Arthur Reid Lempriere

"The Huguenot" by Sir John Everett Millais

The Huguenot by Sir John Everett Millais

Millais modelled the above young man after Arthur Lempriere, who sat for Millais shortly before he got his 1853 commission in the Royal Engineers.  For the whole story, please click here.

Lempriere, like all Royal Engineer officers, was a Gentleman Cadet at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, where he learned his trade as an engineer, becoming a 2nd Lieutenant on 21 Dec. 1853.

As the preparations for the War which loomed in the East progressed, Lempriere was called to Duty.

Unable to obtain British Troops to furnish contingents of sufficient magnitude for the Crimean Campaign in the East, parliament voted voted the formation of regiments of foreigners to meet the pressure.  Depots for their enrollment were fixed at different places, but the principal station was at Heligoland, as small rocky island in the North Sea.  As however the embodiment could not take place without the means of sheltering the force, the island itself having only accommodation for the native population, Lieutenant A.R. Lempriere of the Engineers, with three sapper carpenters, were sent there in March of 1854, in the steamer "Hamburg".  Towards the end of the month the party landed, and with the assistance of some broad-backed women --the men being too indolent to work-- the huts brought out were carried up the stairs --a stupendous flight exceeding 200 steps formed in the face of the steep cliff-- to the position where the cantonment was to be established.  Hopeless to complete them within the time required, twelve other sappers, mostly carpenters, under Serjeant Goodyear, sailed from Woolwich on the 28th July.  In a few days they were deep in the work.  Rows of huts covered with Croggan's asphalted felt, built in streets, were always ready by the time the troops arrived to occupy them.  It took one hundred and four of these portable houses to accommodate the legion.  Tanks were also built to supply water in case of fire, and an apparatus was erected for distilling sea-water so that it might be used for the domestic purposes of the troops.  When all these services were completed, the sappers no longer needed at Heligoland were shipped for England, landing at Folkstone on the 29th December.  Lieutenant Lempriere remained, as did also Serjeant Goodear, to oversee the native workmen in the formation of roads and in executing repairs to the huts.  At the conclusion of the war they returned home.

The efficiency and usefulness of the party were warmly acknowledged by Colonel Steinbach, commanding the legion.

--The History of the Royal Engineers, 1857.
Pages 150-151

During this operation Lempriere is promoted Lieutenant, 20 June 1854 .

In the late summer of 1858, Lieutenant Lempriere is taken on as one of the two subalterns of the Columbia Detachment.  Lempriere travels to British Columbia with the main party of the Detachment on board "The Thames City".

21-Dec-1997: LEMPRIERE, A.R. (Lieutenant) TRACES
TRACES File: F to L
Canadian Passenger Arrivals & Departures Finding Aid, Pre 1865

LEMPRIERE, A.R. (Lieutenant)           1858  PA-51
LEMPRIERE, A.R. (Lieutenant)           1858  PA-54

Lempriere arrives at Esquimalt, 12 Apr. 1859 and is attached to Captain Grant's service.

Lieutenant A. R. Lempriere duties in the Colony include Commissary Officer and also in  taking charge of the photographic department of the Columbia Detachment.

Monday 25th April 1859 – Commenced a powder magazine on the side of the ravine separating our camp from the Marines.  I was also placed in charge of all the stores and everything relative to the Commissary Department in addition to superintending other works – The photographic equipment was also placed in my charge.

--From Lempriere's Journal

Lempriere's photographic work include making  photographic copies of maps along with documentation of survey and road building work.  The photographic department also took general landscape views and portraits.

New Westminster
November 21st 1859

Prints from Negatives

5 - Harrison Lillooet Route (maps)
2 - Boston Bar Trail (bad)
2 - Lt. Mayne's Map
1 - Indian Burial Ground at Hope
3 - RE camp - New Westminster
1 - RE camp (Duplicate)
1 - Hope (bad)
3 - Douglas
2 - Prints from Leaves

A few prints have been expended in reduction of maps.  A few accompanied Lt. Palmer's report.  Copies of meteorological diagrams have been given away to illustrate the form in which they are kept.  A few other prints have been given away.

Negative Plates:

5 - Reductions of Harrison Lillooet Route
2 - Reductions of Lt. Mayne's Map
3 - Reductions of Meteorological Diagrams
2 - Reduction of New Westminster
3 - Douglas and Harrison Lake
1 - Indian Burial Ground at Hope
4 - Hope and Boston Bar Trail (bad)
4 - RE Camp
1 - Camp garden
1 - Officer's Quarters
1 - Tsimmana with transparancy
1 - Lt. Blake, R. M.
1 - Colonel Moody and Indian
1 - Dr. Seddall, Mr. Brown, R.N.

Sundry unsuccessful attempts at the Mountains near N.W. and a few spoilt plates.  Very few printed.  Captain Lempriere was the only purchaser of a few prints and his money was advanced to him.

Captain R. M. Parsons, RE

As the main body of the Detachment began to build the Camp, Colonel Moody dispatched his officers on reconnaissance missions to survey the surrounding area.  Lempriere  explored the route from Hope to Lytton via the Coquihalla.

Tuesday 3rd May 1859 – Received orders to hold myself in readiness to proceed to Langley.  From there to Fort Hope and then report where a proposed trail to Boston Bar making a reconnaissance of the same: I was then to go on the Lytton and from there to the mountains returning by Fort Yale and making a reconnaissance of the trails on both sides of the river to Fort Hope.  Palmer started with 2 men on an expedition up the country –

--From Lempriere's Journal


Sketch of the Fort Hope to Boston Bar Trail, the map that accompanied Captain Lempriere's report of 24th May 1859
Drawn by C. Sinnett

Click here to see a 600X800 pixel version the above map

As was common with explorers the world over, various points, peaks, rivers and streams were suddenly sprouted the names by their discoverers.

Lempriere Creek, BC, Canada
Chappel Creek Snowmobile Trails, (Local copy)
Of major concern is the integrity of the caribou herd using the drainages of Miledge, Chappell and Lempriere Creeks as a wintering area.

[and in a climbers notebook]
Cariboo Traverse
... From here climb to the south to a high pass (GR 290056). Remaining high, traverse to the southeast, then descend to a small lake at the head of Lempriere Creek (GR 321016).

[placenames lists:]
Serpentine Creek
Flows W into North Thompson River, S of Lempriere
[More Lempriere Creek and Lempriere Station:]
Lempriere Creek
Flows N into North Thompson River, W of junction with Albreda River

The Canadian Northern Pacific Railway laid tracks through the area in 1915 and Lempriere first appears on a map of 1917.  The Lempriere post office was open from 1942 to 1945.  Less than ten cancellation marks are known in collections.  There was a Japanese internment camp here during the Second World War.
[Akrigg 1986] [Topping 1983] [Woodward 1974]

Lempriere Station, from the late 1970s/early 1980s

--photograph by Brian Lempriere

"Many years ago I took a car trip through BC, and having heard from my brother in BC of Lempriere marked on a map, decided to investigate.  I found the Kamloops Fishing Map to give most detail of Lempriere Mountain, Lempriere Creek, and Lempriere Station.  I enquired of the Banff library and was shown the Alpine Climbers Guide which gave details of the Mountain and the Lempriere Post Office.  I snapped the photo, and was horrified to learn from other tourists that the place had gone."

--Brian Lempriere
retired aerospace engineer
February 01, 2005

30-Dec-96 Lempriere Station
Feature type: Railway Point
Province: British Columbia
Location: CNR, S of junction of Albreda & NorthThompson Rivers
Latitude: 52°27'00" N
Longitude: 119°08'00" W
NTS map: 83D/6
Information courtesy of
Place Names in the Canadian Rockies

As for the photograph:

Do you know who holds this photograph?
Let us know so we can give credit where credit is due.

 Thank you.

 On the 20th June 1859, Lempriere is promoted to 2nd Captain, though it does take some time to reach him.

Monday 23rd August 1859 – Heard of my promotion to Captain.  Started in steamer Governor Douglas for Fort Hope where I arrived the following day–

--From Lempriere's Journal

In the meantime, US troops under Captain George Pickett invade San Juan Island and Lempriere is dispatched to the "Seat of War".

31st Sunday July 1859 – HMS Plumper, Captain Richards, unexpectedly arrived at 11 pm while we were all sitting in our map room talking: She brought dispatches from the Governor ordering all the Marines and a Detachment of our men to embark immediately for San Juan which had been occupied by a company of the United States Army: I was told off to join the Expedition in charge of the Detachment of RE’s: The orders then being for us to retake the place immediately.

-- From Lempriere's Journal

New Westminster, 31st July, 1859.

"... As the number of Marines is so few, and as it is not improbable field entrenchments may have to be formed, I have taken on myself to add to the above force (of Royal Marines) Lieutenant Lempriere, R. E., and fourteen non-commissioned officers and men of the Royal Engineers."

-- Colonel Moody

Detachment of Royal Engineers sent to San Juan Island, 1st August 1859:

Lieutenant Lempriere, RE
Serjeant J. Lindsay, RA
Serjeant L. Bonson
Corporal  W. Hall
2nd Corporal A. Monroe
2nd Corporal W. Harvey
Sapper Barnes
Sapper G. Bowen
Sapper Byers
Sapper W. Edwards (2nd)
Sapper Gilchrist
Sapper Kennedy
Sapper Maynard
Sapper Musselwhite
Sapper Soar

1st Monday August 1859  – left New Westminster in Charge of a Detachment of 14 of our men in HMS plumper at 5 am: Unfortunately we ran aground at the mouth of the Fraser river which prevented us getting to San Juan till the following day, when we were transferred to HMS Tribune Captain Hornby with the marines under Major Magin.  The orders for retaking the island we found had been rescinded, and a joint occupation was talked of until the matter might be referred some.  I went ashore with Colonel Moody and Captain Hornby and called upon Captain Pickett who was in command of the U.S. Troops there: He was a very civil but a thorough Yankee – Colonel Hawkins RE was dispatched to England to get instructions from the Home Government relative to the occupation of San Juan by the Americans, the territorial Rights of the Island being in dispute – I remained on board HMS Tribune till the 19th during which time the Americans increased their forces to about 500 men having eight 32-pounders in place on the hill commanding the landing place and 6 field pieces in front of their camp: We were on very good terms with the American officers and visited each other frequently.  On one occasion the 18th I met Colonel Casey, Captain Pickett and Lt Conner of the US Army at dinner at Captain Hornby’s RN.  Griffin who was in charge of the HBC farm was very civil and lent me a horse to ride whenever I wanted one: The land of San Juan is very pretty with plenty of open prairie land –

Victoria, 13th August, 1859


I shall feel obliged by Your Excellency informing me whether it is your intention that the Force now before San Juan shall land.

If such operation is to be deferred, I submit it is desirable that the Detachment of Royal Engineers under Lt. Lempriere return to their duty at New Westminster as early as possible.

I have the honor to be,
Your Excellency's most obedient servant,

Col. Comm.

 19th Friday August 1859 – Left San Juan in HMS Tribune for Victoria; when in the Gulf the Plumper signaled for myself and Detachment to be transferred to her, so I got out of my trip to Victoria.  We were unable to take our baggage, and as soon as we were on board the Plumper she started off to Nanaimo to coal: We got there that evening and left again the following morning for Burrard’s Inlet where we found that Burnaby and his party had been hindered by Indians: However we found them all safe and so continued our course till we got about 10 miles up the inlet when we anchored for the night.

21st Sunday August 1859  – Landed with the men marched from the inlet to our camp at New Westminster a distance of 6 miles though uncommonly rough.

-- From Lempriere's Journal

And so ended "The Pig War" for Lempriere...

As a Lieutenant, Lempriere's Regimental would have been Pay 125 Pounds per Annum plus a Colonial Allowance of 250 Pounds per Annum.

The remaining months are spent on various building projects and more surveys and explorations .

Lt.Lempriere report on Road from Yale to Little Canyon, 16 Sep 1859

- From GR-1180
Originals, 1859, 6 cm

From BC Archives, Textual Records
Call Number GR-1180

As the first Christmas in the Colony nears, the Camp is filled with activity.


We have had a gay time during Christmas here.  Our Lt. Gov. Col. Moody, gave a dinner on Friday last, to which a large party were invited.  On Saturday, many private parties were given in camp, and the Men employed in cutting various trails came into the city; these, joined the Men employed on the wharves, formed themselves into a band, each armed with a candle, and gave a serenade at nearly every home.  A Christmas Carol in a noisy way.  All the inhabitants received them well, with scarcely any exception, and were only too glad to see the bones and sinew of the country enjoying themselves, and received the honor that was done them in the best of spirit, paying all largesse required.  Christmas Day being Sunday, was of course devoted to its proper use, without festivities.  On Monday, the Non-commissioned officers gave a Ball at the theatre, that they have erected by private subscription amongst themselves, which went off very well, to which most of the inhabitants received an invitation, and on Tuesday the festivities were ended by the Officers giving a grand dinner at their Mess-room, to which several ladies received invitations, and every thing passed off pleasantly.

--7th January, 1860
The Weekly British Colonist

Meanwhile, in London, Horse Guards are writing letters about Lempriere...

Horse Guards, 17 January, 1860


Having submitted to the General Commanding in Chief your letter of 14 Inst. transmitting a copy of a letter from the Colonial Office with enclosure (copy) from Governor of British Columbia, in which it is proposed that 2nd Captain Lempriere RE, who is at present serving in that colony under Col. Moody RE, should be recalled (having been promoted to the rank of 2nd Captain) and stating that it will not be necessary to send out another subaltern to replace him, I am directed to acquaint you, for the information of the Secretary of State for War, that His Royal Highness sees no objection to this proposal.

I have, etc.,
C. Yorke

Lempriere, oblivious of the changes about to occur in his position in the Detachment, works on.

New Westminster, 2nd February, 1860

I have the honor to forward for your information a copy of a Report on, and Tracing of, the Fort Hope and Boston Bar Trail furnished to me by Captain Lempriere RE, under whose superintendence the above named Service was carried out during the last year.

I have the honor to be, etc.,

In February of 1860, Lempriere is pleased to be on hand at the arrival of his Uncle to New Westminster.

 21st Tuesday February 1860 – Went down in a boat to meet the steamer and brought up the Colonel and Bishop (George Hills) up to Camp. 

-- from Lempriere's Journal

But Lempriere's time in the Colony was not entirely free of strife.  It appears that on a number of occasions he and Colonel Moody did not see eye-to-eye.

New Westminster, 20th March 1860.
Memo 28

Captain Lempriere is required to report, in writing, what progress has been made in taking the remainder of Stores, ordered by me many months ago - when it was completed it should have been officially reported and laid before me.

RC Moody
Col. Com.

Thursday 22nd March 1860 – Had another row with the Colonel about signing certificates.  He sent Luard to me ordering me to sign them, and I distinctly refused. 

-- From Lempriere's Journal

For whatever reasons, as yet unclear, Lempriere received word that he was to return to England.  His position in the Columbia Detachment was not replaced.

Wednesday 11th April 1860 – The Colonel received an order from London D.O.G. for me to return to England by the first reasonable opportunity, if the Governor had no objections.  I received a letter from Isabella telling me of dear Harriet’s death. 

-- From Lempriere's Journal

New Westminster
11th April 1860


I have the honour to inform you of my having received orders by the last mail for Captain Lempriere, Royal Engineers, to return to England, the concurrance of Your Excellency having been first obtained to this measure.

Captain Lempriere is naturally anxious to be informed of the decision of the Home Government respecting his application for the difference of Colonial Pay between the rates of 350 Pounds and 250 Pounds per annum to be paid to him from the date of his promotion to the rank of Captain, viz. 20th June 1859.

I request Your Excellency's authority to my paying him that difference before he leaves the Colony on the understanding that, should it be disallowed at the Colonial Office in England, he will refund a like amount to the Colonial funds through the Agents, Messeurs Cox and Co.

The valuable services he has rendered to this Colony fully entitle him, as Your Excellency will admit, to this increase.

Awaiting Your Excellency's commands.

I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient,
humble servant,
RC Moody
Co. Commanding

New Westminster
13th April 1860


Referring to my letter W. 272 of the 11th Inst., informing you of Captain Lempriere's recall to England, I have the honor to request your sanction to the Treasurer's advancing me the sum of one hundred Pounds to defray the Expenses of his Passage.

This sum, not being chargeable to the Colony, will be accounted for by Captain Lempriere on his arrival in England to the War Office Authorities, and the matter can then be arranged between then and there at the Colonial Office.

I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient ,
humble servant.

RC Moody
Col. Commanding.

Now that Lempriere is getting ready to leave for England he sets about tying up loose ends.  He writes to Reverend Pringle in Hope.

New Westminster
13th April 1860

My dear Pringle,

You said you would kindly look after my land at Hope and Yale and as I am going off to England in about a fortnight, I should be very much obliged if you would undertake to do so.  I wrote to Serjeant McColl to lay out your 5 acres anyplace along the Boundary Line that you might like - and I have no objection to your giving away another 5 acres a little distance from yours to any good man on conditions that he cultivate it.  I don't wish any of the land sold.

Let me learn if I can be of any service to you in England.  My address there will be


I suppose Mrs. Pringle will have started before I get there.  I send these few hurried lines
Believe me,
Very very sincerely,

A.R. Lempriere

Is there any chance of your coming down river?  I will give you a good shake down.

New Westminster
27th April, 1860

My dear Pringle,

I think the best thing to do with regard to my land in Hope, would be to cut a trail about 6 feet wide along the Boundary Line just to the Fraser River and the Coquohalla and when the country goes ahead to let the land in 5 acre lots.  In such periods as you may think advisable.

I should be glad if you would [?] the title deeds to your 5 acres, paying for the same out of 30 Pounds which I send you, 5 pounds of which I wish to go towards the Bridge or exploration of routes and the balance to the cutting of the trail along the Boundary Line.

Should you know of any good man I think it would not be a bad place to give away and the 5 acres on conditions of occupation and cultivation with a [?], giving him his title deeds when he has built a hut not less than 20' x 20' and 2 1/2 acres under cultivation.

I also promised another 5 acres for the Church which I should be glad if you would select.

With regard to the Suburban lot at Yale, Lot 1 Block 1, I should feel obliged if you would do whatever you think best, I don't think it is likely to be of much value for the next 5 or 6 years.

I shall leave the Title Deeds and Power of Attorney ( for you to act for me) in your hands.

Whenever you write to me with the address

Captain A.R. Lempriere, RE

it will be forwarded to me.

Thanking you very much for all your kindness,
Believe me,
Yours very sincerely,

A.R. Lempriere.

New Westminster
30th May 1860


I have the honor to inform you that Captain Lempriere RE proceeds this day to Victoria "en route" to England, not having received any definite answer from His Excellency the Governor to my letter W. 276 of the 13th Last respecting an Advance of the sum of one hundred Pounds for the pay amount of his Passage, I am reluctant to make such an Advance myself without special due authority.  I have therefore to request that you will in the absence of His Excellency, facilitate Captain Lempriere's movements as far as is in your power.

I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient,
humble Servant,

RC Moody
Col. Commanding

To Acting Colonial Secretary WDGosset

Saturday 9th June 1860 – left Esquimalt, Vancouver’s Island in steamer “Panama” for San Francisco.

-- From Lempriere's Journal

  Captain - 3 Aug. 1866
  Major - 5 July 1872
  Lieutenant-Colonel - 1 Oct. 1877
  Colonel - 1 Oct. 1881
  Major-General - 1 Oct. 1882
  Retired - 1 Oct. 1882


RE Stonemasons at work in either Weymouth or Portland, c 1860


SIR PETER ARTHUR HALKETT, the 10th and last Baronet of Pitfirrane was born 1st May 1834, and served in the 81st Regiment but later exchanged into the Black Watch for the Crimean War, and then to the 3rd Light Dragoons.  He married, 6th May 1856, his cousin Elizabeth Ann Hill and had one son and five daughters.  His son Wedderburn Conway Halkett was born 1st February 1857 and served as Captain in the 79th Highlanders but died of an illness contracted while on the Nile Expedition on 23rd August 1885.  He had married Jessie Elizabeth Lempriere, daughter of Colonel Arthur Lempriere, Royal Engineers, and had one son Arthur Wedderburn Halkett who died at Gibraltar October 1886 aged four years.

It appears that Lempriere did not get rid of that piece of land near Yale.

Assessment of taxes - 1885-1886, Major-General Arthur Lemprière

- From GR-0256
Originals, 1858-1889, 6.5 cm

From BC Archives Textual Records
Call Number GR-0256


My connection to AR, as he is sometimes referred to, is a fairly distant cousin.  We both descend from the Lempriere family in Jersey in the Channel Isles.  The family split into 3 branches in the 1600's, commonly called the Rozel, the Trinity, and the St John's branches, after the parishes where the ancestors settled.  I am from the 15th generation after the split, in the Trinity branch, and AR was about 10th from the Rozel.  [The] complete family tree is in The Jersey Armorial, which is hard to find.

AR married three times:

first to: Anne Hawksham Gardner, with one daughter Jesse who married Wedderburn Halkett
then to: Ellen Hay with four daughters
and lastly to: Agnes Henrietta Reid with no issue.

I have no dates on these things.

--Brian Lempriere
retired aerospace engineer
February 01, 2005

[Thank you, Brian.]