Talk:Royal Engineers, Columbia Detachment

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lots of euphemisms[edit]

words like "settlement" and "maintaining order" could have various meanings. are we saying that this group helped remove indigenous peoples from the area? Michaeljwsiegel 02:31, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Not really, that's what smallpox is for. The role Moody's men played in settlement was in choosing townsites, surveying (to allow for land sales by the colonial gov't), and building infrastructure (roads and buildings). It's true that they were aiding European settlement, but they weren't a band of indian fighters... that kind of open hostility against first nations people wasn't (much, as far as I know) a part of BC history. Not that racist policy didn't exist in British North America or BC, but it was a bit more subtle than that.

As for "maintaining order", this refers to their duties to act as a police force in BC. If it's a euphemisism, it should be read as "dealing with rowdy Americans" (see McGowan's War). At that time, the population of BC was more American than British; a lot of American prospectors were up from California for the next Gold Rush. The Royal Engineers were tasked with ensuring that British law was enforced and establishing Columbia as a British possession. Stevecudmore 15:51, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

There were various intances in which the REs mediated between native groups/individuals, or between natives and whites, or between Americans and others; the only time a show of force vs potential "group problems" was needed was McGowan's War, but that was a wet firecracker anyway and was "over" by the time the REs, marines and assigned high officials arrived in Yale. Almost all other instances of police activity I can recall were individual in nature, and didn't necessarily involve Americans.....only occasionally do I recall actual arrests or transport of prisoners; those were usually by constables or deputies of the colonial police; many magistrates were native chiefs, also, within their communities...I can't remember but it seems likely the RE were in the forces sent to Puntzi Lake during the Chilcotin War but I can't rmeember if they were with the Cariboo contingent or with the Governor and the marines who came in from Bute Inlet......btw attn Steve, I see you're a student, there's two papers I recommend, both UBC theses, one recent the other from the '30s or '40s - Dan Marshall's item which youl'l find in the Fraser Canyon War references - which explains the trinary nature of the Californian contingent (which had a plurality of Americans, but also equally large chunks of Europeans and Britons/imperials, many of them "Californianized" after ten years there....); and Development of Communications in Early British Columbia, which I recall as an M.A. Thesis in Geography from maybe the 1930s, or the '40s. both are in the UBC holdings, if that's where you are, or can be ordered through interlibrary loans. The latter paper gets into the details of the RE's work on the Cariboo Road and the rebuilding of the Lillooet Trail and related projects (can't remember if they were involved in the building of the Dewdney Trail....). Both of those papers are eye-openers and it's a pity that they're not available to the public in print, in lieu of all the ideologically-framed cant that passes for historiography these days (and which often doesn't even get teh facts right, as earlier works seem to do so well - which is maybe why modern historians diss them so much, as t he facts are inconvenient to "rewritten history"). BTW the RE hired Indian labour in preference to Chinese; though the Indians cost more (as much as whites, or more); partly as a diplomatic "let us build this and we'll hire your people" and for other reaons I've now forgotten; mentioned in a source somewhere. Also, they had a major campa at Lillooet for about e years starting in 1860; one of the early images of Lillooet, showign a tent town, is essentially an image of their camp; the commander's tent with regimental flag is visible in teh skecth, I'll dig it up, it's in BC Archives....btw the bit about surveying New West being the foundation fo settlemetn in the Fraser Valley is a bit of a non' sequitur - more relevant is that they exablished the township-and-range system, and alos the land districts....15:22, 27 October 2008 (UTC)Skookum1 (talk)

Cap Badge[edit]

I fail to see what a badge bearing the St. Edward's Pattern Crown, adopted in 1952, has to do with this article? 20:36, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Nove/rename - capitalization![edit]

The title should be Royal Engineers, Columbia Detachment. It's always capitalized in print that way, and looks odd without it; it's a proper name/title, not a generality. Also somewhat wondering about the use of British spelling here - "Organisation" - certainly appropriate for British military units, but looks strange on what is mostly a Candian history article; colonial-era publications in BC seem to use the -ize spelling for words like this; haven't looked at Moody's or Palmer's writings in a while, maybe that would beh arbiter.....Skookum1 (talk) 15:07, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Fluffy history[edit]

Usually I complain about fuzzy history, here I'll describe it as fluffy history.....I'll spend somde time on this later this week, McGowan's war is mis-condensed/mis-portrayed likewise the founding of New Westminster; to my knowledge the Kingsway Route - Westminster Road - was not built until after the RE role was decommissioned; individauls who had been in the detachment may have helped with that survey, but the road in that direction the RE did ahve something to do with was Douglas Road, which exists now only in fits and starts through Burnaby and ran to New Brighton/Hastings, near the 2nd Narrows. There was no reason to build the WEstminster Road through the tea swamp (roughly Fraser & Kingsway and SE of there) until 1880 or so....the stuff about the Pre-Emption Act adn teh government reserves/military reserves is typical Barmanesque obfuscation/ignorance - the Pre-Emption Act had to be repealed because of conflicts of interest involving everybody military from Moody to Admiral Baynes to Bobby Burnaby and Mr. Moberley; the government reserves were let stand, as they were on strategic locations; but the military brass' effort to appropriate all other land in the region for themselves was overturned because of uproar from the public in the Island Colony's capital about the "military clique"; it was in fact BC's first scandal, of so many......I'll insert stuff about the original survey of Derby/Old Fort Langley and how/why it was Moody recommended the building of new Westminster; their role in the both the Cariboo Wagon Road and the re-building of the other Douglas Road, aka the Lillooet Trail/Lakes Route, involves quite a bit of material. In general, the terms of reference and descriptions in the Dictionary of Cdn Biography Online are always specious and full of gaffes; Barman even moreso......Skookum1 (talk) 15:07, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

History of Vancouver cat - removed[edit]

I felt compelled to remove that cat as the Columbia Detachment was disbanded by the time anything like Vancouver came into existence; I'm not sure one of them even set foot in Gastown, in fact...maybe visited McLeery's Farm and Moodyville, but a trip to seedy, drunken Gastown might have cost an RE standing with his commander :-D I do understand that the Vancouver cats in some cases are meant to mean "Vancouver" in the "Metro Vancouver" sense, but it just looks odd to use this catname on communities asnd organizations that are older than the city of Vancouver proper.....there are not enough articles yet to warrant Category:History of New Westminster although one day there should be enough articles to warrant that category...for now it was just wrong-lookign, and Category:History of British Columbia is more than adequate since they were so much more involved throughout the Colony than just in what later (and later only) became its largest city.Skookum1 (talk) 15:13, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Geographic legacy[edit]

Aside from Port Moody, there are a number of toponyms in BC named for members of the RECD, e.g. Henry Whitmore (Royal Engineer) (or dab per the 15th Hussars?) per the Whitmore Islands (west of Aristazabal Island). I guess I might as well make the article, the island-group is part of an ecological reserve with the Moore Islands and McKenny Islands, which were named for a John McKenney, also of the REDC. Moore Islands I'd made because Gander Island Indian Reserve No. 14 of the Hartley Bay Indian Band is there. Category:Places named for Royal Engineers in British Columbia or something like that seems like a possible good idea; and/or list thereof. True also with Category:Royal Navy-related names in British Columbia.Skookum1 (talk) 14:36, 16 May 2014 (UTC)