Saturday, January 30, 1915

In Camp, Lark Hill, Salisbury Plains

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Drawing equipment.  Active preparations for move.” [1]

30 Jan 15THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: “Although the First Contingent had been almost completely equipped at Valcartier, many of the articles were not of British pattern.  After examination by War Office experts and selected officers of the Division, it was decided at the end of January that certain of the Canadian issues were unserviceable or unsuitable, and replacement from British Ordnance Stores – already hard pressed to supply the needs of the increasing home divisions – was thereupon necessary.

The change from Canadian to British service dress was made gradually as renewals were required, but a full issue of British “ammunition” boots was immediately necessary as the Canadian pattern was not designed for marching on pavé roads or continual soaking in mud.  General Alderson had cabled to Canada for authority to purchase serviceable footwear, and found that 48,000 pairs of overshoes had already been shipped, but on trial these “did not compensate for faulty construction of boots”  issued; his call for 40,000 fur-lined jackets was met with an issue of heavy sweaters, rightly considered more serviceable.

Only five battalions had brought web equipment from Canada, the others wore the obsolescent Oliver pattern which had pouches for 80 instead of 150 rounds, but no pack or facilities for carrying the entrenching implement, and cut a man under the arms.  General Alderson, after cabling in vain to Ottawa for Web pattern, was not to be put off with “New valise Oliver Equipment” (1915 Model), and obtained an issue for seven battalions from the War Office, together with a full divisional issue of British pattern entrenching implements.”   [3]

[1]   War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Jan 30, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa,
[3]   Col. A.F. Duguid, “Official History of the Canadian Forces in The Great War 1914-1919, Vol. 1, Part 1, King’s Printer, Ottawa, 1938, pg. 138.

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