"Canada's Glorious First Contingent; The Dominion's instant response to the call sent regiment after regiment piling across the seas, establishing a remarkable record of defying the submarines. This picture shows Canadian troops after arrival in England drilling on Salisbury Plain preparatory to a review by King George" - from Canada's Sons and Great Britain in the Great War, by Col. George G. Naismith, 1919
The King's Message to the Canadians
King George V
Canada in Flanders, by Sir Max Aitken, M.P., 1916
To the First Division.
On February 4th, 1915, His Majesty the King inspected the 1st Canadian Division on Salisbury Plain, and afterwards write a message to the troops, which was read to all units on board ship after their embarkation for France. The full text of the message is as follows:—
Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and Men:
At the beginning of November I had the pleasure of welcoming to the Mother Country this fine contingent from the Dominion of Canada, and now, after three months' training, I bid you Godspeed on your way to assist my Army in the field.
I am well aware of the discomforts that you have experienced from the inclement weather and abnormal rain, and I admire the cheerful spirit displayed by all ranks in facing and overcoming all difficulties.
From all I have heard, and what I have been able to see at today's inspection and march-past, I am satisfied that you have made good use of your time spent on Salisbury Plain.
By your willing and prompt rally to our common flag you have already earned the gratitude of the Motherland.
By your deeds and achievements on the field of battle I a confident that you will emulate the example of your fellow-countrymen in the South African War, and thus help to secure the triumph of our arms.
I shall follow with pride and interest all your movements. I pray that God may bless you and watch over you.
To the Second Division.
On September 2nd, 1915, the King, accompanied by Lord Kitchener, inspected the 2nd Division in Beachborough Park, Shorncliffe. Before leaving, His Majesty directed General Turner to inform all his Commanding Officers that he considered the Division one of the finest he had inspected since the beginning of the war. Subsequently the following message from the King was published in Orders:—
Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and Men of the 2nd Canadian Division—six months ago I inspected the 1st Canadian Division before their departure for the front. The heroism they have since shown upon the field of battle has won for them undying fame. You are now leaving to join them, and I am glad to have an opportunity of seeing you to-day, for it has convinced me that the same spirit that animated them inspires you also. The past weeks at Shornecliffe have been for you a period of severe and rigorous training; and your appearance at this inspection testifies to the thoroughness and devotion to duty with which your work has been performed. You are going to meet hardships and dangers, but the steadiness and discipline which today have marked your bearing on parade to-day will carry you through all difficulties. History will never forget the loyalty and readiness with which you rallied to the aid of your Mother Country in the hour of danger. My thoughts will always be with you. May God Bless you and bring you victory.
British pathé - George V inspects Canadians