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We hoofed it all the way

First World War Audio Archive

We hoofed it all the way

There was an article that appeared in the Legionnaire or Legion

Horse and carriage.

magazine one time written by John Sweetingham, taken from the memoirs of General McNaughton. It described how we were moved from the Arras sector to Amiens, taken down by rail, bus, truck, what have you, anything but walking. Now, I read that article in the Legion magazine. I read it, I was very interested in it because I had never seen a bus and we certainly didn’t take the train. We started out on the night of August the fourth, and we marched four nights - and all night. And I answered that letter. I said I don’t know what the rest of them did. I was only a private soldier, and I said all I knew was do what I was told. But I said in the 46th, we hoofed it all the way, every damn step of it. I think we went four nights, and in the daytime we stayed under cover. That was the trip to Amiens. We got in there at around four o’clock in the morning, as far as I can recollect,

Two soldiers posing for a photograph.

it might have been a little earlier. We stopped right out in the open, that morning. That was the first we knew where we were going or anything else, we hadn’t a clue. We were just going. We weren’t told anything, told to keep our mouths shut. We weren’t allowed to smoke on the road going down. And you weren’t to talk loudly at all, or make any more noise than we had to. I said it was all done under cover of darkness, and as soon as dawn appeared we took for cover. But in that we were told that lorries would be used. There would be a lorrie used to take any unnecessary equipment along, take our packs. Well now, when they got the unnecessary equipment, all that was left in my pack was several pairs of socks and a steel mirror and a shoe brush. And that was it. And they even lost that. I never saw it again until the winter of 1922 and 1923 that was sent back to me from Ottawa. Well, the Army is honest anyhow.

Mr. Gleason describes moving from Arras to Amiens on foot.. He has an interesting take on the army’s definition of “non-essential kit.”

Patrick William Gleason

Patrick William Gleason was born in North Dakota, USA, on October 31, 1897. His family moved to Yorkton, Saskatchewan in 1907. Mr. Gleason was a student in Yorkton prior to his enlistment in the 196th Regiment. He was accepted for duty on May 10, 1916, at Brandon, Manitoba, and arrived in France in early 1917 in preparation for the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Mr. Gleason was wounded in the thigh by machine gun fire at Vimy on April 12, 1917. After returning to active duty in France, he spent the remainder of the war hauling munitions to the front lines, and survived a shell explosion and two gas attacks at Amiens. Mr. Gleason was discharged, rank of private, on June 10, 1919. After the war, he farmed for a few years, then taught at several country schools until 1930 when economic and agricultural conditions left the school board with too little money to pay a teacher’s salary. Mr. Gleason then returned to farming in the Yorkton area, and was also employed as postmaster in his hometown of Tonkin from 1950 until he retired in 1973. He was instrumental in organizing sports activities in his community, as well as a Credit Union of which he was secretary treasurer for a number of years. During the 1940s and 1950s, he was also secretary treasurer of the local school board, president of the Saskatchewan Trustees Association, and president of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party. Mr. Gleason married Marion Cecilia Robinson in 1925 and had eight children. He died of cancer on June 21, 1978, and is buried in Yorkton.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Patrick William Gleason
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War
196th Saskatchewan Regiment

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce


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