Twelve surviving Royal Engineers who found New Westminster; back row; McBride, Howay, Keary, H. Bruce, J. Cox, centre; G. Turner, A. Cummins, Haynes, Butler, Archer, front; Jackman, Bonson, Wolfenden, Argyle, seated W. Hall, Mrs. James Keary. 13 Oct 1909

Philip Jackman was born in Devonshire 12 April 1835.  At 21 Jackman joined the Royal Engineers, at Chatham, enlisting for a period of 7 years. He volunteered for service in British Columbia with the Columbia Detachment.  Jackman traveled on board the Thames City with the main body of the troops, arriving in BC in April of 1859. Jackman was discharged from the RE 1863, and remained in the Colony when the Detachment disbanded.

After trying his luck in the Cariboo, he returned and built the road to False Creek on a private contract. For nine years he was New Westminster's one-man police force.  With his wife Sara Ann Lovegrove, he homesteaded on a quarter-section (160 acres) in Langley district, ran a store, surveyed for the railway, and was at one time reeve. He was also a fisheries officer for 14 years. It was he who named the town of Aldergrove where Jackman Road (272nd St.) intersects the Fraser Highway.


In 1927 Philip Jackman passed away

And with him passed a legacy that can still be felt today
When Victoria was sovereign
Britannia ruled the waves
And the dreams of an empire were borne on the sapper’s spade 

Here’s to the last of those fine, gallant men
And sad, of their likes we shall not see again
Raise up your glass for all those we hold deer
For we’ve seen the last of the Royal Engineers 

A boyish man from Devonshire, he came across the brine
With the corp. of the Royal Engineers in 1859
True men of sense & purpose, new frontiers to explore
They built a British Colony on the North Pacific shore 

He’d built the roads & highways, and he’d dredged the channels through
Been a cop in New Westminster, worked the CP Survey Crew
Homesteaded quarter section where he raised a family too
He’d marked his place in history when he passed at ninety-two 

Here’s to the last of those fine, gallant men
And sad, of their likes we shall not see again
Raise up your glass to all those we hold deer
Here’s to the last of the Royal Engineers 

For years he’d watched the shadows as around, the men he’d known
Death touched their lips with silence, he’d draped them one by one
He would drink a toast in silence, “to the builders of the west”
Long life to the hearts still beating, and peace to the hearts at rest”


Music & lyrics by Bruce Coughlan (SOCAN)

From Tiller’s Folly: A River So Wide CD (2007)

Bruce Coughlan:
lead vocals, acoustic guitar

Laurence Knight: electric bass, vocals
Nolan Murray: mandolin, 5-string banjo
Eric Reed: electric guitar
Chris Nordquist: drums

Produced by Steven Drake & Laurence Knight
Engineered by Steven Drake at Greenhouse Studios, Burnaby, BC & NAL Studios, North Vancouver, BC.
Mixed by Steven Drake at Profile Studios, Vancouver, BC
Mastered by Yes, Master, Nashville, TN
Re-mastered by Joby Baker at Baker Studios, Victoria, BC