Wednesday, 20 August 2014


Enlistment in PPCLI was for one year or the duration of the war and successful applicants would be paid at the Canadian pay rates, one dollar and 10 cents per day from arrival at Lansdowne Park, Ottawa. 

In the days following the founding of the Regiment, Hamilton Gault prepared for mobilization. Letters from friends gifting their horses to the new Regiment arrived, the most precious offer being a chestnut pony named Sandy who carried Gault faithfully through the war.  He researched the best quotes from Cunard and CPR for two ships to carry the Regiment and its horses, transport and equipment to Europe.  He travelled to Toronto to solicit support from the Chief of Police and the Army and Navy Veterans Association.  

Arrival of Legion of Frontiersmen
In ten days recruiting was complete. The response from across Canada had been overwhelming as almost 3,000 volunteers travelled to Ottawa to enlist, most coming from the West where many veteran soldiers had settled after releasing from the Army. The quality of recruit was exceptional, many with experience from the Boer war and all representing a vast array of trades and professions. “The Legion of Frontiersmen”, for example, arrived dressed in a uniform of cowboy hats, khaki shirts and bandanas. Sergeant Major Fraser, a former guardsman, reported at Ottawa with a full company of volunteers by the end of the first week. The Edmonton Pipe Band, in full Highland dress and wearing the Hunting Stewart tartan, announced on arrival that” they had come to play the Regiment to France and back”. 

Legion of Frontiersmen Moose Jaw August 1914
Lieutenant-Colonel Farquhar worked tirelessly, personally inspecting and interviewing each applicant. When all was said and done 1,098 officers, NCOs and soldiers were selected to serve with the Regiment. 1,049 were veterans, 456 with wartime service, 771 wore decorations or medals. The volunteers represented all but one regiment in the British Army and included sailors and marines with service in the Royal Navy. Not surprisingly, fewer than 10% of the "Originals" were born in Canada. 

PPCLI recruits, Lansdowne Park August 1914
As recruiting proceeded, Captain Buller established a headquarters in Lansdowne Park in Ottawa and the Regiment began training soldiers as soon as they enlisted. For the most part it was a matter of refreshing old skills. 

PPCLI Guard at Lansdowne Park  August 1914
Gault felt strongly that the morale of his men was directly related to the proper administration of the Regiment. His stalwart leadership was a pleasant surprise to the recruits as they found their most basic needs, food and clothing, were being well taken care of. Gault had hired a master fitter and eight tailors to ensure all uniforms would fit perfectly. He’d hired chefs from the best hotels to organize the kitchens and ensured that only competent cooks were recruited. Gault’s reputation for providing good food for them men endured through to the end of the war.   

PPCLI QM Stores, being outfitted with service equipment