ROYAL VISITORS TO THE RMR IN 1914

Wednesday, November 4, 1914

Camp Salisbury Plain, West Down South

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Division inspected by H.M. The King accompanied by the Queen, Earl Roberts, and Lord Kitchener.  Weather fine and inspection passed off well.  14th Bn. quickest to march off after inspection over.  Reached camp before any of the other battalions.”  [1]

04 Nov 14_A

04 Nov 14_BROYAL VISITORS TO THE DIVISION:  “London, Nov. 4.  King George and Queen Mary, accompanied by a small suite, to-day visited Salisbury Plain, where they inspected the Canadian troops who have been encamped there since their arrival in England.  The King expressed pleasure at having the opportunity to welcome to the Mother Country this body of soldiers. “Their prompt rally to the Empire’s call,” said King George, “is of inestimable value both to the fighting strength of my army and in the evidence it gives of the solidarity of the Empire.  The general appearance and the physical standard of the different units are highly creditable, and I am glad to hear of the serious and earnest spirit which pervades all ranks.”

“Their Majesties motored to camp from Salisbury. Among those accompanying them were Lords Kitchener and Roberts, Hon. G.H. Perley and several of the War Office staff.  The Royal visitors first went to Bustard Camp, where the divisional headquarters are situated.  The King and the Queen shook hands with each member of the staff as they were presented.  They then motored to Pond Farm accompanied by General Alderson and the Canadian staff.

All along the route the troops with bayonets fixed, cheered the Royal motorists vociferously. On the King’s express direction the journey was made at slow speed. The King saluted every few yards along the route.  In the King’s car was Lord Roberts, then followed Lord Kitchener, and the last car was occupied by the acting High Commissioner.  Their Majesties spent about a couple of hours altogether in camp and afterwards proceeded by train to London.”  [4]

The 14th Battalion history records:  “Glorious sunshine welcomed the King on this occasion, but the rain of the previous fortnight had left its mark on the troops, with the result that there was much coughing in the ranks.  This was too much for the colour sergeant of one company, who, as the King approached, turned on his men despairingly.  “Shut-up!” he hissed, “or the King will think you’re a company of consumptives.”  Pride triumphed in response to this anguished appeal and, as the King eyed the rigid, motionless, and silent ranks, no suggestion of consumptive inferiority was conveyed to him.”  [5]

[1] War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Nov 4, 1914.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089676.jpg
[2]  “King Reviews The Canadian Troops on Camp Ground,” Montreal Daily Mail, Thursday, November 5, 1914, pg. 2, col. 1.
[3]   http://vimyridgehistory.com/kit-1/cda-rallies/salisbury-plain/images/#gallery/2198/523/0
[4]  “King Reviews The Canadian Troops on Camp Ground,” Montreal Daily Mail, Thursday, November 5, 1914, pg. 2, col. 1.
[5]  R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette, Printing Co., Ltd., 1927, pg. 18.

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