7,000 Horses Needed For Valcartier

7,000 Horses Needed For Valcartier

26 Aug 14THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY – 26 August 1914 – “Provision of vehicles for the force required extensive purchasing, for only a comparatively few horse-drawn vehicles were available from Militia sources. The Minister of Militia appointed special agents, giving them honorary commissions.  To obtain sufficient horse transport meant buying farm wagons (455 heavy and 398 light) of eight different makes, a diversity of patterns which was later to bring serious maintenance problems.

In order to acquire the more than 7,000 riding, artillery and draught horses authorized for the Division and its added units, fifty Militia and five civilian purchasing agents were appointed by the Director of Veterinary Services.  Only artillery units which had mobilized at local headquarters brought their horses with them. The promptness and zeal with which the purchasing agents went about their duties created accommodation problems at Valcartier, and on two nights horses broke out from temporary corals and stampeded through the camp.  Altogether 8,150 horses were bought at an average cost of $172.45; some 480 which were found unfit for service were later auctioned off for an average price of $54.” [2]

As a matter of interest, the Order of Battle and War Establishment as at February 10, 1915 called for each infantry battalion in the First Canadian Division to have sixty-six horses. [3]


[1] “Military Horses Wanted,” The Montreal Daily Mail, Wednesday, August 26, 1914, pg. 2, col. 1.
[2] Col. A.F. Duguid, “Official History of the Canadian Forces in The Great War 1914-1919, General Series, Vol. 1, Ottawa, 1938, pg. 87;  quoted in Col. G.W.L. Nicholson, CD., Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War: Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919, Ottawa, Duhamel, Queens Printer, 1962,  pg. 26.
[3] Col. A.F. Duguid, “Official History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War, 1914-1919, Vol. I, Part 2,Chronology, Appendices and Maps,King’s Printer, Ottawa, 1938. Appendix 226, pg.158.


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