Disease Spreads in RMR in 1915

Disease Spreads in RMR in 1915

Saturday, January 23, 1915

In Camp, Lark Hill, Salisbury Plains

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Duty Battalion.  No. 25935 Pte. Chandler died of cerebro-spinal meningitis.” [1]

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY:  “Cerebro-spinal meningitis, a few cases of which had occurred previously, increased at this time and threatened for a while to hold the Division in England.  Private J.K. Chandler, of the 14th, developed the disease on January 19th and died in hospital four days later.  Corp. S.A. Randall died on January 30th[sic].  Meanwhile the huts where these soldiers had lived were rigidly quarantined, as were all affected huts throughout the Division.  Altogether 39 cases occurred in the Contingent between December 13th and February 10th, 28 of these proving fatal.”   [2]

No. 25935, PRIVATE JOHN KELLMAN CHANDLER: Private John Kellman Chandler, was born in Barbados, British West Indies on Sept 9th, 1889, the son of John K. and Mary Ida Chandler of Hastings, Christ Church, Barbados. As a young man he emigrated to Canada where he worked as a clerk in Montreal, and resided on Mansfield Street.  While there he served for a year with the Victoria Rifles of Canada, before enlisting on Sept 21st, 1914 for overseas service.  While training with the 14th Battalion at Salisbury he contracted cerebro-spinal meningitis and died on January 23rd 1914, at the age of 25.  He was buried at Bulford Church Cemetery, along with 70 other First World War burials, many of whom were from Bulford Camp.

[1]   War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Jan 23, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089686.jpg
[2]   R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette, Printing Co., Ltd., 1927, pp. 21-22.


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