65th Carabiniers (Mont-Royal) Grieve Their Losses In 1915

Friday, May 14, 1915

In billets, Bailleul (Le Nouveau Monde)

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Orders received to move to Mont Bernenchon, near Robecq.  Left Bailleul in brigade at 6:50 p.m. to march via Estaires and Lestram.  Half-way, a wagon of the 13th Bn. upset and blocked road, and owing to marsh on each side it was impossible to pass.  Units in front, 14th being rear battn. of the brigade on this march, had gone on in the darkness.  Guide from Brigade H.Q. made wrong turn and battalion took wrong road, marching until daylight without finding destination.  Further confusion also caused by two places of same name (Cornet Malo) in same neighbourhood.  After daylight mistake was easily rectified.” [1]

14 May 15THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: “(Special Correspomndence Montreal Gazette) London, April 30.- It was a battered but courageous band of Canadians who arrived at the Duchess of Connaught Hospital at Cliveden, Bucks., last night. There were fifty-five of them; they represented both east and west of the Dominion, and they were in nearly every case suffering either from shrapnel or bullet wounds. The injuries to limbs were evidenced by arms in slings and the fact that the greater part of the men were carried into the hospital on stretchers. Very few were able to walk, even with aid. Throughout the evening several ambulances were rushing to and fro between the hospital and the local station, and with great promptness all the patients were soon receiving the best care and attention of Lieut.-Col. Gorrell and Miss Campbell the matron. By special permission the Gazette representative was enabled to see some of the patients within a few hours, though many were too ill to be approached.

Private Norman Crann,* of the Royal Montreal said on the 22nd April, following five days out of the trenches, they had gone down to their billets near Ypres. When the shelling started that afternoon the 14th Battalion fell in at a position next to the billet, but had subsequently to fall back in order to protect headquarters at St. Julien. At the latter place they were entrenched some hours, and scouts brought in the news that the enemy were only about 400 yards away concealed in a bush. The battalion moved up and were busy for some hours digging themselves in. There were no definite charges, but a series of advances, before which the enemy constantly recoiled, affording no chance to shoot them. Crann was knocked out on Saturday morning, 24th April, when the Germans were marching upon St. Julien. The shelter was bad, and he was hit in the leg by machine guns. He showed to the interviewer a bullet that had been extracted from his leg. Crann was a traveller for Henry Morgan’s and generally lived in Toronto.” [3]

* Private Norman Crann, #26177 (later Sergeant), born July 26th, 1894 at Willowdale, Ontario, had served one year with the Queen’s Own Rifles of Toronto before enlisting for overseas service and being transfered with a draft to the 14th Battalion at the time of the creation of the 14th in 1914. After the end of the war he was discharged with the rank of Sergeant in September 1919. He died at Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto, May 24th, 1954.

16 May 15“ ‘Died on the field of honor,’ said the Sergeant-Major of the 65th Regiment last night in solemn tones, when Lieutenant-Colonel Ostell called out the names of Privates Rose, Lefebvre, Cote, Martin and Patry,** who lost their lives in the engagement with the Germans at Langemarck on April 22nd when the 14th Battalion (RMR) distinguished themselves and reflected glory on Montreal. This was the first occasion since the war began that the men, as they stood at attention after drill to hear the orders of the day read, have heard these thrilling words. It has been decided that each Wednesday during the continuance of the war the names of those officially reported as dead will be called in this manner. Afterwards they will be posted up, and when the war is over a commemorative plate with all the names will be made as a permanent tribute to the services and sacrifices of these men for the Empire and for humanity.

14 May 15_C
Capbadge of the 65th Carabiniers (Mont-Royal)

Rev. Father Deschamps, chaplain of the regiment, read a prayer for the dead. On Tuesday morning there will be a church service in their honor, which will be attended by all the officers and privates of the 65th who are available, as well as by the families and friends of those reported dead. This ceremony will be held in the church of the Deaf and Dumb Institute on St. Denis street.

There is considerable uncertainty about many of the names reported from the front, and so the regiment does not move in connection with any name until the official report comes. It is only honouring in this manner those members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force who were members of the 65th Regiment before the war. Through this regiment three hundred men were recruited for the First Contingent and left to join it immediately afterwards. No track is being kept of their names.

Divisional Orders read on parade last night provided for a re-organization of the regiment on a war footing. This means that the regiment will be divided into four companies of four platoons each. To command them four captains have been raised to the rank of major. The new officers are Majors H.E. Archambault, A. Larose, S. McKay and George A. DeClercq. A number of captains were also appointed.”[5]

** Note: These five soldiers of the 65th Carabiniers (Mont-Royal), who enlisted for overseas with the First Canadian Contingent , were among the more than 250 oficers and men posted to the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment upon the creation of the 14th Bn. in 1914. These five men were Privates, Gaston Rose, #26493, died April 21st; Lorenzo Lefebvre, #26347, died April 17th; Ernest Cote, #26303, died April 30th; Joseph Martin, #25673, died April 21st, and Adelard Henri Patry, #26359. While the last named appeared in the published casualty lists as ‘killed’, he was not killed, but was taken prisoner of war on April 24th 1915, and not released from captivity until January 2nd, 1919.

[1]  War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, May 14, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089732.jpg
[2]   Google Maps
[3]  “Battered Canadians - First lot of Wounded at Duchess of Connaught Hospital,”  The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, Wednesday, May 12, 1915, pg. 6, col. 7.
[4]  “Five of 65th Died on Field Of Honor,” The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec,  Thursday, May 13, 1915, pg. 5, col. 2.
[5]  Ibid.


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