On today’s date in 1833, Hamilton incorporated as a city—the oldest in Ontario—before playing host to various militias throughout its early, war-torn history.
These militias included the 1st and 2nd Companies of Volunteer Rifles (formed in 1855); the Volunteer Highland Company (formed in 1856); the 13th Battalion of Volunteer Militia (formed in 1862); and the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (RHLI), which was featured on a stamp issued by Canada Post in October 2012.
The stamp commemorates the Hamilton militia’s 150th anniversary and depicts four uniformed soldiers from throughout its 150-year history. The group’s name is underneath the soldiers with the date “1862-2012” along the left side.
The most modern of the soldiers depicted, Major J.P. Hoekstra, was one of roughly 80 soldiers the RHLI deployed to the Middle East during the War in Afghanistan, which followed the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City. The image is a slightly altered version of a photograph from this tour provided by the RHLI.
The RHLI formed on Dec. 11, 1862 on a general order issued by Canada’s governor general after decades of battling against Irish-American Fenian insurgents, who were better-armed and more experienced following the U.S. Civil War and the War of 1812.