1st Canadian Mounted Rifles - Home

Welcome to the 1st CMR website; dedicated especially to those who served with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles in World War One; and also the 'brother' units with them in the 8th Infantry Brigade, of the 3rd Canadian Division.

With the War Diaries transcription well under way, this is a growing set of photos and artifacts that aspires to be as successful as the excellent 4th C.M.R. website (any similarity is purely intentional, and meant as a compliment). Please get in contact if you are a relative or have photos or anything to add by which to remember these extraordinary, ordinary men.

'The Prayer' (by Greg Clark - Major Gregory Clark, 4th CMR, 1892-1977)

Along about sunset, I began to think of the dead. They were lying where we had to place them, with rubber capes over them. It had started to snow, but along the western horizon, away back over Mount St. Eloi and Villiers au Bois, far back westward where Canada lay, and all heart’s desire, there was a narrow magenta strip of sky.

I was standing in our newly dug trench, looking back at the sunset through the grotesque and shattered arms of the apple trees that had been the orchard of La Folie farm. And there I saw a curious figure. It was our new chaplain, Padre Davis, whom I had not yet met. He was kneeling in the mud, in the open, with his helmet off, reading from the little book.

My seargeant, Sgt. Charles Windsor, was farther along the trench. I went to him and he got two of our men with shovels. We crept out into the orchard and I chose a shell hole and they dug from it a single big grave. We had seven men to bury out of our little platoon.

While they were carrying the boys from the different parts of the orchard to this best spot, which was under a tree that I thought might some day leaf and flourish again, I went and told the padre.

But he said it would be an hour or two, and long after dark, before he could get to us, because he had so many right where he was.

“Bury them,” he said, “and if you like, say the Lord’s Prayer over them. That is your privilege. An officer may bury his men. And then in the morning, as soon as it grows light, I will come and we will hold the service over them.”

This was my first meeting with him. He was gentle, standing there in this ghastly place, the slow snow falling on his bared head, the odd last shell moaning over, and darkness folding down. I thanked him and saluted because I was so tired and trying to do the right thing.

When I got back, the boys were in their grave. The two men with the shovels were standing by, like the picture called “The Angelus.” Sgt. Windsor said I should get down in the grave, where the boys were lying under their rubber sheets, and take their personal effects, paybooks and notification disks off them. But I asked him to do it, because he was so much older a soldier than I, though younger in years. He had been in three battles. This was my first.

He climbed out and handed me the seven dirty handkerchiefs tied up into little bundles.

“Now, men,” I said, “I will say the Lord’s Prayer before you cover in the grave.”

We all took off our helmets and bowed our heads.

“The Lord’s Prayer,” I announced firmly.

And I started to remember the Lord’s Prayer.

It seemed so far away. The Lord’s Prayer, I said to myself. And my mind went wandering down all the long, empty alleys of my mind, away down lonely empty forgotten alleys, where there was nobody any more, but like a vacant house that had not been lived in for many a year.

And I could see my mind, shaped something like me, but more like a boy, a boy that grew smaller and smaller all the time it wandered down those grey forgotten corridors, and it could not find the Lord’s Prayer anywhere. I could feel the men standing there across the grave, and one of them coughed briefly.

Then, all of a sudden, I found it. The Lord’s Prayer. Why, of course. It came clearly.

“Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
God bless father, and moth...”

There I stopped, for I knew it was wrong. All wrong. I glanced fearfully at Sgt. Windsor, and he was shaping a twisted smile at me up under his eyebrows in the gloom, but tears were on his dirt-streaked cheeks.

He nodded to me, and nodded toward the grave at our feet.

So I said: “God bless these seven men.”

The two with the shovels started throwing in the earth.

Then Sgt. Windsor took one of the shovels from them and carried on.

I laid my seven small bundles down and took the shovel from the other man.

When it was finished, it was dark.

 

Extract from the Wikipedia page about Greg Clark:

Memoirs of World War I
Clark’s later war reporting and reminiscences of soldiering have a poignancy uncommon to first person reflective writing about war.
Clark’s haunting memoir "The Prayer" is perhaps the definitive description of a young officer having to bury his dead after his first battle. Beginning “Along about sunset, I began to think of the dead ... “ it follows with a tight, telling description of the field interment of seven dead young Canadian soldiers. The exhaustion and shock of battle having purged the Lord’s Prayer from his memory, Clark leads his surviving men in prayer over the grave with “Now I lay me down to sleep ...”. The hardened sergeant approved. Clark had done his best to proper effect. War is about compassionate respect for one’s dead comrades “God Bless these seven men”, not punctilious memory of Orders of Service.

(La Folie Farm, at Vimy Ridge, was captured by the 2nd CMR April 9th 1917; the 5th in support. Capt.W.H.Davis M.C., the 4th CMR Padre, was killed at Amiens, 9th August 1918.)

More about Major Clark and Sgt. Windsor on the 1CMR History page - a very graphic account of Vimy Ridge.

Newspaperman, soldier, outdoorsman, and humorist. During the Great War Greg Clark went overseas as a Lieutenant with the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles (joined in the field on 23-11-1916, later became Captain, and was Acting Major/Adjutant from 28-12-1917 to 29-8-1918. He was Struck off Strength from the 4th CMR on 2-10-1918. He won the Military Cross at Vimy Ridge, the only surviving officer in his company. He was the principle reason for the high quality of the 4th CMR Regimental Diary. (Source: canadiangreatwarproject)

 

 

A note from Major Cyril William Upton Chivers (D.S.O., M.C.) October 23rd, 1939, writing from Winnipeg:

"This keeps you up to date as to old members of the unit. We feel a little out of the war. While one Division is evidently leaving inside of two months. There seems little enthusiasm or desire on part of lads to join up. The spirit is with returned lads however, who would mostly like to be in it again. Good luck, and may the war be decisive & short".


Lapel Badge above, distinguishing shoulder patch below, and an original 5th CMR patch below that - same colours, just a square instead of a circle. See: http://www.kaisersbunker.com/ceftp/patches.htm and (http://www.kaisersbunker.com/ceftp/index.htm)

 3rd Canadian Division Insignia

Beginning in mid-1916, the Division adopted a system of coloured Battle Patches which were worn on both sleeves of the Service Dress jacket as well as the greatcoat. A rectangle 2 inches tall by 3 inches wide in black was adopted to distinguish the 3rd Division from other formations of the Canadian Corps. In short order the colour was changed to French Grey. Coloured geometric shapes used in combination with the divisional patch distinguished individual formations, units and sub-units within the division. The markings were also seen painted on steel helmets, vehicles and used as road signs.

About Us

Peter Edward Maxfield is one of the grandsons of the above Lieutenant-Colonel Walter Edward Maxfield D.S.O., who was born in Salisbury, England on the 20th Sept 1877. He emigrated to Canada in 1893 at the age of 15 to farm. A long military career included: 12th Manitoba Dragoons from 15th June 1897; Imperial Light Horse 1899; Imperial Yeomanry 1900-1901; North West Mounted Police 1902-1907; 12th Dragoons until 1914; 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles 1914-1919; LDV (Local Defence Volunteers) 1940; Mobile Column, 7th Wiltshire Home Guard until 1943. 

Early medals on this portrait: 1902 Edward VII Coronation, Queen's South Africa, King's South Africa.

Link to Flickr set 'Walter Edward Maxfield DSO 1877 - 1964':
http://flic.kr/s/aHsjqVAqSp
You can click on 'Actions' then 'View all sizes' to see large images there.
 
Link to 'Memorable Manitobans' Page:
http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/people/maxfield_we.shtml

 

The literal translation, and one that I see online, comes out as: 1er (Battaillon) fusiliers de canadiens à cheval; but in the Canada Gazette of 1919 the title is: 1er carabiniere à cheval canadiens.


Une tentative de traduction - s'il vous plaît me corriger:-

1er carabiniere à cheval canadiens

    
* Accueil
    
* Galerie
    
* Histoire 1er C.C.C.
    
* In Memoriam
    
* Liens
    
* Les autres unités CCC
    
* Guerre des Boers CCC
   
*
Livre des visiteurs

Bienvenue sur notre site

Bienvenue sur le site 1er CCC; dédié à ceux qui ont servi avec le 1er
Carabiniere à cheval canadiens , dans la Première Guerre mondiale.

Avec la transcription des journaux de guerre en bonne voie, il s'agit d'un ensemble croissant de photos et d'artefacts qui aspire à être aussi réussie que l'excellent 4e CCC site web (toute ressemblance est purement intentionnelle, et conçu comme un compliment). S'il vous plaît entrer en contact si vous êtes
un proche
, ou vous avez des photos, ou quelque chose à ajouter par lequel se rappeler ces extraordinaires, mais des hommes ordinaires.

Insigne de revers ci-dessus, insigne d'épaule distinguer ci-dessous.

http://canadianmountedrifles.yolasite.com/

Une note du major Cyril William Chivers Upton (DSO, MC) le 23 Octobre, 1939, écrit de Winnipeg:

"Cela vous tient au courant pour les anciens membres de l'unité. Nous nous sentons un peu hors de la guerre. Bien que l'on est évidemment la division en laissant l'intérieur de deux mois. Il semble peu d'enthousiasme ou le désir de la part des gars à s'engager. Le
esprit est avec les gars retourné toutefois, qui serait la plupart du temps, comme d'être en elle de nouveau. Bonne chance, et peut-être décisif de la guerre et court ".

A propos de nous

Peter Edward Maxfield est l'un des petits-fils du lieutenant-colonel Walter Edward Maxfield DSO, qui est né à Salisbury, en Angleterre,  le 20 septembre 1877. Il émigra au Canada en 1893 à l'âge de 15 ans à la ferme. Une longue carrière militaire incluse: 12th Manitoba Dragoons du 15 Juin 1897; Imperial Light Horse 1899; Imperial Yeomanry 1900-1901; North West Mounted Police 1902-1907; Dragoons 12e jusqu'en 1914; 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles 1914-1919; LDV (défense locale Les bénévoles) 1940; colonne mobile, 7e Wiltshire Accueil Garde jusqu'en 1943.

Premières médailles sur ce portrait: 1902 Médaille du couronnement d'Edouard VII, De la Reine Afrique du Sud Médaille, Du Roi Afrique du Sud Médaille.

Lien vers Flickr set 'Walter Edward Maxfield DSO 1877 - 1964: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjqVAqSp
Vous pouvez cliquer sur "Actions" puis "Afficher toutes tailles" pour voir de grandes images là-bas.
 
Lien vers la page «Les Manitobains mémorable: http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/people/maxfield_we.shtml

Contactez-nous:
petemaxfield@hotmail.com
ou aller à la page
livre des visiteurs.
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