Thursday, December 24, 1914

In Camp, Lark Hill, Salisbury Plains

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “All available men on fatigue. * Midnight mass in hut of No. 4 Co.” [1]

24 Dec 14_A
RMR Christmas card sent from Captain Richard Steacie to his family. Note the pride the Regiment had in its origins: the three Founding Units are listed on the front of the card.

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: “On Christmas Eve Capt. A. Sylvestre, Roman Catholic Chaplain of the Battalion, celebrated Mass in a hut occupied by the French-Canadian soldiers from the Carabiniers de Mont-Royal, …the service was impressive, owing to the simple dignity with which the Mass was celebrated in such strange surroundings…”   [2]

“The year 1914 came to an end with the Christmas season, which for the men was one of the few constant things in their chaotic world.  For most, who presumably were lonely and homesick, it was a time unlike anything they had known before.  But they made the best of it.  Ian Sinclair (13th Bn.) delighted in recalling his experience:  ‘They let half the battalion go on leave at Christmas and half at New Year.  The officers waited on the men at Christmas dinner and everybody got mildly tight, and we had a wonderful time.’ ”   [3]

[1]   War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Dec 24, 1914.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089681.jpg
[2]   R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette, Printing Co., Ltd., 1927 , pg. 20.
[3]   George H. Cassar, “Hell in Flanders – Canadians at the Second Battle of Ypres,” Toronto, Dundurn Press, 2010, pp. 43-44.


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