Queen's Birthday, 24th May 1859

From The British Colonist, 30 May 1859

The Celebration of the Anniversary of Her Majesty’s Birthday at Queenborough 

The 24th of May was a day of general rejoicing and festivity in Queenborough, the capital of British Columbia, in honour of the anniversary of Her Majesty’s birth, and what rendered the day so peculiarly interesting was its being the first time Her Majesty’s subjects in this distant part of the world have had an opportunity of expressing their loyalty and devotion to their beloved Sovereign.  The sports and games went off with éclat, amid the applause of a large concourse of people.  The weather lowered opinions at the dawn of the day, but changed towards noon to one of those bright, sunny days, which are so well known in dear old England as “Queen’s days”. 

To the stroke of time, the bugle summoned the troops of the garrison to the place of rendezvous, whilst loud hurrahs followed in their wake, giving to the parade ground of the North Camp, a very animated appearance, which was moreover graced by the attendance of Mrs. Moody, Mrs. Grant, Mrs. Spaulding and others of the fair sex. 

The troops were drawn up in line at 11:30.  A field piece manned by the blue jackets of Her Majesty’s Ship Plumper, which ship, by the way, had been gaily dressed in flags, occupied the extreme right.  The Royal Engineers on the left under the command of Captain Grant.  The Royal Marine Light Infantry on the left under the command of Captain Bazalgette, R.M.L.I., Major Magin having been unfortunately indisposed.  The Lieutenant Governor Colonel Moody, R.E., and staff, having inspected the troops, a Royal Salute of 21 guns was fired at noon, accompanied by a feu-de-joie from the forces.  He then addressed the troops in very feeling and soldier-like terms, after which, the national Anthem was sung by all present in a strain that filled many with emotion. 

At this stage of the proceedings the scene was most telling in effect.  Three cheers were then given for our Most Gracious Queen, when all testified by volumes upon volumes of fervent vociferation how they felt and could pay a tribute to the good Queen of England, and how she reigns in the affections of her people.  It is truly a happy and glorious thing to think of a nation’s loyalty, called forth by something more than lofty station and high descent, rendered to a Queen who has manifested those virtues, attainments and powers which win for her a high place in the hearts of an intelligent and mighty people.  We need hardly add that Colonel Moody was warmly and enthusiastically cheered by the troops and civilians more than once in the course of the day. 

The following is the programme of the sports and amusements as drawn up by Captain Luard, R.E., Lieutenant Sparshott, R.M.L.I., and Dr. Seddall, R.E., : - Foot and hurdle-races, putting shot, throwing the hammer, high and long jumps, tossing the caber, bobbing for treacle rolls, bobbing for “bubs” in water, wrestling and boxing, boat races, etc., etc.  Concluding with a sack race and greasy pole: a Blue Jacket having succeeded in attaining the envied grease crowned crest with little less difficulty than the Argonauts of ancient lore, received a like reward.  The soldier’s wives and children were entertained with tea and cake, kindly provided by Mrs. Moody and the hilarity of the day was much enhanced by a scratch band from the Engineers, Marines and Plumpers.  In the evening the Royal Engineers entertained the garrison and the officers of H.M.S. Plumper at dinner.

From the Diary of Reverend Edward White

Tuesday, 24th May, 1859 - Queen's Birthday.  It was celebrated at the military camp with more order and common sense than I have ever seen before.  A beautiful day.