Waging war on Signal Hill

Steve Bartlett
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British, French fought in St. John’s 250 years ago

The French leader said he would hold out.

The British then set up two batteries and started firing.

“Threw a great many shells last night into the Fort,” Amherst wrote in his journal on the 18th.

The French didn’t roll over.

Wrote Perry: “The enemy kept up a constant fire upon us, and threw balls and shells on the hill, but did not make very great slaughter, though some of our men were killed. While a squad of regulars sat eating their breakfast in a tent, a cannon ball passed through it, and killed one man instantly; and another by the name of David Foster ... was struck on the temple bone by a grape shot, which passed under his forehead, rolled his eyes out, and left a little piece of the lower part of his nose standing; and what I thought was very remarkable, he lived to get home.”

The French finally capitulated on Sept. 18.

Martin says the exchanges between both leaders show a mutual respect for each other and an understanding there was no point in spilling more blood.

“It’s truly surrender with honour,” he says.


Organizations: North American, British Navy, Royal Canadian Legion Signal Hill Tattoo Great Big Sea

Geographic location: Signal Hill, Newfoundland, Waging Torbay Fort William Colville Bay Bulls Halifax Petty Harbour Quidi Vidi Lake Narrows North America Paris France Islands of St-Pierre—Miquelon Louisburg Montreal Caribbean North America.Beside

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Recent comments

  • David Green
    July 18, 2012 - 11:56

    Interesting to read that the goal of the French military commanders was to destroy the fishing infrastructure. Were they alive today, I'm sure they would be happy to know the Harper government is continuing to do that for them.