Sunday, May 14th 1916 (A Spontaneous Song Service)

//Sunday, May 14th 1916 (A Spontaneous Song Service)

Sunday, May 14th 1916 (A Spontaneous Song Service)

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Noble (Frank Noble was a fellow-Englishman and a colleague in Brandon College) and I were at Joe Johnstone’s

[a Belfast man]. We went to service at the First Baptist and Marshall spoke on Deborah. We returned to the A[gricultural] College and found everything hurry and bustle. All were getting ready for moving. I wrote to Medora people.

At 4 pm. we were all on parade to answer the roll call. At 7.45 we were ready with full kit and boarded street cars.

(Personal Diary)

 

A very pleasant feature marked the time prior to the actual departure from the college. While waiting for the “fall in” to sound, a few men had assembled in the reading room and were singing some old favourite hymns. The company of songsters began to agriculturalcollege5increase until a good percentage of the Unit had come together at the informal song service. The fact that the day of the Sabbath and that the men were that night to commence their long journey seemed to imbue this service with marked appropriateness, and when the S[ergeant] M[ajor] suggested that Canon Murray (more strictly speaking Corp. Murray) should offer prayer, the idea seemed to be eminently fitting. The happiness of this spontaneous service was often referred to by men who did not profess any particular religious beliefs.

About 7.30 P. M., three special street cars whizzed up to the college; into these the men piled with equipment sufficient for a north pole trip. A guard of honour was formed by the men of the 196th, who did not allow their envy to temper the ringing cheers with which they sped the Eleventh on its way.

At the C. P. R. Station an enormous crowd had gathered and when the friends and relatives of the departing men were allowed through the barriers, the platform was alive with animation. impossible to do justice to the scene. At the windows of the train crowded the men, some hating halfway out, other less fortunate ones getting in final conversations over comrades’ shoulders. There were mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sweethearts.

(The Diary of the Eleventh, 12)

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