Sapper
William A. Franklin

Sapper Franklin traveled with the main body of the Columbia Detachment on board the Thames City.

As a Sapper Franklin's Regimental Pay per Diem would have been 1s. 2 1/2d. plus Working Pay per Diem of 1s. to 4s.

Meade took up the challenge, made by Captain Luard, to have amateur theatricals on board - and did so, in drag.

Theatre Royal, "Thames City"
GREAT ATTRACTION!

The manager of the above Theatre has the honor to announce to the inhabitants of this "City" that he has, with considerable difficulty and immense expense, succeeded in securing the valuable services of the following histrionic artists, viz:

Charles Sinnett, Charles Derham, James Turnbull, George Eaton, Henry J. Benney, James H. Elliot, John Meade, William A. Franklin, James Digby, James B Launders

The Theatre has undergone considerable alterations, and every attention has been paid to the comfort and convenience of the audience.  The Scenery, Dresses and Properties are entirely new, and of a first class description.  On Wednesday, the 24th inst., will be produced for the first time at this Theatre that laughable and interesting Farce by G. Almar, entitled,

"CROSSING THE LINE"

or "Crowded House"

"Wouverman Von Broom", (A Boat Builder), C. Derham
"Wouter Von Broom", (A Pilot), C. Sinnett
"Bluffenburg", (A Workman), G. Eaton
"Caukenburg", (A Sailor), J.H.Elliot
"Von Brent", (A Lawyer), J. Turnbull
"Estelle de Burgh", (Ward of Wouverman), H.J.Benney
"Pomona Vondertviller", (An Oyster Girl), J. Meade

Leader of Orchestra - William Haynes

During the evening several Songs and Dances will be introduced.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m., performance to commence at 7 o'clock precisely.

Alfred R. Howse, Manager.

--20th November, 1858
From The Emigrant Soldier's Gazette and Cape Horn Chronicle.

It appears that Franklin, though not in the play was part of the evening's performance and made an impression on two old members of the Detachment even in 1909.

"Yes, Hughie, wasn't Franklin funny when he sang 'My Pretty Maid,' when one side of him was the maid and the other the man...?"

-- REMINISCENT OF PIONEERS, Daily Columbian,
Wednesday, October 13th, 1909

 Franklin landed in British Columbia on the 12th April 1859.

As it appears that Franklin worked as a printer in New Westminster AFTER 1863, it is probable that he also worked as one in the RE Printing Office in the Camp from 1859 to 1863.

Franklin remained in the Colony when the Detachment was disbanded in 1863.

During the dry Summer of 1864,  disaster struck Franklin.

Wednesday 1st June 1864 - The British Columbian

A Conflagration - Owing to the extreme dryness of the weather and the high winds which prevailed during yesterday the fire spread at a fearful rate amongst the lying timber in the rear of this city, and the town was at one period considered in imminent danger.  Several unimportant buildings in the suburban plot, together with fences and gardenstuffs, were destroyed, and the two mills immediately below the city were saved with much difficulty.  But the chief damage was done at Sapperton, the north-eastern suburbs, where, we regret to say, four dwellings were consumed, viz., Mr. Bruce's, Mr. Franklin's, Mr. Gilchrist's and Mr. Edwards'.  Many other buildings in that locality were in great danger, but were saved through the most praiseworthy exertions of the redoubtable Hyacks, assisted by valuable volunteer aid.  This fire must have destroyed a considerable amount of property and shows the necessity of having all the lying timber adjacent to the city burned off as soon as possible.  The Hyacks had a hard day of it.  They were at work at Webster and Co.'s mill when the summons came for them to go to the Camp.  We have, unhappily, of late had two striking illustrations of the efficiency and value of the Fire Department, and we trust that in future every reasonable facility will afforded them in order to keep up an organization so indispensable to the safety of property.

Saturday 4th June 1864 - The British Colonist

Having been personally engaged up to a late hour on Tuesday in repelling the advance of the flames upon the property in the rear of the city, we were unable to give anything beyond the very meagre notice which appeared in our last issue of Wednesday.  In that notice we gave the names of four who were burned out at Sapperton.  We are happy to learn subsequently that only three of the four were really victims, viz., Franklin, who lost his house and a great part of his effects; Bruce, who lost every article he possessed in the world; Gilchrist, who lost his house and a portion of his effects.  This last case was rendered perhaps more distressing from the circumstances of Gilchrist having been absent upon the Bute Inlet Expedition, from which he only returned to find a heap of smouldering ashes where he left a comfortable house and happy family.  There were instances of heroic bravery, too, which ought to be noticed in connection with the Sapperton fire.  We learn that almost superhuman exertions were made in order to check the fire, and no better evidence of this is needed than the fact that Colston's house is now standing.  The Hon. Colonial Secretary, Mr. J.T. Scott, Mr. C. Good, Mr. Howse, Mr. Deasy, Mr. Argyle, Mr. Green and Mr. Ede, have all been mentioned to us as having exerted themselves in the most praiseworthy and sometimes daring manner in order to save both life and property.  The damage done to fences and garden stuffs must be very considerable, as we are informed that every piece of fencing in Sapperton was either burned or torn down to save it from being burned.  The roads in that neighbourhood also suffered more or less injury.  On the Pitt river road 234 feet of the roadway which was constructed of cedar logs covered with earth and gravel, was burned, while on the North or Burrard road, three of the bridges are more or less injured.  In the rear of the city the house of Mr. Benney was destroyed, and back about 2 miles on the Douglas street road Mr. Bennet was burned out, while some three miles down the river Mr. Martin's buildings were destroyed together with most of the household stuff.

In the north-western suburbs considerable damage has been done in the destruction of fencing and garden stuff.  There is an old saying that nothing is so bad but it might be worse; and notwithstanding all these losses and misfortunes a general feeling of thankfulness ought to pervade the community on account of the smallness of the aggregate loss; and that feeling should find practical expression in assisting as far as our circumstances will allow, the few who have lost their all.

In 1865, Franklin joined the newly formed New Westminster Rifle Corps and was a member of the shooting team.

An 1865 Rifle Match between the NWVRC
and
an
as-of-yet unidentified Royal Navy Vessel

NWVRC Members standing from Left to Right:

Ensign A.T. Bushby (seated); Captain C.J. Prichard; Lt. A. N. Birch; Ensign R. Wolfenden (late RE); J. C. Brown (late RE); C. Good; I. Fisher; J. T. Scott; G. Williams (late RE); W. A. Franklin (late RE); J. Butler; Joseph Burr (great grandfather of actor Ramond Burr).

Honourary Colonel, Governor Seymour (on horseback).

Photograph courtesy of New Westminster Historical Photo Database
 Accession Number 330

(Though their identification of the above photo differs from ours.)

According to Frances Woodward, Franklin worked as a printer in the Government Printing Office, New Westminster and Victoria until 1876.

 In 1877,  Franklin worked as an expressman.

From at least 1887 until his death (between Nov 1900 and Nov 1907) a "landing waiter customs".