This Week in History
The Battle of Signal Hill
|This story was initially published in 2010
On September 15, 1762, the Battle of Signal Hill was fought atop Signal Hill in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The British victory paved the way for the recapture of St. John’s from the French, who had held the town all summer. It was the last battle fought in North America during the Seven Years' War.
To recapture St. John’s, the British organized a joint army-navy force, led by Lieutenant-Colonel William Amherst and Rear-Admiral Lord Alexander Colvill. On September 13, Amherst’s men landed at Torbay and began their advance on St. John’s. Two days later, they drove the French from Signal Hill into Fort William, at the foot of the hill. With the British now firmly in control of the high ground, they established mortar batteries on Signal Hill and opened fire on Fort William on the night of the 17th. Realizing that their position was hopeless, the French surrendered the next day.
This year is the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Signal Hill. The Battle of Signal Hill was designated a National Historic Event in 1959. Signal Hill and Fort Townshend were designated National Historic Sites in 1951, as was Fort William in 1952.
For more stories about the Seven Years War, read British Land at Louisbourg, The British Capture Fort Frontenac, and The Capitulation of New France in the This Week in History archives. For more information on Signal Hill, visit Signal Hill National Historic Site of Canada on the Parks Canada website.
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