RMR's Say Thank You For the Tobacco In 1915

RMR's Say Thank You For the Tobacco In 1915

Sunday, June 6, 1915

Rest billets, Oblenghem

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Left at 5:30 p.m. for trenches at Givenchy where battalion relieved the 5th Bn. (Lt.-Col. Tuxford). Took over sector from the La Bassée Canal on the right to a point where the line crossed the road northwest of H.1.  About 800 yards following the trench line – Arrived about 8 p.m. and relief was completed by 9:30 p.m.   Nos. 1 & 2 Companies in front line, Nos. 3 & 4 in support.  Very good trenches and in good condition except that the front line did not consist of a continuous fire trench, but of redoubts connected  by communication trench.  Whole system had been built by Brigade of Guards under supervision of Major Russell Brown, R.E.  Relief in this sector could be done in daylight” [1]

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: The Battalion history mentions “On taking over the front, the Royal Montreal Regiment began construction of a fire trench, completing the work some days later.”  [2]

06 June 15

THANK YOU FOR THE TOBACCO: An earlier posting talked of the “Tobacco Fund” sponsored by The Gazette in Montreal which encouraged readers to contribute funds for the purchase and shipment of cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and pipes to the troops serving overseas.  Each package sent contained a postcard with the name and address of the donor.  Soldiers receiving these packages were encouraged to use the postcards to thank their benefactors.  From time to time The Gazette published a selection of these thank-you cards. Here is a selection of such notes from men serving at the front with the 14th Battalion that appeared in the paper on Saturday, June 5th 1915.

“…Little Gladys Morrison, of 74 Bruce Avenue, contributed to the Fund, and naturally neither she nor her parents knew into whose hands the tobacco for which she had paid would fall.  Yesterday she received the following on the post-card bearing her name and address:

                                                                        No. 26137, Pte C. Webster, 14th Batt., R.M.

                                                                        3rd Brigade, Can. Exy Force, France

‘Dear Miss Morrison-

I have just received your present of cigarettes, pipe, pouch, and lighter, and I thank you very much for them.  We are having a very hard time in the trenches now, advancing to take up a new position under very heavy shell fire.  Well, Miss, I don’t know if you recognize my name, but I used to serve you with cakes from Howes on St. Catharine St.  Well, Miss Morrison, I hope that you will drop me a note to say that you received this.                                              With love, good-bye.

                                                                        Pte C. Webster’

Another youngster who was made happy by a message from one of the grown-ups at the Front whom he had cheered was Master Marcus McNeil, of 93 Union Avenue.  To the query “Are we downhearted?” under the figure of the soldier on the address side of the postcard, No. 23220, Pte Geoff Edgell subscribes, “No” in big letters, then turning the card over, he writes:

‘To Master Marcus McNeil,

Many thanks.  If you knew how much your ‘smokes’ are appreciated, well, it’s a whole lot.  The boys of the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, got theirs tonight and my package was from you.  From here the sound of guns in quite plain, and at night we can see the start shells going up.  We are living in a large farm house and barn, and sleeping under a straw binder, lots of straw and sure O.K.  More thanks from,                                                                                     Geoff Edgell’

Little Dreda Sayers emptied her money box a few weeks ago for the Tobacco Fund, and was rewarded yesterday by receiving a post-card ‘from a real live soldier in the trenches,’ as follows:

                                                                        ‘On Active Service, France, 10th May, 1915

Miss Aetheldreda Sayers,

2333 Hutchison Street, Montreal, Canada

‘Dear Miss Sayers,

Please accept my thanks for smoking outfit sent through the Gazette Fund.  The smokes arrived when smokes were scarce and we appreciate the gift.

                                                                        Yours very sincerely,

                                                                        Armr-Sgt – Parnell, 14th RMR’

The next card was addressed directly to the Fund.

                                                                                                                   ‘May 18, 1915

The Gazette Tobacco Fund, Montreal, P.Q.

Dear Sirs:-

Many thanks for splendid gift of smokes received Sunday last.  How highly your efforts are appreciated by the boys of the Royal Montreals in supplying them with their only comfort is difficult to express on paper.  Hoping that the good work upon which you have entered will be continued, and with best wishes, I remain, Yours very truly,

                                                                W. Skanes, (A former employee)

                                                                        Royal Montreal Regiment, 1st Can Contingent’”     [4]

[1]  War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, June 6, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089757.jpg
[2]   R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette Printing Co., Ltd., 1927, pg. 61.
[3]   http://www.historyonthenet.com/files/fs/ww1/images/trench2.gif
[4]  “Declares Tobacco Saved Many Lives,” The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, Saturday, June 5, 1915, pg. 3, col. 4.




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