FALSE RUMOURS OR COUNTER INTELLIGENCE DIS-INFORMATION?

Wednesday, January 20, 1915

In Camp, Lark Hill, Salisbury Plains

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

20 Jan 15THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: While the Canadian Contingent continued their training in England, the press in both Britain and Canada carried reports stating that they had already departed for France.  The following report carried a month before their actual departure could have been the result of speculation on the part of the reporter, hoping to be first with ‘breaking news,’ or alternatively it might have been a report issued by the military authorities designed to feed misinformation to the enemy.

“London, Jan. 19. – Practically all the Canadian soldiers are now upon the continent or on their way to France.  Following the removal of the Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry to the battle-front, the work of transporting the other Canadian units to France was hurried to meet new and violent German attacks.

The Globe publishes the foregoing under reserve pending official confirmation.  There is reason to believe, however, that the movement of the Canadian Expeditionary Force from Salisbury to France started several days ago, hints in the special cables to The Globe and Canadian Associated Press despatches bearing this out.  The transfer from Salisbury to France of the 31,000 odd men would take some time, and it is unlikely that any official announcement of the move would be issued until the last man had landed, as was the case with the first British expeditionary army.  It is assumed, as stated in previous despatches, that the Canadians will undergo further training in France before going to the firing line.”  [3]

[1]  War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Jan 20, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089686.jpg
[2]  “All The Canadians Landed In France?” The Globe (1844-1936), Toronto, Ontario, Wed., January 20, 1915, pg. 1, col. 5.
[3]   Ibid

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