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268   DAYS OF PREPARATION

a message to be read to the men on each vessel as they were about to sail. The following is the message:

"On the eve of your departure from Canada, I wish to congratulate you on having the privilege of taking part, with the other forces of the Crown, in fighting for the the honour of the King and Empire. You have nobly responded to the call of duty, and Canada will know how to appreciate the patriotic spirit that animates you. I have complete confidence that you will do your duty, and that Canada will have every reason to be proud of you. You leave these shores with the knowledge that all Canadian hearts beat with you, and that our prayers and best wishes will ever attend you. May God bless you and bring you back victorious."

When sailing orders were issued, the transports steamed slowly down the St. Lawrence. Picturesque villages, each clustered about its little church; long narrow farms, now browned by the autumn frosts; whitewashed cottages, in which dwelt a peasant people, who for over a century had lived remote from the thoughts of war and bloodshed,—were continually in view on either side of the river during the day-light hours. To many on board the vessels the St. Lawrence was a revelation; its deep gorges, its stretches of muddy flats being vastly different from the scenery of Ontario and the Prairie Provinces, whence the greater portion of the Contingent had come. Gradually the vessels reached Gaspe Bay, where a convoy of British warships awaited them.

By the 3rd of October the whole fleet of transports had assembled and was ready to begin the voyage across the Atlantic. This Canadian Armada was composed of the following vessels: Adania, Athenia, Alaunia, Arcadian, Bermudian, Cassandra, Caribbean, Corinthian, Franconia, Grampian, Ivernia, Lapland, Laurentic, Lakonia, Manitou, Monmouth, Montreal, Montezuma, Megantic, Scotian, Sicilian, Scandinavian, Saxonia, Royal George, Royal Edward, Tyrolia, Tunisian, Ruthenia, Virginia, Zealand. As the fleet steamed out into the


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