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Cross of Valour Recipients

Canada’s Cross of Valour Recipients

from the Govenor General’s listings

The Cross of Valour was created on May 1, 1972.  It is only awarded for acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril. Posthumous (after death) awards may be made. All Canadian citizens, both civilians and members of the Canadian Forces, are eligible for the award. The Cross of Valour was created to replace Order of Canada’s Medal of Courage, which had never been awarded since its creation in 1967. Before 1967 Canadians received the George Cross.  There were ten George Crosses awarded in Canada: eight military, one merchant navy, and one civilian.

Persons who are not Canadian Citizens may receive this award if they perform an act of bravery in Canada, or perform an act of bravery outside of Canada that merits recognition by Canada as an act in the interest of Canada.

There are two instances in the following database where the same person appears twice.  In both cases they were recipients of different bravery medals/awards for different events.

  1. Bishop, Kenneth Wilfrid (1976)
  2. Cheverie, David Gordon (Star of Courage)
  3. Cheverie, David Gordon (Cross of Valour 1998)
  4. Dohey, Mary (1976)
  5. Fader, Douglas (1994)
  6. Fudge, Lester Robert (1981)
  7. Garrammone, Amédéo (1980)
  8. Hynes, Thomas (1979)
  9. Jalbert, René Marc (1984)
  10. Lang, Anna Ruth (1982)
  11. Langelier, François Emeric Gaston (1979)
  12. MacLean, John Wendell (1992)
  13. Miller, Harold Gilbert (Cross of Valour) (1981)
  14. Miller, Harold Gilbert (Medal of Bravery)
  15. Mitchell, Keith Paul (1998)
  16. Palmer, Leslie Arthur (2006)
  17. Partanen, Vaino Olavi (1973)
  18. Pierce, Bryan Keith (1998)
  19. Sceviour, Martin (1981)
  20. Stringer, Lewis John (1973)
  21. Swedberg, Jean (1977)
  22. Teather, Robert Gordon (1983)
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The United Empire Loyalists

The United Empire Loyalists?

U.E.L. Association of Canada

In light of the situation taking place between the US and Cuba, we thought you would be interested in knowing that the Cuban government does not have a monopoly on  revolution and confiscating land from exiles.  Maybe the Americans should read about the United Empire Loyalists before condemning Cuba!

The story of the United Empire Loyalists really began with the prolonged fighting known as the French and Indian War.  The American part of the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) in which British and some colonial troops protected the Thirteen Colonies.  Finally, with the fall of Quebec, took possession of the French colony of Quebec (stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to Detroit — “the straits” — in the heartland of the continent), which lay ominously north of the British colonies and their anticipated frontier.

With the capture of Quebec, England, mother of the Thirteen Colonies of America, but heavily in debt, unwisely resorted to the infamous Stamp Act to help meet her obligations; the colonists found themselves free of the threat from the north, but with anti-monarchist elements anxious to make the most of the taxation-without-representation grievances.

Conditions were perhaps tolerable when the agitators professed to be seeking only constitutional change and men of standing such as Franklin, Jefferson, and Washington claimed they were not seeking complete independence.

But, when open rebellion became apparent, surely the Loyalists’ right to support what they felt most worthy of allegiance, became a duty and deserved the respect of honorable men.

However, the vociferous and organized minority with its Association Test and Committees of Safety soon subjected the Loyalists to indignities, imprisonment, confiscation of property, and death. In addition, many thousands of colonists, well-established, content, and without strong political convictions, who would have been happy to stay neutral, but, who, fearful of losing their property, their worldly goods, and even their lives, took the Association Test and declared for the rebels.

In the end, might was right, and tens of thousands of Loyalists left the Thirteen Colonies to return to England, to settle in the West Indies, and in the other North American Colonies.

Approximately 30,000 Loyalists settled in the Maritimes and 10,000 in the Colony of Quebec (including many in what is now the Canadian Province of Ontario). Those Loyalists coming from the east to this region were transported up the rapid-filled St. Lawrence River in sturdy, flat-bottomed bateaux to the general area where they were to settle. The raw land granted to them by the Crown was to replace the well-developed farms they had lost, left behind.

After division of the land by surveyors and the random drawing of lots, the families, with a tent and a few tools and modest supplies issued to them by the King, proceeded to their forest properties. The first task was to build a log shanty to provide shelter for the first winter. These huts were small, only 10 or 12 feet long, built of round logs, and frequently with only a hole in the roof to serve as a chimney.

This crude beginning was followed by laborious clearing the land, building of a log house, and cultivation of the virgin soil. All of these advances were accomplished with extreme hardship, primitive tools, great determination, and faith in British institutions.

Other insights:

The American Revolution (1775-1783) created not one country but two. Without the infusion of almost 60,000 American Loyalists into the remaining British North American colonies, what was to become Canada could have offered little resistance to the expansion of the American Republic.

Canada has been the haven for many political refugees, of which the United Empire Loyalists were first. Representing a wide mix of ethnic and religious backgrounds originally from Europe, settlers in the American Colonies since the early 1600’s, they brought with them to the future Canada their common loyalty to the Crown, their respect for the rule of law, and their determination to make new lives for themselves and their families.

The multi-culturalism and multi-ethnicity of the Loyalists is often ignored and they are stereotyped as ‘English’ because of their support of the Crown and their spoken language. But in a review of its members’ records, the Toronto Branch of the U.E.L found where national origin of a member’s Loyalist ancestor could be ascertained, 28 percent were originally from Germany, 23 percent from Scotland,18 percent from England, 12 percent from Ireland, 8 percent from Holland, 5 percent from France,4 percent from Wales, 1 percent from Switzerland and less than 1 percent from Denmark and Sweden.

In what has been called the ‘first’ American Civil War, more than 50 provincial corps of Loyal Americans opposed the rebellion. Loyalist corps were raised in all colonies from Georgia to Massachusetts and fought with the British throughout the war. To name only a few, there were the 1st Battalions of DeLancey’s Brigade, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions of Skinner’s New Jersey Volunteers, Simcoe’s Queen’s Rangers (1st American Regiment), the Pennsylvania Loyalists and the Maryland Loyalists. These and other Loyalist corps fought in the skirmishes and battles around New York City, Philadelphia and in the southern colonies until hostilities ended at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781.

In the Northern Department, Sir John Johnson’s King’s Royal Regiment of New York, Butler’s Rangers, Jessup’s Loyal Rangers and McLean’s Royal Highland Emigrants 84th Regiment, were raised from among the Loyalists of the northern frontier. The troops of the Northern Department were stationed at posts from Sorel, east of Montreal, to Fort Michilimackinac. They fought in General Burgoyne’s campaign that ended at Saratoga and led many excursions into the Mohawk Valley of New York Province. In most of these forays they were joined by Iroquois Indians led by legendary chiefs such as Joseph Brant and John Deseronto.

During the hostilities, Loyalists had left the colonies for England, Florida, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Nova Scotia and Quebec. It is estimated that 100,000 American colonists, loyal to the Crown, were driven into exile by persecution, confiscation of their properties and threats upon their lives.

At the end of the war, Sir Guy Carleton, later Lord Dorchester, was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the British forces and was responsible for the evacuation of the troops and Loyalists remaining in New York City.

Approximately 35,000 Loyalist troops and civilian Loyalists, ‘Incorporated’ or ‘Associated’ into groups, were transported to Nova Scotia by ship. The influx of disbanded troops and Loyalists into the St. John River valley brought demands for their own government. In 1784, the ‘Loyalist’ Province of New Brunswick was separated from Nova Scotia and Thomas Carleton, brother of Sir Guy Carleton, was appointed Governor.

In the spring of 1784, 6,000 of the 10,000 disbanded troops and Loyalists who had gathered in Quebec, were settled in townships along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, west of Montreal, and around the Bay of Quinte. Some 900 ‘Associated’ Loyalists, the Van Alstine and Grass groups, who were taken by ship from New York City to Quebec where they wintered at Sorel, were settled on the bay of Quinte (at Adolphustown and Kingston). Butler’s Rangers, stationed at Fort Niagara, had settled some Loyalists across the Niagara River in what later became Ontario as early as 1781, and when disbanded in 1784, settled mainly in the Niagara Peninsula and along the north shores of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

Transportation, provisioning, and settlement of the disbanded troops and civilian Loyalists was conducted by the military establishment. The method of raising troops and assembling the civilian groups had brought together neighbours, friends, and relatives who were later settled together for their mutual benefit.

On the 9th of November 1789, in Council at Quebec City, Lord Dorchester, Governor-in-Chief of British America, gave particular recognition to the ‘First Loyalists’ by differentiating them from other Loyalists and settlers, (i.e. ‘Late’ Loyalists, ‘Treasury’ Loyalists, ‘Simcoe’ Loyalists, and from regular British and German soldiers who were considered to be ‘Military Claimants’).

The Dorchester Resolution approved by the Council defined the ‘U.E.L. Loyalists’ as those:

 “who had adhered to the Unity of the Empire, and joined the Royal Standard in America before the Treaty of Separation in the year 1783”. 

“Put a mark of Honour upon the Families” of the U.E. Loyalists.

Approved the granting by the Land Boards of 200 acres of land (without fees) to the sons and daughters of the

U.E. Loyalists.

Accompanying the resolution to London to be laid before the King, was attached a “Form of Militia Roll for the

Western Districts to discriminate the Families before mentioned “which included the following heading:

“N.B. Those Loyalists who had adhered to the Unity of the Empire, and Joined the Royal Standard [in America]

before the Treaty of Separation in the year 1783, and all their Children and their Descendants by either sex, are to be distinguished by the following Capitals, affixed to their names: ‘U.E.’ Alluding to their great principle ‘The Unity of the Empire’.

In the covering letter, Lord Dorchester explained: “Care has been taken to reward the spirit of loyalty and industry, to extend and transmit it to future generations…”.

The United Empire Loyalists in the newly settled western part of Quebec, were not satisfied to be governed by the terms of the Quebec Act of 1774. Their petitions for English civil law, freehold tenure of land and elected assembly brought about the separation of the Old Province of Quebec into Lower and Upper Canada in 1791.  With John Graves Simcoe, former colonel of the Queen’s Rangers (1st American Regiment), as Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, now Ontario.

From 1783 to 1812, the United Empire Loyalists of Upper Canada were joined by many U.E. Loyalists from the Maritime provinces; by ‘late’ Loyalists who may have supported the Crown but who were not within the British lines until after 1783; and those who came to swear allegiance to the Crown to escape what one settler termed the “Chaos, Taxes and Anarchy” of the new republic.

When the United States declared war on Great Britain in 1812, Upper Canada had a population of nearly 100,000, four-fifths of whom were American-born. The Upper Canada Militia and Indians who joined the British regular troops to resist the invasion were defending their homes and farms, as had their fathers and grandfathers in the American Revolution. Their success in turning back the invaders who would have severed the eastern provinces from the future western provinces ensured the development of Canada as a nation.

(excerpted and adapted from the Introduction to ‘Loyalist Lineages of Canada 1783-1983’ by Audrey F. Kirk, U.E. and Robert F. Kirk, with thanks to the Toronto U.E.L Branch)

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War of 1812 Part 7

The War of 1812
Part 7: Who Won the War of 1812?

The War of 1812, although it was officially declared in 1812, actually began in 1776.   That was when the Americans declared their independence from Britain.  The war of independence which led up to the declaration split the American colonists along the lines of those who wanted to remain British and those who did not.  This was a wound that was not healed by 1812.

As we discussed in an early part of this series, American thinking had a lot to do with the War of 1812, including:

1.  They had a President who eyed Canada as a northern state for his union.
2.  They had a right-wing faction, the War Hawks, within their Congress who wanted a fight.
3.  They were convinced that the British were an easy target for their military because they were also fighting with France, and thus a quick conquest was assured.
4.  They were concerned that the American Indians were coalescing under the leadership of a Shawnee leader, Tecumseh, and they sought to crush them.

That is not to say that the Americans did not have a beef that drove them to war.  The British, with their acts of Impressments, forced sailors, including Americans, to essentially become slaves in their navy, by attacking American (and other) ships on the open seas.  The British were also blockading European ports thus affecting trade for the Americans; and trade was the life blood of America.

So the politicians bellowed, the cannons boomed, blood was spilled, major settlements and cities were burned and destroyed and precious resources were wasted… to what end?  Who won and who lost?  Did any one win?  Did the outcome have any effect on the fortunes of any party?

Historians are split on who won the war.

Some Americans count the number of battle they won versus those they lost and decide that they won more than they lost – so that they were the winners.

The British on the other hand point to the fact that, with a small army spread across a large land mass, they defeated the Americans.

Canadians, in large number, declare that since the Americans did not conquer Canada, that Canada was victorious.  Many Canadians have the view that there were no winners… the war was fought to a draw.

But where, in all this bravado, are the First Nations peoples of Canada and the Indians of the United States?  They fought in all the battles and were, in my estimation, the tipping point in favor of the British and Canadians, but were they winners or losers?

While I cannot definitively tell you who won the War of 1812, I can suggest that the big losers were the American Indians. The Indians were persecuted by the American government and the commercial interests that represented them.  They were continuously driven across the country and, when defeated, put onto reserves that consisted of some the most inhospitable land in the country.  They were stripped of their lands, their rights, their culture and their traditions.

But let’s not gloat here in Canada.   We really did not do any better for our friends of the First Nations.  Without them we would be singing a different national anthem and what did we thank them with? Empty treaties, the Indian Act, residential schools and on and on.

Who won the War of 1812?
Nobody!  As in all wars… there are no winners.

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War of 1812 Part 6

The War of 1812 Part 6:  How Politics Sunk the Americans

The geographic make up of Canada should have favored the American during the War of 1812.  Except for the areas in and around its major cities, Canada was rough wilderness of forest and rock with a single major river running through it to the Great Lakes.  The key to any military victory or defeat is the maintenance or destruction of the line of supply for the army.  Every Canadian or British soldier, gun, cannon, cannon ball and other provisions, like food, had to pass through the St Lawrence River to reach the troops.  To survive Britain had to keep that supply line intact and to win the American must destroy it.

Well, the Americans never destroyed it.  Why not?

In a recent book historian Alan Taylor lays out a scenario that could explain what happened.

To be sure there were battles along the St Lawrence, including at Chateauguay, Ogdensburg and Morrisburg, but none were major battles that had much effect on the outcome of the conflict.  Looking at a map of the St Lawrence River you will note that there are many possible “choke” points including at Quebec City and Montreal – and these cities were within three or four days march from America.  So why did the Americans not take advantage of this and cut off the supply routes?

Seems that money might have been at the root of the issue.

David Parish was a German-born American land-owner who played a large role in the development of the St Lawrence Valley and to Jefferson County in the U.S., the latter being the area around Watertown, New York.  Parrish was quite wealthy and it seems that he was to become a very large benefactor off the American government with his funding of the war effort.  By 1813, the government was running short of funds because import duties were drying up due to the British blockades and the fact there were no other taxes, like income taxes, to fall back on.  Parrish recognized that any major American attack in the St Lawrence Valley would be harmful to his business so he arranged a $16 million bond purchase from the American government in return for them leaving “his” territory alone.

Is this the explanation for the inability of the American army to cut off the British supply routes?  We know that Parish was richer than the government and that he did buy the bonds.  We also know that the Americans did not put much emphasis on attacking the St Lawrence Valley.

There is also written evidence from both sides that an understanding to leave the area alone was reached.  Finally, the withdrawal of the American army from the region coincided with the bond purchase.

Good facts make good stories, but never let the facts stand in the way of a good story, so the saying goes.  The problem with historical research is that the evidence is, in this case, over 200 years old.  This may or may not be a true account of how politics sunk the Americans during the War of 1812, but it sure is interesting.

See Part 7:  Who Won the War of 1812?


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War of 1812 Part 5

 War of 1812

Part 5: Chronology of the Action

The key to understanding war of any kind is to recognize that no action in war is isolated from another.  For example, success in Normandy (D-Day) was not an isolated event, purely the result of planning an executing the attack. It was, in addition, due to a number of events and actions that distracted the German army and diluted their forces, including the Italian campaign and the Russian Front. So it was with the War of 1812, political events and the war in Europe had an effect in the happening in North America. This chart, from, tells the story pretty well.



Political Events

Military Events

Military Events in

 December 22: Embargo Act passed by US Congress halting trade with Foreign Nations (repealed in 1808)June 22: The Chesapeake Affair:  USS
fired on and boarded by the HMS Leopard
off  Norfolk, Virginia
June 13-14: Battle of Friedland between French and RussiansJuly 9 After making peace with Russia, Napoleon bans trade with Great Britain.


March 4: James Madison is
inaugurated as president of the United States


September 30: Brock becomes Lieut.Governor of Upper Canada

October 12: Prevost becomes Governor- in-Chief and Commander of all forces in British
North America

November 4: US War
Congress convenes

November 7: Battle of Tippecanoe were US defeats Indians 
 March 5: French pull out of Portugal and consolidate around Salamanca,

June: Baltimore Riots start against anti-war Federalists

June 1: Madison’s recommendation to Congress to declare war over sailor’s rights and British support of western frontier tribes.

June 4: House of Representatives passes war bill

June 18: Senate passes
House bill Madison signs War Bill.

June 19: U.S. President
Madison declares war or Great Britain.

July 1: US doubles Customs Duties

 October 20: Sheaffe becomes Lieut. Governor of Upper Canada



 June 23: USS President vs. HM Frigate Belvidera

July 12: U.S. General Hull invades Upper Canada at Sandwich across from Detroit

July 17: British forces from Fort St. Joseph capture Fort Michilimackinac

August 5: Battle of Brownstown

August 8: Battle of Maguaga

August 15: Fort Dearborn massacre

August 16: British forces under Brock capture Fort Detroit.

August 19:
USS Constitution vs. HM Frigate Guerriere

September: Baltimore Riots finish

September 3 : Indian
attack at Pigeon Roost Creek

September 4: Indians
attack Fort Harrison

September 5: Indians
attack Fort Madison

September 6: Indians
attack Fort Wayne

September 16: Americans fail in capturing batteaux convey at Toussiant Island of the St. Lawrence River

September 21: American attack and capture village of Gananoque in the Thousand Islands area

October 9: Two British schooners captured off Fort Erie; small skirmish near Fort Erie

October 13: Battle of Queenston Heights and death of Brock and Macdonnell

November: Royal Navy blockades South Carolina

November 27: US attacks the outlying fortifications of Fort Erie

November 28: U.S. invasion
attempt at Frenchman’s Creek repulsed.

December 18:
Battle of Mississnewa

December 26: Royal Navy
expands blockade to Chesapeake and Delaware Bays


 January 19: British storm Ciudad Rodrigo, Portugal
April 6: British repulsed at Badajoz, Spain June 24: Napoleon invades Russia July 22: Wellington’s famous victory at SalamancaAugust 13: British Army enter Madrid September 7: Battle of BorodinoSeptember 14: Napoleon enters Moscow

September 19: Napoleon begins retreat from Moscow

 October 21: British give up siege of Burgos, Spain.

 November 29: Napoleon’s shattered army exits Russia





















June 19: de Rottenburg becomes Lt.
Governor of Upper Canada
























December 13: Drummond becomes Lt. Governor of Upper Canada


January 19: Skirmish at the River Raisin.

January 22: British victory at Frenchtown.

January 23: Massacre of US wounded at River Raisin

February 6: U.S. raid on Brockville on the St. Lawrence River.

February 22: British capture Ogdensburg, NY as retaliation for Brockville attack.

March 30: British naval blockade extended from Long Island to the Mississippi

April 15: US army occupies West Florida

April 27: U.S. troops attack and burn York (Capital of Upper Canada).

May 26: Britain’s Royal Navy extends blockade to cover additional states

May 25: U S. bombards and destroys Fort George.

May 27: U.S. troops capture Fort George; British troops retreat toward Burlington.

May 29: British fail to capture Sacket’s Harbor.

June 1: H.M.S. Shannon defeats U.S.S. Chesapeake tows her captive into Halifax, Nova Scotia.

June 6: British victory at Stoney Creek.

June 7: British victory at 40 Mile Creek; U.S. retire to Fort George.

June 22nd Skirmish at Norfolk

June 24: Capture of US forces at Beaver Dams.

July 8: Battle of Ball’s Farm.

July 11: British raid on Blackrock.

July 20: U.S. victory at Goose Creek.

July 27: Engagement at Burnt Corn

July 31: British victory at Burlington Heights.

August 2: British attack Fort Stephenson.

August 8: U.S.S. Hamilton & Scourge sunk.

August 24: Prevost leads attack on U.S. piquets ou George; U.S.decline large scale engagement

August 30: Attack at Fort Mims

September 9: British Fleet on Lake Erie defeated and capture by US under Perry.

October 1: US army under Hampton cross frontier south of Montreal and skirmish with Canadian piquets

October 5: British defeated at Moraviantown;  (Battle of the Thames) Tecumseh killed

October 25: American invasion attempt at Chateauguay repulsed

November 3: Battle of Tallushatchee

November 9: Battle of Talladega

November 11: American defeat at Chrysler ‘s Farm.

December 10: U.S. army abandons Fort George and burns town of Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake).

December 18-19:
British capture Fort Niagara
in night attack; capture and burn Lewiston and surrounding villages

December 20: British begin to lay waste to the East Niagara River area in retaliation for the
burning of Newark.

December 31: British capture Blackrock














June 4: armistice between France and
Russia, and Prussia



June 21: Wellington’s decisive victory
over the French at the Battle of Vitoria




July 21 to August 1: Battles of the Pyrenees Mountains
between France and Spain ending in British success



August 10: armistice ends between
France and Russia and Prussia

August 12: Austria declares war on




August 31: British storm San Sebastien, Spain




 October 16-18: Napoleon defeated at
the Battle of Leipzig marking the beginning of the end for his




November 10: Battle of the Nivelle with the British
invading France



April 14:US repeals embargo and non-importation laws










August:US public credit
collapses and banks suspend specie payments

August 8: Peace
negotiations begin in Ghent and Great Britain offers initial peace

August 9: US and Creek
nation sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson



October 21:British offer
peace on the basis of ‘uti posseditis’

November 27: Britain drops
the ‘utis posseditis’

December 15:Hartford
Convention- US adopts additional internal taxes

December 24: Treaty of
Ghent signed to end war.

January 22: Battle of

January 24: Battle of

March 27: Battle of
Horseshoe Bend




April 25: Royal Navy
extends blockade to New England

May 6: British capture

May 30: British blockade extended to include New England.

May 31: U.S. victory at Sacket’s Harbor.

July 13: U.S. capture Fort Erie.

July 5: U.S. defeat British at Chippewa.

July 18: U.S. troops burn
St. Davids.

July 19: British capture
La Prairie du Chien.

July 25: Battle of Lundy’s Lane – both sides claim victory




August 13-14: British
begin siege of Fort Erie.

August 24: British burn Washington.

September 11: US repulse British at Battle of Plattsburg and defeat
British on Lake Champlain

Sept. 13-14: Siege of Fort
McHenry (Battle of Baltimore) – “Star Spangled Banner” is inspired
by British mortars and rockets.

September 17: British
assault fails against Fort Erie.


December 23: Initial
skirmishes around New Orleans

 March 31: Allies enter ParisApril 6: Napoleon abdicatesApril 10 to 12: British take Toulouse



May 30: British Infantry march to
Bordeaux to set sail for North America; First Treaty of Paris












October 3: Congress of Vienna opens unofficially



February 8, 1815: News of Peace first arrives in North America.
March 1, 1815: General Prevost is officially notified of Peace at Quebec.

January 8, 1815: Battle of New Orleans.
March 1: Napoleon lands in France from Elba

See Part 6:  How politics sunk the Americans


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War of 1812 Part 4

The War of 1812
Part 4:  The Emergence of Sir Isaac Brock

Isaac Brock was born 6 October 1769 on the Isle of Guernsey, the son of a navy midshipman.  He excelled in school, including studying French, and in many sports.  As he matured his ideas turned to the military and in 1785 he joined the 8th Regiment of Foot with the rank of ensign.  As was the standard at the time his family purchased his commissions, but he also showed great promise as a commander, and by 1791 he was promoted to a captain in the 49th Regiment of Foot.  His first command came in 1797 when he purchased the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and led his regiment in the Helder Expedition in what is now the Netherlands.

During this campaign he was wounded in the neck but lived to fight another day.

In 1801 Brock’s command was sent to attack forts at the Battle of Copenhagen in Denmark.  A great sea battle fought by Lord Horatio Nelson, Brock’s attack was called off as unnecessary, but he learned a lot of tactics by watching Nelson.

In 1802, Brock and his command were sent to Canada and was initially assigned to Montreal. Almost immediately, in 1803, he was faced with one of the primary problems in Canada: desertion.  Seven soldiers stole a boat and fled across the border into the United States. Despite having no jurisdiction on American soil, Brock sent a party across the border in pursuit and the men were captured without incident.



Mutiny and desertion, unfortunately were not rare happening in the British army at the time.  Conditions were harsh, provisions were inconsistent and discipline was sometimes over the top.  In 1804 Brock was faced with a potential mutiny and desertion of seven soldiers and twelve mutineers at Fort George (Niagara-on-the-Lake).  While the severe treatment of the men under the command of L-Col Roger Sheaffe was the cause of the uprising, through a series of missteps by Brock’s officers, all the conspirators were shot.

Brock traveled to England during the winter of 1805-06 and on his return to Canada he found himself in command of all British troops in Canada and now a Colonel.

The war drums in the U.S were beginning to beat by late 1806 caused by the rhetoric of the War Hawks in Congress.  In 1810, fearing war, the Governor General of Canada, Sir James Henry Craig, promoted Brock to Brigadier General and gave him formal command of the troops in Upper Canada (Ontario).  In 1812 he was made also the head of the civil authority and he set about to ready for war.

Showing his brilliance as a commander, Brock’s preparations for war included: the expansion of the army to include volunteers, better training of recruits, strengthening and expanding defensive positions and the seeking out of alliances with the First Nations.  (He also sought out an alliance with the author as seen in the picture to the right.)

These preparations and Brock’s instance that officers, including him, must fight from the front and not from the rear, made Brock into the leader he was in the day and contributed to the legend he is today.  Indeed, Brock’s actions, particularly his success at Detroit, earned him a knighthood, membership in the Order of the Bath, accolades and the title of  “The Hero of Upper Canada”.

Brock was killed at the Battle of Queenston Heights, while leading from the front, on October 13, 1812.

Part 5:  The Chronology of the Action

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War of 1812 Part 3

War of 1812
Part 3: The Fur Flies

The War Hawks, with their leaders, Henry Clay and John Calhoun, both from southern states and avowed British-haters, were gaining a lot of traction in Congress By late 1811 they were pushing the US to go to war with Britain by invading Canada. They were convinced that the task would be simple. In a speech he stated:

I trust I shall not be presumptuous when I state that I verily believe that the militia of Kentucky alone are competent to place >Montreal and Upper Canada at your feet.

He declared that the war would be over in 4 weeks and that the US would have its land stretching to the Arctic. He could not have been more wrong!

By February of 1812, the US had created a volunteer army of approximately 50,000 and on June 18, 1812, they declared war on Britain. Then reality bit for the War Hawks. The regular U.S. army, as opposed to the volunteers, was nowhere near ready for war. They numbers only 7,000 and they were old and/or inexperienced in actual war.

In addition, the Congress, who had voted for the war, was reluctant to fund it. Thus the volunteers were short on clothing, weapons and food.

That was not good conditions for volunteers. The northern states were the first to go against Congress. They with held both volunteers and financial support for the army. Indeed the government in Boston, who you would think had no love for the British (remembering the Boston Tea Party incident), flew their US flag at half-mast when Congress declared war.

It was clear that the Americans were split on the war. After all the major reason for going to war, the blockade of European ports and the resulting restriction on American commerce, had been eliminated by Britain.

However, off to war they went. The British, on the other hand were neither ready for a war with the US. The British garrison on Canada was quite
small (less than 4,500 men) and spread out. They were supported by volunteers (mostly Loyalists) and the Indian tribes. But they had the
best weapon at their disposal… Sir Isaac Brock.

See Part 4: The Emergence of Sir Isaac Brock


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War of 1812 Part 2

The War of 1812
Part 2:  Stoking the Fires – The Rise of Tecumseh

In 1809 James Madison became the President of the United States.  He was focused on expanding his territory north to the Pole and this made his northern neighbours a bit nervous.  To make things worse, the 1810 elections saw a substantial group of so-called War Hawk politicians sent to Congress.  Things were looking bad.

Meantime, also in the U.S., settlers were pushing westward and with the help of the military, they were pushing the native Indians ahead of them.   The Indians were equipped with fire-arms and the settlers blamed the British for arming the Indians and inciting them to fight the Americans.  This was of course a self-serving excuse to deflect blame from themselves for invading the Indian lands.  It was true that the Indians did acquire a few muskets through normal trade, mostly with the American agents, as the British forces in North America were so poorly equipped that they had no surplus guns to give to Indians.  But that did not stop the charges from inflaming the American population.

In 1810, the American government “purchased” about three million acres of Indian lands.  It was a controversial deal because the purchase was made from a tribe that did not “own” all the land.  Tecumseh was the charismatic leader of the Shawnee peoples in the U.S..  His tribe, among others, opposed the deal.  He said about the deal…

“No tribe has the right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers…. Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth? Didn’t the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children? The way, the only way, to stop this evil is for the red man to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land, as it was first, and should be now, for it was never divided.” We gave them forest-clad mountains and valleys full of game, and in return what did they give our warriors and our women? Rum, trinkets, and a grave. Brothers — My people wish for peace; the red men all wish for peace; but where the white people are, there is no peace for them, except it be on the bosom of our mother. Where today are the Pequot? Where today are the Narrangansett, the Mohican, the Pakanoket, and many other once powerful tribes of our people? They have vanished before the avarice and the oppression of the White Man, as snow before a summer sun.”


Hoping to be able to halt the westward migration of the settlers, Tecumseh drew together an Indian confederacy that would be strong enough to resist the white men.  He traveled as far south as Tennessee pleading for and demanding assistance from the other tribes.  In the meantime, his brother, a medicine man known as the Prophet, was teaching a return to the old ways and giving up the habits and customs they had learned from the white men.

In 1811, disturbed by the potential hostility of the Indians, Governor Harrison of the Indiana Territory sent for troops and called out his militiamen. Determined to take a firm grip on the situation, he marched with a thousand men in the direction of the Prophet’s village on the Tippecanoe River. Contact was made by the militia with the Indians and arrangements were completed for a sit-down. Unfortunately, the Prophet decided to attack the American camp while the troops were sleeping, During the ensuing battle the Indians were routed and the village burned.

Tecumseh returned from his southern trip to find the village in ruins, his warriors scattered and his brother making weak excuses for the defeat. Tecumseh was so angry that he shook the Prophet by the hair of his head. Years of careful planning and organization had gone up in smoke.

Early in June 1812, Tecumseh, accompanied by a small group of his followers, left the Indiana territory and joined the British at Amherstburg, on the Canadian side of the Detroit River.  The War of 1812 was about to begin.

See Part 3:  The Fur Flies


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War of 1812

It is said that history is written by the victors. Who then should write the stories of the War of 1812? As we approach the 200 year anniversary of the start of the War, it is only just that we discuss the conflict from all side, the Canadian, the British and the American.  I will not bore you with dates and times or battles and events; that was the role of the schools in my day; but rather I want to explore the causes and the effects of the conflict.

For example, prior to the War of 1812, Canada did not have a standing army and the army of Britain, our overseer, was tied up in the Napoleonic Wars in Europe.  The fight for our country was primarily through assistance of the Aboriginal Canadians, who ended up being screwed by all sides.

I will approach this series by separating the stories into bite sized chucks that can be assembled.

The series begins now:

War of 1812 – Part 1:  The Lead Up

War of 1812 – Part 2:  Stoking the Fires – The Rise of Tecumseh

War of 1812 – Part 3: The Fur Flies

War of 1812 – Part 4:  The Emergence of Isaac Brock

War of 1812 – Part 5:  Chronology of the Action

War of 1812 – Part 6:  How Politics Sunk the Americans

War of 1812 – Part 7:  Who Won the War of 1812?

Sir Isaac Brock and the Duel

Canada’s Joan of Arc – Laura Secord

HM Schooner NANCY


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War Of 1812 Part 1

There is much to write about the War of 1812. Everybody knows something about the War between the US and Britain that took place in Canada and the US.  Most know that Laura Secord did not invent chocolate but rather was a heroine during the war.  Some may even know that the British and Canadians burned Washington and the building now called the White House.  But how many know what started the war and, more importantly, who won it?The best chronology of the War is provided by Robert Henderson in a web site at  The chronology is not complete, in fact many very important events were left out, but it is a good starting point.

It is clear that the origins of the war were in the late 1700s and early 1800s.  The British navy was quite large but chronically under funded.  This led the British commanders to seize foreign ships looking for deserters and, in many cases, pressing the captured seamen, not just the deserters, into service of the royal fleet.  These foreign ships included American ships.  The Yanks were not amused.

In 1806, the straw that broke the eagles back was the capture of the USS Chesapeake by the HMCS Leopard right off Norfolk, Virginia. The British had  demanded access to the Chesapeake, to look for British deserters, through diplomatic channels and were ignored.  So they took military action.  In a lop sided battle resulting in 3 killed and eighteen wounded, the Leopard’s soldiers boarded the Chesapeake and removed five sailors.  They summarily executed one of the sailors.  But why would this cause a problem?  Surely the British had a right to deal with deserters?  It seems that of the captured seamen only one of them was British born.

You might think that the Yanks would have retaliated in kind for this attack but they did not.  At the time of the attack on the Chesapeake, the British were also involved in skirmishes with the French in Europe.   Napoleon Bonaparte was flexing his muscle through trade embargoes by his allies, primarily Russia and Prussia (Germany), of the British.  The British responded by blockading European ports thus affecting trade between Europe and the United States. The Americans were split on their attitude towards the British. Essentially the northern states wanted to trade with the British and the southern states did not.  President Thomas Jefferson, ever the slippery diplomat, figured that eventually the British would weaken by its blockade in Europe and not wanting to take sides in the dispute passed the 1807 Embargo Act.  The Embargo Act forbade any ship to leave American ports for any foreign destination.  Unfortunately for Jefferson, ship owners in the northern states ignored the law and continued to trade with the British.  (Just as an aside, that is largely what led us to the second flood of Loyalists leaving the U.S. to move to Canada – the first being during the revolutionary war.  These Loyalists were to play an important role in the War of 1812.) The results of the Embargo Act caused so much dissatisfaction in the United States that the Act was repealed by Congress in 1809.

In 1809 a new President took over in the U.S.  James Madison, unlike Jefferson, was not a subtle man.  He believed that the Stars and Stripes should fly over all the lands from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Pole.  And he was determined to show it.

See Part 2:  Stoking the Fires


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