RMR’s 1914 NEW YEARS EVE CHURCH SERVICE

Thursday, December 31, 1914

In Camp, Lark Hill, Salisbury Plains

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Duty Battalion. No training.” [1]

31 Dec 14_B

Church of St Mary and St Melor, Amesbury, Wiltshire

31 Dec 14_A

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: “On New Year’s Eve Major F. G. Scott, Protestant Chaplain of the Regiment, held a celebration of Holy Communion in Amesbury Parish Church.  The service was impressive, because of the solemnity of the service and the hour.  As the bells of the church rang out across the moonlit and frost whitened fields, 1914 faded into history and the Empire faced its first New Year of the War.”  [4]

Maj.-Gen. C. Basil Price, then a C.S.M. in the 14th Bn. at the time, recalls “Canon Scott was our Padre then and he had a New Year’s Eve service in Ainsbury(sic) Parish Church, a beautiful old Norman Church. And it was one of the few perfect nights with a full moon and a white frost, and we walked across the plains to the Church. And it was a wonderful service.  They had the choir and everything there and quite one of my happiest memories of the war really.”  [5]

The Amesbury Parish Church of St Mary and St. Melor was started as a Benedictine Abbey in the year 979 on what may have been the site of an earlier monastery.

[1]   War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Dec31, 1914.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089681.jpg
[2]   http://www.panoramio.com/photo/47747520
[3]   http://www.oodwooc.co.uk/ph_amesbury_in.htm#035
[4]   R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette, Printing Co., Ltd., 1927, pg. 20.
[5]   C. Basil Price as told in “Flanders Fields : Canada Answers the Call,” a 17 part radio series produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 1964, Program 3, transcript pg. 28.  Transcripts now held by Library and Archives Canada, RG 41, Vol. 6; as quoted by George H. Cassar, “Hell in Flanders – Canadians at the Second Battle of Ypres," Toronto, Dundurn Press, 2010, pg. 44.

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