Sunday, December 13, 1914

In Camp, West Down South, Salisbury Plains

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

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: “Supplies of food and forage were arranged for, by or through the administrative staff of the Southern Command, and transported and delivered by the A.S.C. units of the Contingent. Cooking for the troops was carried out as usual, regimentally; thirty-six n.c.o’s underwent a fourteen-day  cookery course at Aldershot in December and on qualifying conducted courses in their own units; but cooking for 1,000 men over open fires in the rain – the shelters were altogether inadequate – taxed even the most experienced battalion cooks. Officers’ messes in large marquees or corrugated iron huts were run by contract with Harrod’s Stores, London, on a flat rate of six shillings and sixpence per day, of which the individual paid one shilling and the Canadian Government the balance. Contracts for dry canteens in the camp lines had also been entered into by the War Office with Richard Dickeson & Co., Ltd., and with the Canteen and Mess Cooperative Society, Ltd., both of London; regimental purchases from these canteens up to fourpence per man were authorized, at option and in lieu, to vary the standard scale. At first the daily ration included 1-pound bread, 1-pound fresh vegetables and 1-pound fresh meat and bacon per man; a request of 13th December for an increase of ½-pound of meat for those employed on special working parties resulted in an increase of ¼-pound throughout the Contingent. In spite of this a solicitous Englishman telegraphed to Lord Kitchener: “Canadian Contingent suffering from slow starvation. . . .””   [2]

[1]   War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Dec 13, 1914.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa,
[2]   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, pp. 118-119.


Share your thoughts