Near Miss At Sea for RMR

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY, 13 October 1914 – “On October 13th, when nearing the coast of England, one of the armed transports fired a few rounds to test the mounting of a gun, whereupon smoke appeared at a half dozen points on the horizon, as small craft of His Majesty’s Navy searched for trouble.  A more striking demonstration of the care with which the Contingent was being guarded and of the British control in home waters could hardly have been afforded.  Land was sighted that evening.”   [1]

The previous day the Admiral had sent a warning order that the transports would today be organized into three squadrons according to their rate of speed. However, this morning the flagship signalled “All ships will keep present fleet formation till further advised.” A northerly gale had sprung up during the night, there was a heavy sea, and the flagship at 8.00 a.m. had picked up strong German wireless telegraph signals, which even yet are not definitely accounted for: on the same day a German submarine was reported off Cherbourg, and another near Culver (Isle of Wight) narrowly escaped being rammed by the British torpedo-boat, No. 116. The presence of the submarines caused the Admiralty to change the destination of the convoy. The original idea had been that the Contingent should disembark at Liverpool; this was abandoned because of congestion in the Mersey, and the War Office made plans to take the troops by rail from Southampton to camps on Salisbury Plain; German activity in the Channel had caused a change to Devonport on 30th September; but on account of War Office objection Southampton was again agreed upon on 10th October, and Admiral Wemyss had been so informed. At 6.30 p.m. on the 13th, as the coast was not yet clear of submarines, he was ordered into Plymouth Sound.”  [2]

[1]  R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette, Printing Co., Ltd., 1927, pg. 14.
[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. 102-103.


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