On today’s date in 1833, Hamilton incorporated as a city – it’s Ontario’s oldest – 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 2012 stamp issued by Canada Post.
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.
It was designed by Sputnik Design Partners with illustration by Sharif Tarabay.
“We set out to depict and honour the service and sacrifice of every single person who has served proudly and bravely for this great country since 1862,” David Sasha, of Sputnik Design, told Canada Post.
“That wasn’t easy, since no one person, event or place can serve to represent the regiments’ long and memorable history. So we decided to focus on the aspects that are common to all parts of their history— the uniforms, the colours and the symbols that stand for these great regiments. Using the evolution of the uniform captures a moment in history and ties all the regiments together while celebrating the differences among them. We honour each regiment individually as well as celebrate them collectively for serving Canada over the last 150 years.”
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.