Did you know? Navy Bay Cairn and RMC

Navy Bay Cairn and Point Frederick

The Navy Bay Cairn, memorializing those who served on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812, is the last of the Boards which make up the Point Frederick War of 1812-15 Self-guided Walking Tour, opened by the Commandant, BGen Al Meinzinger, on 5 September, 2013.

The erection of 12 other Story Boards, illustrating the importance of the Royal Naval Dockyard during the War, marks the completion of a project by the Museum of the College in collaboration with the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes. Funded by a grant from the Heritage Canada 1812 Commemoration Fund, the Tour is designed to attract visitors to the College and completes the stretch of the Kingston Waterfront Trail from Fort Henry to the Lasalle Causeway.

The Memorial Plaque of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada was completed in 1937. Now almost hidden from view by the old Information Booth for Fort Henry, the Cairn was erected facing the foot of Navy Bay, then a short distance away from the water, before the Bay was drained to create the sports fields of today.

What follows is description of the unveiling of the Cairn in 1938, by Captain D.B. Buell (of the College Staff), taken from the June, 1938, copy of the RMC. Review, somewhat amended to highlight points that would have well known at the time:

“On the afternoon of Friday, May 6th, at the foot of Navy Bay, close to No. 2 Highway, there was unveiled a cairn bearing the following inscription:

“PRO PATRIA 1812-1814

In Memory of the officers and seamen of the Royal Navy and Provincial Marine; and the officers and soldiers of the Royal Marines, Royal Newfoundland, Kings 8th, and 100th Regiments, who served on Lake Ontario in Defence of Canada in 1812-14.’

The College was given the privilege of supplying the Guard of Honour. This Guard was composed of No. 2382 Chipman (Chip) Drury, BSM of the Class of 1938, 10 members of the 1st Class, the left half of the 3rd Class and the 4th Class complete, under Captain D.B. Buell, The R.C.R. Detachments of 100 men each from the R.C.H.A. and the R.C. Sigs. were provided, and the R.C.H.A. Band was also in attendance.

Dr. Trotter, president of the Kingston Historical Society, introduced the two speakers, C. H. J. Snider, Esq., noted naval historian, and Brig. H. F. H. Hertzberg*, District Officer Commanding Military District 3 (D.O.C., M.D.3). The R.C.H.A. Band played the Regimental Marches of the British Regular Army Regiments which had garrisoned the forts surrounding the Cairn. These regiments were the 8th Foot, The King’s (Liverpool Regt). and the 100th Foot, then the Prince of Wales’ (County of Dublin) Regt. but later the Prince of Wales’ Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians), whose officers’ mess plate and silver is now in safe keeping at the R.M.C., and has been since the Regiment was disbanded.

Brigadier Hertzberg unveiled the plaque on the Cairn as the Guard of Honour presented arms and the Band played “The King.” Wreaths were placed by the Kingston Historical Society and the Kingston Yacht Club. The parade then marched past the D.O.C. and brought the short ceremony to a close. -D.B.B”

*H2727 MGen H.F.H. Hertzberg, CB, CMG, DSO, MC, was appointed Commandant of RMC in 1940, presided over the closing of the College in 1942, and continued as Commandant until 1944 during the period when RMC was closed as a Cadet College but remained a key training establishment for the Canadian Army. He was succeeded by 1841 Brig D.G. Cunningham, CBE, DSO, ED.

Thanks are offered to Victoria Edwards for her thought for a commemoration of the War of 1812.

Source: Royal Military College Review June1938, page 56

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