Sunday, 19 October 2014


As was reported in 'The Times', when the Royal George anchored off Plymouth their arrival was met with the fanfare of bands playing and crowds shouting, 'Hip-Hip-Hurrah!' and singing the anthem 'Tipperary'

Sung with great enthusiasm, 'It's A Long Way To Tipperary' was one of the most popular songs with soldiers on their way to the Western Front in the summer of 1914. It was written by Jack Judge and Harry Williams in 1912 but Patricias likely heard it for the first time upon their arrival at the Plymouth Dockyard. Now sung with pride in the PPCLI Regimental March Past medley, 'Tipperary' has become synonymous with the legacy of the originals.

Three days after docking, on October 18th, the Regiment moved to Bustard on Salisbury Plain and were encamped with the Canadian Division next to the Old Bustard Inn where Division Headquarters was located. The excitement of arrival and eagerness to get to France began to wane, however, as the days wore on. 

 Lt French holding the Ric-A-Dam-Doo with the armed Colour Party,
Bustard Camp, Salisbury Plain

With no communication from the War Office about their future Gault and Farquhar began to get concerned. Now under the command of the Canadian Contingent it appeared the Patricias would be stuck for at least another three months of training at Bustard Camp before joining the fight in France.

Farquhar was also uncomfortable with the possibility the Regiment's NCO's might be pilfered by other Canadian units. As he did in Quebec, by pulling the Regiment out from under the nose of Sam Hughes at Valcartier, Farquhar again set forth to argue on behalf of the Patricias' independence from the CEF in England. For the next several weeks he relentlessly petitioned General Alderson, the Canadian Division Commander to have the Battalion moved.

The worst problem they encountered at Bustard, though, was the weather. They had arrived in England to a beautiful sunny autumn but within a week the driving rains and high winds set in, launching the worst winter in living memory.