manoeuvres ought to be planned with an eye to the defence of each place. So with such centres as Chatham, St. Thomas, London, Stratford and Woodstock, strategic points, the surroundings of which ought to be made a subject of study by the militia of the district. We think that the reasons we have given why the permanent camp idea should be abandoned will strike the officers in command of militia corps as sound and incontrovertible. An expression of their views in that direction would no doubt have effect at headquarters, and the result would probably be a return to the system introduced after the Fenian raids aroused the authorities to the necessity for bringing the militia together annually for brigade drill.

There being in our opinion no necessity for a permanent camp ground, the idea of uniting the camp grounds with fair grounds, as a joint institution, it is not necessary to discuss. The action of the citizens of London in voting to keep them separate shows that they fully understand the folly of uniting the two interests. It speaks well for their firmness and level headedness, that they were able to take a common sense, business view of the question in spite of the powerful influences brought to bear upon them to give a verdict in Mr. Carling’s favour.

They have chosen well as to what they require for Fair Grounds, now let the militia authorities display as good judgment in the selection of a site for the Infantry School and neither party will have cause to regret the action of the other.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 30 May 2016

Sir Garnet Wolseley
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Sir Garnet Wolseley

The New Adjutant-General of the Imperial Forces

The Toronto Daily Mail, 24 December 1881

Sir Garnet Wolseley, the newly-appointed adjutant-general of the Imperial army, is well known to every Canadian, having been actively engaged as assistant quartermaster-general in Canada in 1870-71, and in the former year commanded the Red River expedition. Sir Garnet Wolseley is the eldest son of the late Major G.J. Wolseley, of the 25th Regiment of Foot, and grandson of the late Sir Richard Wolseley, Bart., of Mount Wolseley, in the county of Carlow, a member of the ancient house of Wolseley of Wolseley, on the county of Stafford, one of whose younger sons went to Ireland as a captain in King William's army, and who fought by the King's side at the battle of the Boyne, and was created a baronet for his service.

Sir Garnet was born in the vicinity of Dublin in June, 1833, and is therefore only 48 years of age. He obtained his commission in 1852, and left England to take part in the Burnah war the same year. He was severely wounded in action during this war, and had the honour of being favourably mentioned in the despatches of the general in command of the expedition. He subsequently returned home, and having recovered from his wounds, was able to take part in the Crimean war, arriving at Sebastopol in December, 1854. From the time of his arrival in the Crimea till the fall of Sebastopol he served in the trenche s as an engineer, and was again honoured on several occasions by being mentioned in despatches. He was on duty in th trenches on the memorable 18th of June, 1855, and on the 30th of August was badly wounded in a sortie.

On the conclusion of the war he sailed for China with his regiment, and was shipwrecked during the voyage. He saw considerable active service in India during the mutiny of 1858-59, and was present at the siege and relief of Lucknow, and at the defence of Alumbagh. He afterwards held the position of Quartermaster-General under general Sir J. Hope Grant in the province of Oudh. In 1870 he was in China as Assistant Quartermaster-General during the war, and was present at the storming of the Taku forts. After this he was sent to Canada, and his career since then is pretty well known to every Canadian. Sir Garnet has always spoken of the Canadian volunteers in the highest terms, and considers that with proper training they would make as fine soldiers as are to be found anywhere.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 19 May 2016

Military District No. 1 (Second World War)
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

History of Military District No. 1 in the Late War

Off Parade; newsletter of No. 1 District Depot, Wolseley Barracks, July 1946
By: Capt E. Kelleher, P.R.O., M.D. 1

Military District No. 1, which is rightfully proud of its ranking number on the national map of Canada, more than lived up to its fine military traditions in the Second World War.

At the outbreak of the war in 1939, there were only 400 permanent force troops in this District, while the non-permanent active militia were counted at some 3,500 men.

But the call to the Colours was answered in a swelling stream of combat manpower. It is a matter of record today that 80,000 Western Ontario men enlisted in the three services, and of that total 50,000 joined the Army. And one must pay tribute also to the large numbers of girls and women from the western counties who joined the C.W.A.C. and took over vital Army jobs.

M.D. No. 1 maintained a fast pace in the all-out war effort, first under Brig. (later Maj.-Gen.) D.J. MacDonald, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., who was District Officer Commanding at the outbreak of war; and then under his successor, Brig. P. Earnshaw, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., who still handles the reins of this key District.

No time was lost in setting up the machinery to school recruits for this stark business of war. Basic training centres were established at Chatham, Woodstock, Kitchener, Listowel, and Stratford. Chatham alone handled a total of 18,000 recruits in its career. Later came A-29 Canadian Infantry Corps Training centre at Camp Ipperwash, which graduated thousands of fully-trained soldiers to front-line units.

Woodstock developed into S-5 Canadian Driving and Maintenance School, which drew candidates from around the country for special training. It is estimated that 17,000 officers and men completed courses at that Centre.

And from men's basic training, Kitchener grew into No. 3 C.W.A.C. Basic Training Centre. One authority has said that more than two-thirds of the nation's C.W.A.C.'s took their "basic" at Kitchener. One of the most cosmopolitan of army camps, Kitchener was the alma mater of girls from Newfoundland, the United States, British West Indies, Bahamas, Bermuda, and even some who had escaped from Nazi-occupied countries of France, Poland and Czecho-Slovakia.

Eventually, Kitchener was the only C.W.A.C centre left on the war establishment, and it handled basic as well as officer training.

M.D. No. 1 also gained Central Mechanization Depot, located in London, and popularly known as Canada's "largest Army garage." With its branches in Hagersville and New Sarum, it still functions as the most extensive Army depot of its kind.

The Royal Canadian Regiment, the District's only permanent force unit, was the first to be mobilized.

The following N.P.A.M. regiments were also mobilized during the war:

  • 6th Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars) of London,
  • Essex Scottish Regiment of Windsor,
  • Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment),
  • Kent Regiment of Chatham,
  • Elgin Regiment of St. Thomas,
  • Perth Regiment of Stratford,
  • Highland Light Infantry of Canada, of Galt,
  • Scots Fusiliers of Canada, of Kitchener,
  • 30th Reconnaissance Regiment of Windsor, and the
  • Oxford Rifles of Woodstock.

Other units mobilized in M.D. No. 1 included:

  • Royal Canadian Artillery (R.C.A.)
    • 100th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, Listowel.
    • 98th (Bruce) Anti-Tank Battery, Pert Elgin.
    • 16th Field Battery, Guelph.
    • 26th (Lambton) Field Battery, Sarnia.
    • 29th Field Battery, Guelph.
    • 43rd Field Battery, Guelph.
    • 55th Field Battery, London.
    • 63rd Field Battery, Guelph.
    • 99th Field Battery, Wingham.
    • 12th Medium Battery, London.
    • 97th Field Battery, Walkerton.
    • No. 1 Artillery Holding Unit, London.
    • No. 4 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, R.C.A., London.
    • 48th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, R.C.A., Watford.
    • 9th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, R.C.A., Walkerton.
  • Royal Canadian Engineers (R.C.E.)
    • 7th Field Company, London.
    • 11th (Lambton) Field Company, Sarnia.
    • 1st Field Park Company (Lambton), Sarnia.
    • No. 1 Road Construction Company, R.C.E.
    • 9th Field Company, London.
    • H.Q. 2nd Infantry Division, Sarnia.
  • Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (R.C.C.S.)
    • 1st Canadian Division Signals, London.
    • 1st A.A. Brigade H.Q., London.
  • Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (R.C.A.S.C.)
    • No. 3 Company, London.
    • No. 11 Company, London.
    • 4th Division Petrol Company, R.C.A.S.C., London.
  • Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (R.C.A.M.C.)
    • No. 2 Base Depot of Medical Stores, Kitchener.
    • No. 11 Field Ambulance, Guelph.
    • No. 15 Field Ambulance, London.
    • No. 24 Field Ambulance, Kitchener.
    • No. 3 General Hospital, Windsor.
    • No. 10 General Hospital, London.
    • 28th Field Ambulance, R.C.A.M.C., London.
    • 1st Field Hygiene Section, R.C.A.M.C., London.
  • Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (R.C.O.C.) .
    • No. 1 Armoured Brigade Ordnance Field Park.
    • No. 1 Army Field Workshop, R.C.O.C.
    • No. 2 Mobile Laundry and Decontamination Unit.
    • No. 4 General Labour Section, R.C.O.C.
    • No. 4 Mobile Laundry and Decontamination Unit, Windsor.
  • Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (R.C.E.M.E)
    • 16th L.A.D.
    • 17th L.A.D.
    • 18th L.A.D.
    • 19th L.A.D.
    • 20th L.A.D.
    • 21st L.A.D.
    • 22nd L.A.D.
    • 23rd L.A.D.
    • 24th L.A.D. (all of London)
  • Canadian Provost Corps (C. Pro. C.)
    • 3rd Provost Company.
    • 4th Provost Company.
    • 8th Provost Company.
    • 11th Provost Company.
  • Veterans' Guard of Canada.
    • No. 2 Company.
    • No. 40 Company


Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 16 April 2016 3:12 PM EDT
Monday, 9 May 2016

Wolseley Barracks
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

The Old Barracks

Off Parade; newsletter of No. 1 District Depot, Wolseley Barracks, July 1946
By: Colonel Francis B. Ware, D.S.O., V.D.

For more than two decades following the Rebellion of 1837, London was garrisoned by famous British regiments, and many are the stories told of the gay life of the young city, as its charming debutantes flirted, danced and married the dashing young soldiers of the Queen.

In those far-off days of a century ago, Victoria Park, Wellington Street to waterloo and Piccadilly south to Dufferin Avenue was all Government property, reserved for barracks, ordnance and supply depots and parade grounds, while there may be some who still remember the depression where the C.P.R. station and freights sheds now stand, for there the Royal Engineers created Lake Horne, as shown on the early maps of London, where in the summertime the troops enjoyed, with their civilian friends, boating, swimming, and aquatic sports.

And then with the withdrawal of the Imperial garrisons and the gradual transfer of the army property to the Corporation of London and to individuals for park and residential purposes, the Government purchased the old Carling farm and the south-east corner of Oxford and Adelaide Streets and there, for over three-quarters of a century, the Cavalry, Artillery and Infantry regiments of the district have carried out their annual training.

The increasing interest being shown in the various volunteer units of the district, and the activity accentuated by the departure in April, 1885, of the Seventh Fusiliers to the Canadian North-West to help quell the Riel Rebellion was no doubt a contributing factor in the decision that London, the capital of the prosperous and growing counties of south-western Ontario, was the logical spot for the establishment of the new military school, to be built on Carling Heights at the north-west corner of the farm.

The first sod was turned and the great building started on the 5th May, 1886. Two million bricks were made by the old London firm of Walker, Bros., for the general contractors, Messrs. Hook & Toll and, on Dominion Day, the 1st of July, the foundations were in and all was in readiness for the ceremony of the laying of the cornerstone.

It was a gala day in London, with the camp in full operation, and over 5,000 visitors thronged the streets of the young city.

Sir Adolphe Caron, the Minister of Militia, had come from Ottawa to officially lay the stone, the distinguished visitor and the senior officers attending camp were tendered a banquet at the City Hall and, at its close, the troops which had been on the route march escorted Sir Adolphe and his party, which included Sir John Carling, Mr. A. McKenzie, M.P.P., and Mr. W.R. Meredith, M.P.P., to the decorated platform on the Heights, where Mayor Hodgins read the address of welcome.

With the stone well and truly laid, the official party and the thousands of visitors witnessed a stirring Review of the three thousand men attending camp, and then came one of those old-fashioned sham fights with the opposing forces fighting in plain view of each other.

The plans of the building proved the architect of the day to be one of vision. The frontal section, which commanded a fine view of the camp and the city to the south-west, provided quarters for the Commandant, senior and junior officers, mess and lecture rooms and offices. The east wing contained the N.C.O.'s married quarters, men's dormitories and mess rooms, band and store rooms; while the west wing had married quarters, Sergeants' mess, guard rooms and the station hospital.

In 1867, there came to Canada, as the senior Staff Officer, a brilliant young soldier who, though but 34 years of age, had already seen service in the Crimea, at the Relief of Lucknow and in China, and who, in 1870, was chosen by Ottawa to command the Red River Expedition to the then almost unknown Canadian West, where the rebel Louis Riel headed an uprising to establish a Republic of North-West Canada.

After incredible hardships and difficulties encountered in moving the Force from the head of Lake Superior to the rebel station at Fort Garry (Winnipeg) the uprising was subdued, and a garrison left to prevent further trouble.

In 1882, as a reward for his distinguished service, this young officer was promoted to the rank of General, and raised to the Peerage with the title Baron Wolseley of Cairo and Wolseley.

It was, therefore, most fitting that Ottawa should decide to call the new Military School "Wolseley Barracks," in recognition of the great service which that gallant officer had rendered to Canada during his tour of duty here.

The School was formerly opened on the 31st March, 1888, with Colonel Henry Smith, a veteran of the North-West Rebellion of 1885, as Commandant, and the barracks became headquarters of "D" Company, Royal Infantry (sic). The establishment of the School was six Officers and one hundred N.C.O.'s and men, many of whom were recruited locally; and then started the first courses of instruction.

Space will not permit me to dwell on the glories of the old barracks, which today stand strong, barely showing effects of the sixty years that have passed since the cornerstone was laid, but what a multitude of pictures pass in review before memory's eye — The Royal Canadian Regiment and the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry; the courses attended by officers and N.C.O.'s from all over Canada, many of whom distinguished themselves on the field of battle; the Permanent Force officers of other days, Smith, Dennison, Peters, Young, MacDougall, Hodgins, Shannon, MacDonnell, Carpenter, Gibsone, Uniacke, Eaton, Hill, Hemming, Balders and others; the brilliant dress uniforms of the officers, their dog-carts and horses; the band concerts on the terrace, and the drums on the Square; the stately mess dinners and receptions to Governor-generals, and other eminent Empire citizens; and through the years the thousands of men as the marched away through the arcade to fight for Queen or King and country.

But now the scene is changed: battle dress is the order of the day. No longer are the men going away to war but, instead, the Barrack Square rings to the tramp of returning heroes.

The old motto was "In time of peace, prepare for war," and so will Wolseley Barracks continue to train our young Canadian in the defence of our fair Dominion and those freedoms for which the whole Allied world has fought and must continue to guard.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 9 May 2016 7:27 AM EDT
Thursday, 28 April 2016

London Company of Infantry
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

London Company of Infantry

From the Orders-in-Council documents archives on line by Library and Archives Canada, we find this memorandum on the creation of new Permanent Force units of the Canadian Militia:

On a memorandum dated 28 April 1885 from the Minister of Militia and Defence, representing that the addition of the following Corps to the present Militia Force is of immediate necessity, and recommending that authority be granted for the establishment of:—

One Company of Infantry of 100 men to be stationed at London, Ontario.

Two Companies of Mounted Infantry of seventy-five men each, to be stationed at Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The Minister further recommended that authority be granted for the furnishing of the two Companies of Mounted Infantry, when organized, with 25 horses each; and that this number be increased, if required, so as to provide one horse for each man, whenever the necessity for their use shall arise.

The Committee advise that the requisite authority be granted as recommended by the Minister of Militia and Defence.

John MacDonald.

Countersigned: "Approved," Lansdowne, 4 May 1885

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 16 April 2016 3:11 PM EDT
Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Gets a Fortune
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Gets a Fortune

Private in London, Ont., a Joint Heir to $145,000

Ottawa Citizen, 9 March 1908

London, Ont., March 5.—Unless by some vagary of disposition to remain in his present quarters, the dull routine and everyday discipline of the life of a regular in Wolseley Barracks will speedily come to a close for private Patrick Kirby.

$145000 Cdn in 1908 would be worth over $3 million in 2015

For a year Kirby, who is a young Englishman about 27 years of age, tall, muscular and well put up, with a clean open face, surmounted by a closely cropped head of brown hair, has drilled and dressed and marched and performed the ordinary duties of a common everyday soldier in the piping times of peace, and if he ever had any expectation that his father, a wealthy stationer in Warwick, by his death was to leave him co-heir to $145,000 he never mentioned it to his fellow red-coats, but immediately on receipt of the information that he had fallen into a fortune he made preparations to give the entire regiment a glorious blow out.

J.E. Lowe, a teller in the Dominion bank here, while looking over an old country paper yesterday noticed that owing to the death of their father in Warwick, England, two young brothers, Patrick and Albert Kirby, were the direct heirs to an approximate fortune of $145,000. The thought struck him that as the despatch stated that Patrick Kirby, the younger brother, was missing for over a year he might possibly be at Wolseley Barracks. Consequently, he communicated with Col. McDougall and upon looking up the rolls it was found that a private named Patrick Kirby had been enlisted for nearly a year. He was called into the colonel's office and speedily identified himself as the Patrick Kirby who was heir to a fortune. The news was noised about the barracks, and as Kirby is very popular among his fellow soldiers he was the object of much felicitation, and has made arrangement to entertain the entire regiment to a supper as soon as the first installment comes.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 17 December 2015

Wolseley Barracks Heating Plant
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Wolseley Barracks Heating Plant

Anyone familiar with Wolseley Hall in London, Ontario, the original home of "D" Company of the Canadian Infantry School Corps, is familiar with the two views shown below. The iconic tower in the east wing of the "U" shaped building, formerly a carriageway and now the entry hall for The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum, and the smokestack at the south end of the parade square are well known to generations of soldiers who lived and trained here and to citizens of London.

It's easy to look at a familiar image and think there's nothing new to see. But compare the parade square image above with this one:

Note the smoke stack. Look closely at the postcard image, you will note the appearance of a low wide building at the base of the stack. This is not the image of the Wolseley Barracks parade square you thought you were familiar with.

The original design and construction of Wolseley Barracks included a boiler house set in the centre of the south end of the parade square.

This boiler house provided heat to the building via a steam pipe tunnel to the south wing. When this proved inadequare, additional steam pipes were run directly to the east and west wings. But this was still not sufficient for the frigid depths of Canadian winters. In 1898 a new system was installed, with large boilers in the basement of each wing to provide heat. This latter system also had its problems, including the 1903 explosion of twin boilers under the officers' mess in the south wing, an accident which resulted in the deaths of two soldiers of The Royal Canadian Regiment.

It is unlikely that the colour photos of the postacard were taken in 1898 or earlier, which leads to the question of when, exactly, the boiler house and smokestack were removed from the parade square.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 17 December 2015 12:10 AM EST
Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Constructing Wolseley Hall
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Constructing Wolseley Hall

Wolseley Hall, located in London, Ontario, was the first construction project funded by a Canadian Government in support of the needs of the Dominion's new Permanent Force (now known as the Regular Force). Where all previously existing units of the Permanent Force occupied refitted buildings taken over after the departure of British Army units, the establishment of a new company of the Infantry School Corps in London required new accommodation.

The new infantry barracks was located on Carling Heights, a property acquired from John Carling in a trade with the city for the downtown Victoria Park property that had been the original garrison location. Wolseley Hall was located on the edge of town in 1886, and has since been enveloped by the city's expansion over the past century. The military property was formally titled "Wolseley Barracks" in 1894, after Viscount Lord Wolseley. Originally bounded by Elizabeth, Oxford, and Sterling streets, and by the railway right of way on the south boundary, the property saw a series of building programs over the decades to meet Canada's military needs for the garrison. Retitled Canadian Forces base London and Area Support Unit London, the official Canadian Armed Forces name of the property is again "Wolseley Barracks."

From the Government's Orders-in-Council that can be accessed through the Library and Archives Canada website, we can find the following approval for the original tendering of construction:

Infantry School, London, Ontario – Minister of Public Works recommends accepting tender of Hook and Toll at $76,430 for building (9 April 1886).

On a memorandum dated 9th April 1886, the Minister of Public Works, representing that tenders were invited by public notice for the erection of an Infantry School Building at London, Ont:— the tenders to state separate prices for building the exterior walls of which would be a brick and a half thick according to the plans and specifications, and for one with exterior walls two bricks in thickness with two inch space between—and that in answer to such notice, nineteen tenders have been received, ranging as follows:—

For a building with exterior walls 1 ½ bricks thick, from $73,333 to $133,500 and, for a building with exterior walls 2 bricks thick, from $76,430 to $138,100.

The Minister further represents that the lowest tender in the latter case is that of Messrs Joseph Hook and Peter Toll, of London, who have deposited the required security.

The Minister recommends that authority be granted to accept the tender of Messrs Hook and Toll.

The Committee advise that the requisite authority be granted accordingly."

This memorandum was signed by A. Campbell, and counter-signed with approval by "Lansdowne," The Governor-General, on 13 April, 1886.

But the construction of Wolseley Hall, as with many Government contracts, was not to be completed within the originally allocated budget.

Infantry School London – Minister of Public Works recommends Special Warrant to cover over expenditure (10 January 1887):

"On a memorandum dated 10th January 1887, from the Minister of Public Works representing that Parliament at its last session voted for the fiscal year 1886-87 the sum of $30,000 towards the infantry school in course of erection at London, Ontario, and that the unexpended balance, viz: $16,733.36 of the vote for 1885-86 was carried over for expenditure in 1886-87 and that, thus, the amount rendered available for the present fiscal year, was $46,733.36.

The Minister further represents that the work was proceeded with by the Contractors more expeditiously than was expected, and that a total expenditure of $50,704.35 has been incurred and that over-expenditure has therefore been made to the extent of $3,970.99, or say, $4000.00.

The Minister recommends on the report of his Chief Architect that the further sum of $10,000 is now required to carry on the work, pending a further vote by Parliament, and $4,000 to cover the above mentioned over expenditure, as the necessity is urgent and the Minister of Finance having reported that there is no Parliamentary appropriation from which the same can be defrayed that a Special Warrant of His Excellency the Governor General be issued for the sum of Fourteen thousand dollars ($14,000) a like amount to be placed in the Supplementary estimates to be laid before Parliament at its next session.

The Committee submit the above recommendation for your Excellency's approval."

This request for an advance of further funds to complete Wolseley Hall was signed by Hector-Louis Langevin, and counter-signed for approval by the Governor-General on 12 January 1887.

Wolseley Hall would take a further year to complete construction, opening to house "D" Company of the Infantry School Corps in 1888.

The Infantry School Corps continues to exists today, having evolved to become The Royal Canadian Regiment. Wolseley Hall remains the home of the 4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (a unit of the Canadian Army's Reserve Force), the Regimental Museum of The Royal Canadian Regiment, and other Canadian Armed Forces units and elements at Wolseley Barracks.

Wolseley Hall was designated a National Historic Site in 1963.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 21 August 2015

Brief History of Wolseley Barracks
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

A Brief History of Wolseley Barracks

Canadian Forces Base London
(Undated document, last date in document is 1963. All details are as presented in original and may require confirmation from additional sources.)

1840. — Groups were stationed in what is now Victoria Park. They were quartered in a log barracks named "TECUMSEH" after the famous Indian Chief.

1873. — Tecumseh Log Barracks burned to the ground.


(1)     The City of London traded the present site of Wolseley Barracks and small surrounding area for the Ordnance property in Victoria Park. The area at Oxford and Adelaide Streets was then outside the city limits in the area known as Carling Heights, RCE records indicate that $1.00 was charged in consideration for the exchange of Victoria Park and Carling Heights properties in which 55 acres of land were involved.

(2)     Construction of "A" Block, which as known as the Infantry School Building started, along with the following buildings:

(a)     Stables, which have now been torn down.

(b)     Picquet Hut for guarding the stable and RCE, RCASC Compound and the Infantry School Building which has since been torn down.

(c)     Building "T", which may originally have been built as an RCOC Depot.

(d)     Two million bricks were used in the construction of "A" Block. The bricks were made in close proximity to the barracks site. RCE records indicate that the cost of the Infantry Scbool Building was $77,300.


(1)     The buildings, begun in l886, were completed and the new barracks was then termed "Infantry School London, Ontario" (extracted from old General Orders). The first troops to occuppy the barracks were "D" Company, Infantry School Corps, commanded by Lt.-Col. Henry Smith.

(2)     Service units in the barrack area included Engineers, Service Corps, and Ordnance. Married quarters were provided in the Block.

1889. — An additional 26 acres were purchased from the City of London by the Militia and Defence Ministry. Total cost was $25,000

1894. — The Barracks was renamed "Wolseley Barracks" in honour of Viscount Wolseley.

1914-18. — Litttle change took place in the barracks until the First World War. Some buildings of a semi-temporary nature were constructed, but the majority of the troops were under canvas in the area of Gloucestershire Hall, known as "The Flats." Another building named Tecumseh Barracks was built in this area during the period.

1923. — HQ and "C" Company, RCR, occupted Tecumseh Barracks from 7 Dec 1920 to Apr 1923. This barracks burned down.

1930. — Building "U", near the McMahen St. Gate, was built.

1936. — The Royal School Building was completed at a cost of $36,000.

1938. — The last horses used by RCASC were retired and mechanical transport appeared in Wolseley Barracks.

NOTE: The riding ring for exercising the horses ridden by the Area Commander, the CO and the Adjutant of The RCR, was in the area where the present Victoria building is located.

1939-45. — Many buildings of wartime construction ("H" Huts) sprang up and were used after the war by both tthe Regulars and Militia. They were gradually torn down to make room for new buildings, or as no longer required, until in November 1963 only three or four remained.

1952-57. — The completion of a six million dollar expansion project, which changed the face of the barracks to its present shape. RCE records show a cost of $6,918,974.

(Image from The regimental journal of The RCR.)

Origin of the named used for buildings was from associations of The RCR, rather than from Royalty or Governors-General:

(1)     No. 1 Barrack Block — MacKenzie Building. From Thomas MacKenzie, the first man to enlist in the RCR, 7 Jan 84.

(2)     No. 2 Barrack Block — Wellington Block. Taken from Wellington Barracks, Halifax, which The RCR occupied from 1904 to 1940.

(3)     No. 3 Barrack Block — Stanley Block. Taken from Stanley Barracks, Toronto, which The RCR occupied from 1899 to 1940.

(4)     No. 4 Barrack Block — Tecumseh Block. After the Old Tecumseh Barracks, London, which The RCR occupied from 1920 to 1923.

(5)     No. 5 Barrack Block — St. Jean Block. Taken from the original location of "B" Company, The Infantry Corps School, in 1884 at St. Jean, PQ.

(6)     Lecture Training Building — Glacis Building. Taken from Glacis Barracks, Halifax, which the RCR occupied from 1900 to 1904.

(7)     Gymnasium — Gloucestershire Hall. From the RCR allied regiment of the British Army.

(8)     Adminsitration Building — Victoria Building. From Victoria Barracks, Petawawa; RCR from 1948 to 1954.

(9)     No. 1 Mess Hall — New Fort Hall. Taken from New Fort Barracks, Toronto, The RCR Barracks from 1884 to 1898.

(10)     No. 2 Mess Hall — Prince of Wales. Taken from the Prince of Wales Barracks, Montreal, The RCR Barracks from 1920 to 1924.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 19 January 2020 2:55 PM EST
Friday, 17 April 2015

Wolseley Barracks, 1965
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Wolseley Barracks, 1965

Wolseley Barracks, 1965

This air photo shows Wolseley Barracks as it was in 1965. It is cropped from a much larger compiled air photo of London, provided on line by Matthew Trevithink in his —MTBlog post Zoomify: London, Ontario in 1965.

Those familiar with Wolseley Barracks will recognize the buildings from the 1950s reconstruction of the base, and will observe the remaining older buildings around Wolseley Hall and the Royal School Building and along the west side of the property.

Compare this photo to these other views of Wolseley Barracks:

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 17 April 2015 12:20 AM EDT
Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Wolseley Barracks Will Not Be Closed (1913)
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Wolseley Barracks Will Not Be Closed, Says Department

Story Sent Out From Toronto is Characterized As a Canard — It Was To the Effect That Toronto Will in Future Have Corps Now Stationed at London and Kingston

The London Evening Free Press; London, Ontario, 31 July, 1913
Special to the Free Press

Barracks Remain But Men Might Be Moved

The Free Press, London, Ont., Friday, 1 August 1913

No word has been received at divisional headquarters regarding the report that the permanent force will be removed from Wolseley barracks to Toronto. There is a persistent rumor that the men will be removed on the completion of the new barracks, but no official confirmation can be obtained. Col. Hodgins stated today that he had heard absolutely nothing on the matter, either officially or unofficially.

"It may or may not be true." he said. "I absolutely know nothing about it. The making of Toronto as a center would no doubt reduce the cost of maintenance as there would be one big mess instead of two. The matter is entirely in the hands of the department at Ottawa and I have never had an inkling that a change was contemplated. As far as I am concerned, it may or may not be true."

Ottawa, Ont., July 31.—At the militia department to-day the report that the Wolseley Barracks are to be closed was characterized as wholly unfounded.

According to the story, Wolseley Barracks, which for 25 years has been the home of a permanent military corps in London, was to pass out of existence and the corps removed from the city.

The militia department was said to be planning to move the permanent force from London and Kingston to locate it at Toronto in the interests of economy and efficiency.

A new barracks was to be erected at Long Branch, near Toronto, which would accommodate 1,200 officers and men, the contact for which will be let in a few days. Work on the new barracks was to commence in September, and the cost would be considerably over $1,000,000.

Opening of the Barracks

The rumor recalls to mind many interesting events in connection with the military life of the city of days gone by. The present barracks were first opened in 1888, the order for the erection of the building being issued two years previous, and No. 1 Company, Royal Canadian Infantry was the first to occupy the post. Colonel henry Smith was the first commandant and remained until 1898, being succeeded by Colonel Holmes.

Two million bricks were used in the construction of the building, and they were manufactured within a short distance of the structure.

The present site of Victoria Park was at one time the headquarters of the permanent force, but came into the city's possession by providing the department with the site for Wolseley Barracks, though London had for years previous to this used the old barracks grounds for park purposes. In 1888 R. pritchard and A.B. Powell with Mayor Cowan were appointed trustees for the administration of the lands, and when they relinquished their trust in 1894 their accounts showed that the city had been a considerable gainer by the transaction.

Built by Ex-Ald. Hook

Ex-Ald. Joseph Hook, a well-known contractor of years ago, built the barracks, the cost of which was considerably more than the tender submitted. He lost a considerable sum of money on the contract.

The strength of the regiments stationed at the barracks varied at different times, there being from 25 to 130 men located here.

Up To Strength Now

At the present time the corps is up to the strength required by the department, and consists of between 60 and 70 men. Of late years the barracks has supplied Halifax and other points, which have a permanent force, with trained men. This has caused the number here to be reduced materially.

On account of the permanent force being located here, the city has long been looked upon as a military center, and the high efficiency of the volunteer corps of this city is in a large measure responsible for having trained men here at all times. The officers of the permanent corps are in the same position as the school teachers to the pupils. They are trained to a high efficiency and disseminate their knowledge of the volunteers.

Once Flourished

The citizens have enjoyed the entertainment furnished by the officers and men of Wolseley barracks, which at one time, when it was known as "D" school, had a first-class band, which furnished concerts twice weekly at Victoria Park. The removal of the barracks will not mean that divisional headquarters, with its staff of officers, will go to Toronto. The work of the divisional officers extends over all of Western Ontario, and the permanent corps here is only one small part of the unit under its control and supervision.

Since the advent of Colonel Hodgins as commander of the district there has been a remarkable growth of militarism. The fact that it was possible to organize an army service corps and corps of engineers here is evidence of the efficient work being done.

"I have not heard a word regarding the removal," said Colonel Hodgins to-day. "I notice a dispatch in the papers to that effect. It would make no difference to divisional headquarters."

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 10 August 2014

London, M.D. No. 1, and the Military School; 1895
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

ALTTEXTLondon; The Western Military Centre

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.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Wolseley Barracks; pre-1992
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Wolseley Barracks; pre-1992

This undated site plan shows the buildings of Wolseley Barracks, then known officially as Canadian Forces Base London, some time before the move of the First Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, from London to Petawawa in 1992. Some of the buildings have had their titles and uses change over time; any additional information of corrections are welcome. Any assistance in narrowing the date of this site plan, based on the removal dates of any of the minor buildings, would also be welcome.

Compare this site plan to Wolseley Barracks in the 1950s, 1958, and 2012.

Wolseley Barracks; pre-1992

  • "A" Block – Wolseley Hall, the original Infantry School Building and a National Landmark, now the home of the 1st Hussars, the 4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment and The RCR Museum.
  • "O" BlockRoyal School Building
  • "P" Block – Garage, more recently Unit Transport for Reserve units.
  • "S" Block
  • "T" Block – Originally an Ordnance Stores building, currently used by the City as office space for supported agencies (Neighbourhood Watch, etc.)
  • "U" Block – Stores
  • "V" Block
  • "W" Block
  • "Z" Block
  • 39 – Base Transport
  • 50 – McKenzie Block, originally a barracks, now the HQ building for 31 Canadian Brigade Group and 31 Service Battalion (among other building occupants)
  • 51 – Base Transport
  • 52 – New Fort Hall; soldiers' mess hall
  • 53 – Officers' Quarters
  • 55 – Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Quarters
  • 56 – The Royal Canadian Regiment Home Station Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess; now the Wolseley Barracks Officers' Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess
  • 57 – Glacis Building; training classroom, later the HQ for the London Service Battalion
  • 58 – Victoria Building; headquarters for CFB London and 1RCR
  • 59 – Guard Room; Regimental MPs and cells
  • 60 – St. Christopher Chapel
  • 61 – St. Mark's Chapel
  • 62 – Wolseley Club (Junior Ranks' Mess)
  • 63 – Beaver Hall
  • 64 – Battalion and Company Quartermaster Stores Building (this building burned in 1992, shortly before 1RCR departed from Wolseley Barracks)
  • 65 – Wellington Block; barracks
  • 66 – Stanley Block; barracks
  • 67 – Tecumseh Black; barracks
  • 68 – Prince of Wales Hall; originally a kitchen, later used by Combat Support Company, 1RCR
  • 69 – Battalion Maintenance Building; where broken vehicles got sent to be resurrected
  • 70 – Central Heating Plant
  • 91 – The Garrison officers' mess; more recently the Junior Ranks' Mess and the home of the London Military Family Resource Centre (the latter now in the McKenzie Block)
  • 92 – The Royal Canadian Regiment Home Station Officers' Mess; now the Wolseley Barracks Officers' Mess
  • 93 – HQ and Services' (i.e., Base) Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess
  • 96 – Base Construction Engineers
  • 97 – St. Jean Block; barracks, and the rifle company offices for 1RCR
  • 98 – Gloucestershire Hall; the Base Gymnasium; now the Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre, a municipal facility. 100 – McMahen Street Gatehouse
  • 108/109 – 25-yard ranges

For more on the evolution of Wolseley Barracks, see these posts:

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 14 June 2014 1:55 PM EDT
Thursday, 26 June 2014

Rumours of Wolseley Barracks Closing
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Militia Minister Planning to Close Wolseley Barracks (1908)

All Permanent Forces in Ontario To Be Concentrated at Long Branch, Is Scheme
Means Transfer of Toronto, Kingston Men
Commons Will Be Asked To Approve This Plan At Next Session

The Hon. Sir Frederick W. Borden, KCMG, PC, MD
Minister of Militia and Defence (13 Jul 1896 – 6 Oct 1911)

The London Evening Free Press, 24 January 1908
Special to London Free Press

Toronto, Jan. 24.—It is stated in usually well-informed circles that at the forthcoming session of Parliament the minister of militia will ask for an appropriation to cover the cost of erecting permanent barracks at Long Branch to accommodate all the permanent forces in Ontario.

This will mean that Camp Borden will be abandoned and the air force moved to the Lake Shore site. Wolseley Barracks, London will be closed and the artillery moved from Kingston. The plans also provide for the moving of Stanley Barracks permanent force and Ordnance Corps at the Toronto armouries.

It is learned that a large quantity of special air fighting equipment now lies at Montreal, billed through for Long Branch when the Commons has approved of the minister's plans.

Pin-back button distributed as part of the campaign to prevent the movement of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment from Wolseley Barracks in 1992. The campaign was unsuccessful and the Battalion was relocated to CFB Petawawa where it remains.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 15 June 2014

Wolseley Barracks, circa 1920s
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Wolseley Barracks, circa 1920s

Wolseley Barracks has undergone many changes with construction of buildings as needs arose and the removal of buildings as they became unnecessary or obsolete. While mention of specific buildings by name or purpose can be found in old documents, it's not always easy to place those buildings were plans with matching labels are hard to find.

This plan, a copy of which was photographed at The RCR Museum (original held in the Western University Archives), shows the locations of following named buildings, among others that are no longer extant:

  • The Eire Building (Erie Hospital)
  • The Isolation Wards
  • Tecumseh Barracks

Wolseley Barracks, circa 1920s
Click for larger version without the added labels.

Note that the plan is not to scale, in particular the shortening of Wolseley Hall on the east-west axis. The plan was apparently a drawing locating water lines coming to the buildings.

Compare to the 1922 aerial photo.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 18 May 2014

Wolseley Barracks Site Plan (1937)
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Wolseley Barracks Site Plan (1937)

Wolseley Barracks site plan (partial); 1937

Wolseley Barracks site plan (partial); 1937
(Click image for lage version.)

This site plan of Wolseley Barracks, drawn soon after the completion of the Royal School Building, shows the location of buildings north and east of Wolseley Hall in 1937. Only three of the shown buildings remain, two of which are listed for removel by the Department of National Defence within the next few years.

Click the image at right for a large scan of the original plan, scroll ddown for a labelled version matching the building lists below, and for an image overlaying the site plan on the modern aerial photo.

Designated buildings:

  • A – "A" Block; Wolseley Hall
  • C – Stables
  • D – Vehical (sic) Shed
  • E – Engineers Workshop
  • F – (Unlabelled for purpose.)
  • G – Supply Depot
  • H – Old Guardroom
  • I – Magazine
  • K – Trades Building
  • L – Gymnasium
  • M – Garage

Undesignated buildings:

  • 1 – Engineers Stores
  • 2 – Gasoline Hut
  • 3 – Fire Shed
  • 4 – Royal School Building (which was later designated “O” Block”)

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 May 2014 12:06 AM EDT
Monday, 10 March 2014

Expanding Wolseley Barracks (1940)
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

This aerial photo, dates 1942, shows the new "H-hutments." Source: Western University online aerial photo archive: Western Libraries Map and Data CentreCity of London Aerial Photographs – 1942.

5 Hutments in Program

Building Expansion is Announced by No. 1 Military District

The Windsor Daily Star; 6 December 1940

London, Ont., Sept. 6.—A building program to take care of the expansion of No. 1 District Depot was announced Thursday (i.e., 5 Dec 1940) at district military headquarters. Five large frame hutments to house about 500 troops will be erected in carling heights as soon as materials arrive.

Use of Buildings

Three of the H-shaped buildings will be used as dormitories, another will provide mess hall facilities and the fifth will be used by officers and to house quartermasters’ stores.

At present the district depot personnel is spread from Wolseley Barracks to the Royal School Building and with an overflow under canvas.

Erection of these buildings will release the Royal School building for instructional purposes, for which it was originally built. The gymnasium, which has served as a storeroom for clothing since the start of the war will also be returned to its original use.

Adequate Facilities

With the new set-up the district depot will have adequate facilities for receiving reinforcements, outfitting them and giving them their first training. Proper room for lectures and instruction and recreational facilities will also be available.

Construction of the buildings is under the direction of Lieut.-Col. W.M. Veitch district engineer officer, of the Royal Canadian Engineers.

All work will be done on the day labor basis, with laborers being hired through the local employment office. All materials are purchased through the minister of munitions and supply.

The hutments are to be of the standard northern construction, according to specifications prepared at Ottawa.

Colonel Veitch also states that work on the buildings at militia trainee centres at Kitchener, Woodstock and Chatham is well advanced and up to schedule.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 16 December 2013

Murder at Wolseley Barracks (1908)
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Murder at Wolseley Barracks

Shot his Sergeant
A Drunken Soldier's Crime at Wolseley Barracks, London
Moir Not Yet Captured

Windsor; The Evening Record, 20 Apr 1908

Victim had remonstrated with him for being intoxicated and untidy — Uses rifle and escapes —
Murderer has Revolvers and ammunition with him — Seen near St. Mary's yesterday

London, April 20.— Private Moir, orderly at Wolseley Barracks, who at midnight Friday short and fatally wounded Col.-Sergt. Henry Lloyd of Stratford, has not yet been captured, although he was heard of in the vicinity of Grove Post, and later onn he asked a man for food, but didn't get it. He stayed over night and was seen yesterday on the G.T.R. track near St. Mary's. Detectives set out after him on a hand-car.

He has abandoned his rifle, but has two heavy revolvers. he took a child's peak cap in place of his own military one.

Moir is said to have an ugly disposition. he had been drinking during Good Friday and on returning Lloyd, who was in command of the guard, reprimanded Moir on his condition, and declared that he would be reported to the commanding officer in the morning for being improperly dressed. Moir becamce very argumentative, and somewhat abusive, and Lloyd allowed him to go to his quarters without further protest.

Shortly afterwards a noise like like that of a rifle shot was heard, and Orderly Officer Lieut. Morris came to Sergt Lloyd and asked him who was the last man in. As the shot appeared to come from the hospital section, Lieut Morris asked Lloyd to investigate. He and Morris then went down into the sleeping quarters of the orderlies.

The room was quite dark, but Moir was seen in the corner with a rifle in his hand. Lloyd asked him to lay down the rifle, and he went over towards Moir. the latter raised the rifle. Lloyd saw the movement and jumped towards Moir. There was a report, and Lloyd sank to the floor with a groan.

Morris hurried away to call the guard and Moir escaped.

Moir is an old soldier, so it is said, and was a private in the old Gordon Highlanders. He fought with the regiment through the Boer war. He has also seen service on the frontier.

He always carried firearms and, it is said, would shoot on provocation.

The revolver he carried was an army revolver. Moir also had another revolver which he borrowed from one of the other soldiers.

Moir evidently determined to commit the deed after the reprimand administered by Sergt Lloyd. he took down the rifle and loaded it, with a steel-capped cartridge. he then buckled on a bandelero belt, filled with cartridges from Pte Brady.

“Moir used to drink some, but was not a heavy drinker,” said one of the privates, who was well acquainted with Moir. “He used to be a cordite-eater. That acts like dope, and it used to make him wild at times He was particularly bad when he was drinking, as he seemed to be worse.”

Cordite eating was somewhat common in South Africa, it is said. The men remove the cartridges and eat the powder. It is a powerful stimulant, and acts much like morphine and other drugs of that sort.

Lloyd was about 25 years of age, fair complexion with a light mustache. His home is in Stratford, and he was attached to the 28th Battalion. For several years past he has been taking courses at the barracks.

Murderer Moir is Taken Near Guelph
Private Who Slew Sergt. Lloyd at Wolseley Barracks was Captured on Farm,
Where He had Been Working, After Hard Battle

The Evening Record, 11 May 1908

London, Ont., May 11.— After fighting like a mad beast for fifteen minutes with two powerful men, private William Alexander Moir, adjudged by a jury to have been the slayer of Color-Sergt. Harry Lloyd at Wolseley barracks on the night of Friday, April 17, was snatched from liberty into the arms of the lawat about 6 o'clock Saturday night on the farm of the Robb family, four miles north of Elora, which is thirteen miles northwest of Guelph. Moir's captors were Chief Constable Farrell and Constable Coughlin, of Arthur, a village ten miles north of the capture.

Moir struggled against these strong men for a quarter of an hour, after they had come close enough to him through a ruse that they were trying to buy horses. They, to use their own words “did not want to hurt him,” and they wore him out. Before they did place the steel wristlets on Moir, they were tumbled over a stable floor, kicked at and struggled with by a man whose fury and hated culminated in a final vicious storm that gave him a superhuman strength, which was its own defeat.

He lips flecked with foam, his eyes standing out like bullets, and his hands gnarled out of shape by his struggle, Moir was a horrible looking object when the officers lifted him into a buggy and carried him from the quiet, seldom-visited farm, where he had worked since the night of April 22 as a farm laborer. This was five days after his crime.

In speaking of the capture of Moir Constable Farrell said: “Moir called loudly all through to David Robb to come and help him, but Rodd evidently knew who he was and refused. Then he cursed and actually foamed at the mouth. he was in the vilest mood I have ever seen a man, and if he had been able to get a revolver he would have made short work of us.

“After the three of us had fought all over the floor of the barn and tumbled into the horses' stalls, we were able to get the handcuffs om the man.”

Moir had been working on the Robb farm for $20 a month.

Will Moir be Given Freedom?
Case of Lloyd's Slayer Is to Come Before Minister of Justice

The Toronto World, 30 July 1913

Private William A. Moir of the Canadian regular forces, who was committed to life imprisonment for the murder of Colour-Sergt Lloyd at Wolseley barracks, London, in 1908, and only escaped the gallows by pleading temporary insanity, is credited with having stated recently that he never had an epileptic fit in his life. He is at present confined in the Central Prison as a criminal lunatic.

At the conclusion of his trial he was placed in the Hamilton Asylum, but escaped from that institution, taking a desperate chance one night when a window was negligently left unbarred. Upon recapture he was transferred to the prison where he has been employed in the machine shop.

Liberty Doubtful

Applications recently made to the minister of justice for his release are based on his declaration of sanity and on his consistent good conduct since his commitment to the Central Prison. In view, however, of the circumstances of his crime, which was perpetrated in cold blood, it is not considered likely that the man, who is either a murderer or a lunatic, will be set at liberty.

Negotiations will be opened with the provincial secretary, as prisoners confined in the Central Prison under the designation of criminal lunatics, are under the jurisdiction of the province.

100 Years Ago: Thursday, May 14, 1908

Orangeville Citizen; 14 May 2008

Private W. Moir, who stands accused on fatally shooting Colour Sergeant Lloyd, of Wolseley Barracks, London, on Good Friday. was captured four miles north of Elora on Saturday while working as a farmhand. The capture was made by constables from Arthur after a ten-minute struggle. Moir was armed with a 32 calibre revolver, loaded in five chambers. He says he must have been drunk when he shot Lloyd, as he did not know that he had killed him until he saw it in a Stratford paper on the Monday after. The news of his whereabouts was brought to Arthur by a man named Draper, a stage driver between Arthur and Fergus, who had seen him while passing the place where he was working.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 18 August 2013

Relics of Base London
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Carling Farms, Wolseley Barracks, No. 1 District Depot, Canadian Forces Base London, Area Support Unit London — the property has been known by a variety of names to generations of Canadian soldiers from Southwestern Ontario. Those soldiers lived at worked at "the barracks," it was from here they enlisted, trained, and marched off to Canada's wars, and from which many who were lucky enough to return to Canada were later demobilized to return to civilian life. Others served full, or nearly all of their, careers at Wolseley Barracks, watching the base grow and change with each passing decade.

The last major change to (then) Canadian Forces base London was the sale of half the property after the departure of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (1RCR), in 1992. The old Base Transport grounds is now a major grocery store, and much of what the soldiers who left knew as the "1RCR unit lines" is now a housing development of 125 homes.

And yet, even as the Base perimeter has shrunk, some remnants of previous eras of construction by the Department of National Defence remain.

The Old Stores Building.

Located behind McMahen Park and now serving a variety of uses as office space, the old Military Stores building can be seen on the 1922 aerial photo. This solid structure is a testament to its quality of construction and once marked the south-west corner of the base property.


1RCR Transport

Behind the Stores building is a garage. Once the home of 1RCR's Transport Platoon and the company Transport Sections, it is now a municipal facility operated by the City of London. Much of the parking area once used to store the vehicles of the Battalion is now a skate board park.


The Base Gym

Next we find the Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre, constructed during the late 1950s. Although the running track is now a community garden space, this building will be familiar to many old soldiers under it's previous moniker "the base gym."


1RCR Lines

All of these remaining building are along what was once the south side of the base property. between them and the current base boundary, where much of the 1RCR unit lines used to be, is a housing development of 125 homes. This view is taken from what was once the southwest corner of the parade square westward towards where McMahen Gate sat. Behind the houses on the right is the current base boundary fence.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 18 January 2022 5:20 PM EST
Thursday, 1 August 2013

Wolseley Barracks 2012
Topic: Wolseley Barracks
Wolseley Barracks, 2012 aerial photo (smaller version)

(Click to see a larger version without then overlaid letters.)

Wolseley Barracks, 2012

Thanks to aerial photos provided at the website for the City of London, Ontario, we can see what Wolseley Barracks looked like in 2012. Now 20 years after the departure of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, the base area is at it's smallest since the property was acquired by the Militia Department (now the Department of National Defence) in 1886.

The scars of torn-down buildings visible in the 1998 air photo are all gone, replaced by new construction on both sides of the base perimeter.

The most striking change in the evolution of Wolseley Barracks from Canadian Forces Base London to the Area Support Unit London was the reduction in size. The pre-1994 perimeter is shown in the photo above in red, while the post-1994 perimeter is in blue.

The supermarket at the east side of the old property is now shown; the building is over four times the size of the Base Drill Hall in the south-east corner of the new boundary. The housing development has now completed construction, with the McMahen Street extension providing 125 new homes in central London.

At marker "A," we now see the Regimental Memorial of The Royal Canadian Regiment, in its newest location. It was moved in 2012, southward away from the traffic vibration of Oxford Street, and placed between the ends of the wings of Wolseley Hall, where it can be seen today by any visitors to The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum. The site immediately North has since been prepared for the display of vehicles as part of Museum.

At location "B", we see the new McNeil Building, containing quartermasters' stores, medical, maintenance and supply facilities.

As I write this (26 Jun 2012), construction fencing is going up around some of the Wolseley Barracks buildings, signalling the start of the next round of DND infrastructure reductions as a cost-saving initiative.

See Also:

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 1 August 2013 9:23 AM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

The Regimental Rogue.

Follow The Regimental Rogue on facebook.

« June 2024 »
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Entries by Topic
All topics
Army Rations
Battle Honours
British Army
Canadian Armed Forces
Canadian Army
Canadian Militia
Cold Steel
Cold War
Drill and Training
European Armies
Forays in Fiction
Martial Music
Military Medical
Military Theory
Pay; the Queen's shilling
Sam Hughes
Soldier Slang
Soldiers' Load
Staff Duties
Stolen Valour
Taking Advantage
The Field of Battle
The RCR Museum
US Armed Forces
Vimy Pilgrimage
Wolseley Barracks  «

You are not logged in. Log in
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile