June 18, 1915–August 15, 1916

George Thomson (signature)

Cecil M. Thomson
12th Trench Mortar Battery
4th Canadian Division

George Thomson (signature)

The “George Thomson” signatures appear to be Pop's father's. Pop probably wanted copies of his father's signatures to verify signatures on legal documents which he might receive from him. The two signatures are a little different. Thomson has a script 'T' and 's' in one version and a print 'T' and 's' in the other version. One signature may have been Pop's father's legal signature and the other his everyday signature.


June 18

Joined 8th Royal Rifles and went to Levis Camp.

September 6

Went to Halifax to take Sub. (subaltern's) course.


Joined Canadian Grenadier Guards


April 21

Good Friday. Left St John's Barrack for Halifax to embark.

April 23

Easter Sunday. Arrived in Halifax and embarked.

April 26

Sailed from Halifax. Carnarvan escort. Over 4000 in Empress of Britain.

RMS Empress of Britain
RMS Empress of Britain

May 4

Arrived at Liverpool evening before. Disembarked this morning and entrained for Bramshott 3:00 p.m. arrived about 2:00 a.m. next morning.

Bramshott was the training center for the Canadian Army in England.

May 10

Big day at Folkestone and fine day in London. Married K.T.

Kate Christie
Katherine Christie

K.T. was Katherine (Katie) Christie. Katie was a nurse. According to Phoebe Fritz, a family friend, Katie spoke up in the nurse's residence one night and said, “Every woman has the right to have a baby, married or not.”

Pop and Kate
Pop and Katie

May 21

Went to Aldershot on range finding course.

June (?)


June (?)

Draft of 300 men left for France.

July 1

King's review on Hankley Common.

July 3

Joined 12th Brigade Trench Mortars, about one week later attached to 38th Battalion still remaining in Trench Mortars, 87th Battalion having been transferred to 11th Brigade.

Pop originally joined the 87th Battalion as did his friends from Quebec City, including his best friend, Jim Williams.

A battalion consisted of 300-1000 men commanded by a colonel. A brigade consisted of three battalions commanded by a brigadier general.

July 22

Portsmouth for weekend.

August 2

All day march and field manoeuvres.

August 3

March in full kit, 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

August 6

London for weekend.

August 7

Review by Sir Sam Hughes on Hankley Common. Lloyd George present and addressed officers.

Sir Sam Hughes was the Canadian Minister of Defence and Lloyd George was the British Prime Minister at that time.

August 10

Division started move to France - 10th Brigade going first.

August 11

87th Battalion Canadian Grenadier Guards moved out this morning.

August 13

We moved out this morning at 4:30 a.m. from camp. Reached the railway station at 5:30. Left the station at 6:45. Arrived Southampton at 8:30 a.m. and embarked almost at once. Remained at dock all day. Poker in the evening.

August 14

Remained at dock all night and still here. A submarine scare is holding up the shipping. Did not move out today and got a pass till 10:00 p.m. Went up to see the town. Had dinner in the L.&S.W. hotel.

The London and South Western Railway owned a hotel near the Port of Southampton.
The South Western Hotel
The South Western Hotel

August 15

Still at dock this a.m. Moved out at 5:00 p.m. Blowing like the devil. Was sick about an hour out but after that was alright.