On November 15, 1915, the 58th boarded a train at the Exhibition grounds and headed for Halifax, Nova Scotia. The men used this time to play cards, sleep, eat and enjoy themselves. Two days later they arrived. Not much time was wasted transferring them to the city port and to the ship that they were to sail on – the HMT Saxonia.

click for more information on the Saxonia

Saxonia loading for England.

Saxonia loading for England.

The ship had just arrived from a 4-day stay in New York City. The 58th was to share the ship with the 54th Kootenay Battalion and the 1st Siege Battery of Halifax. The Saxonia could accommodate about 1100 troops in relative comfort. For this trip, she would be carrying 2400.

A last glimpse of Canada for those destined to die.

3rdclassroom

3rd class accommodations

3rdclasssmrm

3rd class state room

Saxoniaimages

On deck

Boatoct1914

Scenes taken by Col. Lamb when 1st Division crossed the Atlantic in Oct. 1914. The Canadian Press/HO, Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada

The Saxonia was originally a Royal Mail Ship of the Cunard Line. She was now one of His Majesty’s Troop Ships. She was painted in camo to make detection more difficult.

Saxonia1900

HMT Saxonia, troop ship in WW1

Saxoniacamo

Saxonia in Camo

It certainly doesn’t take much imagination to picture the living conditions aboard ship. To make matters worse, they shared the vessel with a couple of dozen horses. There were many complaints about the amount of food that was served to the men. On November 29, some of the men raided the food canteen and this resulted in the Captain of the ship relenting, and increasing the portions given to the men.

Off the coast of Ireland the Saxonia picked up a destroyer escort for the duration of the journey. She arrived safely in Plymouth Harbour on December 1, 1915. For many of these men, it was a return home.

 

Posted by Flowers of the Forest - The Pride of Our Land

I am a retired Math Professor and now a budding author. Who would have thought? I was born in Toronto and grew up in a family of 5 boys and 1 girl. I went to Winchester Street Public School up to grade 8 and then attended Jarvis Collegiate Institute, up to grade 13. After high school I attended the University of Toronto and graduated with 2 degrees (BA honours and BEd). Following was a career in teaching, including 34 years at Humber College in Toronto, teaching Mathematics and Statistics. I managed to coauthor one textbook, an introductory Stats book. I am married to the beautiful Beth and have a great loving son named Jonathan McLaren Law. Oh yes, I am a lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan. I lived happily in Bolton in beautiful Caledon ON for 31 years, and I am now living in Burlington ON and loving it too. The book is available on Amazon.ca, Chapters - Indigo and Barnes & Noble.

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