No Raincoats for RMR’s Serving in Wet Flanders Spring of 1915

Saturday, March 6, 1915

In trenches Rue Petillon

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Quiet day except for usual shelling at noon.  Considerable work done on front line and breastwork around Battn. H.Q.  Relieved at night by 15th Battn. and marched back to Brigade Reserve billets on Rue du Quesne. Relief took over three hours to complete, much too long.” [1]

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: There continued to be much lingering controversy and criticism of the equipment procured and supplied to the Canadian Contingent, and the methods by which the material was purchased.   About this time (March 4, 1915), Mr. L. J. Gauthier, Member of Parliament for the riding of St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, posed no fewer that fourteen questions in the House of Commons, with a view to finding out why the Canadian soldiers were not equipped with a waterproof coat.

“General Hughes replied that no waterproof cloak or cape was given the soldiers, but they were equipped with a greatcoat which was considered to be more serviceable.  The British soldiers are not supplied with waterproof coats, and if commissioned officers have them they are purchased at the officer’s own expense.  An offer to supply a waterproof cloak at cost was made before the contingent left, but the offer was rejected.  The department does not admit that any error was made in this regard.  No complaints have been received from any members of the first or second contingent.  Some civilians did write to the department, but their recommendations were not approved.”   [2]

[1]    War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, March 6, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa,
[2]    “No Muster Roll Yet, Answers Gen. Hughes,” Special Despatch to The Globe, The Globe (1844-1936), Toronto, Ontario, Friday, March 5, 1915, pg. 11.

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