Saturday, January 11, 1915

In Camp, Lark Hill, Salisbury Plains

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Training.  Battalion route march and drill.” [1]

11 Jan 15THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: Salisbury, January 11., – In consequence of the serious outbreak of spinal meningitis in the Canadian camps at Salisbury Plain, which has already caused a number of deaths, a determined effort is being made in the highest British-Canadian circles to secure the drastic step of having the entire contingent billeted, or else removed to France at once, the latter move being considered preferable.  Anything which the authorities at Ottawa can do to back up the efforts being made in England would be greatly appreciated, as it is considered, by those in touch with the situation here, that the proposal is one of overwhelming importance for the welfare of the Canadian troops.

Intense regret is expressed at the death of Lieut.-Col. Frank Strange, of Kingston, one of the victims of meningitis, following as it did the death of Rev. Capt. Ingles, chaplain of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Toronto. Lieut.-Col. Strange’s body will be sent to Canada for interment.  There is sorrow also among the Montreal soldiers at the death of Private Fred McGuinness, son of Maj. McGuinness of Montreal.  Several cases of meningitis are now under treatment at Bulford Hospital, near Salisbury.

Artillery practice at the ranges by the Canadians will commence tomorrow.  Divisional exercises will be held on the 25th instant, now the schedule is calling for the completion of training by the Canadian force next month….

It is officially reported that there have been 25 cases of meningitis among the Canadians in camp, and that 16 deaths have resulted.  There has been little illness among the Ontario brigade.  The Toronto regiment is establishing its own hospital under supervision of Dr. Haywood, formerly of the Toronto General.”  [3]

[1]    War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Jan 11, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa,
[2]   “Urging Changes For Canadians,” The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, Tuesday, January 12, 1915, pg. 1, col 3.
[3]    Ibid

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