APRIL 20, 1863


On April 20, 1863, the British gunship HMS Forward arrived at Kuper Island, in Lamalchi Bay, near Vancouver Island, British Columbia. There was a large Hul’qumi’num village there at the time.  However, the British targets were the Lamalchi. There is no agreed reason for the attack.  The ship bombarded the village, concentrating its cannon fire on a fortified blockhouse with musket loopholes in its timbers. However, village marksmen had taken up positions on the two points of land at either side of the mouth of the bay, and they strafed the decks of the Forward with musket fire from both sides. Three hours later, the Forward retreated. The only recorded death was that of a 16-year-old sailor, Charles Gliddon, who took a musket ball in the head. With this attack, treaty-making came to an end in British Columbia.  The Crown abandoned its duty to reconcile settler and Aboriginal interests. 

Source:  Terry Galvin, This Haunted Place, The Georgia Straight, 8/25/2005.  Retrieved 2/17/2020, https://www.straight.com/article/this-haunted-place?#
Photo: Royal Navy, 1855-70. Public Domain.  Source: Barry Gough, Gunboat Frontier: British Maritime Authority and Northwest Coast Indians, 1846-90 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1984).

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