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f270   DAYS OF PREPARATION

fought in North America had taken place. In the spring of 1628 a fleet of eighteen ships under command of Claude de Roquement had sailed from Dieppe, France, for Quebec, bringing building material, implements, guns, and ammunition. The One Hundred Associates, a company having a monopoly of Canadian trade, had resolved to strengthen the little colony struggling for its very existence on the banks of the St. Lawrence. The fleet reached Gaspe Bay safely, but while it lay there in fancied security three British ships under the command of Captain David Kirke swept down upon it. The British ships were vastly superior in size and armament to any in the French fleet. A short sharp battle took place, ending in the capture or destruction of all of de Roquemont's vessels. In this bay French power in America had sustained a check by the British; from this bay a British fleet was now about to sail to help save the existence of France.

On the morning of the 3rd of October the last of the transports reached Gaspe Bay. As the fleet waited for orders to sail it received a visit from the Hon, Sam Hughes, who had been mainly responsible for the rapid and efficient manner in which the Canadian Expeditionary Force came into being. When all was ready, anchors were weighed and the vessels steamed slowly out of the harbour. As they reached the open sea, they were formed into three columns and taken in charge by four British warships. The left column was headed by H.M.S. Eclipse, the centre by H.M.S. Charybdis, the right by H.M.S. Diana, while H.M.S. Talbot acted as a rearguard. The Charybdis flew the flag of Rear-Admiral Rosslyn E. Wemyss, C.M.G., D.S.O. (afterwards Vice-Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss, First Sea Lord of the British Admiralty), who was in charge of the convoy. The fleet, as it steamed towards the Atlantic that bright summer afternoon in the early autumn, presented the most imposing sight ever seen in British North America. It sailed at a moderate rate of speed—only ten knots an


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