RMR Deploys As a Unit for First Time

24 Aug 14_ATHIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY – 24 August 1914 – While newspaper headlines continued to tell of the spread of conflict around the world, Canadian Militia units continued to travel to Valcartier to prepare for the roll they were destined to play.  The headlines of the 24th also reminded Montrealers that troops of the Montreal Garrison including the units that would make up the newly formed 14th Battalion would be boarding trains for Valcartier that evening.

“Following the review [of the previous week] independent company training was continued for a few days, then, on August 24th, at 10 a.m., the companies of the Guards, Victoria Rifles and Carabiniers de Mont-Royal marched from their respective armouries to Fletcher’s Field and combined for the first time in battalion drill.  Separating again, the three detachments returned, each to its own armoury, and there put in a busy afternoon preparing for a move to the mobilization camp of the First Canadian Contingent at Valcartier.” [3]

24 Aug 14_B“That evening Montreal gave all its detachments a memorable farewell.  The Royal Highlanders marched westward from their armoury on Bleury Street to entrain at Windsor Station, while the Guards, Victoria Rifles and Carabiniers-de-Mont-Royal marched eastward from their respective headquarters to the Moreau Street Station of the Canadian Northern Railway. As was natural, the detachment from the 65th Regiment received an ovation in the French-speaking section of the city, but this same section also cheered the Guards and Victoria Rifles.  No distinctions existed that night.  Canadian troops were going on active service and the city wished them well.  Each detachment was applauded and upon the men of each were showered cigarettes and sweets in token of good will.  Men rushed forward to shake the soldiers’ hands and women too, broke the ranks repeatedly for a last word of farewell.  Once or twice it seemed that enthusiastic well-wishers would sweep over a detachment completely, but somehow a measure of formation was preserved and eventually all three sections reached Moreau Station intact. Here colonist cars were awaiting, entrainment was quickly carried out, and soon the Royal Montreal Regiment was on its way to Valcartier.

Simultaneously, the vanguard of the British Army faced German forces near Mons in Belgium.  Speaking in the House of Lords on August 25th, Lord Kitchener, British Secretary of State for War, announced that the first clash had occurred.  “Our troops,” he said, “have already been for thirty-six hours in contact with a superior force of German invaders.  During that time they have maintained the traditions of British Soldiers and have behaved with the utmost gallantry.”  [4]


[1] “Japan Declares War Against Germany,” The Montreal Daily Mail, Monday, August 24, 1914, pg. 1
[2] The Gazette, Montreal, Monday, August 24, 1914, pg. 4, col. 4. 
[3]  R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, The Gazette, Printing Co., Ltd.,Montreal, 1927, pg 6,

[4] Ibid., pp. 5-6


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