Researching The Royal Canadian Regiment

Gratitude

By: Dudley D. Spencer
Pro Patria No. 10, November 1971

Prior to World War I (12 Dec 1912). At St Louis Barracks "G" Company The RCR Regimental Depot #5. Cpl Batt, Bugler Dube, Pte Boisjoly, Pte Strachan and myself were on picquet duty. First Post had sounded. the usual staff parade reported "All's well", canteen, defaulters, tomorrow's detail, etc. Temperature around 10 degrees above zero, boots and puttees worn, had it been zero, the blue flag would be hoisted, dress would have been black long stockings and moccasins. Our Bugler sounded "Lights Out" at 1015 p.m. when we heard a piercing cry. Being the sentry, I reported to Cpl Batt, who told me to find where the scream came from and a casual search could not find out. The Cpl allowed our Bugler to come with me, where we found a young girl in great pain. She had been skiing, fell and broke her left leg, compound fracture. With the skis, we could use as splints, but what about bandages. Her scarf we used to secure both feet. Being good Infantrymen we had our puttees (four of them) which we used to secure the splints on the injured limb. When our patient was able to tell us who she was, her name was Mary Cook, her father was a doctor, who lived on D'Auteaul Street, not far from barracks. I sent Bugler Dube to the doctor's home to tell him what had happened. He came with his wife and maid with a toboggan, his daughter placed on it and taken to her home, then by ambulance to the hospital in our improvised splinting job.

Our puttees were cut off at the hospital and back at the Guardroom, Cpl Batt noticed we had no puttees. we told him why. His attitude was as warm as "Mother-in-Laws Kiss" and said that we could be charged for disposing of Government property, or being improperly dressed while on Picquet Duty. We scrounged some puttees and all was well.

Doctor Cook wrote a letter to Major L. Leduc. who passed it on to Lt R.O. Alexander the Adjutant who told us we had done a worthwhile spot of good work.

Meanwhile Dr. Cook gave Bugler Dube and I $5.00 each and $2.00 to replace our puttees used on his daughter's accident as bandages.

He was so pleased. that every night at 9:15 p.m. his maid would bring a silver tray, covered with sandwiches and cakes, coffee, cream and sugar. This service was still in effect in 1914. whether you were on Quarter Guard or Picquet Duty. the goodies came regular at 9:15 p.m. The many nice things we can do to make someone's burden lighter with words of cheer we can help them and make their "outlook" seem brighter. "Je Me Souviens".

P.S. Lt R.O. Alexander finished up as a Major General.

Pro Patria

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