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

JUNE, JULY, AUGUST 1915

JUNE 1915

In the Birthday Honours the following awards were made:-

Mk III Ross rifles were issued, these were a great improvement on Mk II. The battalion was also reclothed having arrived in Kharki drill and sun helmets.

The situation having got in hand Ports Island Guard on German Prisoners of War ceased to be an Officers' Guard.

The equipment worn by officers at this time in marching order consisted of the Sam Browne belt with two braces with the haversack and water bottle together with the field glasses all carried on the belt thus simulating the principle of the web equipment. The Great Coat or waterproof was carried on a sling hung from both shoulders and level with them.

The strictest march discipline was enforced at this time, the insisting of plain water being carried only and drinking on the line of march having been cut down gradually men could march almost the whole day in the hottest weather without touching their water bottles. Men becoming sick with sore feet were "crimed". Cigarette smoking had been forbidden on all duties for about a year.

A Draft of 40 men under Lt G.E. Full, Composite Bn. Halifax, arrived from the Regimental Depot on June 21st, Lt Full returned on 26th.

On 24th [Jun] a cablegram was received asking how many men would volunteer for service in Europe. At a parade held only one man out of the whole Battalion refused to volunteer. This man refused as a protest on account of his wife not having received any money from the Government in his absence, on his case being investigated and dealt with, he also volunteered.

Capt Borden was promoted Major. Lieuts Balders, Lyne-Evans, Cock and Holloway Captains as of June 26th.

JULY 1915

On the 2nd [Jul] the latest draft proceeded to Warwick for Musketry and Field Training under Capt Macculloch, with Capt Balders and Lt Taschereau.

It had been the custom for visitors to buy certain articles and souvenirs made of cedar wood, etc., and made by German prisoners of war. All trading and trafficking with prisoners was prohibited at the beginning of July.

On 6th [Jul] preparations were made for departure for Europe and H.E. The Commander-in-Chief inspected headquarters at Prospect in marching order. He made a complimentary address to them at this his last official visit before sailing. The detachments all over the Island were similarly inspected by him.

Lt Bate reported back from Canada , and Lt Trudeau was appointed Billetting Officer, Lt Heron Assistant M.G. Officer and Lt Fenton Reserve M.G. Officer.

On 19th [Jul] 2nd Lieut. Viscount Uffington, 3/ Hampshire Regt reported for duty on attachment.

A order published about this time exempted the legatees of any officer or man killed in military operations during the war in any part of the world from death taxes.

AUGUST 1915

The Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps took over the Guard at Port's Island Prisoner of War Camp on 6th and that at Blue Hole on 11th [Aug].

On 12th [Aug] the 38th Bn. C.E.F. Arrived in S.S. Caledonia to relieve the Regiment.

Headquarters, M.G. Section, "A" Co. and 2 Platoons of "B" Co moved from Prospect to Dockyard where the remainder of the battalion assembled.

The Battalion embarked the following day and sailed at 2.15 p.m. 13th [Aug] for Halifax.

Maj Burnham and 2nd Lt Lord Uffington remained at Bermuda together with those families which had not already returned to Canada.

H.E. The Governor and Commander-in-Chief Sir George Bullock, K.C.B., bade the Regiment farewell on the evening previous to sailing.

The voyage was without incident. The Machine Guns were mounted on the deck fore and aft as a protection against submarines reported operating in Canadian waters.

The Caledonian entered Halifax just before dawn on Aug 17th. Orders were immediately received for the Regiment to disembark, this was done at 9 a.m. when it was marched to the Armouries, being accommodated partly there and partly in tents pitched just outside on the common.

Steps were immediately taken to complete the equipment as far as possible in Canada. Mk III Ross rifles were issued, these were a great improvement on Mk II. The battalion was also reclothed having arrived in Kharki drill and sun helmets.

The Colt guns had been handed over to 38th Bn in Bermuda and as no others were available only the two old Maxims remained with the Battalion.

Lt Morse, 42nd Regt, and Lt Cockburn, 58th Regt, also Major Hamilton Gray (though sick) were transferred to the Reglt Depot. Capt Willets took over "A" Co. from Maj Hamilton Gray.

Canadian war establishments were authorized. Those made several changes in the personnel of the battalion. Capt Holloway was appointed Bn Signalling Officer, and Lt Poston Assistant Adjutant.

On 20th [Aug] Lt Cockburn reported for duty from the Regtl Depot on appointment to the Regiment. Lt Campbell with 150 men as "first reinforcement" also reported on 22nd [Aug].

Owing to the ambiguous wording of the Militia Act of Canada it appeared uncertain whether the Permanent Force could serve abroad under their existing conditions of enlistment. It was therefore decided to re-attest the whole battalion for service abroad including the officers!

This was immediately done the work being carried out day and night until all documents were completed.

A few men who had volunteered for service in Europe while in Bermuda now refused to reattest.

The night before the Regiment sailed these men were hounded out of the Armouries and the camp by the men of the battalion disgusted with their en-British behaviour, and were so severely handled that they had to be rescued by the police. Two or three of these men, however, deserted without waiting for their Regimental forcible send-off.

On 23rd [Aug] the Battalion was inspected on the Common by Mr Lochead, the Acting Minister of Militia and Defence, in the morning and by G.O.C. 6th Divisional Area in the afternoon.

On 25th [Aug] the battalion embarked in S.S. Caledonia again. This ship had been condemned twice by a board as unfit for troops being merely a converted and odorous cattle boat. Certain alternatives were carried out including some elaborate "wood boxes" officers' cabins strapped by hoop iron to the deck!

She sailed at 8 p.m. on August 26th with the following officers:-

Owing to the distinctive equipment of officers making them a special target in wartime, it was decided that all officers of the Infantry should be armed with the pistol and be equipped in the same manner as the rank and file
Lt Col Carpenter Officer Commanding
Major Kaye 2nd in Command
Capt Willoughby Adjutant
Lieut Poston Assistant Adjutant
Capt Holloway Signalling Officer
Lieut Coupe Quartermaster
Capt Cock Machine Gun Officer
Capt Willets O.C. "A" Co.
Capt Balders 2nd in Command
Lieut Hodson
Lieut Campbell
Lieut Wood
Lieut Taschereau
Platoon Commanders
Capt Costin O.C. "B" Co.
Lieut McCrea 2nd in Command
Lieut Bate Lieut Fenton Platoon Commanders
Capt Eaton O.C. "C" Co.
Capt Macculloch 2nd in Command
Lieut Carruthers
Lieut Heron
Lieut Simpson
Platoon Commanders
Lieut Trudeau Billetting Officer
Lieut Cockburn Base Company
Capt du Domaine O.C. "D" Co.
Capt Law 2nd in Command
Lieut Grant-Suttie
Lieut Logan
Lieut Sapte
Lieut Davis
Platoon Commanders
Lieut Ryan Bandmaster
Attached
Capt Hutton, P.A.M.C Medical Officer
Lieut Westmorland, C.P.A.S.C. Transport Officer
Capt Fiset, C.A.P.C Paymaster

H.R.H. The Duke of Connaught, Honorary Colonel of the Regiment, set the following telegram:-

To Officer Commanding
Royal Canadian Regimental
Halifax, N.S.

I regret it has been impossible for me to come and see you before your approaching departure for England and the front.

I therefore send my best and warmest good wishes to all ranks and hope that good luck may attend you throughout.

I know I can rely on your being a credit to the Dominion and the permanent Force of the Empire.

Arthur,
Colonel, The Royal Canadian Regiment.

The following reply was sent:-

To Military Secretary
Government Hose,
Ottawa.

The Royal Canadian Regiment wish to thank His Royal Highness for his kind message and good wishes and assure him that the Regiment will do its utmost to live up to the high traditions of the Army and bring credit to the Empire.

Lieut. Colonel Carpenter.

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