RMR reaches Camp after 3-hour March

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY, 16 October 1914 – From the 14th BATTALION (RMR) WAR DIARY:

Friday, October 16, 1914

Camp Salisbury Plain, West Down South

“Entrained at 12:45 a.m. Arrived Patney Station just after dawn, detrained and marched to West Down South, Salisbury Plains, about 3 hours march. Very tiring for the men as they were soft after nearly 3 weeks on board ship.  Found tented lines all ready for occupation.”    [1]

SALISBURY CAMP

16 Oct 14“The Canadian Divisional Headquarters were established at “Ye Olde Bustard,” an isolated inn three miles north-west of Stonehenge. The bulk of the Contingent was distributed in four camps extending for five miles near the west side of the military area.  Bustard Camp, beside General Alderson’s headquarters, was given over to the 1st Infantry Brigade, the Divisional Mounted Troops and Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry; two miles to the north-west the 2nd and 3rd Brigades were in West Down South Camp; a mile beyond in West Down North were all the artillery and Divisional Supply Column; while two miles further north the 4th Brigade, the cavalry, the 17th Battalion and the Newfoundland Contingent occupied Pond Farm Camp.”  [3]

The Regimental history has told us that Companies Nos. 1, 2, 3, 7, and 8 of the 14th Battalion had entrained at Plymouth Railway Station the previous evening, and after travelling all night to detrain “shortly after dawn on the 16th at Patney Station. From there they marched for about three hours across Salisbury Plain to West Down South.  Tented lines were ready at this spot and were gratefully occupied by the men, whom the long sea voyage had softened and who, in consequence, were weary after the night journey in cramped quarters and the ten mile pre-breakfast march across the Plain.”  [4] 

“CANADIAN SOLDIERS ON SALISBURY PLAINS

 First Detachment Reaches Training Ground on the Stroke of Midnight”

 “The country folk for many miles around lined the streets of Salisbury during the whole of yesterday afternoon and late on till the evening to give the Canadian troops a rousing welcome on their entry into the famous city. It was, in fact, just on the stroke of 12 midnight when the first detachment made its appearance.  The men looked none the worse for the long sea and train journey.  On reaching camp they were refreshed with tea.  The remainder of the troops will be brought in tomorrow. The camps are all on Salisbury Plains, within three or four miles of each other, and the men will live under canvas.”  [5]

[1]   War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Oct. 16, 1914.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089670.jpg
[2]   http://vimyridgehistory.com/wp-content/gallery/salisbury-plain-images/Duguid-Salisbury-Plain-Map.jpg
[3]  Col. G.W.L. Nicholson, CD., Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War: Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919, Duhamel, Queens Printer, Ottawa,1962,  pg. 34.
[4]  R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette, Printing Co., Ltd., 1927, pg. 16.
[5]  “Canadian Soldiers On Salisbury Plains,” Canadian Associated Cables, The Globe (1844-1936), Toronto, Ontario, Friday, October 16, 1914, pg. 1, col. 4.

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