Deployment to France in 1915

Wednesday, February 10, 1915

In Hutments, Lark Hill, Salisbury Plains

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Left Lark Hill at 9 p.m., entraining at Amesbury between 10 and 11 p.m.  Proceeded direct to Avonmouth Dock, Bristol.” [1]

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: LEAVING SALISBURY AT LAST – “Between the hours of 9 p.m. and midnight on February 10th, 1915, the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, paraded in full marching order at Lark Hill, and moved off in several detachments to Amesbury Station.  Secret had been maintained as to the exact hour of departure and few spectators witnessed the unit’s farewell to Salisbury Plain, but several officers, who had been transferred to reserve formations, were present to wish their comrades good luck and God-speed. Something of the regret which these super-numeraries saw the Regiment leave for active service is reflected in the diary of a French-Canadian officer who writes, “Saw my dear Regiment march off to the front.  How badly I feel to see them go and leave me here.”  Regret, however, was not the keynote of the occasion.  Officers and men rejoiced that the weary months of training were over and that the Division was on the move, presumably to France, even though this was not certain.  All of which the men felt sure that they were proceeding to Amesbury Station, there to entrain for an unnamed destination.”    [2]

ORDER OF BATTLE and WAR ESTABLISHMENT – By this time the “Order of Battle and War Establishments for the First Canadian Division and Lines of Communication Units” had been established, and Col. Duguid has included a table in his Official History reflecting these figures as at February 10th, 1915.   From this we note the numbers for the 14th Battalion were set as follows: 30 Officers; 996 Other Ranks; for a total of 1,066 personnel; and 66 horses.  [3]

[1]    War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Feb 10, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa,
[2]    R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette, Printing Co., Ltd., 1927, pg. 24.
[3]    Col. A.F. Duguid, “Official History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War, 1914-1919, Vol. I, Part 2, Chronology, Appendices and Maps, King’s Printer, Ottawa, 1938. Appendix 226, pg.158.


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