The last days of the assembly at Valcartier would end for the artillery and for Alec, my Grandfather this weekend. Here is a rare photo of gunners at the camp.
On the 20th the artillery would ride the 30+ kilometres from the camp to the port at Quebec.
They look so neat. What a difference from what they would look like in 1915.
Here they are being inspected by the Duke of Connaught just before leaving Valcartier.
Awaiting Alec and the 2nd Brigade was the Ivernia.
Ivernia was one of many ships in the largest movement of troops ever across the Atlantic.
This link will take you to an excellent resource that lists all the ships and the units. The Ivernia had on board:
HQ personnel 2nd Bde, CFA 4th, 5th, 6th Batteries, two Ammo Columns, 917 Officers and men.
The loading was a nightmare. No one had ever done this before. Here is what was taken by the convoy:
- 1,547 officers
- 29,070 men
- 7,679 horses
- 70 guns
- 110 motor vehicles
- 705 horsed vehicles
- 82 bicycles
Here is the scene by the docks.
Alec would board the Ivernia from the 21st to the 26th. The Ivernia then stood too until the 4th of October when the convoy sailed. It would not be until the 20th of October, that he would unload having lost 11 horses on the trip. Most of whom died while in port in the UK.
Here is an overview. You can see the Saxonia that loaded the 1st Brigade on the bottom left. Here is a larger image of that scene.
Here is more that gives us a sense of the chaos that this loading was and how awkward things were at the other end.
This was the first time that anyone had done this and there was no experience to draw on. By the time the CFA went by ship to France, they had worked out how to do this better.
As a side note. The Ivernia was sunk by a submarine in 1917. Her Captain was the same Captain Turner who had captained the Lusitania in May 1915 when she too was sunk by a UBoat.
Canada's Answer by Norman Wilkinson. What a sight that must have been. And for all of Col Hughes manic behaviour, what an accomplishment! 30,000 plus men and equipment on the sea to the UK one month from the declaration of war.