Salisbury Plain

The SS Andania arrived in Plymouth on October 14, 1914 but the troops waited 4 days before boarding a train to Patney from where they marched to West Down South on Salisbury Plain. The 1st Canadian Division then endured one of the worst English winters in memory.

View a gallery of Salisbury Plain photos.

In Colonel George Nasmith’s Canada’s Sons in the World War he describes it as follows:

Cold high winds, saturated with moisture, accompanied the rain, and the Canadians, though accustomed to a severe climate, felt the cold of England as they never had before. Tents were blown down by hundreds in the gales and the discomforts sometimes became almost unbearable. The tents were wet all the time, the clothes and blankets of the men became water-soaked and remained so for long periods of time. There were no stoves or other facilities for drying purposes. But necessity is the mother of invention and the Canadian soldier soon learned that he could keep warm by the simple process of wrapping himself in wet blankets and steaming as he would in a turkish bath with himself as the heater. He also made the discovery that a pair of wet socks well wrung out and placed next to his chest at night would be almost dry in the morning.

Canon Frederick George Scott’s book also devotes a chapter to those soggy months spent in the mud on Salisbury Plain.

Categories: Herbert Clifford

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