Colonel Meighen Arrives Back in Canada in 1915

Monday, July 12, 1915

Reserve Billets – The Piggeries

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “The Battalion supplied working parties of 150 by day and 150 by night for work with Engineers on various forts and reserve trenches.  3 officers with each duty.” [1]

12 July 15_ATHIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: “(Special to The Gazette) Quebec, July 11.  – I knew that our men were all right, but I never expected that from the outset they would act like seasoned veterans.  I could never ask to command better troops, said Lieut.-Colonel F.S. Meighen who was in command of the 14th Battalion from Montreal for 10 months of  the severest fighting met with in this war, and who has now by the Allan liner Hesperian tonight come back to aid in the training of the men now going to the front in the kind of fighting that will be of use to them under actual war conditions.   With Lieut.-Col. Meighen are many other Canadian officers who have been wounded in the fighting at the front or invalided home in a few cases, and from everyone there comes just that kind of tribute to the Canadian fighting men.” [3]

12 July 15_B“A very hearty welcome was tendered Col. Frank S. Meighen, of the 14th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, when at half-past six yesterday evening he returned from the war to Montreal. It was no longer Lieut.-Col. Meighen who came back. He still held that rank when he arrived at Quebec, but yesterday a cable was received at militia headquarters conveying the information that in recognition of his services at the front Lieut.-Col. F.S. Meighen had been promoted to the rank of full Colonel.

This news added double zest to the welcome given Col. Meighen by his brother officers of the 1st Grenadier Guards of Canada, and a number of other officers and civilians who had gathered to show their appreciation of his work at the front and their joy that he had returned safe and sound from so perilous an enterprise.

When it became known that Col. Meighen would reach Montreal at 6:30 last evening, hurried preparations were made by Lt.-Col. Cooper and the officers of the Grenadier Guards to give him a fitting welcome. The only result of a telegraphic communication with the then Lt.-Col. Meighen was a modest request that no demonstration mark his home coming. This was at once disregarded by Lt.-Col. Cooper who decided that the Grenadier Guards could not allow to pass unnoticed the return of the officer who had left their ranks as senior major to win honor and promotion at St. Julien and the other battles where the Canadian troops had distinguished themselves.

The result was that when the C.P.R. train from Quebec pulled into the Place Viger Station, the band of the Grenadier Guards, out on voluntary parade to honour their returning officer, was lined up on the platform with Lt.-Col. Cooper and practically all the present serving officers of the battalion waiting to welcome him. Amongst others waiting were three of Col. Meighen’s old comrades in arms, Major Paul Hanson, Major Ranger and Lt.-Col. Dansereau, all invalided home from the front.

As Col. Meighen, accompanied by Mrs Meighen, stepped from the train the band struck up the traditional welcome to soldiers from battle, ‘Home, Sweet Home,’ and everyone instinctively stopped for a moment.
Then there was a rush forward, and in a moment Col. Meighen was surrounded by his brother officers in Khaki, and welcomes were mingled with congratulations on his promotion.

Col Meighen, still tanned with the peculiar grey-brown effect of the battlefield was evidently delighted at the warmth of the greetings that awaited him in his own home city, and some time was spent in exchange of congratulations.

Then the band struck up the historic march of the Grenadiers –‘The British Grenadier,’ and Col. Meighen was escorted down the platform to where Mrs. Meighen was awaiting him in an automobile to drive him home. The band formed up and played the National Anthem and with three resounding cheers, Col. and Mrs. Meighen drove off.

‘They worked us mighty hard over there,’ said Col. Meighen, ‘and I guess there is going to be plenty of hard work here, and it is all needed.’ In this Col. Meighen referred to his coming duties as instruction officer at the active service camps here, which he will undertake as soon as he has had time to get his affairs in shape, and a decent rest after his hard campaigning. He said he was feeling very fit, and had already gained five pounds since he left the front.” [5]

[1]  War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, July 12, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa
[2]   “Col. Meighen Returns From The Front,” The Gazette, Montreal, Monday, July 12, 1915, pg. 1, col. 7
[3]  Ibid
[4]   “Col F.S. Meighen Warmly Welcomed,” The Gazette, Montreal, Tuesday, July 13, 1915, pg. 5, col.1.
[5]   Ibid

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