The recruits for the Victoria squadron of British Columbia Horse assembled to the number of 130, including several from Duncan, last night at the G. T. P. wharf to hear with satisfaction the news brought by Acting Major W. Bapty that he had received the official authorization of the Corps from the Minister of Militia.
A large crowd had assembled to see the first parade of the squadron and to hear the address which Sir Richard McBride was announced to give. Unfortunately the number of the men on parade and the scantiness of the floor space made it impossible to admit the public until the Premier had left.
Sir Richard McBride expressed himself as deeply sensible of the privilege which had been offered him, not only of addressing them but of contributing to some extent to bring about their authorization. “Never before have the records of our Empire made mention of such a warfare as at the present time confronts the British people,” said Sir Richard. “It is, therefore, of necessity a time when we, if we propose to live up to our principles and show ourselves worthy of the privileges with which our nationality has endowed us, must all feel that the, time has come, not for words, but for deeds, and from what we read In the Press, Canadians throughout the Dominion are not behind hand in being up and doing.
“This is a war to preserve liberties and privileges handed down to us by our fathers, and we enter on it with the satisfaction of knowing that we have not provoked It. No one can lay that to our charge. On the contrary, as the British Prime Minister has said, this war has been forced upon us in order to uphold the principles of honor and good faith which we rightly cherish as among our most valued possessions. Great Britain fights for what is fair, what is humane. In fact for treatment the very opposite of that which has been dealt out to Belgium by Germany.
“Major Bapty informs me that you are all ready and willing to volunteer for the front If called upon. It is possible that within the next few months you may have to go. If you do, remember that the eyes of Canada, and especially of Victoria, will follow your doings with the keenest interest, and the certain conviction that you will add to the lustre already acquired by Canadians when fighting for the Empire. We may not have conscription, but I will venture to say that if four or even five millions of men were to be demanded for the preservation of the Empire within a few months, she would supply them trained and equal to the best that could be brought against us, to bear the message to the German Emperor that other nations besides his own have a right to a place in the world.”
Sir Richard also promised that he would wire the squadron’s offer to volunteer to the authorities at Ottawa and communicate to the commanding officer the reply as soon as it should reach him. The conclusion of his speech was marked by a hearty round of cheering, after which Sir Richard himself led off three cheers for the King.
Today at 7 p.m. there will be riding tests for applicants at the Willows, and during next week dismounted drill for recruits every night.
Transcript: The Daily Colonist 8th Aug 1914 – Victoria BC