HURRY UP & WAIT: DESPATCH TO THE FRONT DELAYED FOR MONTH IN 1915

Thursday, January 14, 1915

In Camp, Lark Hill, Salisbury Plains

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Route march.  Lecture to officers by Lt.-Col. Meighen.  Demonstration of Colt Automatic pistol * to officers by Armourer-Sergt. Parnell.”  [1]

The Canadian Army had no official sidearm during World War I, and officers were expected to buy their own sidearms; this practice continued into the Second World War. The M1911 was a popular choice with many officers.

The Canadian Army had no official sidearm during World War I, and officers were expected to buy their own sidearms; this practice continued into the Second World War. The M1911 was a popular choice with many officers.

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: “London, January 14,  Although the intention of the authorities was to send the Canadian troops to the front next week, a change has been made in the plans, and a delay of a least a month is now probable.

The fourth infantry brigade of the Canadian contingent are moving into barracks, their camp at Salisbury having been condemned on account of the epidemic of meningitis.

Fifty-two members of the Canadian Scottish have secured commissions in British highland regiments or in Kitchener’s army.  Several regiments are now discouraging these transfers owing to the difficulties of filling the gaps.”   [2]

Alexander Parnell poses with his rifle in 1956. He has just earned, at age 75, a place on the  Canadian rifle shooting team, setting a record for oldest team member that has yet to be broken.

Alexander Parnell poses with his rifle in 1956. He has just earned, at age 75, a place on the
Canadian rifle shooting team, setting a record for oldest team member that has yet to be broken.

No 26674, ARMOURER-SERGEANT ALEXANDER PARNELL: Some notes on Alex Parnell, listed in the 14th Battalion’s war diary for this date in 1915: “Alexander (Alec) Parnell was born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland in 1881. He apprenticed as a cabinetmaker there and emigrated to Montreal in 1904 upon completion of his apprenticeship. He boarded with a Creswick family who had arrived from England a few months earlier, and in 1905 he married the eldest Creswick daughter.

A crack shot, Parnell was active in the militia prior to the war, and mobilized for service with the 3rd Regiment Victoria Rifles on August 12, 1914. Named an Armoury Corporal, he rose to the rank of sergeant with the Royal Montreal Regiment. Honourably discharged in 1916, he went on to compete for the Canadian Rifle Team in international shooting competitions. Parnell worked for the CNR as a cabinet maker. He died in Montreal in 1967. In 2000, he was named a member of the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association Hall of Fame. His wife, Harriet, a homemaker, died in 1981.”   [4]

[1]    War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Jan 14, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089686.jpg
[2]   “Despatch To Front Delayed For Month,” The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, Friday, January 15, 1915, pg. 1, col. 4.
[3]    http://www.canadashistory.ca/Great-War-Album/About-the-Great-War/Life-on-the-Front-Lines/Alexander-Parnell
[4]    Ibid

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