Montrealers in the trenches

Sunday, April 18, 1915

In trenches, St. Julien

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Improving trenches, also working on reserve trenches northeast of and just outside St. Julien”. [1]

18 April 15_ATHIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: “General Headquarters of the British Army in France, April 18; by way of London, April 18. The Canadians may have been full of boyish spirit when they landed in England, but they have been men in the trenches,” said a staff officer of the British Army commenting on the report that the Canadians have been lacking in discipline. “They’ve buckled down like British soldiers should, and their conduct has been not only without reproach, but deserving the highest praise.” This is the first official statement of a staff officer in the field relative to a much-discussed question.”[3]

Canadian Eye-Witness Tells of Meeting Brig.-Gen. Turner and Col. Meighen.

18 April 15_B“Special to The Gazette. Ottawa, April 18. An interesting cablegram received on Saturday by one of the senior officers in the headquarters staff here from Col. Carrick, M.P., one of the Canadian eye-witnesses in France throws an interesting light upon events in one part of the battlefront as they were last Friday. The cablegram is dated April 17, and runs as follows:

“France via London – With General Turner, Colonels Garnet Hughes, Meighen, and Leckie I spent yesterday and last night in the French trenches, with the French soldiers in Belgium. The trenches were only fifty yards from the enemy’s and an incessant rifle fire continued all night quite frequently hitting the tops of the parapets. With flares, rockets, rifle and artillery fire, accompanied occasionally by musical strain from bagpipes, the front at times presents quite an animated scene. The trenches and dug-outs are in good shape, and with fine weather there is not now much hardship to trench life. In fact some of our men enjoy immensely trench life and experience.

General Turner mentioned is Brigadier-General Turner, V.C., of Quebec, while Col. Garnet Hughes is a son of General Hughes, and with the Highland Brigade. Col. Meighen is Col. Frank Meighen, of Montreal, in command of the 14th Batt. (Royal Mounted Rifles)(sic), [s/b Royal Montreal Regiment], and Col. Leckie is from Vancouver.” [5]

[1]    War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, April 18, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa,
[2]   “Not Lacking In Discipline,” The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, Monday, April 19, 1915 pg.1, col. 6.
[3]   Ibid
[4]  “Montreal Regts In The Trenches,” The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, Monday, April 19, 1915 pg.1, col. 6.
[5]  Ibid

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