New CO Appointed For RMR In 1915

Saturday, June 19, 1915

Rest Billets, Bethune

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for day: “Left for Reserve Billets at La Quesnoy about 4 p.m. [arriving there at about 7:00 p.m.].  Lt.-Col. Meighen recalled to Canada by Sir Sam Hughes, Minister of Militia for special work in connection with training.  Command of Battn. taken over by Lt.-Col. W.W. Burland previously 2nd in Command.”[1]

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: “On June 19th, during a move of the Battalion to reserve billets at Beuvry, Lieut.-Col. F.S. Meighen, the Commanding Officer left the unit in obedience to immediate orders which recalled him to Canada for special duty.  Brigadier-General’s rank was given to him and, at a later date, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.  In addition, his name was twice brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War.  When his period of service in Canada and later in England was completed, Brig.-Gen. Meighen voluntarily reverted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel to command the 87th Battalion, Canadian Grenadier Guards, in France.  Throughout these transfers and in his new commands, he was followed by the good wishes of all ranks of his original battalion.  On his departure, command of the Royal Montreal Regiment was assumed by Lieut.-Col. W.W. Burland.” [2]

Sir John French Addresses Troops at Waterloo

“(Canadian Press Despatch) – At General Headquarters of the British Army in France, June 19th – Yesterday, on the centennial anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, Field Marshal Sir John French, the British Commander, visited a cavalry division not long out of the trenches.

The General stood in the centre of the square before the Tenth Hussars, once his own regiment, and before the famous First Life Guards. Sit John did not make a speech, but spoke as soldier to soldier, hesitating for words at times in his emotion. The men were actually seeing their Commander-in-Chief, who in the complicated immensity of modern war is only a name to them.

‘I knew,” said General French, ‘what you were capable of, and you have shown that you are equal to any work required of a soldier. It requires more dogged tenacity, more courage to stand for many days in the trenches than to make one brave charge.

Against that dastardly attack at Ypres with a weapon against all usages, when the cloud of gas rolled over your trenches, gasping, blinded and in darkness, you stood your ground with a determination which prevented disaster.’

When the Commander-in-Chief finished his talk the men gave him three cheers.” [4]

[1]  War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, June 19, 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. 62.
[3]   “Sir John French Addresses Troops on Waterloo Centenary,” The Globe (1844-1936), Toronto, Ontario, June 20, 1915, pg. 1, col. 3.
[4]   Ibid

Share your thoughts