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Stephen Otto

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About Stephen Otto

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    Toronto, Canada
  1. Please see the link below to an article "Toronto's Near Forgotten Veterans of Crimea" on p. 3 of the March issue of The Fife & Drum newsletter of The Friends of Fort York, Toronto. It includes some of the information posted in the forum above, but also new material including a link to a British Pathe newsreel in which Michael Brophy appears among those welcoming the Prince of Wales to Toronto in 1919. Thanks to all, particularly Ulsterman, who contributed to the piece. <http://www.fortyork.ca/images/newsletters/fife-and-drum-2014/fife-and-drum-mar-2014.pdf>
  2. Yet another photograph of the Army and Navy Veterans flag has turned up in the James Collection, item #630, City of Toronto Archives, showing the banner being saluted on 24 May 1912 by the Duke of Connaught, Canada's Governor-General, at a ceremony in front of Ontario's Parliament Building, Queen's Park, Toronto. As any schoolboy knows, "The 24th of May is the Queen's birthday, and if you don't give us a holiday we'll all run away." A statue of the Duke's Royal Mother appears in the background, bedecked with wreaths he had placed there. One of them, and the anchor at its base, were requested by the Army & Navy Veterans. The Duke said "he regarded it as the greatest compliment they could pay him to ask him to place flowers on his mother's monument." (The Globe [Toronto], May 25, 1912, p. 21)
  3. In an effort to shake out more information on Brophy a search of the archives of the Toronto Star was requested, which produced nothing more than the several 'hits' found already through Proquest that operates the electronic search function for past issues. The newspaper's librarian, however, was kind enough to send along pdfs of two pages where Brophy's picture and some related text appears. Normally a subscription is needed to obtain pages in a format that can be printed out. As a bonus, people may be interested in the extent to which Canada was immersed in the Great War which permeated the pages of the newspapers then. Brophy December 2, 2016.pdf Brophy February 22 1919.pdf
  4. To correct the information I provided on 19 December (above), the flag wasn't given by Queen Victoria. While the words "Queen's Diamond Jubilee Flag" were embroidered on it, further research has shown that money to purchase the banner was given by officers in the different regiments to which the members of the Army and Navy Veterans' Association belonged. (The Globe [Toronto], July 19, 1898, ibid., p8; Aug. 1, 1898,p6) Made in London, England, at a cost of ₤45 (and $12 more for shipping). the flag was presented by Lady Kirkpatrick to the Association at a ceremony on July 30, 1898, in Queen's Park, Toronto. The photograph in Peter Monahan's post of 20 December shows it being deposited for safe-keeping in St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church ('The Garrison Church'), Portland Street, Toronto on Nov. 21, 1922, Until the church was demolished in 1963 it stood directly across the street from Victoria Memorial Square where the cornerstone-laying ceremony in the picture I posted on 17 December took place.
  5. The flag or banner seen in the photo was given to the Army and Navy Veterans Association by Queen Victoria on her Diamond Jubilee [1897]. According to The Globe [Toronto], Dec. 2, 1916, p9, It bore the names of campaigns from Navarino to the Crimea, Baltic, Indian Mutiny, Abyssinia, Burma, Canada (Fenian Raids), South Africa (three campaigns), Afghanistan, Punjaub (sic), New Zealand, Ashanti, Egypt (two campaigns) and the northwest frontier campaign of Chitral. Its present whereabouts are unknown. Continuing the list of Crimean veterans living in Toronto in 1902 (who in theory could have been in the photo) please add: Frederick Nibbs, British Navy (Sebastopol); Capt. Charles Gesner, 66th Regiment; William Sumbling, 85th Regiment of Foot (Alma, Redan, Indian Mutiny); George Jenkins, (crimea, Indian Mutiny); James R. Brown, 71st Highland Light Infantry; Sergt. Thomas Tyler, 30th Cambridgeshire Regt. (Alma, Inkerman, Sebastopol); Sgt.-Major William D'Arcy, 47th Regiment (Balaclava, Alma, Inkerman).
  6. Another photograph in which Michael Brophy appears was taken at the dedication on July 1, 1902, of the base of a monument in Victoria Memorial Square, Niagara Street at Portland, Toronto. The square is the site of the city's first military burying ground, opened in 1794 and closed in 1861. An estmated 400-500 people are buried there. Today it is a local park and forms part of the Fort York National Historic Site. For several years a shortage of funds delayed this project sponsored by the Army & Navy Veterans Association, many of whose members appeared in the picture. <http://www.wellingtonplace.org/history/monument.php>. As completed in 1907, the base was surmounted by a sculpted bust of 'The Old Soldier' by Walter Allward who has a special place among Canada's artists as the designer of the great monument to Canadian casualties at Vimy Ridge, France, in April, 1917. Brophy is in the front row, second from the right, wearing a peaked cap. He's showing only four of his five medals, all of them British honours. (Thanks, Ulsterman!) The reason for this is not known, or the fifth may be hidden from view. Others present that day boast an interesting assortment of decorations too. There were at least eight other Crimean veterans, besides Brophy, living in Toronto in 1902: Sgt. Charles Jenkins, Coldstream Guards, (Inkerman, Sebastopol); James Titherington (Crimea, Indian Mutiny, Chinese War); James C. Emaney (Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman); George Peck (Crimea and India); Martin Crowe, 4th Infantry Regiment (Sebastopol); Robert Sully, 19th Regiment (Alma, Inkerman Sebastopol); Staff Sgt. Michael McNeill, Royal Grenadiers (Crimea); William Dyson, 30th Regt. of Foot (Inkerman, Sebastopol); and Charles D. Wilson (Alma, Sebastopol, Cawnpore, Lucknow). The original of the photograph is held by Library & Archives Canada, (PA-138519)
  7. Here's a bit more biographical information on Michael Brophy from a report in The Globe [Toronto], Oct. 14, 1903; a similar but slightly longer account appeared in the Toronto Daily Star, Oct. 13, 1903, p7: Fifty-three years ago Catherine Brophy left her home in Kilkenny, Ireland, and came to Canada. Three years later her brother Michael joined the army, went to the Crimea and secured several medals. Thirty-three years ago he arrived here and established his home. In 1890 he secured a situation as gardener at Loretto Abbey, on Wellington Place, and has since been constantly employed. While he was talking with one of the sisters a few days ago she remembered that one of the members of the community was named Brophy. Michael thought of his sister, whom he had not heard of for 53 years, and then, out of curiosity consulted the community files. The record of Catherine Brophy who entered Loretto Convent 48 years ago and assumed the name of Sister Borgia, confirmed his impression that she was his sister. Sister Borgia was communicated with in Guelph [ON.] and the reunion took place on Sunday. Sister Borgia is ill at present, and on her recovery will come here to visit Mrs. Brophy, who conducts a small grocery store at 430 Queen street east [Toronto]