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Ensign McEachren's Tunic

Public Submission
The Battle of Ridgeway (or Limeridge), 2 June 1866
Materials & techniques
Wool, leather
The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum and Archives 01108
1866 Rifle Green dress uniform tunic of Ensign Malcolm McEachren worn at the June 2nd Battle of Ridgeway where he was shot through the upper abdomen and died shortly after being carried from the battlefield. Sadly McEachren was the very first casualty of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada which had been formed in 1860.

“At thirty-five, he was older than the average militia volunteer. Born in Islay, Scotland and raised in Lower Canada, he came from a humble background and had originally wanted to be a minister. Born a Presbyterian, he had only recently joined the Wesleyan Methodist and was a Sunday school teacher. McEachren was married to Margaret Caroline, aged thirty-one and the couple had five children: two boys, eight and twelve, and three daughters, two, four and six years old. He was a store manager in Toronto with an annual salary of nine hundred dollars, plus free rent for the family in an apartment above the premises. McEachren was sufficiently organized to have purchased life insurance but not sufficiently wealthy to acquire more than a $250 policy – in [2005] dollars about $6,675." [Ridgeway (Vronsky) pp.61-62]

There are red bands in the centre of the collar and on the cuffs of each sleeve. The front has five rows of green braiding and knots. Sleeves have green Austrian knots. The back has two arcing vertical green braids with knots and braided buttons. The bullet hole is slightly to the wearer's left above the second braid from the bottom. The tunic is closed with metal loops and hooks and also with ceremonial braided loops and toggles. There is a leather tab on the inside front of the collar. Unfortunately someone felt it necessary to mark and label the bullet hole with white paint.

The tunic was presented to the Queen’s Own by Old Fort Erie and the Niagara Parks Commission in 1866 - on the 100th Anniversary of the battle and is one of our most valued artifacts because it represents the sacrifices of thousands of Queen's Own Rifles soldiers since that time.
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