Sunday, July 18, 1915

Trenches – Ploegsteert

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Battalion relieved in fire trench by 13th Canadians.  Two companies, Nos. 1 & 4 took over the defended locality north of Strand from the Berkshire Regiment, while Nos. 2 & 3 Coys. proceeded to Reserve billets in La Grande Monque Ferme.” [1]

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: * Note: The name “Birdcage” was given a particular spot in this vicinity because it was there that the Germans had erected a mesh screen in front of their trenches, intended to prevent grenades, etc. from being thrown into their trenches.

The Crater, Birdcage, Ploegsteert Wood, 18th July 1915. Lieut. R. Roy in foreground

LIEUTENANT ROBERT ROY: Lieut. Robert Roy was born at Montreal May 22, 1889. He had already served 4 years with the 65th Regiment, Carabiniers Mont-Royal when he enlisted for overseas service in September 1914. He was part of the contingent from the 65th that constituted the newly created 14th Battalion. He had been employed by the Bank of Montreal, and was a son of Colonel A. Roy, MVO, of Victoria, then G.O.C. of M.D. 11 (British Columbia & Yukon). Library & Archives Canada’s records indicate that Lieut. Robert Roy full name was Joseph Oliver Robert Roy. His file also indicates that Lieut. Roy re-attested at Watford, Bermuda, on October 17, 1916, as a Captain with the 163rd Battalion.

The 163rd (Canadien-Francais) Battalion, CEF was a unit in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. Based in Montreal, Quebec, the unit began recruiting in late 1915 throughout the province of Quebec. In May 1916, the battalion sailed for Bermuda, where it remained on garrison duty until late November of the same year. After arriving in England, the battalion was absorbed into the 10th Reserve Battalion on January 8, 1917. The 163rd (Canadien-Francais) Battalion, CEF had one Officer Commanding: Lieut-Col. H. DesRosiers [formerly of the 14th Battalion]. The 163rd Battalion is perpetuated by Les Fusiliers de Sherbrooke.

[1]   War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, July 18, 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. 64.

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