The Forty-Eighth pleads not
the excuse of youth for any shortcoming in efficiency. Nothing is more
obvious than that a regiment makes progress towards a high standard of
efficiency, with years. But the Forty-Eighth aimed high at the beginning,
the motto might have been, "Begin as you would wish to end." This has been
the case in an especial manner with respect to rifle shooting. From the out
set the desire to become crack shots was strong, and year after year we find
in the Annual Reports appeals to greater devotion to the rifle. Consequently
it would not be surprising that good records should be met with, but few
indeed would be prepared for the remarkable results obtained The year 1892
gave no very favorable opportunity for rifle shooting. The question of the
ranges was in an unsettled state, and but little practice could be indulged
in. It may be passed over without details.
But when we come to 1893,
which may be taken as the first shooting year of the Regiment, the record
arrests attention. This year was the first year in which the Lake Shore
Ranges were used, and that fact may to some extent account for the
comparatively small attendance at the Saturday practices, which varied from
forty to fifty men. The shooting at these practices, however, showed up
well, and hopes were built on it which were well placed.
The Ontario Rifle Association
Matches attracted a fair number of competitors from the Forty-Eighth, who,
in addition to a gratifying share of individual prizes, won in these team
competitions: Canada Company (Nursery) 3rd and 4th prizes; Tait-Brassey
Match (Regimental teams of six) 3rd prize; Gzowski Match, prize in
skirmishing, prize in volley-firing. It will be admitted that this is an
excellent beginning, which drew attention to the Regiment as a new factor in
the great rifle matches of the country.
Five representatives of the
Regiment attended the Dominion Rifle Association Matches this year. No team
victories came their way, but two members won places in the Grand Aggregate,
and were entitled to take part in the final competition for the Bisley Team.
The Annual Rifle Match of the
regiment was held on the afternoon of Saturday, the 7th of October. The
attendance reached 125. The arrangements were complete, the weather fine,
and the shooting excellent.
The Rifle Committee s Report
includes a high tribute to Major Henderson, and to the young but energetic
Secretary of the Committee, Lieutenant (afterwards Captain) Ramsay, whose
attention to the work of the Committee merited all praise.
1894. In 1894 the
Saturday practices were attended by an average of about fifty men, not so
large a number as was to be expected from the privileges and encouragement
afforded. Yet, the shooting was very good, and excellent results modified
the disappointment felt at the comparatively small attendance. There were
many keen shots in the Regiment, some of whom did not find it convenient to
put in much time at the ranges, yet whose marksmanship was far above the
average. This fact has to be taken into account when considering the
attendance column in the shooting statistics. The Highlander naturally loves
a gun, and it is no indifference, but business considerations that prevent
the Highland volunteer from practising rifle shooting on every opportunity
Two teams were entered in the
Martini series of the Canadian Military Rifle League; one team was also
entered in the Snider series, but was subsequently withdrawn, owing to the
fact that there were not a sufficient number of eligible men to fill the
places in the team. In the ten-men team series, the first team of the
Forty-Eighth occupied 11th place. In the twenty-men series, the Forty-Eighth
team occupied 8th place.
At the Ontario Rifle
Association there were eighteen representatives of the Regiment who fired
throughout the competition, besides a number of others who fired in several
of the matches.
At the Dominion Rifle
Association Matches, eleven men competed, a comparatively large number. A
fair number of individual prizes was secured by members of the Regiment at
both these competitions the Ontario and the Dominion. At the former,
Staff-Sergeant Wm. Harp and Major W. C. Macdonald secured places in the
grand aggregate, occupying respectively 1st and 8th places. At the latter,
the Dominion, Sergeant Adam Graham was fortunate in securing a place in the
grand aggregate. In the team competitions the Regiment was very successful.
In the Skirmishing and Volley Firing competitions at the Ontario Rifle
Association, 2nd place was secured, and at the Dominion, the following
record was made: 1st place in the Walker Match, which was open to battalion
teams of six men, the number of entries being very large; 4th place in the
Gzowski Military Match; tied for 3rd place in the British Challenge Shield
Match. The capture of the 1st prize in the Walker Match was a victory for
which the Regiment had every reason to feel proud. The score made was, it
was said, the highest on record made by any regimental team in Canada, and
it is doubtful if it had been excelled elsewhere under similar conditions.
It was 539 points, or an average of 90 points per man. Members of the
Regiment then at Ottawa wore heartily congratulated, and the superb shooting
evoked much popular praise.
The annual rifle match of the
Regiment took place on the last Saturday in September of this year. The
prize list was long and tempting from the competitor s point of view, the
value of the prizes offered amounting to $1,500. Two hundred and fourteen
men attended, and the weather being fine, the day was not only profitably,
but enjoyably spent.
The Annual Report singles out
"H" Company as specially worthy of commendation for its shooting during the
season, and at the annual regimental match.
In this year Lieut. -Colonel
Davidson was elected president of the Ontario Rifle Association.
1895. The motto for
this year's work at the butts was the axiom of Lord Wolseley: "If a
volunteer is to be worthy of his name, of the nation he serves, and of the
Queen's uniform, his first duty is to shoot well." On this the committee, of
which Major Macdonald was president, acted strenuously, and the reward of
their efforts was a gratifying record for the year.
Beginning with the Canadian
Military Rifle League, the Regiment entered two teams. In the ten-men series
they secured I2th and 37th places in a competition with about seventy teams,
a very good standing indeed, and an improvement on the year previous.
In the Ontario Rifle
Association Matches, seventeen fired throughout the competition. The
individual winnings were thirty-six prizes, amounting to $189, and including
three firsts, viz.: the Gilmour, Gibson, and Macdonald Matches; and three
team prizes : second in the Canada Company, $25; fifth in the Walker, $10;
third in the Gzowski, $25; making the total winnings of the Regiment
thirty-nine prizes, for $249, as against twenty-four prizes, for $147, in
But the year 1895 is famous
in the annals of the Regiment chiefly on account of the magnificent shooting
at the Dominion Rifle Association Matches. Sixteen competitors represented
the Regiment. There were but eleven in the year before. The individual
winnings were thirty-one prizes (including two firsts, viz.: the Hamilton
Powder and Grand Aggregate), amounting to $258.40. Team prizes: Minister of
Militia, third prize, $25; Lansdowne Aggregate, sixth prize, $18; British
Challenge Shield, sixth prize, $20; a total of thirty-four prizes,
aggregating $321, as against twenty-six prizes, aggregating- $208.72 in
1894. Not only the total but the average winnings per man were greater than
in 1894. Four members of the Regiment, viz., Staff-Sergeant Wm. Harp, Major
Macdonald, Private McVittie, and Sergeant Milligan secured places in the
hundred who were entitled to compete for Bisley, and two representatives
were eligible for the Bisley team, viz.: Staff-Sergeant Harp and Major
Macdonald, who occupied the first and the sixth place respectively. Special
mention should be made of Staff- Sergeant Harp s splendid shooting, inasmuch
as the scoring made by him had not been equalled in any similar competition
of a similar nature in Canada! He won the first prize in the Grand
Aggregate, and occupied the first place on the Bisley team. In recognition
of the honour he brought to the Regiment, and with which he crowned himself,
the Caledonian Society and a few friends, led by the president, Mr. Win.
Simpson, an enthusiastic friend of the Regiment, and Mr. David Walker,
presented Mr. Harp with a valuable and beautifully inscribed gold watch and
chain, with a valuable pendant attached, on the occasion of the annual
dinner of the Society, in celebration of Halloween.
The Annual Regimental Match
was held on Saturday, the 28th September. The weather was fine, but not
favourable to high scoring. About 200 competitors entered. The amount
offered in prizes, including challenge cups, was $1465, and the shooting
under the conditions existing was fairly creditable.
The services of Lieut.
Mitchell, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Committee, were most valuable
during the year and call for special mention.
1896. - The increasing
interest in rifle shooting is to be seen in the additional facilities
granted to the members of the Regiment this year, by a material reduction on
the railway fare of those attending the ranges. Sergeant Hollinger had
charge of the young shots, assisted by a non-commissioned officer detailed
weekly, and this arrangement proved satisfactory.
Three teams were entered in the Martini series of the Canadian Military
Rifle League. The standing of the twenty-men team and the thirty-men team
was higher than that of former years, and evidenced a very marked
improvement in team and individual marksmanship.
The individual winnings at
the Ontario Rifle Association Matches were thirty-nine prizes, amounting to
$229.16 and gold medal. Team: First prize City of Toronto Match. Ladies
Challenge Cup and $30; fifth prize Gzowski Match, $15; making the total
winnings of the Regiment forty-one prizes, for $274.16, and gold medal. The
most valuable and important individual prize of the meeting, viz., the first
in the City of Toronto Match, gold medal and $50, was won by Corporal Kerr.
The individual winnings at
the Dominion Rifle Association were twenty-five prizes, amounting to $123.66
and badge. The team prizes won were: Gzowski Match, first prize, challenge
cup and $50; British Challenge Shield, fifth prize, $22; a total of
twenty-seven prizes for $195.66. Corporal Kerr, Pte. Mishaw, and Staff-Sergt.
Harp secured places in the Governor-General s Hundred. Corporal Kerr
occupied seventh place on the Bisley Team list for the year. Corporal Kerr,
who shows so well in these matches, received his entire training as a rifle
shot while serving in the ranks of the 48th Highlanders.
This shooting year was
signalized by the institution of a new competition for marching and firing.
Eight teams were entered from the district, two of them from the Forty-
Eighth, whose first team, commanded bv Lieut. T. H. Mitchell and Colour-Sergt.
D. W. Smith, had the honour of securing first place and winning for the
first time it was offered for competition the handsome Challenge Cup donated
by Major-General Gascoigne. A large sized photograph of the team was"
presented by the Regiment to each of its members in recognition of their
The annual Regimental Match
was held on September the 26th. About 200 entered into the competitions. The
programme and the prize list were very inviting. Showers fell during the
early afternoon, but good shooting was made. The team and principal
individual prizes and marksmen's badges were formally presented on the 2oth
of November at the Armouries, in the presence of a large number of friends
of the Regiment.
1897. The Lee-Enfield
rifle was introduced this year. The reports show a gratifying increase in
the attendance at the weekly practices, and a marked improve ment in the
good shooting already attained to. In the class-firing the regimental figure
of merit was not only higher than formerly, but exceeded that of the other
two City corps.
Seven teams, two in the
Martini and five in the Enfield series, were entered for the Canadian
Military Rifle League competition, and excellent shooting was made.
The individual winnings at
the Ontario Rifle Association matches were fifty prizes amounting to $228,
one bronze and two silver medals, second team prize Gzowski Match, $30; a
total of fifty-one prizes; amounting to $258 and three medals, an increase
on the record of 1896.
The number of representatives
at the Dominion Rifle Association matches was only eleven, but the shooting
was of the highest excellence. The individual winnings were thirty-seven
prizes, aggregating $436 and two badges ; fourth team prize (Walker Match),
$30 ; second in the Lansdowne Aggregate, $30 ; first in the British
Challenge Shield, the shield and $40. The score made in the British
Challenge Shield was the highest on record. Out of the eleven
representatives, seven Staff-Sergt. Graham, Pte. McVittie, Major Macdonald,
Pte. McLaren, Pte. Davidson, Corporal Kerr and Pte. Hutchinson obtained
places in the Governor-General s Hundred. In the Governor-General s Match
Privates Davidson and McVittie tied with Corporal Windatt, R.G., for the
Governor-General s prize, and in shooting off the tie they secured second
and third places respectively. Private McVittie secured sixth place on the
Bisley Team and Pte. Davidson first place on the waiting list for same.
In the Marching and Firing
Competition two teams entered. That commanded by Lieut. Harbottle and Sergt.
Frank Dewar won the second prize.
The annual Regimental Rifle
Match was held on Saturday, the 25th of September. The number of competitors
was 225. The weather was good and the match passed off very successfully.
In reporting upon the year s
work the Rifle Committee states that the advancement in rifle shooting
exceeds that of any former year.
1898. The year opens
well at the ranges, the weekly practices being taken advantage of very
generally. The Canadian Military Rifle League attracted eight teams from the
regiment, seven of whom fired throughout. Thirteenth place was secured by
the 1st team, a higher standing than in any former year.
At the Ontario Rifle
Association matches the number of representatives of the Regiment was larger
than usual. Their winnings in individual prizes were 72, aggregating $322, a
silver medal and cup, as against 50 prizes and $258 and three medals in
1897. The team prizes won were: Third prize Canada Company Match, $20;
second prize Corporation of the City of Toronto Match, $25; fourth prize
Tait-Brassey Match, $30; and fourth prize Gzowski Match, $20; total $97. In
the individual competitions, the first prize in the grand aggregate, the
most important contest of the meeting, was won by Sergt. J. McVittie.
entered for the Dominion Rifle Association matches. The total individual
winnings were 29 prizes, amounting to $153, and four team prizes, amounting
to $65. Three members of the Regiment, viz., Staff-Sergt. Graham, Corporal
J. C. Smith (a young shot who made an excellent record at these matches),
and Corporal H. Kerr won places in the Governor-General s Hundred, and
Staff-Sergt. Graham won his place upon the Bisley Team for 1899.
In the Marching and Firing
Competition No. i team, commanded by Lieut. Harbottle, won third place, and
No. 2 team, commanded by Lieut. Hamilton, won fifth place.
The annual Regimental Rifle
Match took place on Saturday, the 8th of October. 235 competitors were
present, a larger number than on any former year. A good prize list was
offered, and, the weather being favourable, the match passed off very
Special measures were adopted
this year to turn the rifle gallery at the Armories to the best advantage,
and the suggestion made that a company be detailed from parade each night to
devote the entire evening to practice firing, it being apparent that better
instruction in position and aiming drill could be imparted at the gallery
than at the ranges.
1899. This year was
comparatively uneventful at the weekly practice and in the Canadian Military
Rifle League Competition, although excellent work was put up.
At the Ontario Rifle
Association Matches there was an increased representation, with seventy
individual prizes, aggregating $284.90, and a bronze medal as winnings. Five
regimental team prizes, amounting to $156, were won, as compared with four
prizes and $95 for the previous year. "E" Company won first prize, $20 and
the Brassey Cup, in the competition for company teams in the Tait-Brassey
Sixteen crack shots attended
the Dominion Rifle Matches from the Regiment. The winnings were 53
individual prizes, $299.10, and four team prizes, viz., $76 in cash and the
Gzowski and Gillespie Challenge Cups, and the British Challenge Shield. The
team prizes included first in the Gzowski Match, first in the British
Challenge Shield, and first in the Gillespie Challenge Cup Aggregate, and
third place (only four points behind the first team) for the Lansdowne Cup
Aggregate. Sergt. J. McVittie, Sergt. J. C. Smith, Pte. H. McLaren, and
Corporal H. Kerr secured places in the Grand Aggregate, and Sergts. McVittie
and Smith were entitled to represent the Regiment at Bisley in 1900.
This, it must be admitted, is a record to be proud of, proving, as it does,
that in the fluctuations to which a shooting record is so obviously liable,
the Forty-Eighth have held their own with the best marksmen in Canada for a
period of years which may be taken as long enough to be a valuable test.
The Annual Rifle Match, and
the Marching and Firing Competition were well patronized and the Regiment
showed up well in both events.
Cups and Trophies. Following
are the winnings for the cups and trophies offered for competition by the
OLD CHUM TOBACCO TROPHY, donated by D. Ritchie & Co., Montreal, through Hon.
Major and Quartermaster W. H. Orchard: 1892, won by "A" Co.; 1893, "H" Co.;
1894, "H" Co.; 1895, "H " Co. Finally won by "H" Co.
TORONTO SILVER PLATE Co.'s TROPHY: 1893, won by "G" Co.; 1894, "E" Co.;
1895, "E" Co.; 1896, "A" Co.; 1897, "G" Co. ; 1898, "G" Co. Finally won by
CREAN & ROWAN BANNER: 1893- won by "H " Co.; 1894, "H" Co.; 1895,"C" Co.;
1896, "A" Co.; 1897, "A" Co.; 1898, " E " Co.
THE LADIES CUP: 1893, won by
"B"Co.; 1896, "C" Co.; 1897, "G" won by "B" Co.; 1894, "C" Co.; 1895, "H"
Co.; 1898, "G " Co.
CALEDONIAN SOCIETY TROPHY, Scotch Tup s Head, donated by the Caledonian
Society of Toronto: 1894, won by "H" Co.; 1895, "A" Co.; 1896, "H" Co. ;
1897, "E" Co. ; 1898, "H" Co. Finally won by "H" Co.
CANADIAN MILITARY RIFLE LEAGUE CUP: From 1895 to 1898 inclusive, won by
WALKER TROPHY : 1896, won by "H" Co.; 1897, "E" Co.; 1898, "E" Co.