I thought it might be interesting some to reproduce this booklet in a series of chronological blogs, featuring men of the battalion and archival material. This item does not show an author nor does it mention anything about a date or copyright so I am assuming it is safe to publish as it appears to be extremely old. A much more comprehensive history of the 3rd Battalion can be found in the book Battle Royal, Major D.J. Godspeed, The Royal Regiment of Canada, 1962.
On October 3rd, in company with the remainder of the 1st Contingent, the battalion having embarked at Quebec on the S.S. Tunisian, sailed from Gaspe Bay for England and went under canvas on Salisbury Plain. Three and a half months were spent there in training, organizing and equipping and during this time the 1st Canadian Division was formed from the units comprising the First Contingent. Each of the selected battalions then received a name, and the battalion became the "3rd Canadian Battalion, Toronto Regiment."
|Captain G.C. Ryerson, 3rd Battalion|
|Kitchener's Wood, 1915|
|Kitchener's Wood, 3rd Battalion, 1915|
In May, in order to relieve the enormous pressure at Ypres, the First Army opened an attack at Festubert, a little north of Labassee, then the right of the British Line and after a couple of weeks rest, the Canadian Division was thrown in at this point.
Corporal J.W. "Jack" Finnemore #9785 - 3rd Battalion
April 22, 1915 - 2nd Battle of Ypres
"I was wounded on the last jump over between leaving an old trench and building a new one. My brother F.A. Finnimore (Staff Sargeant Frank Finnimore #9781) was wounded there just before I was.I started to take his putee off when Captain Strait (Major John Everett Streight, Prisoner of War)said to me ".Come on Finnimore. Look after your section. Never mind, you'll have to leave him (my brother)." A newspaper back home reported that we kissed each other goodbye on the front, but I only did his leg up.That was all!." Jack was captured by the Germans and became a Prisoner of War. Frank survived his wounds.
Private Frank V. Ashbourne #9170 - 3rd Battalion
April 24, 1915 - 2nd Battle of Ypres
"We went into the line with a thousand and only two hundred of us came out of it. Sir John French said that it was our Battalion that stopped the advance of the Germans. "C" and "D" Companies suffered the most and were almost wiped out. I was with my brother Bert (Private Bertram Ashbourne #9171), shortly before we were separated by the gas attack at St. Julien, on April 24-25, 1915. My brother was wounded at Langemarck and taken prisoner of war. During the gas attack at St. Julien we lost the first line of trenches and had to move back to the supports. At the back of those trenches we lay down flat and covered our mouths with wet clothes, waiting for the Germans to come up. They came up slowly thinking we were all dead from their gas, but not so. It drifted slowly over us and showed the Germans about seventy-five yards away. We were suddenly ordered to rapid fire and I don't think that about more than a dozen Germans got away alive. We advanced again and regained our front trenches with minimum losses".
These men all survived the war.
(to be continued)