Monday, May 11, 2015

Victoria Park's Boer War Monument

There was more than just Holy Roller at Victoria Park to commemorate London Ontario's martial past.

London was the center of the Western Ontario military district, and the park had originally been the site of the British garrison and was a muster point well through the Second World War.

Long before the arrival of the tank, there was a monument placed to honor those who served in the Second Boer War.

Built in 1912, it commemorates London's and Western Ontario's contribution to that war.

The battles the Canadians participated in are listed on the Monument:

As are the local dead:

With Long Lee rifle in hand, the Canadian soldier still stands ready to deliver Rule .303.

The Second Boer War was the first time Canadian troops fought on foreign soil. In 1899, a battalion of volunteers left Canada, the first of 8,300 Canadian troops to participate in the war. The battalion consisted of eight 125-man companies, each raised in a different region. One was from West, three from Ontario and two each from Quebec and the Maritimes. The Battalion would be in action against the Boers at the Battle of Paardeberg less than three months after they arrived in South Africa. Some of them were then badly chewed up with 18 dead and 63 wounded, in Lord Kitchener's ill-advised charge of the Boer position. The Royal Canadian Regiment was then instrumental in forcing the Boer's surrender of the position on February 27, 1900.

In Canada's first foreign war as a Dominion of Great Britain, 282 Canadians were killed or died of disease and 252 were wounded.


Murphy's Law said...

First fighting on foreign soil and ON THE WRONG BLOODY SIDE!

Aaron said...

It was the WINNING side. Not sure if it was the wrong one.

In all seriousness, Canada's participation in the Second Boer War was quite controversial in Canada at the time. There were even riots over it.

It started a national conversation that continued through Vimy Ridge. A pretty interesting bit of political and military history.