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The Mounted Rifles

First World War Audio Archive

I was first mobilized at Amherst with the 22nd Battalion. That's

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those French fellows, and we got along beautifully with them, we never had any trouble. But we left Amherst, we were in the car barns, in Amherst, that’s where we were within bunks that were

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made up for us. Then we went to Valcartier. We went to Valcartier as early as they got the snow off the ground. We were out there and we were in tents. But we were in Valcartier, and we left

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Valcartier for England in around June 1915 and we went over on a cattle boat. We had 425 horses in our battalion, our regiment

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then, it was. But, the doctor who examined me was a bit of an itchy-fingered fellow. He was getting two bucks a head for enlisting fellows, you see. He was the guy that was going to put

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me in the 25th Battalion, which is a Nova Scotia battalion, or in the 6th Mounted Rifles which was being made up at that time. But he said, “I think you should go in that Mounted outfit." He said, “That sounds a lot better.” I said, “It sounds better to me too

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doctor. (inaudible) That’ll be cavalry.” He said, “Yes.” I said, “That’s for me.” So he put me in the Mounted Rifles, that’s how the decision was made. You’re in the hands of fate at that

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time and you go along. But he made out my attestation paper, or whatever they want to call it. He made that out showing that I was a real good horseman. He had to put some merit down somewhere

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Sure, I knew quite a bit about horses. I was, that’s where you are in the lap of fate all the time. But that kept me in good stead. We got on the boat to go to England, the name of the boat,

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it was a German ship called the Hershel. The Hershel was a cattle boat and we had enough accommodation on it to take our regiment too. So, before we sailed out of Quebec, I was sent for to the

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orderly room and the adjutant there told me to go and report to this cabin where there was a man who was in charge of all these

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horses that were on. We knew then we had 425 horses, because he told me. So, he said, “They have to be taken care of.” So he said “I just picked your attestation paper out.” He said, “Sounded

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pretty good to me. You’ve got a lot of experience with horses.” Little did he know, but anyway, I went and saw him, this fellow. He was a pretty good vet. He was a civilian veterinary man,

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and he was in charge of those horses, delivering them to the British when we got to England, if we got there. But there were no submarine scare on at that time.

Mr. MacLellan describes his underage enlistment at Amherst, Nova Scotia, joining the 22nd Battalion at Valcartier, moving to the 6th Canadian Mounted Rifles, and finally sailing to England aboard the German cattle boat, Herschel.

Campbell MacLellan

Campbell MacLellan was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, on February 17, 1900, and grew up in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia. Coming from a background of poverty, he enlisted when he was just under fifteen years of age at Amherst, Nova Scotia. He trained at Valcartier for a time with the 22nd Battalion and was later selected for the 6th Canadian Mounted Rifles. He sailed to England aboard, ironically enough, the German cattle boat Herschel. At Ypres, Mr. MacLellan suffered a serious leg wound. The intervention of a young American doctor saved his leg from an earlier verdict of amputation. Prior to this, he had also taken shrapnel in the lungs. His later reflections speak of the patriotic attitude of Canadian soldiers. He was discharged at the rank of sergeant in February 1919. He married Joanna Nolen on April 21, 1924, and had two sons. Mr. MacLellan died on November 5, 1986.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Campbell MacLellan
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War
22nd Battalion

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