RMR’s Movements Kept Secret in 1915

Friday, March 5, 1915

In trenches Rue Petillon

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Had 2nd man killed by sniper at corner Sailly-Fromelles Road while going up to front line with a ration party; he, with first man killed, was buried in cemetery already established by Imperial units near corner Sailly-Fromelles Road, and Rue Petillon.  Again shelled about noon by German ‘77’s’.  No damage.” [1]

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: “Since their departure from the Dominion the Canadians have earned the reputation of being prolific letter writers.  British post office men said that they had never seen such a lot for letter writing.  The Canadians apparently have continued the practice since their arrival in France, judging by the amount of stuff that the censors have been called upon to handle.  The other evening the censor attached to one of the Canadian units had a regular raft of stuff to look over and much of it had to be withheld.  One of the Canadian boys in a letter addressed to relatives in Canada had mentioned everything that had happened from the time they left England until they reached northern France.  Next morning when the men were on parade the officers returned the letters to them with the explanation that they contained too much military information to pass the censor.  The officers were very nice about it, explaining to the boys what they could send and what they must not send.

It is interesting to note that none of the Canadian doctors and nurses in France knew that the contingent had arrived on the continent until the day after the troops landed.  One of the Canadian nurses in Boulogne went down to the British post office to mail a letter to her brother, who is an officer in the Royal Montreal Regiment.  ‘I think you had better post it in this country,’ advised one of the officials.  ‘Why, are they over here?’ asked the nurse, astonished by the advice. Which goes to show that members of the British units know about as much regarding what other units are doing as the Germans do.”   [2]

[1]   War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, March 5, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089700.jpg
[2]    “Canadians Welcomed by British Regulars,” William Marchington, The Globe (1844-1936), Toronto, Ontario, Thursday, March 4, 1915, pg. 7.


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