Fort Colville, 1861

Charles John Darrah


Victoria, 1862

   (Jan. 6, 1860, Semiahmoo) Darrah heard of his promotion a week ago, and our fellows at Victoria providentially sent up a dozen of champagne for us to drink to it… He has only been 5½ years a subaltern, so he has been extremely lucky. He is a very nice fellow and we got on very well together.

--Lt. Anderson, Observations of the Boundary Commission


" In Victoria I used to get up about 9, read the newspapers, take a few solar observations with a Sextant till 12, have luncheon, and ride up to town about 2, lounge about the town paying visits and shopping till 3, then go for a ride till 4:39, get home about 5:30, have dinner at 6, cup of tea at 7:30, rubber of whist (for love) till 11, and then turn in and that was our ordinary employment.  We used to be overrun at various portions of the day by naval officers coming on shore for fun, and in the evening we used sometimes to have as many as a dozen at a time in our Mess-room, and we were all great friends with them."

-- 27 May 1860, Lt. Anderson RE

Darrah, like all Royal Engineer  officers, was a Gentleman Cadet at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, where he learned his trade as a Royal Engineer Officer.  Upon completion he received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant on 14 August 1854

Lieutenant -  14 Aug. 1854

Young Lieutenant Darrah soon found himself in the Seige of Sebastopol.

"In 1855, during the Seige of Sebastopol, Lt Darrah was the officer on duty commanding the Right attack of the seige with Captain Browne and 40 Men on the Day shift of the 13th of June. Later, on the Night of the 15th of June, Lt. Darrah was once again in the trench line with Captain Browne and a detachment of 40 men. Each Detachment spent 17 hours in the line."
- -History of the Royal Sappers and Miners : from the formation of the corps in March 1772 to the date when its designation was changed to that of Royal Engineers in October 1856. Pg. 335


Seeing a collection of gabions idle, some French soldiers of the 20th and 27th regiments of the line, carried off about a hundred from the store and broke them up for firewood. Private Calderwod in charge of them, failing to make his bad French understood, remonstrated with the  depredators by an  extravagant display of gesture and grimace. The allies were humorous and treated the appeal of the irate sapper with more risibility than was agreeable. Lieutenant Darrah of the engineers appearing, he spoke of the abstraction to one of their officers, telling him the gabions were British property; and as if to add weight to his assertion, pointed out the un-arms soldier who had charge of them. Without attempting to excuse the appropriation, the French officer shrugged his shoulders, merely observed, that as the sapper had no carbine to show the nature of his authority, he could not be regarded as a sentinel; and so the gabions were borne away to cook French soup!"
- History of the Royal Sappers and Miners : from the formation of the corps in March 1772 to the date when its designation was changed to that of Royal Engineers in October 1856. Pg. 375

2nd Captain  - 28 Nov. 1859
Captain - 12 March 1867
Army Major - 15 Aug. 1868

Astronomer with British North American Boundary Commission, 1858 - 1862.
 Darrah (seated in tent with theodolite) and Haig (standing) at Yahk River station

War Service:

Crimean War - 1855
Received Crimean Campaign medal with Sebastopol bar
Received Turkish Crimean Campaign medal

Abyssinia - 1868
Received Abyssinian Campaign medal

A railway bridge constructed by the Royal Engineers similar to the one Darrah helped build in Abyssinia.

Died at Kirkee, Bombay, India, 21 June 1871