Roland Murdock Irving was born in Mount Thom, Pictou County, NS, on September 3, 1883. He was married with four young children and living in the rural community of South Brookfield, Queens County, NS, when he enlisted in the 242nd Canadian Forestry Battalion on September 14, 1916. The 242nd Battalion, based in Montreal, was authorized in July, 1916, and recruited in Quebec and the Maritimes. On his attestation papers Roland’s trade was listed as millman. He would have worked in a saw mill and was probably actively recruited by the battalion for his forestry experience. Roland’s rank was private and he was issued service number 1048586.
On November 23, 1916, Roland embarked for overseas with a draft from the 242nd Battalion. They left Halifax, NS, on the troop ship SS Mauretania and landed at Liverpool, England on November 30th, where they proceeded to Witley Camp, a large training camp in southern England. At that time, the Canadian forestry battalions were reorganizing into companies under the Canadian Forestry Corps. Each company contained approximately 190 officers and men plus additional labourers. They worked in the forests in the U.K. and France and ran saw mills creating lumber for the front lines and the war industry. By the end of the war there were close to 100 companies working in England and France.
Roland disembarked at Harve, France on January 2, 1917. He was assigned to the 21st Company, Canadian Forestry Corps for a short time before being transferred to the 20th Company the following October. He remained with the 20th Company in France for the duration of the war.
Roland returned to Canada In May, 1919, via England, and was discharged from the army on May 25, 1919. He held the rank of sergeant.
For additional information on Roland Murdock Irving, refer to the following online source:
This collection is a grouping containing a British War Medal and a collection of original photos and postcards, all belonging to Roland Irving. The photos and postcards all pertain to the Canadian Forestry Corps in France and most have on the backs either Roland's name, initials or his wife's name. They may pertain to Roland's unit, the 20th Company Canadian Forestry Corps and he may well be in the photos, but unfortunately there are no names or other information associated with them and there is no known photo of Roland to use as a comparison.