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Concert at the Front, Dec. 22 1915

First Brigade CMR Programme

First Brigade CMR Concert Programme

This amazing piece of ephemera is a survivor of the First World War. The First Brigade Canadian Mounted Rifles landed in France on September 22, 1915 and was made up of the 1st CMR raised in Brandon Manitoba and the 2nd CMR raised in Victoria, BC.

The Brigade entered the front lines in early October and again in late November. The war diary entry for Dec. 22, 1915 includes the line “Brigade Concert at Bailleul“. The concert programme featured here measures 8″ x 10” when opened and includes the words “Caisse D’Epargne” on the cover.  This translates to Savings Bank and so I assume the concert was held in this building in Bailleul just behind the front lines. The programme includes a long list of performances by the men and officiers of the First Brigade and the back lists the organizing committee.

Nine days after this concert the Brigade was reorganized into infantry battalions of the 8th Infantry Brigade. Both the 1st and 2nd CMR saw action in most of the major battles of the First World War. The 1st CMR lost 80% of their men (killed, wounded or captured) when the Germans overran their lines at the Battle of Mount Sorrel between June 2 – 13, 1916. Three of the individuals listed on this programme lost their lives in that battle: Walter Chaplin Scarr, Norman Froud Weston and Ivor V. Withers. Many others who took part in that Christmas concert also lost their lives in subsequent battles. These included Ewart Martin Hallsmith, Norman Halliday Moncreiff, James McNeill and likely others who could not be positively identified from the initials in the programme.

First Brigade CMR Programme

Inside the Programme

I’ve linked to many different websites in order to show the many resources available to those who would like to research soldiers of the First World War.  I feature many more links on my tribute website: On Active Service.

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January 2012

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