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The healthy, happy, young fellows who left Canada singing, "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag" turned out to be among the best soldiers in the fighting lines. They have received this tribute in many articles written about them.
While poisonous gas was being used and comrades were dying in agony, the remaining Canadians still held the line in battles at St. Julien and Langemark. To retreat would have meant free access for the Germans to the English Channel. Their contribution to victory is beyond human estimation.
Poisonous gas was used twice again by the Germans in two separate battles at Ypres.
Portage was the headquarters for the 18th M.R. Regiment and also the local headquarters for "A" Squadron of the same regiment whose commanding officer was Major A. C. Williams.
Lt.-CoL 1. R. Snider was in command of the 99th regiment, Manitoba Rangers; Capt. F. G. Taylor of "E" Company; and Capt. A. Kitson of "D" Company.
I t is impossible in a book of this size to list the names of all the boys from Portage and district who joined the fighting ranks between 1914 and 1918. However, a list of names of the first volunteers who passed the medical inspection carried out by Dr. H. J. Hassard on Aug. 13, 1914 are as follows: Fred C. Mills, Herman Hartley, Jack King, James Woods, George Robertson, Charles Rea, Charles Tarling, Sidney Bonny, John Edward Lamb, Fred Archie McKenzie, Fred Morand, Elmer Prout, Thomas Carmichael, Stanley Garrioch, Albert McDonald, Harold Garrioch, Charles Abbott, Albert Livesay, Jack Prereth, W. J. Guttridge, Francis William Mirtle, George E. Willis, Frederick Fletcher, William Baldwin, Fred Trevellen and William Pedin.
Just two weeks later, the Manitoba Liberal paper published the names of the men who entrained at Portage for Valcartier. The list was made up of: Lt.-Col. C. D. McPherson, Major D. M. Ormond, Capt. Chas. A. Ogletree, Sgt.-Major Mclllwraith, Sgt. Ferguson, Sgt. Fairbairn, Ord. Sgt. Macdonald, Corp. Stewart, Corp. Douglas and 105 Priva tes.
Men were selected on their physical fitness, ability as shots, and training received in militia was also a factor. Unmarried men were the first selection, married men without families second and with families third. Height could not be less than five feet three inches, chest 33Y2 inches.