Berlin’s Volunteers Depart for the Front (17 August 1914)  

On Monday 17 August, Berlin’s fourteen Volunteers, and the other 8 volunteers from the surrounding area, boarded a train headed first to Galt and then Ingersoll. The Berlin contingent was joining the rest of the 24th Infantry Regiment, with whom they would proceed to Valcartier on Wednesday 19 August. At Valcartier the men would be drilled for two weeks, after which 22,000 men would be selected and sent to the front in early September.

The Berlin men marched through Berlin, where between 600 and 800 locals bid them farewell. Many had tears in their eyes as they said goodbye to the men leaving for the front, knowing that this may be the last time that they see these men. “Rule Britannia” was sung as the men boarded the train car. These people gathered again on Tuesday to send off four young British reservists who had been residing in the Waterloo Region, when they too left for the front. Huge patriotic displays like this were typical across Canada; residents cheered for local men who went off to fight for the British Empire.

(“Berlin’s Volunteers Depart for the Front,” Waterloo Chronicle Telegraph, 20 August 1914, “Reservists for the Front” Waterloo Chronicle-Telegraph, 20 August 1914; “Berlin Boys Appreciated Send-off,” Waterloo Chronicle Telegraph, 27 August 1914; Photo Origin: London Free Press, 20 August 1914.)

Berlin's Volunteers Depart

This picture shows the type of mass crowds that gathered to see the volunteers depart for Valcartier in August 1914.