In the August 31, 1915 edition of the Montreal Gazette on page 13 is a news story. Pushed back inside the paper in the Sports Section is a story.
EXPECT SEASON TO SET BAR TO TEUTON’S SURGE: Military Observers Hope That Equinoctial Period Will Limit Forward Movement or MINES, SHELLS AND BOMBS DO DAMAGE TO FOE: Sir John French Reports Minor Successes of Fortnight on British Front.
So as the seasons change the length of day-light, which would limit military operations for the Germans against the Russians and General Sir John French’s official statement relates nothing of import occurred on the Western front other news fills the pages of the Gazette.
Even more relevant to many members of the 18th Battalion from the Windsor area is this story – DYNAMITE SUSPECT GASHED HIS WRIST – telling the tale of a “Charles Respa, of Detroit, brother-in-law of Carl Schmidt, one of the three men named in connection of the dynamiting outrages at Walkerville and Windsor recently attempted suicide this afternoon, by breaking the crystal of his watch and slashing the arteries of his wrist with the broken pieces.”[i]
On page 13 in the Sports Section vying for room about the Montreal Royals playing baseball against Richmond Virginia’s team, The Climbers, is a small article relating the following:
Field Sports for the Belgian Day Fund
London, August 19 – Field sports, mostly of a humorous nature, were held on the cricket ground at Hythe on Saturday afternoon, 14th of August. The proceeds were for the Belgian Day Fund, which was held that day. Both the Canadians and the R.N.A.S. [Royal Navy Air Service] splendidly came to the aid of the local committee and offered their services. The ground was crowded with residents, Canadians, from the surrounding camps, and men of the R.N.A.S. The weather was highly favourable. During the afternoon the bands of the 18th Battalion and the pipers of the 21st Battalion were in attendance and rendered first class musical selections.
The officials were as follows – Judges: The Mayor of Hythe (Cr. W.R. Cobay), Lt.-Col. E.S. Wigle, of the 18th Battalion; Captian Sworder, R.N.A.S. Capt. Loghran[ii] [sic] of the Canadians; Lt. Houghton, R.N.A.S.; Lt. Demuth, R.N.A.S.; Alderman J.G. White, Cr. J.J. Neal and F.B. Ninnes. Clerks of the course, Messrs. H. Stainer, W.R. Wood and C.A. Armstrong. R.R. Ellis. Starter. Mr. C.G. Molyneux.
The results of the events are as follows:
Wheelbarrow race – 1st, Pte. Alton and Pte. Buchanan, both of the Canadians.
Three-legged race – 1st, Pte McGill and Pte. MacDougall, both of the Canadian Engineers; 2nd C.P.O. Maud, R.N.A.S, and C.P.O. Marriett, R.N.A.S.
Two mile race between two Canadian professionals – 1st Pte. Gover and 2nd, Pte. Chambers.
Egg and spoon race for ladies – 1st, Miss Bellamy and 2nd, Mrs. Hodgson.
Canadian shoe race – 1st, Pte. Pegden, C.E.F.; 2nd, Pte. Nunn, C.E.F.
Wrestling on Mules – 1st, Pte. Wilson, 20th Battalion Canadians.
Motor cycle race for R.N.A.S. – 1st, C.P.O. Collins; 2nd, C.P.O. Harrison.
Sack race (open) – 1st, C.P.O. Mogowan; 2nd, C.P.O. Cochran.
Tug of War – R.N.A.S. beat the Hythe Fire Brigade by 2 points to 0.
After the sports the Mayor (Cr. W.R. Cobay) presented the prizes to the winners
This short article in a Montreal paper relating a story of the 2nd Contingent in the Folkestone area training for war is most likely of interest to the readers in the Montreal area because of the reference to Belgian relief. The battalions mentioned in the article did not come from the Montreal area. The 18th Battalion from Western Ontario (Windsor); the 20th Battalion from Central Ontario; and the 21st from the Kingston area.
None of the Battalion’s war diaries relate this event in any detail but the 20th Battalion War Diary relates the weather on that Saturday over 100 years ago as “Fine and very warm”.
This news story illustrates an activity in the Hythe area were the Canadian troops could enjoy some recreation and time from the training that was preparing them for war. Certainly some people may know what a Canadian Shoe race is.
[ii] Then Lieutenant Samuel Monteith Loghrin.