I have carefully explored the Folkestone Herald and Express newspapers for articles on 21st, of which there is a fair number, and found other articles very interesting as they given a better picture of how our men lived, their leisure, food situation, transport, etc., as well as incidents that they would have heard of locally. I have used their spellings and abbreviations to retain the authenticity of the text.
Shorncliffe Barracks was a smallish army base and as the number of soldiers increased the hillsides were covered in tents and huts for mile after mile. The 21st men were billeted in West Sandling Camp on a large estate where the house called Saltwood stood (the gardens were still open to holidaymakers). The nearest town was Hythe about 3 miles away but 5 miles east was the much largest town of Folkestone where the men would have been able to buy a decent meal and enjoy the theatre.
Here then, is the life of the men of the CEF as seen by reporters in 1915. If you need anything explained please ask!
FOLKESTONE, HYTHE, SANDGATE, AND CHERITON HERALD
and Chronicle & Observer
7th August 1915
MR. BONAR LAW’S VISIT.
It was, of course, quite in keeping with the fitness of things that the Secretary of State for the Colonies should visit Shorncliffe and address a meeting of Canadians at Folkestone, but only a fraction of the inhabitants knew anything about the event until they opened their papers on Thursday morning, unless they had noticed the tremendous numbers of motors of all sorts and shapes and sizes in Shellons-street and the neighbourhood on the previous night. The gathering had been arranged at short notice, but the Canadians know how to do a thing when they take it in hand, and it was an immense success. It was above all a khaki meeting. Some fifteen hundred Canadian officers formed the bulk of the big audience which congregated in the Drill Halls. Beyond the members of the Town Council, whose lady folk lent some amount of sartorial variety to the assembly, there was only a few civilians.
It was a great and inspiring occasion, testifying to the indissoluble bonds which link the Mother country with its children beyond the seas. In one corner was an efficient band from our North American Dominion, rendering rousing tunes, not only Canadian melodies, but also the National Anthems of our Allies. Mr. Bonor Law delivered a notable speech, reviewing the situation in impressive terms, and General Sam Hughes, the Canadian Minister of Militia, followed by a breezy address, redolent of Colonial dash and directness. It was a memorable and historic gathering, which none who were present would have missed.
7th August 1915
WAR TIME APPEALS.
Books and Magazines Wanted.
To the Editor.
Sir, The following is an extract from a paragraph which appeared in the “Daily Telegraph” on August 2nd, 1915:-
“Representations are continually being made that, in spite of all that is being done, the troops at the front, on the Bases, and most of all in the hospitals, as well as the men of the fleet, are still greatly in need of books and magazines.
May I appeal to and remind your readers that there is a box at the Town Hall for the reception at magazines, etc., which will be sent to Hospitals and Bases near Boulogne? A number of magazines have already been kindly put in the box, which I am forwarding.
S. Penfold, Mayor.
7th August 1915
LITERATURE FOR CANADIANS.
Captain McNab invites gifts of books and periodicals for the use of the troops at Caesar’s Camp North.
The Rev. Canon Tindall has kindly consented to receive books and papers at the Parish Church Vicarage, whence they will be forwarded to the Camp.
7th August 1915
MR. BONAR LAW AND THE CANADIANS.
Visits to Shorncliffe and Folkestone.
On Wednesday last Mr. Bonar Law (Secretary of State for the Colonies) accompanied by General Sam Hughes (Canadian Minister of Militia), paid a visit to Shorncliffe and Folkestone. At Shorncliffe and Beachborough Mr. Bonar Law in the afternoon reviewed the Canadian troops, and in the evening he addressed a large meeting at the Drill Halls in Folkestone. The gathering consisted mainly of Canadian officers, and was the largest of its kind ever seen in the town.
At Beachborough and Shornecliffe.
Heavy rain somewhat marred the spectacular effect of the review, but nothing could dampen the ardour or enthusiasm of the thousands of officers and men from the Dominion. At one period the troops stood in serried vociferously cheering in a perfect deluge of rain.
Every province of Canada was represented in the splendid fighting force that assembled. There were miners from the mineral fields of Novia Scotia; French-speaking men from Quebec; battalions from Montreal, Toronto and the fruit-growing valleys of Ontario, from Winnipeg, and the vast prairie lands stretching westward to the foot of the Rockies, and from cities and town beyond, to the slopes of the Pacific coast, all animated by a keen spirit of Imperialism.
Mr. Bonar Law travelled from London, accompanied by Major-General Hughes, Brigadier General Carson (representing the Minister of Militia in England), Colonel Watson, Sir Max Aitken (the Canadian “Eyewitness”), and Dr. Bruce of Toronto. The troops were reviewed in two parts that of the first taking place at Beachborough. Major-General S.B. Steele was in command, and he was accompanied by members of the Headquarters Staff. The troops comprised infantry, mounted troops, artillery, engineers, and signal, supply and transport, and medical services.
When Mr. Bonar Law and General Hughes arrived a general salute was given, it being taken by the Colonial Secretary, the combined bands playing the Canadian airs “The Maple Leaf” and “O Canada.” Having proceeded up and down the long line of troops in a motor car, Mr. Bonar Law and General Hughes again returned to the saluting point, and the march past of the infantry commenced in columns of platoons. At times rain descended in torrents, but never was there a suggestion of irregularity in the line of a platoon as officers and men passed the saluting point.
Mr. Bonar Law, with General Hughes and Major-General S.B. Steele, next proceeded to Sir John Moore Plain for the purpose of reviewing additional thousands of Canadians, including mounted troops, artillery and infantry.
Another picturesque scene was witnessed as they marched past, particular interest being centred in the battalions of Highlanders, with their bands of pipers, and the Eaton Machine Gun Battery. Many men who have been wounded at the front, but who have recovered, were included in these reserve battalions.
On the conclusion of the march past the officers assembled at the saluting point, where General Hughes introduced them to the Colonial Secretary.
Mr. Bonar Law, addressing the officers, remarked that if he were to say how much pleasure he had had in witnessing the review it would express very poorly what he felt. A year had passed since the War was entered upon, and nothing in connection with it had shown more clearly in is mind that what we were fighting for was worth all that we had paid for it, or might yet pay for it, than the fact that he had seen on that occasion men who had come from every part of Canada - from Halifax to Vancouver - all animated with the same spirit, and feeling as strongly as anyone in the United Kingdom that the fight was their and that it was a fight for everything which free-born men had always prized in the world.
When he watched them marching past he thought how strong had been the call of duty which had brought them there. The world knew what Canadians had already done at the front. They knew that they had suffered, and they knew that every one of them was prepared to face the same danger and to give the same good account of themselves, when the opportunity came, in fighting against the enemy. He thought of their courage and if their devotion, and he thought also, when he saw so many young faces, that, after all, their sacrifice was not perhaps so great as that of those whom they had left behind in anxiety as to the fate that was in front of them. He himself was born in Canada, but his life had been spent in the Old Country. He was proud of his Canadian birth; he was proud of what the Canadian soldiers had done and of the future which lay before them.
The review terminated with cheers for the King and the Colonial Secretary.
7th August 1915
GREAT MEETING AT THE DRILL HALLS.
Colonial Secretary’s Speech.
Unity of the Empire.
Our Glorious Allies.
Mr. Bonar Law in the evening was the chief speaker at an invitation meeting at the Drill Halls, Shellons-street, Folkestone, the audience consisting mainly of Canadian officers, and their wives and ladies.
The spacious double hall, which was gaily adorned with flags and bunting, was crowded, and the scene was an inspiring one. Enthusiasm was at a high pitch, and again and again the Colonial Secretary’s speech was punctuated with storms of applause. Perhaps the biggest cheer of all was evoked at the mention of gallant Belgium, but his references to the probability of the Dominions taking their share of the government of the Empire also had a warm reception.
The band of the 27th (Winnipeg) Battalion, under Bandmaster J. O’Donnell, played stirring patriotic selections during the meeting, and led several enthusiastic demonstrations with the rendering of “O Canada!”
Maajor-General Sam Steele, C.B., M.V.O. (General Commanding British and Canadian Troops, Shorncliffe District), presided, supported by the Right Hon. A. Bonar Law, M.P., Major-General Sam Hughes, M.P., Canadian Minister of Militia and Defence, the Mayor of Folkestone (Lieut.-Colonel Sir Stephen Penfold, J.P.) , wearing his robes and golf chain of office, Brigadier-General Lord Brooke and Lady Brooke, Captain F. Bennett Goldney, M.P., Col. Grant Morden, Col. John Carrick, General Coveliers (Belgian Commandant), M. Corbes (French Vice-Consul), and others.
Amongst those in the audience were Sir Montague Allen (Head of the Allan Steamship Line), Brigadier-General McDougall, Col McAvity, Col. Ketchem, Col. Sissons, Col. Smart, Col. H.C. Thacker, Lieut.-Col. H.E. Thacker, A.A. and Q.M.G., Col. Du Pres (Chief of Staff, 2nd Division), Col. Gaudet, and the Lieut.-Colonels commanding the different battalions and units of the Canadian Training Depot and the 2nd Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. There were also present the following among other officers on leave from the front: Lieut.-Col. David Watson, 2nd Battalion, Lieut.-Col. Rogers, 2nd Battalion, and Major G. Godson-Godson, 16th Battalion. The members of the Folkestone Corporation, and Mr. Charles Sheath were also in the audience.
Major-General Steele said they must all as Canadians by birth or adoption, feel very highly honoured that night in having as their guest Mr. Bonar Law. (Applause.) They could assure him as officers of the Canadian Militia that he could have no more loyal supporters than they in the Dominion of Canada. (Applause.) They had come at the call of duty and they had come readily, and within the ranks of those assembled there and within the ranks of the men whom Mr. Bonar Law had seen march past that day, there were men who had left large acreages and big businesses behind them to come and fight for the Empire’s cause. It was their cause. (Applause.) England’s interests were theirs, and their interests were England’s. (Applause.)
Mr. Bonar Law, who was received with enthusiastic cheers and the playing of the “Marseillaise,” said he wished first of all to express to them how deeply he prized the tribute which was paid to him that day in allowing him to review the troops who were marched past him that day. Speaking for the Government and the people of the United Kingdom, he said they owed the Canadian Minister of Militia an Defense a deep debt of gratitude for the part he had taken in producing so magnificent a force as that which had already done great things on the Continent, and that which, he was sure, would do deeds equally splendid when their time came to face the common enemy. (Applause.)
He appreciated the honour of reviewing the troops far more than anything because he was himself one of them. (Applause.) Although he left their land as a boy, he had never ceased to feel that he was a Canadian, and had never ceased to feel pride in what Canadians had done. (Applause.) It was the first time he had the honour of addressing an audience composed almost entirely of soldiers, and if that day, on the anniversary of this terrible War, he had to make a speech at all, there was no audience which he should prefer to a gathering of Canadians and of Canadian soldiers. “Your presence here,” the right hon. gentleman went on, “and the object for which you have come is a symbol of what I believe to be the great issue which will be decided by this war. That issue is whether in the generations to come, military despotism or free institutions are to prevail, it si whether brute force, force all the more brutal because it has at its disposal all the resources of science and education, whether the law of force or the law of humanity is the law which in the future will govern Europe.
A year ago the people of this country hardly realised what the War meant. There was a feeling abroad, a pretty general feeling, that it was not a war which concerned us so much, but that we were in it to help our Allies. That is not the feeling today. From the beginning the concentrated essence of German hatred has been directed against us to a far greater extent than against any of our Allies. That was partly, I think, because the German government believed that we would not take part in the War. They thought we had sunk so low that we would refuse to obey the call of duty and of honour, that we would stand aside, pursue our businesses, not in real self-interest but in a purblind self-interest, that we would allow them to crush France and Russia, and then, when they had dominate Europe, when we were left without a friend in the world, we should be face to face with what from the first was the object of their policy, the destruction of the British Empire. (Applause.)
They were mistaken. But their hatred is based on other and deeper ground. The German spirit, the spirit of militarism, is not confined to one class, but has permeated the whole German people. It is a spirit which recognises no right or wrong except success, which worships no god except the military and material force. The Germans not only despise, they do not understand moral forces, and it is on moral forces and on moral forces alone that the whole of the British Empire rests.” (Applause.)
After pointing out how the despotic system of government facilitated secret preparation for war, Mr. Bonar Law said that for fifty years the rulers of Germany had regarded peace or was as a question of profit or loss. It was in that spirit that Germany engineered a war with Austria in 1866, and with France in 1870, and it was in that spirit that she plunged us and the world into the horror of the War that was going on to-day. “Well, it is my hope,” the right hon. gentleman remarked, “and it si my prayer that the result of this War will make it forever impossible that any one man or any one group of men can ever again plunge the world into such a conflict.” (Loud cheers).
We have found, as we shall find in the future that moral force counts true. There is always a great analogy between the War in which we are engaged today and the struggle which was waged by our forefathers a hundred years ago against the power of Napoleon. Napoleon, at last, by his aggression and his ambition, by the way he trampled on the rights of other nations and on the freedoms of other men, had raised against him the moral forces of the world, and those forces overthrew him. The forces which were raised against Napoleon at the end of his career are against Germany to-day in this War. (Applause.)
There is in the War no more striking example of the reality and of the strength of moral forces than the part which has been played, is being played today, and will be played to the end of the self-governing Dominions of the British Crown. (Applause.) We in the United Kingdom have no power to compel Canada to contribute a single penny or send us a single man. You have come of your own free will, not to help the Mother Country, but because, as General Steele has told you, you have realised as fully as we do in the Old Country, that this is a battle of freedom, for everything which men hold dear, and it is your quarrel as much as it is ours. (Loud applause.)