The First World War
An RCR Officer's Diary 1914-1918

SEPTEMBER 1914

On 1st [Sep] Lt Cock returned from Western Sub-Division and resumed command of M.G. Section. By the beginning of the month nearly all the officers and NCOs who have been sent out on temporary detachment had returned to headquarters.

Lt Fiset late 89th Regt was appointed paymaster with the Honorary rank of Captain.

Capt Papineau was promoted Major, Lts Roscoe and E.B. Costin Captains. Lt Heron, 10th Regt (attached), was appointed to the Regiment.

The establishment was brought up by drafting 400 volunteers from 1st Contingent at Valcartier Camp. Two thousand men volunteered, 400 selected, ...

On 4th [Sep] Major Burnham with Lts Alexander and Bouchard and "G" Co arrived from Quebec. This company had supplied detachments at the Wireless Station on the Island of Anticosti in the Gulf of St Lawrence, on the Gaspay (sic) Coast and on the Island of Orleans.

The Regiment while in Halifax and elsewhere had supplied escorts to conduct German prisoners and Austrian prisoners of war captured by warships. They were for the most part taken to the Military Prison Melville Island.

On 5th [Sep] a proclamation by Governor General pardoned all deserters from the Canadian permanent Force who reported for duty.

On 6th [Sep] Lt. Col. Carpenter assumed command of the Depot formed at Halifax while the battalion was abroad. The establishment consisted on 1 Major, 1 Adjutant, 1 Sgt Major, 1 Q.M. Sergt, 1 Orderly Room Clerk. Each Infantry Station left 1 Q.M. Sergt to close the accounts and stores and hand over to any incoming unit and then to report to Headquarters Divisional Area for recruiting duties. Fourteen Sergeants and 120 rank and file were left at the Depot for the above purposes. Capt Roscoe was appointed Adjutant.

On 5th [Sep] orders were received for the battalion to stand by for embarkation on 9th. The establishment on embarkation was not to exceed 1030 and 36 married families. Attached officers were allowed to volunteer so long as the total number of officers did not exceed thirty. A Medical Officer and Paymaster were allowed.

The establishment was brought up by drafting 400 volunteers from 1st Contingent at Valcartier Camp. Two thousand men volunteered, 400 selected, embarked in S.S. Canada at Quebec and arrived at Halifax on 9th under Capt Russell L.S.H. (R.C.)

This draft consisted of raw recruits for the most part and were not properly clothed or equipped, some being in their Militia uniforms, some in red, some even in plainclothes.

The battalion embarked at Deep Water on Thursday September 10th and sailed the following day at noon under escort of H.M.C.S. Niobe. The following officers embarked:-

At the last minute Maj Hill and Lt Campbell were ordered to join the Depot and therefore went ashore again.

The following wireless message was received from H.R.H. The Duke of Connaught on 12th [Sep]:

Best wishes to all ranks. I am sure you will carry out your duties abroad with credit to Canada.

Arthur.

The voyage was without incident with the exception of stopping two merchant ships by H.M.C.S. Niobe one night. The accommodation was excellent, the Canada being fitted out for ordinary trans Atlantic Service.

At night no lights were allowed on deck and all portholes had to be muffled which as the weather became warmer in its southward journey was somewhat trying especially to the families on board.

About 5 p.m. on Sunday 13th [Sep] the Islands of Bermuda were sighted, and the same evening the ship entered the passage of St. George.

Evidently on account of the size of the ship, one of the largest ever entering Bermuda, the pilot made an error and ran aground. No damage was done, however, and the passage was continued after slight delay.

The battalion disembarked on Monday 14th, relieving 2nd Battn Lincolnshire Regiment which embarked that night in the Canada and sailed for Halifax the next morning.

A, B, & C Cos went to Boaz Island near the Dockyard.

D, E, & F Cos. to St. George's, while G, H & K and Nos 1, 2, 3, & 4 Provisional Cos, with Headquarters and M.G. Section went to Prospect.

The 400 Valcartier men were organized on board ship into four provisional companies:-

The men of these companies had been issued with clothing and equipment as far as possible on board ship but owing to rough weather this could not be completed before arrival. The Battalion consequently presented a very piebald appearance on landing at Hamilton.

Steps were immediately taken to train these men, while the "old hands" carried out the multitudinous guards and duties. So great, however, was the employment that the training had to be much curtailed. Lt Balders was appointed Assistant Adjutant to help in the training of these men.

Before being "dismissed" the recruits had not only fired their musketry course but most had completed Company training.

This was the first occasion that Mk VII ammunition with the pointed bullet in chargers of five cartridges in the cotton bandoliers recently introduced for rapid replenishment of ammunition in the firing line. The chargers could not, however, be satisfactorily be used in the Ross magazine.

Kharki drill and Imperial pattern "ammunition" boots were issued shortly after arrival. Officers were also given an issue but had to pay for them some months later.

Lt Holloway was appointed Command Signalling Officer on 16th September.

On 28th [Sep] a Guard of Honour under command of Captain Langford with Lts Alexander and Macculloch and 100 other ranks was mounted for His Excellency the Governor and Commander-in-Chief at the opening of the Colonial House of Legislature, Hamilton. His Excellency expressed himself "extremely pleased with the turn out of the men."

The Colours having been left at Regimental Depot Halifax, no Colour was carried by the Guard.

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