of British Columbia usually treat the deeds of the Royal Engineers with awe.
And the accomplishments of these soldiers, both in engineering and in
public service, were indeed remarkable. Yet
often the Engineers themselves are portrayed as Victorian-era supermen, a
"Noble band of British
Heroes” transforming the wilderness, as shown in the Rex Woods painting
An examination of the letters and
journals of the Engineers puts a human face on these heroes.
Officers squabbled amongst themselves, enlisted men drank and deserted,
and the work was plagued by accidents, often fatal. What follows is a glimpse into the daily lives of the
soldiers and their families -- the real people behind the legend. The photograph
below should be self-explanatory.
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