(S.V.P. I uncoverd 2nd Special Service Battalion, Canadian Infantry–Parade Film footage from 1899, see bottom page for link, etc.)
2nd SS Bn. RCRI FC:
How many, “Canadian First Contingent,” boarded S.S. Sardinian to South Africa?
How many, 2nd SS Bn RCRI, all ranks, boarded S.S. Sardinian to South Africa?
How many Cdn., Doctors, were attached with First Canadian Contingent, Second South African War?
On what date, time, did First Contingent Sail & Land, disembarked at Cape Town?
The Total all ranks 2nd SS Bn RCRI, once landed at Cape Town, and marching orders were issued, are?
How many reinforcements, all ranks, sent for 2nd SS Bn RCRI, during the war?
What is 2nd SS Bn RCRI, grand Total, Rank and File, for South African?
Once landed awaiting orders, how many went AWOL, Piss Drunk and left behind?
This Battalion was over rated, in accounts, nor a Cohesive Unit, “undisciplined armed Mob,” etc?
Lt.-Col. Otter’s, whitewashed “Incident,” at Orange River, lacking military discipline?
How many RCR, extended their contracts, reenlisted with other Regiments, in South Africa?
On what date and time, RCR sailed from Cape Town, and with how many, all ranks?
The status quo, for DHH, CWM, scholars, academics, in literature or online sites, Blogs, with the exception of a few state; at Québec City docks “1000 Strong” or 1,019 all ranks of first contingent on Oct. 30th, others state boarded and sailed on the S.S. Sardinian to Cap Town, on the 29th. While the majority state, they arrived at Cap Town on Nov., 30th 1899. CWM and others claim; “they arrived on Nov., 29th,” Nursing Sister Georgina Pope, “we disembarked Dec. 1st.” I’ll provide a few actual extracts, from the Supplementary report…1899-1900:- Sessional paper, no. 35a (1901), with websites, Historians, DHH-Ph.D’s, CWM, etc., footnotes. The contradiction from 1019 to 1039, I uncovered, extends from the Further Supplementary Report, 1901. 64 VICTORIA SESSIONAL PAPER No. 35a A. 1901.
Unbeknown to Moi, numerous Canadian historians, DHH Ph.Ds’, scholars, academics, dropped the ball, on the Sessional Papers, since there’s a proper way of reading them, and need to be properly schooled, what’s on page 22 could have changes added on page 50 as the account progresses, page 670., Vol. 12., 1901, could be page 22, and then U have the special appendixes as the Further Supplementary Report 35a in the case of the SSAW, 1899-1902.
Only a few are aware, if any, the Government in 1902 dropped the ball, and Sessional paper for the SSAW was not sent to the printers on time, even though accounts of the South African War were published, the Further Supplementary report for 1902 35a SSAW and its appendix’s, only published in 1903 Sessional Paper.”The Click,” painted the Canadian accounts in the SSAW, with a widebrush, allow me too take out my No. 1, and 0, panicle brush and fill in the details, others missed.
VRI Magazine gone Rogue, and VRI official websites, DHH Ph.Ds, etc., have been advised of this issue for 10 years, I believe, and still dragging their heels, not making the proper corrections, perpetuating the same mistakes from past historian that dropped the ball, contaminating students, etc., etc., with accounts their still clinging on too as facts, a display of arrogance and ignorance, from those “Old Canadian School, Boys’ Club.”
The Montreal Star, 3 Nov., 1899.
The Montreal Star’s correspondent, Richmond Smith, was critical concerning the 1,019 men of Canada’s first South African contingent, who left Quebec City for Cape Town on October 30, 1899, were little more than “an armed mob,” composed of men “who had never met one another before.”
The Regimental Website of, The Royal Canadian Regiment:
following establishment for the 2nd “Special Service” Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry is approved:- Total ranks 1019 and 7 horses. “Establishment, 2nd ‘Special Service’ Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry by General Order 112, November 1899.”
http://theroyalcanadianregiment.ca/hist … _1899.html
(Note; I haven’t found a G.O. 112, Nov.,1899 in the archives, only M.Os., mobilisation, “Militia Order.” Designated, Styled, Establishment, etc., 2 ss Batt., RCRI by (MO 211/99), on October 27th 1899. See page 3, provides all MOs issued). S.V.P Since posted two months ago one of the link’s, page has finaly been removed by VRI RCR Admin from the Regimental website.
Canadian War Museum:
“units into a larger formation of 1,019 officers and men, the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry (2 RCRI).” “When the battalion arrived in South Africa on 29 November 1899, after an uncomfortable month-long sea voyage.”
According to Brian A. Reid, Our Little Army in the Field, 1996, p25-26.
Within 19 days of the declaration of war, the unit had been organized, concentrated, equipped and was sailing from Quebec City for Cape Town. The Battalion, 1,039 all ranks strong, was crammed aboard the cattle boat S.S. Sardinian that was soon dubbed the ‘Sardine’ by the troops.
Col. Earnest J. Chambers in “The Canadian Militias, etc., ” p.103
2nd (Special Service) Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Infantry,
1.039 officers and men, sailed Oct. 30th, 1899.
Anglo-Boer War.Com Stands firm at 1039, I would be interested in knowing
who’s their source?
Sessional paper; 22 DEPARTMENT OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE. p.23
64 VICTORIA, A. 1901
From the Chief Engineer Militia and Defence, on the Fitting up of Transports FOR THE Canadian Contingents for South Africa, 1899-1900.
The Deputy Minister Militia and Defence.
I beg to report as follows:
The first Canadian Contingent for South Africa consisted of a battalion of infantry for which transport was provided by the Allan Line steamship Sardinian. The transport Sardinian was fitted up at Montreal and Quebec in about two weeks for the accommodation of 41 officers, 978 non-commissioned officers and men, and 7 horses.
(This account, grand total 1019).
DEPARTMENT OF MILITIA AND DEFENCES. p.33.
64 VICTORIA, A. 1901.
The following officers of the 2nd (S.S.) Battalion, R.C.R., were in excess of the war office establishment of an infantry battalion, viz.: On October 30, the date fixed for the embarkation, the battalion was inspected by the Major General Commanding at 11.30, and afterwards reviewed by His Excellency the Governor General, who was accompanied by the Right Honourable the Premier, the Honourable the Minister of Militia, and several other Ministers.
It then marched to the docks amid great enthusiasm, embarked on the S.S. Sardinian in a most creditable manner, and sailed at 3.30 p.m., the send off being one which the citizens of Quebec as well as the departing troops will long remember with feelings of pride.Following is the marching out state: Authorized establishment …Troops embarked 2nd (S.S.) Battalion R.C.R.: Total officers 41 10 988 = (1039).
I believe those numbers would exclud, the Canadian Army Medical Service, 2-3 doctors depending on accounts, four Nursing Sister’s, three Chaplains, Capt. F. J. Dixon, R.O., sent as Historical Recorder. Lt.-Col. Sam Hughes, 45th Regt., Capt. Todd, Royal Dublin Fusiliers; Messrs. F. Hamilton, Stanley Brown, Wm. Smith and T. Simonski, press, and a representative of the Y.M.C.A., accompanied FC 2 RCRI to Cape Town. Please note; Captain Fred J. Dixon, R.O., NPAM officer, accompanied Canada’s FC, left the editor’s chair of “The Canadian Military Gazette,” reporting the war from the front.
Second Anglo-Boer War, First Canadian Contingent:
Published in “The Quebec Chronicle,” Oct. 21 1899 front page column.
Ottawa Oct. 20- The Official list of company officers of the Canadian contingent is announced tonight as fallows:-
“A” Coy. Captain M.G. Blanchard, 5th Regt. Canadian Artillery; Lieut.-Major H.M. Arnold, 90th Batt. Captain A.E. Hodgins, Nelson Rifle Company; Lieut. S.P. Layborm, R.C.R.I.
“B” Coy. Major Duncan Stuart, 26th Batt. Lieut.-Capt. J.C. Mason 10th Batt. Capt. J.M. Ross, 22nd Batt. Sec.-Lieut. R.H.M. Temple, 48th Highlanders.
“C” Coy. Lieut.-Capt. R.K. Barker, Q.O.R.; Lieut. R. Marshall, 13th Batt.; Lieut. C.S. Wilkie, 10th Batt.
“D” Coy. Major S.M. Rogert, 13th Battalion; Lieut.-Capt., W.T. Lawless, G.G.F.G.; Lieut. R.G. Stewart, 43rd Batt. Lieut. A.C. Caldwell, Engineer Reserve.
“E” Coy. Capt. A.H. McDonnell, R.C.R.I.; Lieut.-Capt. C.K. Fraser, 53rd Batt. Lieut. A.E. Swift, 8th Batt. Lieut. A. Laurie, 1st P.W.R.
“F” Coy. Capt. J.E. Pelletier, 65th Batt. Lieut.-Capt. H.A. Panet, R.C.A.; Lieut. L. Leduc, R.C.R.I.; Lieut. E.A. Pelletier, 55th Batt.
“G” Coy. Major W.A. Weeks, Ch. Town Engineers; Lieut.-Capt. F.C. Jones, 3rd Regt. Canadian Artillery; Lieut. J.H.C. Ogilvy, R.C.A.; Sec.-Lieut. C.W.W. Mclean, 8th Hussars.
“H” Coy. Captain H.B. Stairs, 66th Batt. Lieut.-Capt. H.E. Burstall, R.C.A.; Lieut. R.B. Whills, 66th Batt. Sec.-Lieut. J.C. Oland, 3rd Batt.
One appointment “C” Company to be announced later, when it will also be announced who will command the Company.
The Battalion was reshuffled with more officers and men added, as fallows:-
SESSIONAL PAPER No. 35a p.29-31.
On October 23, orders were issued for the movement of the companies to Quebec the point of concentration, where several days would be required to clothe and equip them. The British Columbia half of “A” Company left for Quebec the same day.
FORMED INTO A REGIMENT.
On October 18, His Excellency telegraphed Mr. Chamberlain offering a Regiment of Infantry instead of eight independent companies, as follows: “After full consideration my Ministers have decided to offer a regiment of infantry, 1,000 strong, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Otter, My Ministers hope that Canadian contingent will be kept together as much as possible, but realize that this must be left to discretion of War Office and Commander-in-Chief.” On October 23, Mr. Chamberlain replied as follows: “Referring to your telegram of October 18, no objection to proposed organization of force, provided each Battalion of Infantry commanded by Major and only one Lieut. Colonel appointed to command whole. Please communicate substance of cipher telegram of October 16 to your Ministers.” “By October 27, the Regiment, which received the designation 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, was formed and the officers gazetted.”
The officers selected were as follows:
To Command; Lieut. Colonel W.D. Otter, Canadian Staff, A.D.C. to His Excellency the Governor General.
Major and Sec. in Com.; lieut.-Col. L. Buchan, R.C.R.I.
Major; Lieut.-Col. O.C.C. Pelletier, Canadian Staff.
Captains; Major H. M. Arnold, 90th Batt. W.A. Weeks, Charlottetown Engineers. D. Stuart, 26th Batt. S.M. Rogers, 43rd Batt. J.E. Peltier, 65th Batt. Captain H.B. Stairs, 66th Batt. R.K. Barker, 2nd Batt. C.K. Eraser, 53rd Batt.
Lieutenants; Captain H.A. Panet, Royal Canadian Artillery. H.E. Burstall, A.H. Macdonell, Royal Canadian Regiment. M.G. Blanchard, 5th Regiment, C.A.J.H.C. Oglivy, Royal Canadian Artillery. W.T. Lawless, The Governor General Fs Foot Guards. F.C. Jones, 3rd Regiment, C.A.A.E. Hodgins, Nelson Rifle Co. J. M. Ross, 22nd Batt. J.C. Mason, 10th Batt. C.J. Armstrong, 5th Batt. A. E. Swift, 8th Batt. R.B. Willis, 66th Batt. W. R. Marshall, 13th Batt. J. H. Kaye, Royal Canadian Regiment, L. Leduc, C.S. Wilkie, 10th Batt. A.C. Caldwell, Reserve of Officers. S.P. Layborn, Royal Canadian Regiment. A. Laurie, 1st Batt. E. A. Pelletier, 55th Batt. R.G. Stewart, 43rd Batt. F. D. Lafferty, Royal Canadian Artillery.
2nd Lieutenant; J. C. Oland, 63rd Batt. R. H. M. Temple, 48th Batt.
C.W.W. McLean, 8th Hussars.
Machine Qun Section; Lieut. and Capt. A.C. Bell, Scot Guards. A.D.C. Major General Commanding the Canadian Militia.
Adjutant; Major J. C. MacDougall, Royal Canadian Regiment.
Quartermaster; Captain and Brevet Major S.J.A. Denison, Royal Canadian Regiment.
Medical Officers; Surgeon Major C. W. Wilson, 3rd Field Battery, C.A.K Fiset, 89th Batt.
Staff duty; Major L. G. Drummond, Scots Guards, Military Secretary to His Excellency the Governor General.
Officers were posted to Companies as follows:
“A” Coy. Capt. H. M. Arnold, Lieut. M. G. Blanchard, A. E. Hodgins, S. P. Laybom.
“B” Coy. Capt. D. Stuart, Lieut. J. M. Ross, J. C. Mason, R. H. M. Temple.
“C” Coy. Capt. R. K. Barker, Lieut. W. R. Marshall, C. S. Wilkie, F. D. Lafferty.
“D” Coy. Capt. S. M. Rogers, Lieut. W. T. Lawless, R. G. Stewart, A. C. Caldwell.
“E” Coy. Capt. C. K. Fraser, Lieut. A. E. Swift, A. Laurie, C. J. Armstrong.
“F” Coy. Capt. J. E. Peltier, Lieut. H. A. Panet, L. Leduc, E. A. Pelletier.
“G” Coy. Capt. W. A. Weeks, Lieut. F. C. Jones, J. H. Kaye, C. W. W. McLean.
“H” Coy. Capt. H. B. Stairs, Lieut. H. E. Burstall, R. B. Willis. J. C. Gland.
Officers sent out later as reinforcements were posted as follows: Lieut. A. T. Boyd, to
“A” Company. A. E. Carpenter, to “B” Company. C. F. Winter, to “F” Company. J. A. MacDonald, to “G” Company.
PROMOTIONS and APPOINTMENTS AFTER ORGANIZATION.
The following appointments and promotions were made in the Battalion after its formation:
To be Quartermaster: Capt. W. A. Weeks, vice Denison, seconded for staff duty, from January 31, 1900.
To be Captains: Lieutenant H. E. Burstall, vice Weeks, appointed Quartermaster, from January 31, 1900, and A. H. Macdonell, vice Arnold, died of wounds received in action, from February 23, 1900.
The styling of the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry, derived from the PAM aka PF, R.C.R., first contingent were specifically organized from “territorial militia districts” in the Dominion of Canada.
A Coy, Manitoba and British Colombia; two units, Victoria’s 5th Regiment of Canadian Artillery, which provided 48 men, and Winnipeg’s 90th Winnipeg Rifles, which contributed 35 men
B Coy, south western Ontario and London; B Company was dominated by the 26th
Middlesex Light Infantry, the 7th Fusiliers and the 21st Essex Fusiliers, consisting
50 % of the men in this company
C Coy, Toronto; the Queen’s Own Rifles, the 10th Royal Grenadiers and the 48th Highlanders represented almost half of C Company.
D Coy, equally divided from Ottawa and Kingston; D Company, two Ottawa regiments, the 43rd Ottawa-Carleton Rifles and the Governor-General’s Foot Guard, made up 46 percent of the strength of this unit
E Coy, English Montreal; E Company 5th Batt. Royal Scots, the 1st Prince of Wales Fusiliers and the English Quebec City’s 8th Royal Rifles accounted slightly more then half of this company’s strength.
F Coy, from Québec City; called the “French” company, ironically two-thirds were English from Amherst, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia owing les Canadien showed little interest in Imperial affairs, recruitment was dismal. The military brass transferred Montreal’s ‘Canadien’ regiment, the 65th Mount Royal Fusiliers to Québec in-exchange for the English regiment from Quebec City’s the 8th Royal Rifles. The recruits, “loyalist” from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, consisting of one sergeant and 12 men from the 62nd St. John Fusiliers and 11 men from the 93rd Cumberland Regiment from Nova Scotia were sent to Québec. In comparison to the 9th Voltigeurs from Quebec City, both English units provided more men to F Company which contained 31 men from the Permanent Force or PAM from the Citadel at Québec City; the largest number of PF or PAM in any one company.
G Coy, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick; The 62nd St. John Fusiliers, Prince Edward Island’s 82nd Queen’s County Battalion and the 3rd Regiment of Canadian Artillery, 32 recruits each constituted 44 percent of the men in this Company. That percentage rises to 65 percent including 15 men from the Royal Canadian Regiment Permanent Active Militia’s infantry school at Fredericton.
H Coy, Nova Scotia; bulk of volunteers largely from Halifax, 44 percent of the men came from two city battalions, the 63rd Halifax Rifles & 66th Princess Louise Fusiliers.
SESSIONAL PAPER No. 35a REPORT A. p.11.
From the Officer Commanding 2nd (Special Service) Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment to the Adjutant General, Militia Departments Ottawa.
Toronto January 26, 1901.
Sir, “ I have the honour to make, as officer commanding the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, a general report upon the proceedings of that battalion from its organization until disbanded.
The battalion was mobilized at Quebec on October 28, 1899, and sailed there from in the steamship Sardinian for Cape Town, on October 30, at 3.30 p.m., amid the unbounded enthusiasm on the part of the thousands assembled to witness its departure. On the morning of the 30th, the battalion was inspected by His Excellency the Governor General, the Earl of Minto, G.C.M.G., and addressed by him, as well as by the Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, K.C.M.G., the Hon. F. W. Borden, Minister of Militia, His Worship the Mayor of Quebec, and Major General Hutton, C.B,, commanding the Militia.
Bad weather was encountered for a couple of days in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, after which the passage, so far as weather was concerned, was a most delightful one. The Cape Verde Islands were passed without touching on November 12, at 7 am., and we anchored in Table Bay at noon on the 29th, making a voyage of practically thirty days.
The Sardinian proved a very slow ship, and greatly lacking in room and accommodation for the numbers on board. The sanitary arrangements were particularly bad, and so crowded was the ship that parades or drills were matters of extreme difficulty, although they were most regularly maintained.
Immediately on our arrival at Cape Town, an officer of the staff of His Excellency the High Commissioner of South Africa, came on board with a message of welcome from His Excellency, and was followed shortly after by His Worship the Mayor of Cape Town, and several members of its corporation with similar messages. On the 30th the battalion disembarked at 7 a.m., and marched to Green Point Common, where it encamped, awaiting orders.
OFFICERS, NON-COM MISSIONED OFFICERS AND MEN.
By the time of our arrival at Cape Town, I was able to form an estimate of the material of which the battalion was composed, and which opinion I have not since had reason to change. With the exception of the permanent corps, and a few others, none had much idea of duties, interior economy or discipline. In drill there were many well qualified, but I was astonished to find a very large number of the men ignorant of the first principles. However, the spirit of all ranks was of the best, and by a course of lectures to officers and non-commissioned officers, and as much practical work as the crowded state of the ship would admit, it became possible, before reaching Cape Town, to effect a very great improvement in the efficiency of the battalion, though a great deal still remained to be done before it was fitted for the field.
Of the physique and high intelligence of all ranks of the Battalion I could not but form the very highest opinion, and it was in a great measure due to these qualities that ultimate success accrued. End.
2nd SS Batt. RCRI, Militia Orders, (M.O’s.):
The eight Coy’s, were authorised by (MO 211/99), for active service to South Africa, on October 14th 1899. Recruitment orders issued to territorial districts, (MO 215/99) ( “A” British Columbia and Manitoba; “B” London; “C” Company Toronto; “D” Ottawa and Kingston; “E” Montreal; “F” Quebec; “G” New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island; and “H” Company at Nova Scotia), on October 20th 1899. Designated the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry’ by (MO 211/99) on October 27th 1899. The battalion ordered to embark for SA, by (MO 222/99) on Oct., 30th 1899, part of the British 19th Brigade, IX Division by (MO 74/1900; MO 80/1900; and MO 175/1900). Disbanded by (MO 298/1900), on December 31st 1900.
The Provisional Battalion of Infantry’ formed for active service at Halifax, Nova Scotia, authorised by MO 52/1900, on 5 March 1900. Redesignated by (MO 75/1900; and/GO 5/01), the 3rd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry on March 31st, 1900. By (MO 60/1900), the unit served for garrison duty at Halifax and Esquimalt. Half of “A” Company served in Esquimalt, British Columbia, the battalion disbanded by (GO 107/1902).
First Contingent, Second (Special Service) Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry; designated 2 ss Batt., RCRI by (MO 211/99), on October 27th 1899, by (MO 222/99) on Oct., 30th 1899, boarded and sailed for South Africa, sixteen days prior to recruitment was authorised, on the 14th. “By the regulations under which the battalion was organised, officers and men drew pay at Canadian permanent corps rates in the field, up to time of landing in South Africa; after that the rates of pay issued in the Imperial service were to be received.” The battalion landed at Cape Town on Nov., 30th 1899, however the Nursing Sister’s disembarked the ship on Dec., 1st. All accounts, voiced concern on state of readiness of the troops, taking into consideration Robert Page’s study on, “The Boer War & Canadian Imperialism” which he sources from; Carmen Miller’s, “Chums In Arms”: Comradeship Among Canada’s South African, “Study” on “barracks brotherhood,” and other literature that provides percentages. In a conservative percentage the troops of FC consisting of; 97% English, 30% British borne, 91% unmarried with 80% under 30 years of age, a small percentage lied on age; 15% were Permanent Force, 70% NPAM mainly recruited from blue, white collar and service sector as the regular Canadian labourer force with 12 days service a year, required further training and development to a PF standard. In order to qualify for recruitment one needed to have previous militia affiliation, promoting circa 20% to enlist on the outbreak of war with local city or urban militia units, and in dire need of a proper education; moreover 20% had prior militia service a portion with Tommy Atkins. However it was proven by the “Boer farmers,” as other wars through thousands of years; “at times all you need is heart and guts.”
On the eve of the 30th, orders were received to proceed forward to the front, the next day on Dec. 1st, orders issued to “strike tents” and marched out from Green Point Common, parading at noon with forty officers, 933 NCO’s and men, marching orders restricted officers to 35 pounds of baggage. The battalion was divided into two trains’ destination unknown, first train with HQ and the right half flake A through D, left Cape Town at 2.30 p.m., the second leaving twenty minutes later. For two days they rolled northward arriving at De-Aar, a large supply depot on December 3rd at 4.30 a.m., were they detrained and camped, “pitched tents,” while being pulverised by a relentless sandstorm, lasting the whole day. They remained for four days fitted with their first and second line transport with mules, leaving at 5 a.m. entraining on December 7th a few hours later reaching Orange River Station a British rear distribution camp, were 2nd Batt. RCRI assembled and pitched tents, during a horrific rainstorm that rumbled in.
In Hubly, p38, as Otter’s Papers, 11 January 1900, Provides and explanation why only 40 officers and 933men = 973 all ranks paraded that day. A small rear party under a subaltern was left behind in Cape Town to secure excess baggage that would not be used on campaign. As well, when the main body proceeded north by train on 01 December, 33 soldiers were temporarily left behind when, after a night out on the town, they were AWOL or simply too drunk to move.
The Refusal of Orders By Officers and NCO’s, Of 2nd S.S. Batt. RCRI.
In the 1901 sessional papers this account is overlooked, white-washed and reconstructed why they stayed 2 months in the rear with the gear. According to Lieut.-Col. Otter; “It was here that we first met the 1st Gordon Highlanders, with whom we were to be subsequently so closely and pleasantly connected. This battalion had reached Cape Town on the same day as ourselves, and preceded us up the country. On reaching Orange River, we found it lying there, and as troops were urgently needed by Lord Methuen, who was at Modder River, it became, I understand, a question as to whether we should be pushed on, or detained, and allow the Gordons to proceed. The question was decided in favour of the Gordons, who took over our train, and through this became engaged in Magersfontein on December 11, when they lost somewhat heavily. This incident was, I think, greatly to the advantage of the Royal Canadians, as they were not at that time so well prepared to go into action as they ultimately became couple of days, but during that time earned some little credit for the smart and effectual manner in which we built a long platform at Orange river we only remain a at the railway station.”
On their arrival awaiting orders, 2 RCRI Coy Captains and NCOs were at an impasse, as cups had been sipped, and the tea leaves were read by half of the battalion officers, pouring into a prolonged heated debate, on the readiness of the men; while caution was voiced, proceeding to the battle could be devastating. In the First World War (FWW), this action taken by ranking officers and NCOs, would call for immediate court-martial, and a firing squad to settle this outrageous insubordination, as behaviour lacking leadership and military discipline. The battle of Magersfontein was looming and Lieut.-Gen. Lord Methuen commanding, in need of many men as he could muster; advancing northward using the railway line in order to relive the siege, of the British garrison at Kimberley. Furthermore unknowing to Tommy, the Boer’s were entrenched at the base of the hills of Margersfontein, derailing the tracks firing at the trains, created an obstacle for Lord Metuen’s advance. When orders to entrain and proceed northward were issued by Lt.-Col. Otter, the left-half of the Battalion consisting of E through H Coy’s were steadfast on their decision, prompting Lt.-Col., reduced in rank as; Major Sec-in-Com., L. Buchan to alert Lt.-Col. William Otter on the situation in hand and refusal to comply, by himself and the 4 Coy Captains of the battalion left-flak.
Stanley McKeown Brown, “With The Royal Canadians” 1900, p.103-104. This act undoubtedly saved a great many Canadian lives. The RCR could not possibly have been ready for battle. There had been no opportunities to train either as a battalion or as companies since the unit had mustered. With the exception of the small handful of officers and NCOs who were Permanent Force, the large majority of personnel were civilian volunteers or non-permanent militiamen with little or no military background. It would have been short sighted in the extreme to send such novices against the crafty Boer without first giving them a chance to absorb the new tactics and battlecraft required in this war.
SESSIONAL PAPER 1901,No. 35a, p.8-9.
It then marched to the docks amid great enthusiasm, embarked on the S.S. Sardinian
in a most creditable manner, and sailed at 3.30 p.m., the send off being one which the
citizens of Quebec as well as the departing troops will long remember with feelings of
Following is the marching out state:—
Authorized establishment …. 1,019.
Troops embarked, 2nd (S.S.) Battalion R.C.R.:
Total officers: 41.
Warrant officers and staff sergeants 10
other ranks 988 = Total 1,039.
Attached for instructional purposes:
Attached for passage-
Special correspondents 4
Y. M.C.A. representative … 1
Lt.-Col. S. Hughes 1
Capt. Todd, Royal Dublin Fusiliers. . . 1
Grand Total on board the S.S. Sardinian …..1,061
Total Rank and File during the War: 44 Officers, 1,106 NCO,’s and men, = 1150.
Excluding, 5 other ranks, transferred to 1st Batt. CMR, and 1 officer to RCFA.
APPENDIX A7. p.56: 2 SS Batt. RCRI Nominal Roll of NCO,’s and men DOD & AKIA, total 29.
APPENDIX A8. p.57-58: RCR, Officers, NCO,’s and men KIA, and DOW, total 39.
APPENDIX A9, p.59: RCR, List of Wounded, total 123.
Invalided back to Canada: 8 officers, 352, NCO,’s and men.
Total dead for RCR, 68 while in South Africa.
Appointed to commissions in Imperial Army; 2 Rank, and 7 file.
Non joined the Constabulary or Howard’s Scouts.
Discharged to join or to remain in SA: 4 Ranks, and 13 file.
On command in SA (sick, on leave and duty); 3 Ranks, and 15 file.
Returned home once time expired; 25 Rank, and 653 file.
Severally Wounded; 1 Rank, and 39 file.
Slightly Wounded; 4 Rank, and 69 file.
Total Wounded; 5 Rank, and 108 file.
1901, 64 Victoria, Canadian Forces In South Africa, Sessional Paper No. 35a., A. 1900, PART II. Report Of The Major General On The South African Contingents, Statement sheet, page 93, for 1899-1900, Vol. page 1081. (S.V.P. the large list is wider than 3 pages, inserted between page 192 and 193 of Part II MG Report.)
The Honourable The Minister of Militia and Defence.
Sir, —-I have the honour to submit, as a supplement to the annual report, the reports of the officers commanding the corps sent from Canada to South Africa, to aid in the war between the Mother Country on the one side and the Transvaal and the Orange Free State on the other.
In submitting these reports, I think the occasion an opportune one to make a resume of the work of organizing the several contingents so far as the military branch was concerned, and it will, I feel sure, add interest to the subject if I commence with the date of the first despatch from the colonial office intimating that Canadian troops would be accepted for service in South Africa.
Page 93, A. 1900. Statement sheet for First, Second Contingent, Strathcona’s Horse’, and some numbers thrown in for the Constabulary, all ranks. The other Regiments and the Constabulary with corrections on Numbers, for the A 1900 p. 93 Statement sheet, etc., only appear in 1903 Sessional Paper.
2nd SS Bn RCRI establishment: 41 officers, NCO and men 978.
Excess: 20, NCOs and men.
Reinforcements: 4 officers, 106 NCOs and men.
Special enlistment in South Africa: 7 NCOs and men.
= 45 officers and 1,111 other ranks= 1156 all ranks.
5 Other ranks, transferred to 1st Bn., CMR and 1 officer to RCFA
= 44 Officers 1,106 all ranks, grand total= 1150.
SESSIONAL PAPER No. 35a 1901 p.159.
On March 12th the regiment, (Strathcona’s Horse), was moved to Halifax by special trains, where it arrived on the 15th. It embarked on the ss. Monterey for Cape Town on the following day at 5 o’clock p.m.
The marching out state was as follows :—
Strathcona’s Horse: 28 officers, 512 other ranks, and 599 horses, being 3 officers and 51 horses in excess of the authorized strength. Three officers and 101 N.C. officers and men, being reinforcements for the 2nd S.S. Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment.
Col. Ernest J. Chambers, Canadian Militia, p. 103.
January and February 1900; draft to replace casualties in the 2nd Battalion R.C.R.I. 103 officers and men.
SESSIONAL PAPER No. 35, appendix c.
CANADIAN MILITIA ARMY MEDICAL SERVICES—REPORT FOR 1900.
MEDICAL OFFICERS SELECTED.2. The following Medical Officers were selected from about 110 applicants for service with the Canadian Militia in South Africa :—
These medical officers, in addition to the three Medical Officers who accompanied the First Contingent.
Guess “Army Nursing Sister,”Georgia Fane Pope’s account, was correct, 3 Doctors sailed with FC 2 Bn RCRI, futuremore the list I have does provide two names.
2nd Special Service Battalion, Canadian Infantry–parade
Thomas A. Edison, Inc. ; producer, James White.
Duration: 3:12 at 16 fps.
Filmed October 30, 1899, in Quebec, Canada.
From Edison films catalog: This picture shows the Canadian troops departing from Quebec for the war in the Transvaal. The scene opens with the soldiers clad in campaign uniform, marching under the triumphal arch, cheered by thousands of spectators who are waving English flags.
Copyright: Thomas A. Edison; 7Nov1899; 72831.
Link as fallows:- memory.loc.gov/ammem/edhtml/edac.html
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2nd Special Service Battalion, Canadian Infantry–Parade Click and you’ll be linked.
The Footage can be downloaded for free.