25,000 Men Paraded in Valcartier

20 Sept 1914THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY, 20 September 1914 – “Issue of material and equipment continued through September, service uniforms gradually replacing the militia uniforms and mufti in which the troops had reached camp.  As a result of these issues the men presented a smart appearance when reviewed by H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught on September 20th.  Departure of the Contingent was imminent by this time and many people were visiting the camp to wish the troops good-bye, among them H.R.H.. the Duchess of Connaught, H.R.H. the Princess Patricia, The Right Honourable Sir Robert Borden, and many of the heads of Church and State.  The parade therefore, was memorable, and improvement in the bearing of the troops was noted, particularly when the units marched past in columns of half battalions in line.  The march past of thirty thousand men is always an impressive sight, but this occasion had special significance as Canada’s royal Governor-General was reviewing the First Contingent for the last time.  With emotion, therefore, he bade the troops “God speed”.”  [2]

“There were 25,000 men in the march past which occupied an hour; every man was properly uniformed, and all were armed, the whole force – horse, foot and artillery showing a state of readiness. In the morning, mass was solemnized at three stations, and there were communion services for Anglican and Presbyterian soldiers.  Later there was a union service [interdenominational], the first ever held at a military camp in Canada at which clerical representatives of Protestant denominations and Catholic priests stood on the same platform.  There were fully 20,000 men at the service, the battalions being massed before a stand draped with patriotic colours.  On the stand stood a signal sergeant who “wig-wagged” the numbers of the hymns to the battalion signallers who gave the numbers to their own units.  Another feature of the service was that the books of the service were distributed from a motor truck.  Chaplain Major R.H. Steacy, of Ottawa (Divisional Chaplain) conducted the service, and the sermon was preached by the Rev. Canon Scott of Quebec.” [3]


[1] Valcartier Saw Finest Review Held In Canada,” The Montreal Daily Mail, Montreal, Monday, September 21, 1914, pg. 2, col.1.
[2] R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette, Printing Co., Ltd., 1927, pg. 10..
[3] “Valcartier Review a Memorable Scene, Men advanced to a High State of Efficiency,” The Globe (1844-1936), Toronto, Ontario, Monday, September 21, 1914,  pg. 3, col. 1.


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