|Carte de Visite
The threat eventually passed and Baines remained in garrison at Quebec until Sunday, 14 October 1866 when a group
of carousing drunks started a fire in the early morning which soon became out of control and well beyond the abilities
of the local sapeurs to deal with. The fire soon reached such a magnitude that British troops where soon called out to
combat the blaze, Companies of the Rifle Brigade, the 25th and 30th Regiments, Royal Artillery and officers and men
of the Royal Navy where soon employed as unlikely firefighters.
Members of the Royal Artillery under the direction of Lieutenant Baines and Lieutenant Bradley were using charges
of black powder to demolish rows of houses near the General Hospital Convent in the attempt to create a firebreak
when one of these charges exploded prematurely severely burning Lieutenant Baines and Sergeant H. G. Hughes.
Both men were taken to the Convent Hospital and placed in the care of the sisters and doctors Adsett, McKinnon and
Anderson. Baines although badly burned and injured seemed to rally and his prognosis was good until a severe
tetanus infection set in. Baines condition worsened and in the early morning hours of 27 October, 1866 he died.
Hailed as the hero of the great fire Baines was buried at Mount Hermon Cemtery with full military honours. The
service was attended by literal who’s who of Quebec’s military and political society: A firing party of the Royal
Artillery, with arms reversed under command of Lieut. Ormsby, the band of the Prince Consort's Own Rifle Brigade,
the band of the 30th Regiment, the band of the Royal Artillery, Col. McCrae, R.A. and mourners, detachment of the P.
C.O. Rifle Brigade, detachment of seamen from H.M.S. Aurora, officers of Royal Artillery, detachment of Royal
Engineers, the Royal Artillery commanded by Adjt. Simpson, officers of Levis Volunteer Infantry, officers of 8th and
9th Battalions Volunteer Rifles, officers of Quebec Volunteer Artillery and Cavalry, officers of P.C.O. Rifle Brigade,
officers of 30th Regiment and officers of the Royal Engineers.
A small booklet – In Memoriam – was published in Quebec to honor Lieutenant Baines soon after his death. It
contained an account of the Great Fire and Baines part in the efforts to stop it as well as eulogies from officers and
civil authorities. One was a letter from the Mayor of Quebec to Baines mother in Brixton, Surrey:
Madam. - The citizens of Quebec, of all creeds and classes, have deeply deplored the death of your
brave son, in consequence of the injuries sustained by him while endeavouring, with equal zeal and
courage, to arrest the progress of the terrible calamity with which our city has recently been visited,
and they have contributed to raise a suitable monument to his memory, in Mount Hermon Cemetery,
where his remains are laid, considering him to have died, not merely in the discharge of duty, but in
their service, and in the sacred cause of charity. They are further desirous to employ the enclosed
sum in erecting a memorial tablet in your Parish Church or wherever you may wish it to be
placed,and they respectfully entreat that this may be done under your direction, and according to
It is not for them, nor for me who am charged with this communication, to pretend to offer you
consolation under a bereavement by which your whole future life must necessarily be darkened and
saddened. We can only commend you to Him who healeth the broken in heart and bindeth up their
wounds, and we trust you will receive it as of His good Providence that if your son was early called
away, it was by a death as honourable and soldierly as if it had happened on the field of battle, and
that in his last moments he received and enjoyed those consolations which, in such circumstances,
the Gospel only can give.
I am, with profound respect and sympathy,
Your faithful Servant,
Mayor of Quebec.
Quebec, 21 st December. 1866.
Enclosed was a cheque for Sixty Pounds.
A fine monument was raised at Mount Hermon Cemetery in honour of Lieutenant Henry Edward Barnes which still stands
today. It bears the following inscription:
|Sacred to the memory of
Lieut. H. E. Barnes, Royal Artillery,
Who died on 27th October, 1866, aged 26 years,
From injuries received when on duty at the great
Fire in Quebec, on the 14th October, 1866.
Erected by his brother officers.
The following poem by an author known only as “T.A.L.” appeared in the Quebec Chronicle in memory of Lieut. Baines:
Quebec in sadness mourns the brave departed,
Upon whose grave her people's tear-drops flow,
Over whose memory the tender-hearted,
Faithful would all their sympathies bestow;
At duty's call he nobly came, disdaining
Such perils as oe’rspread his dangerous path;
Encountering the foe, and thus restraining
The onward progress of its fiery wrath.
Guarding our hearths and homes from conflagration,
Led on more boldly by the fearful thought
Of thousands fleeing in their desolation,
Redoubling his energies, he fought
Incessant in his task, till death outspeeding,
Aimed at his manly breast the venomed dart.
Downward he sinks, all danger still unheeding,
Unconquered by the pangs which still his heart,
Contented now he rests, his labours ended,
Upon the bosom of his heavenly guide;
Now tears of sorrow shed by those defended,
Tell how he nobly lived, and bravely died.
The first letter in each line spell out the motto of the Royal Artillery,
"Quo fas et gloria ducunt."