top of page

Excerpts From The War Diaries of the 19th Canadian Battalion

- West Sandling Camp -

Arrival 24th May 1915 - Departure for France 14th September 1915

Researched by Steven Oliver

(Descendent of Private Adolphus Evers' wife, Jenette Moore, who remarried, and had children, after his death)



Canadian Machine Gun Corps.

The Queen - Cross Channel Ferry
The Queen, which carried the 19th Canadian Battalion to France
on 14th September 1916 and was torpedoed 6 weeks later

By the end of 1916, about 300,000 tons of shipping was being destroyed every month in the Channel and North Atlantic. On 26 October 1916, while making the return journey after disembarking troops, German destroyers surrounded the Queen. The German commander allowed the crew to take to their boats before they torpedoed the Queen. According to the Admiralty report, she drifted for over three hours before finally coming to rest on the South Goodwins. The ship’s crew were picked up and returned to Dover. Lewis Dilnot (21), the ship’s cook, later died from injuries sustained while launching the vessel’s lifeboats.

In the twenty-fours hours that the Queen was sunk, ten destroyers were sunk in the Channel by U-boats, including the torpedo-boat destroyer Flirt, commanded by Richard P Kellett, but nine of her crew were saved. The Tribal or F Class torpedo-boat destroyer Nubian, commanded by Montague Bernard, was disabled, and grounded in the succeeding gale. Six patrol boats were also sunk. The carnage at the Somme, when in the course of three months in 1916, 420,000 British service men, 200,000 French and 450,000 Germans were killed or injured. Altogether, a total of 400,000 from both sides died. This together with the incessant U-boats attacks, led to the resignation of Herbert Asquith (1852-1928) as Prime Minister (1908-1916) on 7 December.

In charge of the Dover Patrol at the time the Queen was sunk, was Admiral Sir Reginald Bacon (1863-1947) who had ordered the Channel Barrage – a huge net, with minefields on either side, which was strung across the Channel suspended from fishing boats and buoys to try and block the passage of U-boats. Regardless of this the U-boats attacks continued and in April 1917, about 875,000 tons of British and Allied shipping were destroyed and subsequent shortages led to the introduction of partial rationing in June 1917 and general rationing on 1 January 1918. Secret German documents were obtained and they showed that U-boats were travelling on the surface at night, passing OVER the Channel Barrage! Vice-Admiral Roger Keyes (1872-1945) replaced Admiral Bacon on 31 December 1917 and shortly after, the British First Sea Lord, Sir John Jellicoe (1859-1935), was dismissed. Before going Jellicoe proposed a raid on the Zeebrugge/Ostend U-boat base and Keyes’ objective was to formulate a plan – the Zeebrugge Raid!

19th Btn, CEF. Staff Signallers. Toronto 1915. Lieutenant Herbert Douglas Fearman, centre front.
19th Btn. CEF. Staff Signallers. Toronto 1915.
Lieutenant Herbert Douglas Fearman, centre front.
bottom of page