Born on October 6, 1769 on the Isle of Guernsey, Major-General Sir Isaac Brock was assigned with his regiment to Canada in 1802. He spent much of the next decade working to bolster the nation’s defences while recruiting and training new militiamen as the spectre of war with the Americans loomed.
By the time the War of 1812 broke out, Brock was in command of all military forces in Upper Canada (present-day Ontario) and was also administrator of the province.
Brock’s preparations proved critical in the early days after war was declared in June of 1812. His forces, comprised of regular soldiers, militia and native warriors, played a role in repelling the American invasion in southern Ontario with swift victories at Fort Mackinac and Detroit.
However, the challenge of defending vulnerable positions at Niagara remained. It was here on October 13, 1812, that Brock was mortally wounded at the Battle of Queenston Heights while leading his forces against the invading Americans commanded by General Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Brock was struck down by a sharpshooter and it is reputed that his final utterance to his men was “Surgite!”. This Latin term means “Push On!” and is today the motto for Brock University in St. Catharines.