Extracts from the News

Lt. Gordon Carling, PPCLI, describes wartime experiences.

Crag & Canyon [Banff, Alberta]

Saturday, December 11, 1915

Transcribed by: M. I. Pirie


Lieut G. Carling is Home from War

Lieutenant Gordon Carling, one of the fifty odd men left of the Princess Pat regiment, returned home the first of this week.  An hour's conversation with Lieut. Carling reveals sidelights on the campaign in Europe which shows that the Princess Pats were of the stuff heroes are made of.

Since last May, up to the time Mr. Carling left England for home, he was confined to hospitals, the result of five wounds received in the battle of Hooge, near Hill 60.  A clean little hole through the thigh healed in six weeks, also a broken finger with several flesh wounds from shrapnel, but a hole in the inside of the thigh kept him confined to hospital for months.  He speaks very highly of the excellent treatment, care and attention he received from the time he  was carried off the field on a stretcher until he was discharged from the hospital in England.

The Princess Pats arrived in France in December and had their first baptism of fire at La Bassia, on New Year's Eve, where they suffered slight damage but gave the Germans a terrible slaughtering.  And from that time on, no matter where they went, the Princess Pats took their toll a hundred fold for their losses.

Three times, in five battles, from December until May, Dispatch Carrier Carling saw his regiment all but wiped out, but the work they accomplished will go down in history more than equaling any deeds of bravery performed by British arms.

Lieutenant Carling received his promotion from Corporal to Lieutenant after his last fight, and will be one of the few Canadians to have medals for 1914-15, in addition to five bars for La Bassia, St. Eloi, The Mound, Second Ypres, Hooge and Hill 60.

What he has witnessed as dispatch carrier would fill a book with wondrous tales.  Only once was he astride an animal.  While carrying a dispatch from headquarters to the firing line, north of Ypres, he met a big mouse-coloured St. Louis mule retreating from the firing line.  The mule had evidently been part of an artillery team, and carried a saddle.  Carling mounted the animal and rode for a mile or so when he turned the mule loose, the animal at once heading toward the quieter zone where shells and shrapnel were not flying.  The battlefields and roads are so enfiladed with shell that only in places is it at all possible to ride a horse.

At the battle of La Bassia, the Germans charged in thousands and in thousands the eight machine guns and rifle fire of the Princess Pats mowed them down.  Reinforcements of cavalry, the only occasion on which Mr. Carling saw mounted men engaged, met a like fate as the German foot soldiers and the ground was literally piled with German dead and mortally wounded.  

Lieutenant Carling plans to remain here for a couple of weeks, then, with his wife, go to Ottawa.

The people of Banff are proud of Lieutenant Gordon Carling, proud of the record he has made, proud of the fact that he was a resident of the town that has sent so many brave fellows to the colours, men who have and are making good.


Two letters home from Lieut. Carling:

14 February 1915

01 March 1915

 

 

 

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