The Royal Westminster Regiment is the oldest Unit on the British Columbia mainland. In 1863 a company of Royal Engineers, stationed in New Westminster, was disbanded and returned to England. The citizens of New Westminster felt the need of protection from the threat of Indians and lawless miners. A petition was sent to Governor Douglas, in Victoria, asking permission to form a non-permanent Military Unit. Permission was granted and on November 20th, 1863, the New Westminster Volunteer Rifles were formed. For several years the Regiment went through changes in name and organization. Then in 1899 the Regiment provided a contingent of men for the Boer War in South Africa. In 1914 the New Westminster Volunteer Rifles became a training unit for battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.