Donald Trump has been yearning for a parade. When he reads this Blog, he will be green with envoy. Enjoy, Donald!
The summer of 1916 was long, hot and hazy. The food was good and the sports were competitive and lively. For the most part, the men enjoyed their time in Paradise. They were certainly aware of what lay down the road.
There was one terrible thunderstorm that almost led to tragedy. But, you will have to read about it in the novel, “Flowers of the Forest”.
The amazing football skills of Pte. McLennan were on display for all to see in inter-battalion football matches. Every Saturday was football day on the Commons and no one missed a game. Even the locals came out to watch and the local press from St.Catharines and Niagara Falls covered the matches.
Like all things, the summer eventually drew to an end. The nights grew longer and cooler. Word was out that the battalions would be shipped out in the coming Autumn.
By the end of August, the men had their khaki military uniforms. They made a trip across Lake Ontario, by ferry, to the CNE for Labour Day and a parade through the City of Toronto.
As September blended into October, the nights were becoming cold and creature comforts were being challenged. On October 18, 1915, there was a Grand Review of the troops by the Governor General, HRH Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught. Around this time, the officers of Military District #2 decided that the men at Paradise Camp should make a 112 KM. march to their winter quarters in Toronto. The march was set up as a tactical exercise based on a mock war. The troops at Niagara were to make their way through enemy- controlled territory to reinforce their allies in Toronto.
The battalions were to depart Paradise Camp, starting on October 25, 1915. They would leave, one battalion on each day for 12 days. All battalions were preceded by their bands , a screen of about 15 to 20 scouts on watch for enemy, and stretcher bearers brought up the rear. Each man carried a full kit that weighed about 60 lbs.
The first destination was The Lake Street Armoury in St. Catharines, where they would billet for the night.
to be continued