The First World War
An RCR Officer's Diary 1914-1918


MARCH 1915

On 6th [Mar] a Guard of Honour under Capt E.B. Costin with Lt Cock and 50 other ranks was mounted for Rear Admiral Phipps-Hornby of H.M.S. Glory, of the North Atlantic and West India Squadron, on coming ashore at Bermuda.

Owing to the distinctive equipment of officers making them a special target in wartime, it was decided that all officers of the Infantry should be armed with the pistol and be equipped in the same manner as the rank and file ...

On 9th [Mar] Lt Bate G.G.F.G. (attached) was appointed to the Regiment while on 15th Capt C.B. Costin who was with the 1st Canadian Division in England, transferred to the Prince of Wales' Own West Yorkshire Regiment.

On 15th [Mar] Lt E.H. Simpson and W.T. Sapte who had been appointed from R.M.C. In December, reported for duty from the Regtl Depot Halifax.

On 24th [Mar] Nos 1 & 2 Platoons ("A" Co.) having completed their musketry returned to Boaz, 3 & 4 Platoons under Maj Hamilton-Gray going to Warwick. Maj Hamilton-Gray relieved Captain Costin as camp Commandant who returned to Prospect together with the "casuals" under Lt Balders.

On 27th [Mar] a Guard of Honour under Lieut Macculloch with Lieut Holloway and 50 ranks was mounted for Vice Admiral Sir George Patey K.C.V.O., commanding the North Atlantic and West India Squadron, on landing at Bermuda.

The following officers were promoted Captains on March 24th: Lt & Brevet Captain Hemming, Lt & Temp Capt Greene, Lt Willoughby, Lt & Temp Maj Alexander, Lt & Temp Capt Brook.

APRIL 1915

On April 1st Nos 1 & 2 Platoons (A Co.)under Lt Hodson moved from Boaz Island to prospect, Nos 5 & 6 Platoons (B Co.) under Capt Costin with Lt Fenton (attached) from Prospect to St David's Island, "C" Coy under Captain Eaton from St David's and under Lt Balders from Prospect to St George's.

Lt Macculloch remained in command of Nos 1, 2, 7 & 8 Platoons at Prospect.

Nos 15 & 16 Platoons D Co. under Capt du Domaine with Capt Law and Lt Grant-Suttie moved [from] St George's to Boaz.

The Guard mounted over German prisoners at Port's island in Hamilton Harbour owing to difficulties in maintaining order became an Officer's Guard at the beginning of the month. Lt bate taking the first tour of duty for a week.

Honorary Captain and Paymaster Fiset was transferred to the C.A.P.C. On April 1st.

Owing to the distinctive equipment of officers making them a special target in wartime, it was decided that all officers of the Infantry should be armed with the pistol and be equipped in the same manner as the rank and file (except of the bayonet and entrenching tool) on Active Service, and that the sword and usual equipment should be worn by them only in Peacetime. Warrant Officers I were equipped and armed at all times in the same manner as officers of their unit. Warrant Officers II armed and equipped in war in same manner as other N.C.O's, in peace in the same manner as Staff Sergeants.

On 10th [Apr] Nos. 3 & 4 Platoons ("A" Co.) under Major Hamilton-Gray marched from Warwick to Prospect, while 7 & 8 Platoons ("B" Co.) under Capt Costin moved from Prospect to Warwick.

Kharki drill was taken into wear in the middle of the month. Men were allowed to "walk out" without belts or puttees, and if not on the main roads in shirt sleeves.

Officers were ordered to wear white shirts and collars with a black silk tie.

About this time certain posts on St. David's Island were ordered to be manned. This was done by Reserve Machine Gunners drawn from the Companies. A certain number of men in each company were trained as machine gunners as a reserve for the Section.

The battalion was armed with two Maxim .303 guns on the outbreak of war, this was shortly afterwards increased to four, the Section being doubled to 35 all ranks.

Four Colt .303 automatic guns were sent from Canada Maxims not being available. No instructions were sent with the Colt guns and as no one in the battalion had ever seen one before they had to be stripped to ascertain their method of working. As a result a "handbook" was produced and printed, the first ever printed for the Colt gun in the British service. These guns were not satisfactory either mechanically or tactically and incomparable with the Maxim.

Lt Macculloch was promoted Captain on 22nd [Apr].

On 26th [Apr] the Cable House guard became an officer's guard. These extra precautions in officers' guards, manning of M.G. Posts, etc., were on account of the hostile submarine activity, which had extended right across the Atlantic. Lt Wood took over the first weekly Cable House guard.

MAY 1915

The following cablegram was sent to His Royal Highness the Duke on the occasion of his birthday, May 1st:

"Best wishes from all ranks Royal Canadian Regiment to the Honorary Colonel."

A cablegram of thanks was received the next day.

The first list of Canadian casualties was received on May 3rd of officers of the Regiment serving with the 1st Canadian Division in Belgium:

Lt Col Birchall had served with the Regiment for some years and left in 1912 to go to the Instructional Cadre in Western Canada belonged to the Royal Fusiliers and was one of the Imperial officers sent out to Canada to serve with the Canadian Permanent Force on the system of interchange of Imperial, Indian and Dominion Regular Officers throughout the Empire. As the accounts in the papers at the time show his death like his life was one of example. Energy, tact, kindness all of which had been lavished on the Regiment while he served with it helped in no minor degree to build it up and mould it without which care no Regiment can expect to excel. To say he was popular would hardly express it rather he was loved by everyone with whom he came in contact which in a man and more so in a regiment means everything.

H.E. The Commander-in-Chief General Sir George Bullock, K.C.B., inspected Headquarters at prospect on 5th [May].

Summer dress (helmets) were taken into wear between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on 7th [May].

The Bermuda Volunteer Rifles Corps took over the Cable House Guard on 10th [May].

Lt C.O. Morse, 42nd Regt, reported for duty on attachment on 11th [May].

Nos. 7 & 8 Platoons ("B" Co.) under Lt McCrea marched from prospect to St. David's on 13th and Nos. 5 & 6 Platoons ("B" Co.) under Lt Fenton from Warwick to St. David's.

Lt Bate, who had gone to Canada on sick leave, was appointed Orderly Officer to the G.O.C. Valcartier Training Camp, Quebec.