Monday, July 5, 1915

Relief in Place of 4th CEF

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “The Battalion relieved the 4th Can. Bn. in Ploegsteert Trenches.  Relief completed by 10:00 p.m.  Nos.1, 2 & 4 Coys. in Fire Trench, No. 3 in support.” [1]

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY:  The name of this small village, and of the nearby wood, is actually Ploegsteert, but to those who served here during the Great War it became known as “Plugstreet”. The village is at the very south of the area associated with Ypres; in fact it is not regarded as part of the ‘Ypres Salient’ by many. It is only about two miles north of Armentieres, close to the French border and eight miles south of Ypres. [2]

Ploegsteert Wood
Ploegsteert Wood

05 July 15_B“On the way forward to the “Plug Street” trenches the men of the Battalion, passing through Ploegsteert Wood, were much interested in the board walks bearing the names of London streets; in field batteries hidden in attractive surroundings; and in Headquarters huts, which reminded them of log cabins in the sugar bushes at home.  On taking over the trenches from the 4th Battalion, Nos. 1, 2 and 4 Companies of the 14th moved into the front line, with No. 3 Coy. in support.  The positions occupied by all companies were clean and comfortable, except for the presence in dugouts of an abnormal number of huge rats.

05 July 15_C
Bivouacs in Ploegsteert Wood

The right of the front was not entirely in a pleasant spot, however, as underneath a knoll, held by No. 4 Company, the Germans were supposed to have dug a mine.  Some compensation for the tension of living over a potential volcano was supplied at this point by the presence of a great catapult, similar to those used in the days when Caesar’s legions were over-running Gaul.  Bombs were fired at intervals from this dangerous contraption, also a few tins of bully beef.  Probably the enemy regarded the beef as some particularly obnoxious Canadian poison.  As ammunition the tins would otherwise fail to impress him.” [4]

News From Home Is One Of Chief Wants Of The Wounded

05 July 15_D“Ottawa, July 6.  Sir George H. Perley, acting High Commissioner for Canada, in a cable communication to Sir Joseph Pope, Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, points out that one of the chief wants of wounded Canadian soldiers in the hospitals of the United Kingdom at present is news from home.  The men are simply longing for Canadian newspapers, and to meet this natural desire it has been decided to utilize the services of the Canadian Red Cross Society in London.  The request is made to Canadians of all classes who desire to meet the wishes of the wounded men, to send clean copies of daily and weekly newspapers addressed to Lady Drummond, Canadian Red Cross Society, 14 Cockspur Street, London, S.W.   Canadian newspapers so forwarded should not be more than a week old and preferably should be put up in bundles and mailed twice weekly, the ends of the packages being left open.  The package rate on Canadian newspapers to England is one cent for four ounces, provided the packages are inscribed ‘by Canadian steamer.’  When the bundles of newspapers are received in England they will be sent under Lady Drummond’s directions, to the several hospitals throughout the United Kingdom where Canadian soldiers are under treatment.”  [8]

[1]  War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, July 5, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089762.jpg
[2]   http://www.ww1battlefields.co.uk/flanders/plugstreet.html
[3]    Google Maps
[4]   R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette Printing Co., Ltd., 1927, pg. 63.
[5]   Short History of the London Rifle Brigade, Aldershot, Gale and Polden, 1916, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/25932/25932-h/25932-h.htm
[6]   http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/etexts/WH1-Fran/WH1-FranP022a(h280).jpg
[7]    “Men in Hospitals Are Longing For Canadian Papers,” The Quebec Chronicle, Quebec City, Wednesday, July 7,1915, pg.3,col. 5.
[8]   Ibid


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