RMR Weather in Valcartier Prompts Idea of Golf Course

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY – 07 September 1914 – Rain began on Saturday night and continued steadily.  It poured heavily during Sunday’s review parade by the Governor-General and continued throughout today.  The rain fell so heavily that the Governor-General was unable to keep his planned inspection of camp facilities today, and the Camp Commandant cancelled all orders except for the duty battalion while the remainder of the camp was given the day off.  In the afternoon a couple of battalions were marched to the ranges, but were marched back again as no practical work could be done in the deluge.  Tents were swamped; even ditching could not guard against flooding.  Men who got drenched during yesterday’s review and changed to dry clothes were drenched again and today there is not a man with a dry stitch in camp. [1]

“The boys took it well” said Lieut.-Col. Burland of the 3rd Victoria Rifles, himself shedding rain like a young waterspout.  “Yes, the boys took it well. There was not a grumble.”  The Montreal men are hanging on in good spirits, both the 5th Royal Highlanders and the composite battalion [The Royal Montreal Regiment] sticking it out with fortitude in their discomfort.  Bonfires are the rule along the infantry lines, and the men glean some scant comfort from these.”  [2]

“The Montreal men have stood the medical test well, and while no official figures are forthcoming at the moment, it is said the percentage of rejections will be small indeed.  The composite battalion, [The Royal Montreal Regiment] made up of the Grenadiers, Victoria Rifles, and 65th, will lose only about fifty men, and the 5th Royal Highlanders will be in about the same proportions.”  [3]

The Battalion history adds this anecdote: “The pouring rain which fell on the review of the Contingent by the Duke of Connaught the previous day continued for several days after the review. Greatcoats, issued on the 8th were welcome in consequence. Though the rain was far from pleasant, the troops used the resultingwaters in a cheery little game played after dark. The rules of this sport have never been coded, but the object is to divert surface water from one’s own tent into the tent of one’s next door neighbour.  This requires skill and an eye for contours.  Speed and a shovel and ability to fade silently into the dark are also attributes of value.  The game is undignified for authority of course, and one officer caught digging a ditch on a rainy night claimed never to have heard of it.  He was, he said, laying out a golf course.” [4]


[1] From: “Duke Tenders To Contingent Warm Congratulations,” The Montreal Daily Mail, Montreal, Tuesday, September 8, 1914, pg. 2, col. 4.
[2] “Duke Tenders To Contingent Warm Congratulations,” The Montreal Daily Mail, Montreal, Tuesday, September 8, 1914, pg. 2, col. 4.
[3] Ibid.
[4] R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette, Printing Co., Ltd., 1927, pg. 10.


Share your thoughts