In 1914, Britain and the Triple Entente declared war on Germany and the Central Powers. Canada, as part of the British Empire, became automatically involved in the First World War. All companies of The Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR), which were spread out from Halifax, Nova Scotia in the east to London, Ontario in the west, were brought together at Halifax. Once assembled, the various companies ventured off to secure forts and other strategic points on the Atlantic coast. The Regiment was eager to sail to Europe where they could actively engage the enemy, but their services were required elsewhere.
In late August, the Regiment received a message asking if they would relieve English troops garrisoning Bermuda, a small, but strategically important, island colony in the North Atlantic about 1200km from the coast of Nova Scotia. The RCR, being the best prepared Canadian infantry unit to carry out this duty, were obliged to take up the role and a battalion was formed for overseas service.
Not all members of The RCR travelled to Bermuda; around 130 officers and men stayed behind to operate a Regimental Depot in Halifax, and many officers and non-commissioned officers were dispersed throughout Canada to assist with mobilizing the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). Many Royal Canadians did end up serving in the First Contingent of the CEF in other units.