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Esquimalt Naval Base Key to Defence

Type: Document

Rather than build costly fortifications to defend its new colony of British Columbia, the British government decided to rely on the Royal Navy. Beginning in 1858, a large naval base was built at Esquimalt. With shore facilities and a coal depot, it served the Navy's Pacific Squadron.

Site: National Defence

Royal Engineers Build BC Infrastructure

Type: Document

British Columbia received a detachment of Royal Engineers in 1858 to help build infrastructure for the new colony. They supervised building of the Cariboo Road, which opened up the interior to colonization, and also founded the town of New Westminster.

Site: National Defence

A Very Mixed Organization

Type: Document

Before 1854, the British army was governed by a complex series of overlapping bodies. Horse Guards (army headquarters) controlled most troops, but the civil Treasury ministry handled supplies, transportation and (in Canada) barracks through the Commissariat Department.

Site: National Defence

The Board of Ordnance - a Separate Fiefdom

Type: Document

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Board of Ordnance was a separate government department. It supplied weapons and ammunition to the army and Royal Navy, and built fortifications and all other military buildings. It was also responsible for the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers.

Site: National Defence