New Westminster Volunteer Rifle Corps
An 1865 Rifle Match between the NWVRC
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 Raymond 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.)

  ...A brief History...

20 November
New Westminster Volunteer Rifle Corps formed, 73 all ranks.  
First active service, an operation with B.C. Police to suppress an Indian uprising in Chilcotin, and arresting murderers.
Seymour Artillery Company, Artillery Volunteer Corps formed, due to threats from U.S.A. from Fenian groups.
Two bronze Field Howitzers, rifles, and other equipment sent from England, arrived by H.M.S. "SPARROWHAWK" September 15th, 1867.
1866 First drill shed built for the Volunteers, who also had the use of a brick and stone magazine left by the Engineers.  These buildings were kept up by the Volunteers, who also paid for their uniforms and were unpaid.  The Government supplied rifles and ammunition only.
1867 New Westminster Rifle Company formed  
16 October
British Columbia joined Canada, and was designated Military District No. 11.  All units absorbed into the Canadian Militia, but there was little assistance from the Federal Government for many years.
13 February
New Westminster Volunteer Rifles designated as No. I Company of Rifles in Military District No. 11.
(No 2 Company being the Victoria corps.)
  The Seymour Company became the Seymour Battery of Garrison Artillery (No. 3 Battery) with no garrison type guns.
18?? New Westminster Battery of Garrison Artillery formed
12 October
All Militia units in B.C. were formed into the British Columbia Provisional Regiment of Garrison Artillery, with No. 1 Company in New Westminster, and Nos. 2, 3, and 4 in Victoria.  The New Westminster Rifles and the Victoria Rifles became Artillery units on paper, but there is little evidence that the New Westminster unit changed from its Rifle status for some years.

Sources: Regiments. Org: Land Forces of Britian, The Empire, and Commonwealth
A Chronology (1863 - 1992)

One hundred and twenty years ago today, Sept. 29, 1882, (a Friday in 1882), New Westminster was excited about the impending arrival of two very special visitors.

An announcement the preceding Wednesday confirmed their arrival: "Victoria: Announce that His Excellency, the Governor General, will be accompanied by Her Royal Highness, the Princess Louise, on his visit to New Westminster."

This visit was a major occasion for the province and the communities visited.

New Westminster was not only visited, but the couple would spend the night in the Royal City.  The great interest in this visit was caused, not so much by the Marquis of Lorne, the governor general, as by his wife, the daughter of Queen Victoria.

The couple arrived on the steamer, Alexander, a sidewheel steamer lent for the occasion by Robert Dunsmuir.

Just downstream from the city the ship was met with a large flotilla of Native canoes, decked out with flags.

They broke into two groups with the ship sailing through the middle and a feu de joie was fired during the passage.

At the same time, the Seymour Artillery began firing a royal salute.  At the dock, the mayor and council met the vessel with the New Westminster Rifles providing a guard of honour.

The entire party then moved to carriages waiting on Front Street, then up Begbie Street to Columbia, and along to Albert Crescent.

The street was fully decorated with "evergreens, wreaths, mottoes, flags, etc." and two celebratory arches had been erected.

The first was mid-block and was referred to as a "piscatorial arch" as it was built from fish boxes and cans and was festooned with fresh salmon and a sturgeon.  The visiting couple apparently stopped their coach to examine this archway more carefully.

The second arch, further along the street, near the home of the mayor, Dr. Loftus McInnes, was a display of Chinook mottoes (a trade language used extensively and to good result throughout the province).

Two mottoes were: "Klahowya Queen's Papoose" (Welcome Queen's Daughter) and "Nesika util tum-tum Copa Mesika" (Our hearts are glad to see you).

There were crowds of people, flowers for the princess, speeches, the National Anthem from the girls of St. Ann's Academy, inspection of the guard of honour, canoe, rowboat and fishing skiff races, music by the Excelsior Band and a pipe band, a "torchlight procession and illumination" on the river, and an overnight stay for the couple with Bishop Sillitoe and his wife Violet, at St. Mary's Mount, near St. Mary the Virgin Church.

These were a very full couple of days, but by all accounts, the governor general and Princess Louise thoroughly enjoyed themselves in our city.

--Our Past: Beginning 125 years of History
by Archie and Dale Miller
Royal City Record
Sept 29, 2002