The ‘Sons of England’ was a patriotic and benevolent society for British ex-patriots living in Canada and South Africa.
There was a lengthy report of the memorial service for Roland Taylor in the next morning's edition of The Charlottetown Guardian, from which the following is extracted. The report of the memorial service for Alfred Riggs was in full as transcribed below.
Only a few months ago in the Opera House in this city we gathered to say "good bye, and God bless you" to the Island boys as they were leaving for distant Africa. We saw them as they stood upon the platform in the very vigor of their manhood. - hopes bright, friends numerous, the future(?) filled with magnificent promise, and looking upon them our hearts were filled with admiration. That every man of them would faithfully do his duty we had not the slightest doubt.
Not long afterwards, they, in company with the others of the Canadian Contingent, reached the scene of conflict, and from that time, even until the present, they have received the loudest praises of those in military life. The day however arrived, and too soon, when they were face to face with the grim realities of war, and in that memorable battle fought at Modder River on Tuesday the 20th day of Feb. there fell the first of Charlottetown's men in the person of Roland Dennis Taylor. Private Taylor was a son of Mr. E. W. Taylor of this city, and when the call came for volunteers he was one of the first to offer his services. The news of his death called forth sorrow deep and universal. He was a young man, quiet and unassuming, of high principle and character, and of intense love for his country, willing even at the cost of his own life to do what he could for the highest liberty of mankind and the prestige of an Empire, undoubtedly the greatest under Heaven.
He gave his service to his country with the greatest enthusiasm. On being asked by one of the officers at the time of his enlistment what his reasons were for going, he said, "My father is an Englishman, and I am an Englishman too." These lodges of the Sons of England, one of which Private Taylor was a member, gather here today to give expression to their sympathy with the sorrowing and to pay tribute of respect to his memory. These men, as do we all, sorrow deeply also for the other brave Islander who fell a few days ago and for him a memorial service shall be held in another place to-night. What, however, has been sealed with the blood of Roland Dennis Taylor, Alfred Riggs, and others of the [regiment?] of Canada's sons shall never be rent asunder. For the up-building of this mighty Empire these brave men fought and died by the side of veterans in the British army and their names are to-day inscribed upon an honor roll, the most magnificent that could be written. Again and again we would repeat it, they have not died in vain. Their death was more than an incident of a bloody campaign. "Every bullet that struck down a Canadian youth became a rivet driven with irresistible force into the steel bonds that fasten the Empire together."
Whilst we are now to the God of all Grace, and consolation commend the sorrowing, let us at the same time bow humbly and reverently in the sight of the King of the Ages, consecrating ourselves to Him, and asking Him to use us in whatever use He deems best for the advancement of His Kingdom, so that when we have passed beyond the bounds of time we may share with Him in all the honors of Eternity.
Grace Church pulpit and choir stand were very nicely and appropriately draped in black in memory of Brother Alfred Riggs, who was a consistent honoured member of the church and choir, and who fell so manfully defending the honor of the Empire and the British flag, which, emblematic of his fidelity, hung gracefully over the pulpit, the organ and the chair which he had so lately vacated. So useful and faithful a member of the S. School and Epworth league will indeed be missed and his place most difficult to fill.
At the evening service in Grace Church last night, the place was so crowded that some had to go away. Rev. Mr. McConnell preached a stirring and patriotic sermon from the text, "A good soldier of Jesus Christ" found in 2 Tim. 23. He showed the analogy between a faithful soldier of the British Empire and a soldier of King Immanuel. At the close of the sermon he referred in a very touching way to the loss of Brother Alfred Riggs. A greater tribute to the worth and fidelity of any young man as a Christian and a citizen could not be paid than Mr. McConnell paid to the departed Brother. He felt quite confident that a better prepared man for duty or death did not leave our Canadian shores for South Africa.
(The Morning Guardian, Monday 5th March 1900)
Grace Methodist Church was at 55, Upper Prince street, Charlottetown, and the building still stands, but as an apartment block. The church was built in the early 1870s, and closed in 1918, the congregation moving to First Methodist Church.