Christmas for the RMR in 1914

Friday, December 25, 1914

In Camp, Lark Hill, Salisbury Plains

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Duty Battalion.” [1]

Canadians on Salisbury Plain receiving their Christmas cards
Canadians on Salisbury Plain receiving their Christmas cards

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: Earlier in the month The Globe in Toronto had carried this report about postal service to the Canadian troops, both in England and on the continent:-

“Salisbury Plain, Eng., Nov 17.  – The Canadian postal detachment with the contingent is planning the delivery of the mails at the front by aeroplane.  It is hoped that the scheme may be tried here during the next few days.  A Postman will ride with the aviator and the mail bags will be dropped near the various field post offices, where officials will be waiting to receive them.  The aeroplane, of course, will go to within a few feet of the ground when the sacks are to be dropped.  If the scheme works out satisfactorily here the letter mails received at Railway Head, in France,  when the Canadians go to the continent, will be sent up to the front by means of aeroplanes.  It is expected that delivery will be made much more rapidly than by the usual methods.

Colonel Victor Williams, General Camps Commandant, has expressed himself as highly pleased with the postal service given to the Canadian contingent.  Notwithstanding that the area covered by the Canadian camps is some twenty square miles in extent, two deliveries of mail are made daily from the base post office to each battalion and independent unit, while two despatches are also made to outlying points.  Each of the five Canadian camps has a fully equipped field post office and a telegraph office.  Hundreds of telegrams are received and delivered to the soldiers every day, while the amount of mail matter averages over one thousand parcels from London alone, and the number of letters handled daily ranges from twenty-five to thirty thousand.

There is great joy in the camp when the news spreads that the mail has arrived from Canada.  The Canadian mails come twice a week, and the men look forward anxiously to letters from home.  Yesterday over 80,000 letters were received from Canada and all were sorted and distributed by the Canadian postal detachment under Lieut. K. A. Murray of Woodstock, Ontario.”    [3]

[1]   War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Dec 25, 1914.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa,
[2]   “Canadians on Salisbury Plain receiving their Christmas cards,” Canadian War Museum Archives; Image: M.297; Control No.: 19930003-361
[3]   “Aeroplane Postal Delivery Planned.” The Globe (1844-1936), Toronto, Ontario, Tuesday, December 1, 1914, pg. 3, col. 1


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