Col. W.D. Otter’s Militia Department Official Report, Toronto, 26th, Jan. 1901: — On the 7th September, I received a telegram from Field Marshal Commander-in-Chief, asking if the Regiment would prolong its service in South Africa, but as I am treating of this subject under another heading, I shall not here enter into any of the details.
On the 24th of September, the officers and men who had decided to return to Canada on completion of their engagement, left their several stations for Pretoria, and there entrained on the 26th for Cape Town. Previous to their departure, Lord Roberts inspected them, and expressed his great satisfaction with the services they had rendered during the past ten months. These details, numbering 16 officers and 413 N.C.O’s and men, sailed from Cape Town for Halifax under Major Pelletier on the SS. Idaho on the 1st October, 1900. There now remained only 12 officers and 250 men of the regiment in South Africa doing regimental duty, composing ‘A and B’ Companies, N.C.O’s and men of the permanent corps and of the draft, together with some few men of various companies who had elected to remain……..
For the next few days the Battalion remained idle in the camp, and on October 30 received orders to entrain that night and the following morning in three parties, for the purpose of moving to Cape Town and there embarking for home via England. By 1 p.m. of the 31st instant the last of the Battalion (‘I’ Company and Headquarters) had left Pretoria. The journey to Cape Town was a most uncomfortable and tedious one; the non-commissioned officers find men being closely packed in open cattle trucks, while the trains were only permitted to run through by daylight, owing to the danger of the line being broken, until we reached Cape Colony. During the first three nights of the journey it rained heavily, and all ranks were more or less cold and wet. It was not until 6 a.m. on the morning of the 7th that we reached Cape Town, and were at once transferred to the transport Harvarden Castle, the strength being 12 officers and 246 non-commissioned officers and men.
The transport sailed at 5 p.m. the same day, previous to which, however, the Mayor of Cape Town, Col. Hanbury Williams, representing the High Commissioner, and three members of the Cape Colony Government, came on board to wish us bon voyage, and express appreciation of the services rendered by the Royal Canadian Regiment during the past twelve months. Besides the Royal Canadians, the following troops were returning to England by the Harvarden Castle:—…. Before leaving Cape Town, I had been detailed to the command or the troops on board, and made the following appointments for the voyage. The voyage to England was without any notable incident, but a most pleasant one, our association with the other troops on board being marked by the greatest possible cordiality and good feeling.
The Sherbrooke Examiner Fri. Nov. 2, 1900. — Steamer Idaho at Halifax. — Cannons gave a Welcome. — Large Crowed take part in Celebration. — Halifax. November 1. — At twenty minutes to three o’clock this morning the transport Idaho was sighted just outside the harbour. Instantly the citadel cannon sent forth a mighty roar of welcome, and Halifax’ great celebration of the home-coming of the Canadian soldiers was begun. The steamer anchored at quarantine for the night. The troops disembarked at an early hour this morning. Thousands of visitors and the whole population of Halifax waited patiently up till a late hour last night for the signalling of the transport Idaho. The city is gorgeous with bunting which the rain Tuesday night only slightly damaged, and it has had to stand a severe test to-day from the gale. The demonstration which took place was a memorable one.
Leave By Special Train. — The upper Canadian men left by special train last night. They all referred to the voyage from Cape Town as a very pleasant one. The men who will number about 150, including the Montreal men, are expected to arrive in Montreal tomorrow forenoon.
NEW BRUNSWICK: — SOUTH AFRICAN CONTINGENT FUND. — Report and Accounts 1899-1901. Published 1901. — Ever since July wounded and invalided men had been coming home in small batches, but it was not until November that any of the Contingents returned in a body. Six Companies of the 1st Contingent, including “G” Company, returned to Canada direct from South Africa on the transport “Idaho,” landing in Halifax on November 1st. The New Brunswick men arrived here the following day. That was a day which had long been waited for by the loyal citizens of Saint John.
When it arrived the opportunity was not lost of giving the returned soldiers a Royal welcome, and of making it an occasion of unbounded enthusiasm. Mayor Daniel requested that the day be made a public holiday, and with few exceptions the request was complied with. The men arrived on a special train a little before noon, and were met at the station by the Mayor, Aldermen and thousands of citizens who had been waiting there for hours. When the cheering at their arrival had subsided, the men were drawn up on the platform and presented with an address by the Mayor. After that they formed the chief point of interest in a procession which marched through the principal streets. The procession was composed of the local Militia, the Boys’ Brigade, various Societies and Clubs and the Fire Department, with decorated apparatus. Many of the Societies and Clubs, as well as business houses and private persons, had symbolic floats in the procession.
One of the principal features of the reception for the returned soldiers was a banquet given by the ladies of the Soldiers ‘Wives’ League and the Red Cross Society at the St. Andrew’s Rink on the Saturday evening following. Besides the soldiers who had returned the day before and previously, there were about 400 guests. The arrangements, which had to be on a very large scale, were most satisfactorily made, and the result reflected the greatest credit on the ladies, who had spared no trouble in their efforts to make the banquet a success. Among the guests were the Mayor and Aldermen, Officers of the local Militia, including retired Field Officers, the Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court, the local representatives in the Dominion and Provincial Parliaments, Senators, War Veterans, Editors of papers and Clergymen of all denominations. The menu was particularly attractive and appropriate. It was in the form of a Lee-Enfleld cartridge with the Coat of Arms of the City on the outside. Inside the cartridge, wound round a wire stuck in the inner end of the bullet, which could be pulled out of the cartridge, was the menu proper, and many were the names of delicacies to be found thereon.
St. John Daily Sun, St. John N.B., Nov. 3, 1900. — Home Sweet Home! St. John’s Reception. — “A hundred thousand welcomes; I could weep, and I could laugh.” The words of Coriolanus very fifty express the feelings of the people of St. John yesterday, when they got the first glimpse of the returning heroes from South Africa. That some had arrived home earlier dates and had been royally received made no difference whatever in the enthusiasm of yesterday. A larger detachment of the men was coming, and a public holiday had been declared, so that the city as a whole might give expression to the feelings of joy aroused by the safe return of all who have thus far arrived; and give expression also to the patriotic ardour of the people, and their pride in the ‘achievements’ of these young men. Little more than a year ago the latter were quiet, industrious, unobtrusive citizens, going about their work as others did, and thinking little of either the glory or hardship of war. Yesterday they came back clear-eyed, strong-limbed, and stouthearted, the heroes of a great campaign in a far off land, and invested with a new dignity and a new responsibility.
“I could weep, and I could laugh,” was the feeling of parents and sisters and brothers and dear friends, as the gallant fellows filed out of the car upon the platform on which the mayor read the civic address to them.
And what a crush it was. Long before the train was due to arrive there was a solid mass of people along; Union street from the high school to Dock, along Dock to Paradise row corner, and in all the vacant space around the depot. Thousands upon thousands were massed there, and men and women also crowded the top of the lines of box cars in the sidings. Wherever a man or a boy could get a position by climbing-he climbed. The interior of the depot was of course crowded. It was with difficulty that the police cleared the track when the special train moved slowly into the depot, shortly after 12 o’clock. A moment later, when Lieut. Jones appeared, fallowed by the other gentlemen in khaki, a wild burst of cheers arose, to be taken up outside as soon as the men passed out on the platform, where relatives with fat and faster beating hearts waited to bid the welcome home from war. It was a memorable scene, never to be effected from the recollection of those who witnessed it.
And later, when the long procession formed up and was set in motion, with bands and banners and decorated vehicles, the people crowded close to the line of march along the whole route, and cheered with happy abandon. The streets were gay with flags and bunting, the costumes of the people were bright with patriotic colors and emblems, and everything bespoke the popular joy. When her sons went forth to battle-and some of them to death-St. John was thrilled with patriotic enthusiasm. Stimulated by the reports of the splendid courage and endurance of those young men on the field of conflict, that enthusiasm grew, and yesterday culminated in a demonstration unparalleled in the history of the city. All day long and till a late hour last night cheering crowds were in the streets, and wherever a khaki uniform appeared its wearer was the centre of attraction. At dark a group of artillerymen were marching across Market square with one of the heroes on their shoulders. There was probably not a man of the returned soldiers who did not have some such experience many times yesterday…For further reading fallow link, P.6: — https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aqlVkmm33oC&dat=19001103&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
The Evening Citizen, Ottawa Saturday Nov. 3rd, 1900. — The Boys Will be Here On Time. — The soldiers will arrive at 2.30 o’clock this afternoon. They decided not to stop at Montreal, so that they could be here at the hour stated. Mr. Fred Cook, secretary of the authority of Sheriff Sweetland, ordered dinner to be put on the train at Alexandra, so that there will be no delay. The train will pull up at Wellington streets station. As published yesterday the soldiers will march via Eigin, McLeod, Metcalfe and Wellington streets to parliament hill. The proceedings on the hill will be brief, so as to allow the men to rejoin their families without delay. The big demonstration will take place on Monday night at Lansdowne Park it will be free to everybody……
No Stop In Montreal. — Montreal, Nov. 2- (Special) — Montreal will receive with open arms today the sturdy sons of Canada returning from the battlefield of South Africa, but according to an arrangement made last night, with a view of not dissapointing Ottawa people in regard to the arrival of their company in the capital, the Ottawa boys will not participate in the demonstration here. The contingent has been divided and the Ottawa company, instead of coming to Montreal, will change at St. Henri, so as to reach home at the time scheduled. The Montreal and Toronto troops will not arrive here until 1.30. The city is in gala attire in honour of the returning heroes. Elaborate displays of hunting, electrical effects and various designs expressing welcome adorn the principal thoroughfares. The entire militia of the city will parade shortly after noon to receive their commanders, who will be tendered complimentary luncheon and formally welcomed by the city and military officials. Unless some unforeseen change occurs the Ottawa boys will reach home at 2.30….. For further reading fallow link to newspaper column, Google P.16: — https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=QBJtjoHflPwC&dat=19001101&printsec=frontpage&hl=enThe Evening
- Citizen, Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 5th, 1900. —
- It Was A Right Royal Welcome They Received. Forty thousand people of the Capital turned out and acclaimed Ottawa’s portion of the brave body that won world-wide honor and fame in defense of the flag and Empire. It was one long cheer from the time the boys in khaki left the Elgin street station till the Parliament Hill terrace was reached, and the wildest enthusiasm prevailed. A monster assemblage heard the addresses to the soldiers and the message of Her Majesty the Queen.
- Patriotism was the predominant characteristic of the populace, and the entire city was gorgeous in color. Millions of flags floated in the breeze, thousands of yards of red, white and blue bunting were artistically arranged on residences and business blocks, hundreds of appropriate devices and mottoes appeared in store windows and across the streets, and at night there were illuminations on a scale of magnitude and brilliancy never before seen in the city.
- Arrived On Time. — One particularly gratifying feature of the welcome was the commencement, sharp on the time announced by the committee. People through the force of experience expected to wait an hour or two for the proceedings to start, but on Saturday the joy bells started their merry peal shortly after the crowd had gathered and everyone knew, the train with its precious burden had arrived on time. The van of the procession appeared up at the corner of Metcalfe and Maria streets about fifteen minutes after the train arrived, a most remarkable occurrence in a public demonstration. The patience of the multitude was not tired and the welcome suffered none by it. Congratulations are due every one, connected with the arrangements for the very pleasant way in which they were carried out, and is doubtful if there was ever a reception in Ottawa from which the people went home so well pleased.
- The Arrival. — When at 2.45 the whistle announced the approach of the longed for train the crowd rushed forward, many running to meet it. The train pulled slowly to the crossing. When it came to a standstill, the heavens were rent with a chorus of screeches, sounded from the nearby engines. Cheers and counter cheers were given and several of the more enthusiastic ones in the crowd rushed forward to scale the steps and sides of the ears. As the well-remembered faces appeared at the windows, friends vied with friends in extending individual greetings. One of the first of the boys from Paardeberg to make his way to the open was Capt. Rogers. The Popular officer was given an ovation and had to how his acknowledgments and shake hands all around. His brother officers and the members of the reception committee were the first to give Capt. Rogers welcome and express the pleasure felt at giving him and his gallant band greeting on their return from the empire’s battle field. The boys were greeted as friends who had returned from a journey full of perils. From the moment few remembered that they were the boys of the “Fighting” Nineteenth, who had carried Boer trench and laager with Canadian pluck and resource.
Few remembered that they were the boys who had been personally congratulated and complimented by the empire’s idol, “Bobs’ himself, and who received the hearty thanks of their beloved sovereign. All these thoughts were swept into oblivion for the time being, as the eyes of the crowd rested on the manly forms in weather-beaten khaki, forms familiar to Ottawa homes and streets from the day the owners toddled along a their first “march out” with proud papa. Everybody had hundreds of friends in the cheering thousands who craned necks and strained eyes to get a glimpse at and look of recognition from Tom or Will or Jack. Girls with faces aglow danced from foot to foot eager to “spot” a beloved brother, or other dear one, while staid matrons worked elbows energetically to secure a position from which they could feast eyes, on the boy who was their constant prayer. Staid men advanced in years expected a vague football “wedge” as they pushed forward with younger rivals and friends to where a word could be spoken of the manly soldier who had departed from their midst a short year before the eager strapping youth. And as the lads in khaki got a glimpse of the dear ones from the home and friendly circle, a thrill of mutual joy accompanied the look of recognition that made ample compensation for the risk run from acquaintanceship with Boer sharpshooters and miserable emergency tuitions.
The Gazette, Montreal, Monday, Nov. 5, 1900. — WELCOMED. — First South African Contingent. — A Great Crowd. — Thousands Lined the Route and Cheered Wildly. — At The Drill Shed. — Returning Soldiers Entertained at Luncheon. — An Address of Welcome. — Speeches Made by Lord Strathcona, Dr. Peterson and Others. — Toronto Men Given a Hearty Farewell Last Night. — Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Cheer on cheer went up from myriads of lusty throats on Saturday afternoon, when the gaily-bedecked engine, bearing the first contingent, pulled into Bonaventure Station. It was the signal for an ovation. The excitement was taken up by the thousand persons massed in the adjoining streets, who were all eager to catch a glimpse of a khaki uniform. Patiently had they waited for weeks for the wished for moment was at hand. The immense throng, which seemed to extend for an interminable distance up Windsor street, opened their throats wide, and gave vent to a thundering welcome. Hats flew in the air, canes waved, and handkerchiefs fluttered, in a sea of confusion. At the sound, as if aroused from a reverie over what might have been, a hundred bronzed faces, were thrust forward, which caused the crowed to cheer again. Carried off by excitement, the populace simply rushed upon the troops when they got the first chance, bore them shoulder high, or linking arms, trudged along together with them over the dusty roads. With the glow of health upon their features, and bearing apparently no traces of grim war, the soldiers looked happy as they strode along; now and then grasping a friendly hand, as if to make sure they were home once more. There was very little formality observed throughout the day. In fact, it was scarcely possible to do so. With greatest difficulty were the men got into line at the started along the route, where thousands upon thousands of people stamped and cheered. It was a unique, inspiring sight. Along the immense stretches of streets could be seen the headgear of several regiments: but so confused was the colour, they looked to the eye like big patches of moving red; banked on each side was a bewildering line of surging black, which encroached every minute upon the space allotted for the troops.
A Year Ago. — Such a welcome was most fitting. One year ago on a chilly November night a company of young men, dressed in all sorts of clothing, but inspired by the spirit of liberty, marched through Montreal’s streets to join the main regiment at Quebec. Their send off was modest, and unassuming. Their fathers and mothers and friends thought it more desirable to reserve all enthusiasm for the home-coming. They had confidence in those young men. They believed that, though untrained, they would yet prove their worth in battle. The deeds of the past year have confirmed that opinion, as by them praise has been won from the most enviable quarters in the British Empire. They flinched not from the manual labour of the camp, nor did they falter in the presence of the Boer rifles. More than this no man could do. England and Canada expected no greater duty, and thus coming home with the stamp of continental approval, bearing on their brows laurel wreaths on which were inscribed Sunnyside, where first blood was shed, and fatal Paaderberg, where first life was sacrificed for the Empire, these brave men, Montreal’s citizen soldiers, had fully earned the ovation they received. Not that by this any attempt is made to underestimate the valour of the men from sister cities. All are in the same class. From the west to the east, from Vancouver to Halifax, the same courage has manifested itself. In this light the throng of people viewed the khaki uniforms. They hardly knew who the Montreal boys were. To them a soldier was a soldier; one was as brave as another, so long as he had fought Kruger.
Not All Laughter. — In the midst of such an outburst of frantic cheering and shouting, there was occasional evidence of grief. The mass of people cheered and laughter; and jostled one another in their attempt to attract the police of a soldier boy they new. All, however, were not so happy. The saddened face and deep mourning of an elderly lady, or of a sister, perhaps, told the story of loved ones who had returned. Their eyes brightened occasionally out of sympathy fore those homes whose joy knew no bounds, but it was easy to see their thoughts ere far away, searching the dreary waste for the spot where those they cherished had fallen in battle, yet fronting the foe, with hearts swelling to the last in patriotic emotion for the safety of the Empire. Some, indeed, had fallen on the thickest of the fight, but others were stricken down with the deadly camp fever, and gave up the ghost for the same cause. They weary night vigils, the forced marches over the parched veldt, the charges, and the shout of victory, all came vividly before their minds. Theirs, indeed, was joy mingled with sorrow. To them the celebration brought tears and anguish of heart, the commiseration of which will last as long as Canada is a nation. Several of these noble women were seen to converse with the victorious soldiers of the Queen for a few moments, and then turn sadly away. Their hearts were weighed down with what the soldier boy said as he gave up his life, and the thoughts of his neglected grave in a foreign land was too much to bear.
- For them: — “The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat the soldier’s last tattoo;
- No more on life’s parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.
- On Fame’s eternal camping ground their silent tents are spread,
- And Glory guards with solemn round the bivouac of the dead!”
- History shall not overlook such sacrifice,
- and their graves shall become monuments erected for the unification of the Empire,
- more lasting than tablets of brass.
At The Station. — Warmth of Reception Began on Train’s Arrival. — The arrival of the train at Bonaveture station was the signal of a great popular demonstration. Loud cheering from the guards of honour and the fortunate persons permitted to enter therein greeting the heroes. Almost the first to disembark was Capt. Fraser, of Sherbrooke, the plucky little officer in command of Montreal’s company, and Lieut. Laurie, of this city. They were received by Lieut.-Col. Roy, D.O.C., and staff, and by Acting Mayor Gagnon, and a large delegation of civic fathers. Thanks to the discipline of Chief of Police Hughes, who had detailed one hundred men under Inspector Lancey, for the purpose, the long narrow station platform were kept fairly clear of people. All the room was needed by the guard of honour and the invited civilians, who at times surged around like school boys. Meanwhile group by group the soldier’s lads came to view. Sometimes it was head seen first and sometimes the butt end of a rifle. These were thrust through car windows and doors, giving to the whole an appearance of an armoured train. In a moment there was a rush towards the cars, in order to grasp the hand of some one or of anyone. Though enthusiastic in the extreme it was nothing in comparison to what occurred outside of the station, when the people took the celebration into their own hands, and did about as they liked with it. There was no ceremony observed at the arrival. Handshaking were all that was possible or in fact desirable. Nearly half an hour clasped before the procession could start. To Form a line seemed almost impossible even in the fashionable crush, but finally after loud calls for Capt. Fraser who was ushered up to the front and placed between Acting Mayor Gagnon and Lieut.-Col. Roy, the procession got under way. The boys marched off the station platform direct onto St. James and up Windsor street.
The Procession. — Thousands Massed on Windsor Street Let Loose Their Enthusiasm. — It was a great relief to have the procession go on as it gave the people a chance to see the boys and their rifles, dogs, and other souvenirs. There was a great roar when the line started, headed by the Duke of York Hussars, and invited officers from St. Johns, then came the 65th Regiment, the Prince of Wales Fusilliers, The Royal Scots, then the “first contingent,” the Vics, a detachment of the 43rd Battalion, of Ottawa, and the Governor- General’s Foot Guards, the Imperial Army and Navy Veterans, the Fenian Raid Veterans, the Independent Citizens, fife and drum committee, bearing a train of several organizations are deserving of great praise, yet, in addition to this, the Independent Citizens’ Fife and drum Committee, dressed in khaki coats and hats, and their bands in the same uniforms, under the command of Mr. Geo. Hunt, looked very attractive. By some they were mistaken for the boys from the Cape. What a throng of people were wedged in around the railway station and up Windsor street. All Montreal seemed to be out, and a careful estimate of those standing from this point up to Sherbrooke was 30,000. Along the latter street and down to St. Denis were 10,000 more, while an equal number surged in front of the Drill Hall. The greatest excitement was experienced around the railway station, and up, Windsor street. In front of the Canadian Pacific Railway station were the McGill students with their class yells to add to the din. In fact Windsor street was one-long roaring ovation. Among those at Bonaventure Station, in addition to staff and retired officers were Ald. Sadier and Faucher, the two indefatigable members of the civic reception a success. Others there were Ald. Smith, Tansey, Bumbray, Roy, Savignac, McBride, Turner, Ekers, Lebeaf, Clearthue, M. J. F. Quinn, and several invalided soldiers.
The High School. — The Boys and Girls Cheered as the Men Went by. — From the boys and girls schools a great reception was given to the soldiers. Three stands had been erected, on for the Senior School, one from the Boy’s High School on the right of the entrance, and one for the girl’s on the left. The building itself was decorated with flags and streamers of blue and white, the High School colors, stretched from the top to the bottom. Across the road were hung banners with the inscription, “The High Schools Welcome You” and “Montreal Senior School Welcome to Our Brave Boys.” The pupils assembled at 12.30 and marched out to their stand by classes, everyone caring a flag or a class banner, and the masters in cap and gown. An immense crowd was meanwhile gathering. As far as the turn in the road, by the Windsor Hotel, the whole street was black with people; they were at every window in the High School and the houses opposite; they filled the balconies; they crowded on the steps, and even the roofs and trees had spectators on them. The time of waiting was occupied by songs and cheers, but at last the procession appeared amid the cheers and waving of flags by the banks of children.
On Sherbrooke Street. — Street Was Lined All the Way by Cheering Multitudes. — Sherbrooke street and for blocks each way was filled with people long before the procession started, and after 2 o’clock they came in such numbers that many were unable to secure even standing room within range of the marchers. “Here they come,” yelled the small boy, who did look-out duty half way up a tall telephone pole in Peel street, and a few minutes later twenty cavalrymen in charge of Lieut. Riley made an opening. The crowd-for such it was-yelling and cheering, waving hats, flags and handkerchiefs, moved in confusing masses. Many women, handsomely gowned, lent color and beauty to the scene, which was augmented by the stanch physiques of the men on foot and mounted. It was characteristically military in aspect. It was inspiring. The stirring music of the bands and pipers, the roll of the drums and the blare of trumpets wrought up an enthusiasm which reached its climax only when the soldiers parsed. The exhilarating roar of cheers did not cease for a moment as the procession progressed.
The depth of feeling which the demonstration represented could only be gauged by those who mingled with the crowd. Mothers, in mourning for the sons killed in battle; men, father and brother, who, in years before responded to the call to arms, watched the procession with the most hilarious, to catch a glimpse of the boys whose good fortune it was to return to their homes. In the ranks was a woman, simply clad. She was well along in years. She made her way through the crowd near Shuter street, and in a few moments was walking arm in arm with a tall, khaki-uniformed fellow-her son, in her eyes, the greatest hero of them all. Both were apparently unconscious of the throngs on either side, of the thoroughfare, but the incident did not pass unnoticed by those who occupied places of vantage. When the procession passed the McGill campus, long-continued, deep cheers, saluted the soldiers. The outburst, was unrestrained, unrestrainable, and crowd took it up, and passed it down the line. The boys, it may also be mentioned, received a warm welcome when they passed the McGill Young Men’s Christion Association rooms, also at the Royal Victoria College. At the headquarters of the Cedar Amateur Athletic Association, there was more cheering, and the men and women, standing and in carriages, added, fine applause, to the enthusiasm. This was continued until St. Denis street, was reached.
On St. Denis Street. — Crowd Just as Dense Along This Portion of the Route. — Laval University honoured the returning soldiers, by hoisting the Canadian and French Flags, from the two posts at the entrance, and hanging flags from the windows. Very few of the students are at present in town, as they have a holiday for the elections; but those who were. Lined the gallery in front, and cheered loudly, while the steps leading out to the main entrance was thronged by spectators who echoed the students’ applause. A great crowd was gathered at the corner of St. Denis and St. Catherine streets, and through these Lt.-Col. Labelle, with the 65th, forced his way, to regain the proper position in the column. He had been compelled by the McGill students to yield the place behind the Royal Scots to them, and he had turned off down St. Catherine to receive his rightful station, on St. Denis.
In Front Of Drill Shed. — Better Provision Might Have Been Made for Handling Crowds. — Where the authorities failed in their duty somewhat was at the entrance of the Drill Shed. Such a mauling mass of people was, perhaps, never been there before. As soon as the soldiers and organizations had entered, the crushing began. The smallest opening in a door was enough to set them in motion. The police succeeded generally in keeping the people out, but they could not do any more. Every door in the building was besieged and brocaded. This was especially noticeable at one of the side doors, where a crowd at the same time was trying to get out, while a large one was just as eager to get in. Several women and children had narrow escapes between the two currents. Big, strong men were carried off their feet, in spite of themselves. It all might have been avoided had a squad of men been placed outside to clear the sidewalk. It would not have been easy to clear the street, and the crowd was banked solidly up to the top of the Champ de Mars, and along Craig street in both directions.
At The Drill Shed. — Contingent Given a Warm Welcome When It Entered the Building. — Through the partly-opened portals they trooped, men of the Field Battery and Garrison Artillery leading the way, with, close on their heels, the Prince of Wales Fusiliers, headed by their fife-and-drum band, which filled the air with “the Maple Leaf Forever.” The brass band of the same regiment came in the footsteps of the members of its battalion, and heralded the approach of the men in khaki with the nerve-enervating “Auld Lang Syne.” Immediately in rear of the band fallowed the returned, Transavaal warriors, some borne shoulder high by friends and comrades, while on the arms of others hung wives, sister and other lassies. These were the men whom Montreal was proud to honour, these were the sons of Canada who had gone forth “to uphold their country’s honor in the strength of manhood’s might”, and no sooner did they set foot across the threshold of the Drill Shed than the many privileged hundreds who had been admitted in the gallery by invitation, and most of whom either wore a khaki badge, bearing the words of welcome, or sported a British emblem, let loose enthusiasm that had been pent up for two hours or more. Men stood and cheered, and the rafters echoed and re-echoed the deepness of the roar; hats whirled wildly overhead, and ladies clapped their hands and cut the air with swiftly-circling handkerchiefs. It was a mass of enthusiastic humanity, a mass of sound that gather in volume as it reverberated from end to end, and side to side of the vast building, it mass of frantically working arms, of swinging brown, black and grey headgear, and of dainty flaunting handkerchiefs. Along with the returned heroes crushed into the hall many of the general public, and from these the former had much difficulty in escaping; they were surrounded by knots of friends and acquaintances, and were hugged and handshake to much more than their heart’s content, and to much more than was conclusive to bodily comfort. Then was heard the skirling of the pipes, and in came The Royal Scots, the Independent Drum and Fife band (playing a lively march), and the reminder of the military that had taken part in the parade.
The Hall Decorations. — The doors were then barred, and to the public outside the scene was closed; but for the spectators in the gallery it was only just beginning; and it was the last scene in a memorable day. The last act of proud citizens towards the brave fellows who had so worthily taken their part in the battles of the Empire waged in the far-off land of the Boer. As the troops field into the building the several corps turned to the right and to the left, taking their places along the sides of a roped enclosure, in which had been erected three tables, running north and south, at which the heroes of the day were to dine, and at the southern end of these a cross-table had been placed. It was a long jog for the khaki-clad lads to free themselves sufficiently from the embraces of relatives, friends and acquaintances to deposit their arms and accoutrements in the armoury of the Prince of Wales Fusilliers; but at last it was done, and they were marched into a roped-in space, and at the sound of the bugle, they took their places at the tables to enjoy the hospitality of Montreal’s citizens. It was a picture replete with variety of colour. As the outer framework, were the walls of the building itself. The interior of the Drill Hall, by reason of its cold and rigid outlines, does not readily lend itself to the hands of the decorator. The vast space, unrelieved by any ornamentation, makes the work of beautifying the place a task of no small difficulty. But this had been satisfactorily overcome on the present occasion, and an atmosphere of warmth and brightness had, by a colour scheme in red and blue, with gold lettering, been imparted the bareness and dreariness that is the characteristic of Montreal’s’ military headquarters. It showed what well arranged bunting in capable of.
At the northern end of the hall was a large portrait of the Queen, surmounted by a royal crown, and flanked by the royal standard and Union Jack, the flag of the Dominion and the blue ensign; also by the letters, in white incandescent lights, “V.R.” Below this and in front of the gallery, was the invocation of every true son of the Empire, “God Save the Queen,” in letters of gold on a blue ground, with, on either side, trophies of small flags and the words, “Sunnyside” and “Belmont.” All around the bottom of the gallery were festooned scores of yards of red bunting, and along the balustrade, between clusters of flags affixed to shields, were the names of places, in golden letters on grounds of red or blue, which have become household words since the outbreak of the war — Ladyburg, Johanesburg, Bloemfontein, Mafeking, Magersfotein, Kimberley, Weiandslaagie, Glencoe. Behind these sat in crowded ranks many hundreds of carefully dressed citizens, and behind these again had been attached to bare walls banners and groups of flags, which the whitewashed background threw into fine relief. As an inner framework to this outer setting were the military, covering half the floor of the hall, the red coats of the Prince of Wales Fusilliers, the feather bonnets of the Royal Scots, the yellow facing of the Hussars, the dark uniforms of the Field Battery, the Garrison Artillery and other regiments, and the grey of the Cadets, making up a combination that was highly pleasing to the eye. Then, as the picture itself, were the wearers of khaki, seated at the dining tables, who had volunteered to net as servitors. The white dresses of these, relieved by a narrow sash of red, white and blue worn across the breast, were, as they passed between the tables, in bright contrast to the sombrero costumes of the older and more matronly ladies who were associated with them, and to the peculiar, indescribable color known as khaki, to the wants of whose owners they were zealously attending. Palms and other foliage plants lent variety to the scene, and some pretty electric light table effects had been arranged. And over all strings of incandescent lamps, two rows running from each side of the hall, and gathered up far above the cross-table, shed their ruby and amber glow. It was a human picture of animation, brightness, enthusiasm. It was a credit to those who conceived it and so successfully carried it out; it was a scene that may well long survive in the memories of those who witnessed it.
The Welcome. — In the centre of the hall had been constructed a band stand, from which speeches were delivered, and between it and the cross-table was a roped-in space for a few favoured ladies and gentlemen. Among the latter, who were either seated here or occupied positions on the band stand, were: Ald. Gagnon, acting mayor, wearing the chain of office: Lieut.-Col. Roy, D.O.C.: Lord Stratchona and Mount Royal, Mr. Justice Davidson, Mr. Justice Wurtele, Ven. Archdeacon Norton. Hon. J.D. Rolland, Hon. A.W. Atwater, Lieut.-Col. Busteed, Lieut.–Col. Stevenson, Mayor Seath, Mr. Roberts Bickerdike, M.L.A.: ex-Mayor R. Wilson Smith, Alds. Sadler, McBride, Larmarche, Ribillard, Ekers, Faucher, Gallery, Laporte, Ruby, Clearihue, Tansey, Principal Peterson, Mr. E.S. Clouston, and Mr. A.T.Taylor. Soon after the returned soldiers were seated, the speechmaking programme was commenced, Lieut.-Col. Roy first reading a cablegram that had been received by the Governor-General, from the Queen. It was signed, “Victoria,” and reading as fallows: “Her Majesty, the Queen learns with pleasure of the safe return of her Canadian soldiers, and desires to again express her appreciation of their service to the Empire.”
Ald. Sadier read a telegram from the Governor-General to the Mayor, regretting that it would be impossible for himself and Lady Minto to accept the invitation to be present, owing to the celebration in Ottawa. From the Mayor had been received the fallowing message: “It is the greatest regret of my life not to be able to be present at the reception to the brave lads who have returned from South-Africa, and desire you to present my felicitations to the men upon the honour they have to themselves, to Canada and to the British Empire.”
The Civic Address. — It Was Read in Absence of Mayor by Acting-Mayor Gagnon. — Acting Mayor Gagnon then read the civic address of welcome, it said: “This is a proud day for Montreal and Canada. The commercial metropolis, the centre of the commercial energy of this fair young country of ours, has the honor to welcome home from the scenes of their glorious accomplishment, not only her own sons who, a year ago, left this good city to fight the battles of our Queen and Empire, but also many of the brave men and true of our great sister province of Ontario. It is a peculiarly happy circumstance which permits the people of Montreal to extend upon this occasion a proud and loving welcome to so many of the gallant and loyal sons of our sister province. For you, soldiers from Ontario, are just as much our soldiers, our pride, as our sons who stand shoulder to shoulder with you in the ranks today, as they stood shoulder to shoulder with you at Paardeberg and Cronje’s laager. There has been history-making going on in Canada as well as in South Africa during the memorable twelve months which have elapsed since the autumn haze hid the Sardinian from our view at Quebec. The blood of French-Canadians which mingled together on many a bloody battlefield in South Africa has nourished the fair flowers of mutual esteem and true national spirit, and bound Canadians of all nationalities and of all provinces together as nothing else could do. You return to your homes to find Canadian prouder of being Canadians than they ever were, and more determined than ever to resent any base attempt to stir up the prejudice and feuds of the past, which lie buried in the graves of your comrades, who gave their lives for a common flag on the battlefields of the Orange River Colony and the Transvaal.
I need not assure you how proud we all are of you after the reception accorded you during your triumphant progress since you reached Halifax. It is also unnecessary for me to recount the lofty deeds of the past year, the tails and sufferings, the defeats and the victories. Your fellow- countrymen will never forget what you have done toward making Canada a nation. We remember it all from Quebec to this moment. This especially is a day for memory, for gratitude, for tears; for all who left our shore at the call of duty have not returned to us. It is a source of gratification for us to reflect that those who fell did so in a just and righteous cause; that you who return to us come crowned with the laurels of honourable victory-a victory of right over wrong. In future, South Africa, thanks to the courage of you and year comrades, will be as free as Canada, where each citizen has a voice and is not afraid to use it. You went forth from our shores in the sacred name of British liberty, and you have wrested from the hands of tyranny the sceptre of usurped and arbitrary power. South Africa will try the experiment of self-government, and she will succeed, as we, who can make and execute our own laws, have done. You fought, not to destroy, but to save; not for conquest, but for conscience and for the flag the standard which means liberty wherever it flies. The flag you fought for, the flag of any of your fellow-countrymen would fight for, the flag for which so many of your gallant comrades so heroically died, is the symbol of all we are, of all we hope to be. It is the emblem of equal rights; it means free hands, free lips, free conscience, self-government and the sovereignty of the individual. It means that South Africa, like Canada, has been dedicated to freedom. It means that all distinctions based on birth or blood have perished from the laws. Beneath its folds the weakest must be protected, and the richest must obey. Returning victorious from a trying campaign in such a cause, you can hardly wonder at the enthusiasm with which you have been received in Canada-this peaceful land of ours, where the sun shines for all, and where the Government derives his just powers from the consent of the governed.
As Acting-Mayor of Montreal, then let me extend to you a hearty and loving welcome home. I feel that there is no language to express the debt your country owes to you, the love we bear to all the dead who died for the Empire, for our flag and for us. It only remains for me to say that I hope that on your return to civil life among us you will all meet with that success to which your patriotism entitles you. To those three yards away from the speaker the address was scarcely audible, and to those in the gallery the proceedings were merely dumb-show; for not a word reached them, so great was the noise of moving feet and the hum of conversation. Had there been less tumult, the latest song having reference to the khaki boys, and composed by Mr. R.L. Werry, of this city, would have been sung. At the conclusion of the civic address, the Acting Mayor, Lord Strathcona, Mr. Justice Davidson, Principal Peterson, Mr. E.S. Clouston, and ex-mayor R. Wilson-Smith descended from the stand and stook seats at the cross-table with the officers of the detachment, and the commanding officers of the local regiments. Whilst the repast was being served, selections were rendered by the Independent Fife and Drum Band, and the brass band of the Prince of Wales Fusiliers. Just one toast, which was proposed in two words, “The Queen,” was honoured, and then the doors were thrown open to the public, and speech-making was resumed.
Lord Strathcona. — His Lordship Was the First Speaker to Address the Men. — Lord Strathcona referred, amid applause, to the fact he had the privilege of being one of Her Gracious Majesty’s soldiers in the country, a fact of which he was proud. He then went on speak ot the returned soldiers, and said it was not necessary to allude to their deeds in order to attempt to say to our fellow-citizens in Canada what we thought of them; their actions spoke far more eloquently than words. There were no words that would add to the honour they had done themselves, and the honor they had done to the Dominion, and to the whole Empire. (Applause.) At the call of duty, and without being asked, they had offered themselves as soldiers to defend the interests not only of the Mother Country, but equally of this Dominion, of which they and he were so proud. (Renewed applause.) He could assure them, coming quite recently from Great Britain, that all they had done was appreciated in that country by all classes to the utmost, as well as all that was being done by their comrades, who had remained behind. They had that day heard a message of congratulation from the Queen; it was only what they could have expected from their gracious sovereign. His Lordship concluded by extending to them a most cordial welcome home, and wishing them God speed in every way. (loud cheers.)
Toronto Men Leave. — Given a Warm Send-Off by Montreal Militiamen Last Night. The air vibrated with martial music last night, and stirring tunes quickened the pulse and made thousands walk in procession to the Grant Trunk and Windsor Depots, to receive a parting cheer and a hearty hand-shake to the gallant Toronto lads, who were bound west. The Price of Wales Fusiliers with the fife and drum band and the brass band, made a strong muster, and on the arrival of Major Finlayson at the Drill Hall he made such arrangements so that not only his own regiment could look after the veterans, but that the many other members of sister regiments who had put in an appearance, could march in the parade. The march from the Drill Hall commenced with about 1,000 soldiers and civilians, but, before the depots were reached fully eight thousand were in line marching to the stirring strains of “Soldiers of the Queen” and the “Maple Leaf Forever.”
The march from the Drill Shed went by way of Bonaventure Station, where the procession halted, and the bands played farewell to the detachments who were leaving by the Grand Trunk. Lieut.-Col. Roy, D.O.C., Lieut.-Col. Ibboston, and Major Finlayson, on behalf of Montreal militia, and Ald. Sudier, for the city, bade good-bye to the departing men, after which the procession made its way to the Windsor Station. On arrival at the latter place the scene was an enthusiastic one, thousands being in the large rotunda and platforms all eager to get a glimpse of the boys in khaki. It was an immense yelling mass of humanity, the voices of the people being only drowned with the brass band playing “Home Sweet Home,” and the fife and drum band playing at the same time “We Won’t Go Home Until Morning.” Amid ringing cheers and music the train rolled out of the Windsor Depot at 9.30, with 75 men under the command of Captain Barker. The men who left by the Grand Trunk had a special train, and were in charge of Sergeant McBeth. The company, 36 in number, occupied two tourist Pullman sleepers. They will arrive in Toronto at 8 o’clock this morning, and the contingent from London, and the West leave again at 3 p.m., reaching the Forest City at 6.20 this evening. A great reception is being prepared from the London men. One of the Features of Last night’s parade was the presence of the Montreal Independent Fife and Drum Band, under Bandmastor A. Lucas. They mustered 52, and as they are all ‘old soldiers’ their discipline and marching was particularly marked. On the march home they halted on Victoria square, and played “God Save the Queen” before the statue of Her Majesty.