SALISBURY PLAIN NOW A QUAGMIRE

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY, 23 October 1914 – From the 14th BATTALION (RMR) WAR DIARY:

Friday, October 23, 1914

Camp Salisbury Plain, West Down South

For the second day in a row the Battalion War Diary records: “All day rain. No work possible beyond necessary routine.”  [1]

SALISBURY PLAIN NOW A QUAGMIRE

23 Oct 14“Two days ago the camp roads were two feet deep in powdered dust, today they are a veritable quagmire, which makes the work of the Army Service Corps doubly laborious.  Hard work has begun in earnest now in every brigade, although whole troops have not even yet arrived from Plymouth.  The first brigade attained its full complement today.  The Canadian battalions have all adopted the double company formation for drilling.  Nothing yet has been done in the way of rifle practice.  The rifles, in fact, are only just arriving in camp.  Route marches are undertaken three times weekly.

Several Sergeants messes became wet last night, in accordance apparently with the announcement made by General Alderson earlier in the week, but wet canteens for the men have yet to materialize.  This subject is likely to provoke more discussion in Canada than on Salisbury.  The officers of the contingent appear agreeable for the establishment of such an institution, seeing that such is the custom in every training centre in this country.  One must await events to see the extent to which the canteens will be patronized.  Meanwhile, it is worthy of note that the marquees erected by the Y.M.C.A. are invariably crowded.  Pianos are provided in each marquee, and ample facilities for letter writing.  The Canadian Emigration Department van arrived in camp today bearing a big consignment of song books for these marquees, the consignment being the gift of Hon. Dr. Roche.

Lively interest is manifested in tomorrow’s visit from Lord Roberts. The great soldier is expected to reach Bustard about 11o’clock.  After inspecting the parade there he will proceed to each of the other three camps.  Lord Roberts has always shown particular interest in the Canadian militia, every year travelling especially to Bisley to inspect the Canadian team.  “Bobs” will not see the Canadian contingent in full strength, leave amongst officers and men having been granted extensively over the weekend.”   [3]

[1]  War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Oct. 23, 1914.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089670.jpg
[2] http://vimyridgehistory.com/kit-1/cda-rallies/salisbury-plain/images/#gallery/2198/515/0
[3] “Salisbury Plain Now A Quagmire: Work of Army Service Corps is Doubly Laborious;  'Bobs' Inspection To-day;  Famous British Leader Expected by the Canadian Troops-- Several of Sergeants' Messes Become Wet-- Y.M.C.A. Marquees Crowded,” Canadian Associated Cable, The Globe (1844-1936), Toronto, Ontario, October 24, 1914, pg. 9, col

 

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