It’s August 22, 1914. It’s late morning and it’s hot. The parade on Dundas Street is noisy. Mrs. A cries profusely. Everyone tells her not to worry. Her son is going to defend the Empire. That’s a good thing. She should be proud, not sad. Flags and handkerchiefs are waved at the soldiers as they march by.
At the train station, it’s packed. Everyone in Woodstock is here to say good bye. Women are wearing their best dresses – men their best suits. There is a high pitched buzz of enthusiasm in the air. The Mayor delivers a speech, so do other officers of the Regiment. The band plays “The Girl I Left Behind Me”.
The trains are headed for Valcartier. It’s a military training camp in Quebec, then on to Europe. Woodstock sent 70 men that day. This was the first group to head for Europe. More would follow. Many would be buried in Europe.
The Grand Trunk Railway owned and operated the Woodstock trains in 1914. They would later go bankrupt and be bought out by CN. VIA now resides in the heritage building once occupied by Grand Trunk.
Woodstock would continue to deploy more soldiers through the train station for this war and the next great war. This is one memory among many as we honor our war heroes this Remembrance Day, 2012.
The Woodstock Sentinel-Review. “Oxford Members of the Contingent Leave For Valcartier in Morning”, August 21, 1914.
SR. “An Enthusiastic Send-Off to the Members of 22nd Contingent”, August 22, 1914.