OTD: Isaac Brock appointed to command British forces in Upper Canada

On today’s date in 1807, Isaac Brock was appointed to command the British forces in Upper Canada.

Now remembered as “The Hero of Upper Canada,” Brock was first appointed as brigadier general by Governor-General Sir James Henry Craig in 1807. As the new commander of early Canada’s forces, he played a significant role a few years later in the War of 1812.

Owing to his legacy in Canada and abroad, Brock has since been commemorated by postal services around the world, including Canada Post and Guernsey Post, which is located in his home country.

Brock was born at St. Peter Port, Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, on Oct. 6, 1769. Later a British Army officer, he was assigned to Lower Canada (present-day Québec) in 1802 and later commanded a regiment in Upper Canada (present-day Ontario).

By September 1811, Brock was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, and the following July, he proclaimed a state of war after increased tensions with the U.S.

Responsible for quick victories at Fort Mackinac and Detroit, Brock was eventually shot and killed at the Battle of Queenston Heights on Oct. 13, 1812, during a successful defence of Upper Canada against U.S. attacks.

Brock is also commemorated on a six-cent stamp issued by what was then known as the Post Office Department in 1969.

2012, 1969 BROCK STAMPS

On June 15, 2012, Canada Post released stamps (Scott #2554-55) honouring the two most important leaders during the War of 1812—British Major-General Sir Isaac Brock and War Chief Tecumseh.

The two-stamp issue was the first in a series marking the war’s 200th anniversary and depicted the two men face to face. The issue was printed by Lowe-Martin on Tullis Russell paper using seven-colour lithography and released as panes of 16 Permanent stamps, each measuring 40 millimetres by 32 millimetres (horizontal) and with general tagging along three sides.

In the two-stamp se-tenant format, illustrated by Suzanne Duranceau, the two men are seen in profile with their facial expressions depicting mutual respect.

“The stamp is printed in lithography but with an intaglio feel, a technique that gives the two men equal weight,” said Alain Leduc, then stamp design manager.

The background of the Brock stamp (SC #2554) shows a European settlement as it would have looked in 1812. Chief Tecumseh is shown with encampments scattered around him, indicating more than one tribe has taken to arms under his command.

“The setting is a visual representation of the motivation for each man—this is what they were fighting for,” said stamp designer Susan Scott. “And the body of water speaks to the dominance of the British naval power.”

An official first-day cover was cancelled in Tecumseh, Ont.

Brock was also commemorated on a six-cent stamp (SC #501) issued by the Post Office Department – a precursor to Canada Post – in 1969. Printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company, the stamp commemorates the 200th anniversary of Brock’s birth.

In addition to his portrait, the stamp features Brock’s Monument, which was completed in 1856 and marks his grave and is located near Queenston, Ont. The statue of Brock stands atop a 56-metre column overlooking the territory his troops successfully defended.

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