On tuesday, December 22nd, 1914 at 1030 hours, another cold and rainy day, the PPCLI marched back into Le Havre to draw ammunition, equipment and rations in anticipation of their move to the front.
The Regiment then moved to Gare des Marchandises where a 48 truck train, typical French box cars, took them to the front. Once their horses and transport were loaded, only 25 cars remained to accommodate the officers and men. With roughly 40 men in each car, there was little room to move and some soldiers had to stand because there was not enough seating. As one veteran noted, “Some promising friendships were strained by this arrangement.” Despite the physical discomfort the Regiment was in high spirits, happy to be moving up to the front lines at last. Almost twenty four hours later they arrived at their destination arriving at Arques in French Flanders at 2140 hours on December 23rd. They unloaded dragging animals, vehicles and equipment along muddy tracks to get them clear of the train. The work parties performed well, but they didn't finish unloading until after midnight.
War Diary entry:
Tues, Dec 22, 1914 Havre, France
22.XII.14 HAVRE Battalion Route March from 10.30 a.m. to 12.45 p.m. Completed equipment from Ordnance. Ration parties left camp at 4.40 p.m. Remainder of Battalion at 5.40 pm. Reached point 3, GARE DES MARCHANDISES at 7 p.m. Men in tearing spirits. The whole Battalion had to entrain in one train of 48 trucks. Officers 1, Men 24, Horses 10, VEHICLES 13. Very tight fit, some of the men being unable to sit down. Fatigue parties worked very well. Battalion left at schedule time 11.19 p.m. Showery. Appendix II. Orders for railway journey.
Wed., Dec 23, 1914 Troop Train Havre to St. Omer, France
23.XII.14 On train en route to St. OMER. Reached ABBEVILLE 12.30 p.m. Journey would have been much easier if we had been informed where halts were to be made and for how long.
Reached St. OMER 8.50 p.m. Received order to proceed to ARQUES and to detrain there. Reached ARQUES at 9.40 p.m. Detrainment completed by 12.30 a.m. (24th).
The tracks for the vehicles were very bad & greatly retarded both the entrainment and detrainment of the Battalion.