On Saturday, October 17, 1914, the 15th Battalion arrived in West Down Camp South which was a tented camp on Salisbury Plain and began what would be a wet, cold and muddy Fall-Winter preparing for eventual deployment to The Front.
Although they almost immediately began conducting squad and section drills much of the men’s time was spent on fatigues consisting of building roads, ranges, stables and buildings. The individual infantry battalions of the contingent were organized into one division composed of four infantry brigades with each brigade having four battalions. The 15th Battalion was brigaded with the 13th, 14th and 16th Battalions to form the 3rd Brigade under command of Brigadier General R.E.W. Turner VC. It was also during this time that the Canadian battalions reorganized from their pre-war Militia eight company structure to the newer British four or double company structure. This restructure made some Officers and NCOs surplus and a number of them were transferred to and commissioned in British Army units. The cohesion of the new units gradually improved and soon training progressed to Division sized manoeuvres.
The Canadian Division would be inspected and visited by senior leaders and government officials on a number of occasions – His Majesty the King, Lord Kitchener, Lord Roberts, Sam Hughes Minister of Militia and even Rudyard Kipling. On December 17th, the battalion was moved out of their cold, wet tents to heated wooden barracks at Larkhill Camp not far from Stonehedge. The battalion was given mass leave at Christmas with half off at Christmas and the other half off at New Year’s. Training continued in the new year with increased time on the ranges as supplies of ammunition improved. In the last week of January, the King made a final inspection and the Division learned that it would soon be going abroad although the destination was unknown. On February 9th the battalion had an issue of operational kit and their MkII Ross rifles were replaced with the newer Mk III version. Surplus Officers NCOs and men were sent to Tidworth Barracks to form a Base Company of replacements that might be for the battalion.
On February 11th The Battalion marched out of Larkhill Camp to Amesbury where it entrained for Bristol, Avonmouth to board the S.S. Mount Temple. The convoy sailed on the February 12th and following a very rough and stormy Channel crossing, landed in St. Nazaire on February 15th.