Major ( [Later?] Lieutenant Colonel) Pelley leaves the Battalion for a command in Irish Fusiliers.
Battalion goes route marching in full marching order. Last night it rained hard and blew a gale but today its cloudless and bright sunshine.
Yesterday I trimmed Lieutenant MacKenzie’s hair
Our Transport are inspected by Alderson Officer Commanding Canadians. Could not find fault!!!
Our Colonel (Pelley) gives the Battalion great praise for their conduct on yesterdays parade giving the lie direct to Alderson.
* Lt Col R.T. Pelly, DSO – The commander of the Princess Pats while Colonel Buller was away due to an injury suffered at Ypres. He led the troops until December 16th 1915 when he was sent to command the 8th Battalion Royal Irish Regiment. Pelly returned in 1916 to again lead the Princess Pats after Colonel Buller was killed at Sanctuary Wood.
Rained all night. Faired up in morning. The Battalion are paraded for inspection by General Alderson who shows his utmost ignorant contempt for the famous “Princess Patricias”. Everyone in Battalion are sore on this point.
* Lieutenant General Sir Edwin Alfred Hervey Alderson – was a Senior British Army officer who was placed in command of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the first half of WWI. He was not well liked by the Canadian troops as they suffered huge casualties under his command. He was eventually forced out of his position half way through the war. Despite his unpopularity he was well known for toughening up Canadian recruits turning them into veteran soldiers.
Left Flixecourt at 5:35 am in darkness. (Reveille at 3:30 am, breakfast at 4).
We march to Pont Remy where we arrive at 9:30 after rather quick marching. Passed thro’ L’Etoile, Lonquil, Cocqueval, and Pont Remy.
Entrain at Pont Remy for Caestre near HAZEBROUCK. Came via Abbeville, Rue, Etaples, Boulogne, Wimereux, Calais, Audruicq, St. Omer, Hazebrouck.
Packed into box car without any straw. All huddled up, 41 men.
Sleep impossible. No food since breakfast and no tea. As we approached Calais darkness came on.
Arrived at Caestre at 10:30 pm. Band played the Maple Leaf and O Canada. Band belongs to Canadian
Highlanders 2nd Battalion. Lined up and marched off on the cursed cobble stone. No. 4 Company is allotted billets in farms half a mile apart. Arrived at billets at 12:30 am. The usual barns.
*The Maple Leaf Forever – A song written by Alexander Muir in 1867, the year of confederation. For many years it was an unofficial national anthem; however its strong British perspective made it unpopular with French Canadians. The song makes reference to military history in pre-confederation Canada and is the official regimental march of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada and The Royal Westminster Regiment.
The machinery started to revolve at 6 am so slept thro it.
At 10:30 am I meet Captain Barclay who asks me to come to Officers Quarters to cut their hair at 11:30 am. I do so. In afternoon to No. 2 Company cutting hair.
Major Gault lectures the Battalion on Esprit de Corps on the big name the Battalion has made and orders them to keep it. “Do not live on the honors of the past”.
To the factory in afternoon and evening to see the machinery and workings of textile industry.
Watch them make sacking and carpets of all shades. To the dye room and drying machine room.
After a bath in hot water I retire to a bed of skeins of hemp, at 9 pm.
*Esprit de Corps – Another term for morale