Second Corporal

George Hand

George Hand volunteered for service in British Columbia and traveled with the main body of troops on board the Thames City.

"There was short wee Flux and tall Whitmore,
O' rantin' blades some twa three score,
Munro and Digby, Hand and Soar,
Cam, all to join the weddin' O."

-- Part of the song, "Huthlicaut's Weddin'"
by Second Corporal Sinnett - 12th March, 1859, From The Emigrant Soldier's Gazette
and Cape Horn Chronicle.

Hand arrived in British Columbia with the Detachment on the 12th April, 1859.

In the Spring of 1860, the Men of the Detachment petitioned Colonel Moody, that now that the Camp was settled, they would like to bring their wives and sweethearts from England to join them in the Colony.

Names of Men belonging to the Columbia Detachment of Royal Engineers, who have petitioned me to obtain for them such assistance in the transport of their wives, families, etc. as the Government may be willing to afford.  To accompany my letter (No. 2401) to His Excellency the Governor of British Columbia dated 29th March 1860.

Serjt. W. McColl - Mrs. W. McColl; 4 Childen - 8, 6, 4, 2.
New Street, Daventry, Northamptonshire.

Sapper R. Goskirk - Mrs. Goskirk -
Inverleithen, Peableshire, N.B.

Sapper H. Holroyd (enlisted under the name Dransfield) - Mary Anne Holroyd; 2 children - 6, 4.
Clayton Heights, West Bradford, Yorkshire.

Sapper John Laffrey - Catherine May.
Acrise Village, Etham, West Canterbury, Kent.

Sapper W. Franklin - Jane Bingley
22 South St., Thurlor Square, Brompton, London

2nd Corp. Geo. Hand - Sarah Jane Crossland.
Care of E. Norris, Esq., Trafford Old Hall, Old Trafford, Manchester.

2nd Corp. James Flux - Sarah Gill
"The Roebuck", Saint Margarets, Rochester, Kent

--- Colonel Richard C. Moody

The wheels of the Army turned slowly and months later the proper department responded to Colonel Moody.

Emigration Office
14th November 1860


With reference to your letter of the 14th August and 1st October last directing us to provide passages (via Cape Horn) to British Columbia, for the wives and families of the 7 men belonging to the Detachment of Royal Engineers stationed in that Colony, I have to report for the information of the Secretary of State that the "Marcella" in which Vessel passages were engaged as mentioned in Mr. Malcott's letter of the 20th ultimo, sailed on the 12th instant from Gravesend for Vancouver's Island having on board the 3 women and 4 children named in the margin (Sarah J. Crossland, Sarah Gill, Mrs. McColl and her 4 children).

All the women comprised in the list which accompanied your letter of the 14th August last except Mrs. Holroyd (who stated that she preferred to remain where she was a little longer) accepted the offer of a passage when made to them - but subsequently Mrs. Goskirk, Jane Bingley and Catherine May declined to proceed - the first alleging that she had not the means to travel from Scotland to London to join the Vessel, the second that she had been informed that she was to go out as an Emigrant and not as a passenger and the last because she was an Indoor patient at the Dover Hospital with little prospect of recovery.

A passage warrant was sent to Mrs. Goskirk to enable her to reach London without expense - and the nature of the arrangements were explained to Jane Bingley but in neither case with any change in the result.

Bingley and May appear to be young women who were probably going out to be married to the men who sent for them.

The Secretary of State may perhaps deem it advisable to notify to Colonel Moody the sailing of the "Marcella", and the reasons why Catherine May, Mrs. Holroyd, Mrs. Goskirk and Jane Bingley have not proceeded in her.

As the two former gave us notice of their intentions to remain at home, before the preparations for their accomodation on board the ship were completed, we forfeit for their passages, but in the cases of Mrs. Goskirk and Jane Bingley we shall have in justice to the ship owner, to pay the usual forfeit of half the passage money, as their change of mind was not communicated until all the expense of fittings and provisioning had been incurred.

I have the honor to be etc


Hand and Miss Sarah Jane Crossland are finally united in the Colony and marry.

A Second Corporal's Regimental Pay per Diem would have been 1s. 10 3/4d. plus Working Pay per Diem of 1s. to 4s.

On the 4th of October 1863, the Hand's bring their new born, Georgina, to be baptised by Archdeacon Wright at the RE School which also doubled as the "Barracks Church".

The next day, Archdeacon Wright notes in the Chapel Ledger, that Georgina Hand was buried at New Westminster.

Hand then took up with one of his Columbia Detachment comrades, Corporal John Woodcock RE, and took over the blacksmith shop of W. Blackee.  An advertisment appeared in The British Columbian of the 29th October, 1863.

[Late W. Blackee]
New Westminster, B.C.
WOODCOCK & HAND respectfully beg to inform
the inhabitants of New Westminster that they
have taken over the above business, and are now pre-
pared to execute with dispatch all orders with which
they may be favored.
New Westminster, October 29, 1863.

Continuing his association with Woodcock, they both join the newly created Seymour Artillery Company in 1866, eventually becoming Battery Serjeant.

Hand worked as an officer at the New Westminster jail in 1866.

His association with Woodcock also appears in this file at the BC Archives:

"Letters in, from his brother in Scotland, 1865-1867 from John Woodcock who had returned to Birmingham from BC., and from G. Hand, New Westminster, bills, Free Miners' Licence."

--From BC Archives
Papers from intestate estates.
The above specifically comes from
Box 17, Folder 3

According to Frances Woodward, Hand received Crown Grant, 14th March, 1870, for Lot 40, Group 2, New Westminster District, of a 150-acre military grant.