James Normansell , born in 1830, was from Birmingham.
He appears to have traveled
up the ranks of the Corps rather steadily, becoming a sergeant by at least
Normansell travels to
British Columbia on board the Thames City with the main body of the
There was Morey, too, and
And Lindsay cam' to join the fun,
An' Smith cam' ere the feast begun.
At Huthlicaut's weddin' O.
There was Normansell...
excerpt from "Huthlicaut's Wedding",
sung by Corporal Sinnett
on 4th March, 1859, on board the Thames
Normansell lands at Queenborough and becomes
a foreman for mixed units of Civilians and RE on various duties in the new
New Westminster, 12th September
I venture on the liberty of again having
Your Excellency in the matter of granting an extra Shilling per
diem to Corporal Normansell RE the Senior Corporal of the
His conduct has throughout been most
exemplary in every respect and he is charged with very heavy
pecuniary responsibilities under Captain Grant. The labor he goes
through and the anxieties inseparable from the nature of his
duties, I can assure you, merit the recognition and remuneration I
ask for him.
In a recent interview Your Excellency kindly
entered into an examination of the case so fully that I need not
further trespass upon you for than to add that, since the former
period when I moved you, one Royal Engineer has died and four have
been sent to England, making a material reduction in the aggregate
I have the honor to be, Sir, Your most
obedient, Humble Servant,
RC Moody, Colonel RE Commanding
To James Douglas
Note on letter - Arrived 29th
September – acknowledge receipt of this letter and inform Colonel
Moody that the extra shilling per diem to Corporal Normansell
meets with my approval – on assessment of the heavy colonial
pecuniary responsibilities with which he is charged.
Normansell remains in
the Colony when the Detachment is disbanded in 1863.
Corporal, Normansell's Regimental Pay per Diem would have been 2s. 2
1/2d. plus Working Pay per Diem of 1s. to 4s.
From 1863 to 1864, Normansell is a Serjeant
in the newly created New
Westminster Volunteer Rifle Corps.
Nov. 4, 1864, Normansell purchases 160
acres in Section 1, Block 5
North, Range 1 East, New Westminster District..
In March of 1865, Normansell is appointed Constable
for Wild Horse Creek.
In June of 1865, Normansell was made Chief Constable, Kootenay. He served there till 1871.
On March 5, 1871 received Crown
Grant, for Section 2, Block 5 North, Range 2 West, New Westminster
District, 70 acres purchased with Second Corporal Peter Leech, RE.
surveying team 'S' party leaving civilization in
1871, it passed through Normansell's territory and he came in
contact with an old friend from the Columbia Detachment, Robert Rylatt.
14 September 1871 - At
Wild-Horse creek I came upon an old friend, "James
Normansell" and we spent a few happy hours together. Dear "old Jim", he was then constable at Wild-Horse. We
had gone through many ups and downs together, were
together through the Crimean War, belonged to the same
company of Sappers at Shorncliffe in England, came to
British Columbia together, and spent our five years in the
Royal Engineers, and taking our discharge together,
finally went our separate ways. The last I heard of my old
Chum, he was in the far North attached to the Hudson's Bay
Company. Jim was a Birmingham man.
17 November 1871 - ... I had
a nice improved Winchester Rifle in the tent, which I
prized, as it was a gift from my old friend Jim
May 2nd 1872 - My time
honoured friend, Jim Normansell, writes me from
Wild Horse Creek, stating he has noticed I have had no
letters from my wife (Jim is Post Master among his other
30 June 1872 - On the 10th
June a Mail arrived, but brought no letter for me. Jim Normansell sent me a couple of papers from Wild Horse, and
a few lines telling me not to be downhearted. He is now in
the service of the Provisional Government and is Collector
of Customs at Jospeh's Prairie and for which place and
duties he was just setting out.
-- From the Journal of Robert Rylatt.
In 1880?, Normansell appears to be a Labourer
On October 14, 1884, Normansell died
at the Royal Hospital, Victoria.
Event Death Registration
||14 Dec 1884
GSU Microfilm Number: