Item is an interview/narrative of Merlin Huth's experiences during World War I. Lieutenant Huth served with the British Columbia Horse (Militia), Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) and the Imperial Camel Corps. Interview took place on August 18, 1978.
Born in London, England. in 1888. Booked passage to Canada via the Titanic, but changed to a Canadian Pacific liner because of the simple rail connection to western Canada. Arrived at Saint John, N.B. to learn that the Titanic had sunk. Purchased sixty acres in Salmon Arm, B.C. upon which to grow fruit. In the summer of 1914 he joined British Columbia Horse (militia) as a trooper. Soon found himself mobilized and in Oct. 1914 sent to Valcartier Camp where he transferred to Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians). Overseas to Salisbury Plain for training. After the first Battle of Ypres the cavalry were sent to France as infantry. At the battle of Festubert in May 1915 he was wounded. (12:00) When infection set in he spent two months in hospital in England. Applied for a commission and was transferred to Royal Bucks Hussars, a yeomanry regiment, as a second lieutenant. Was immediately sent on draft to Gallipoli where he arrived just in time to be evacuated to Egypt. Participated in modest operations against the Turks in Libya. Originally mounted on horses, but when the Imperial Camel Corps was recruiting, one officer and thirty men from each cavalry regiment were transferred and, after six weeks of training, were sent on patrol in the western desert. Describes Sudanese camels, (35:00) training, habits and control. Carried a man, his equipment, five gallons of water for the rider, and seventy-five pounds of grain as fodder. Camel capacity: three hundred pounds. Patrols lasted five days as that was the limit of endurance for the camel. Navigated by compass in the desert. (45:00)
Comments on the purpose of the long patrols and some experiences. When General Allenby took command of the war against the Turks, he was sent to Palestine. Acted as mounted infantry in a war of constant movement. Comments on the Turkish defences, Gaza, etc. At one time under the command of Lawrence of Arabia. Participated in the attack on Amman. In Aug. 1918 was sent on leave to Canada. A long journey, ten days by train across Europe. Returned to Salmon Arm for a few days. At sea, returning to England, on Nov. 11, 1918. Was discharged Apr. 1, 1919 in London. General comments on the Camel Corps. (40:00)