In The Daily Colonist on March 8, 1912, Lieutenant-Colonial J. A. Hall is quoted to have have heard rumors of the formation of the 88th Regiment for many years prior to it’s creation: “The thing has been mooted around for a couple of years– but it was only Sunday that it was brought before forcibly before my notice by Col. Wadmore who impressed upon me the urgent necessity of doing something in the matter. I consulted with several of the leading military men in the city and they all recommended that it would be a good thing for the corps to be formed, and that it should be known as the City of Victoria Regiment of the Fusiliers.” [1] On September 3, 1912, The Victoria Fusiliers was formed.


The Daily Colonist 1912-03-08
The Daily Colonist 1912-03-08


Prior to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Victoria had only one existing Militia, the 5th Regiment, Canadian Garrison Artillery. In 1912, concerned with the safety of the coast and the Victoria area, the city of Victoria looked to create a Militia Infantry Regiment to augment the existing Militia Artillery Regiment.[2] A letter, written by Lieutenant-Colonial J. A. Hall to the premier of British Columbia, asking for the approval of the formation of a new regiment was received by the Premier on March 2, 1912; in the letter to Colonel Hall, the Premier had high praise for the movement: “Victoria has plenty of good material among the young men to fill in the ranks of a second Headlines in the British Colonist on March 8, 1912 read: “New Regiment For Victoria.”[3]

     City Hall pushed for the creation of a new infantry regiment to be called the “City of Victoria Fusiliers.”[4] It was proposed that Lieutenant-Colonial J. A. Hall take command with Major Beale as his adjutant. The formation of the 88th Regiment was endorsed by Victoria Mayor John Beckwith, Premier of British Columbia Richard McBride, and Lieutenant-Colonial A. W. Currie, Commander of the Fifth Regiment.[5] The 88th Regiment, Victoria Fusiliers, was officially authorized and established as a Canadian Militia Regiment on September 3, 1912.[6]


   The Daily Colonist announced on September 11, 1912 the gazetting of the 88th Victoria Fusiliers under the command of Lieutenant-Colonial J. A. Hall and Major Beale. The uniform of the 88th Regiment was also announced: “the 88th will wear scarlet tunics, with blue trousers with thin red stripe, and busbies.”[7]

The Daily Colonist 1912-09-11


The 88th Battalion during the Great War was primarily a recruiting regiment. Its initial notions of recruitment came on Thursday, November 21, 1912, when the first opportunity was offered to the men of Victoria for the enlistment in the new formed 88th Regiment, Victoria Fusiliers. Staff Sergeants and Sergeants were attested on Tuesday, November 19, 1912.[8] An officers mess hall was arranged for in the Ritz Hotel, Fort Street, located in the heart of the city. It was expected that the officer’s quarters were to “[…] be a recognizable place in the life of the community.”

“There is no longer any question as to the existence of the regiment, the fact having already been gazetted; and it is anticipated that before many weeks have elapsed the new military unit in the city will have attained full strength.”[9]

Recruitment was to be held in Major Beale’s office every Tuesday and Thursday, his walls decorated with letters from “A” to “H”, representative of the eight companies of which the regiment consisted.

Terms of enlistment, as laid out in the Daily Colonist in October 1915, were as follows:

“A recruit must be —
1- A British subject.
2- Between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years.
3- Not less than 5 feet 4 inches in height.
4- Not less than thirty-four inches chest measurement.
5- Passed by the medical officer.
6- Afterwards accepted by the commanding officer
7- Willing to serve abroad in the in the war as soon as required.
8- Sworn in for one year or the duration of the war.[10]


The Daily Colonist reported on December 12, 1912 that the recruitment of men for the 88th Fusiliers was progressing “slowly but steadily,” boasting the recruitment of over 60 officers. While progress was slow, the officers in charge were confident they would reach full numbers early in the year of 1913.

It was stated that the slow progress of recruitment stemmed from the timing in the Holiday season as well as an initiation fee of five dollars. This was a way to ensure that the 88th Regiment was not made up of men they deemed ‘wastrels’:

“The “88th” does not want wastrels; they would rather be strong in quality than in quantity, and the initiation fee has been adopted with a view to ensuring that desirable condition.”[11]

Major Beale stated that drills would commence January 14, 1913 in the Drill Hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays.[12]

The Daily Colonist 1913-01-12

Written by Geoffrey Hendrie and Nathan Waller


[1] New Regiment for Victoria, The Daily Colonist, March 8, 1912, front page
[2] Bates, Jack. “88th Regiment (Victoria Fusiliers).” CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum.
[3] New Regiment for Victoria, The Daily Colonist, March 8, 1912
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Bates, Jack. “88th Regiment…”
[7] New Regiment Gazetted, The Daily Colonist, September 11, 1912, Page 7.
[8] Recruiting Opens for New Regiment, The Daily Colonist, November 22, 1912, Page 5.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Recruitment, The Daily Colonist, October 7, 1915.
[11] Ibid.
[12] New Regiment is Making Headway, The Daily Colonist, December 12, 1912, Page 3.