The First Five Hundred

Their distinctive “Blue Puttees” became a badge of honour for and the 
term forever synonymous with the men of the “First Five Hundred”

Northeast of Quidi Vidi Lake shore, known as Pleasantville, was the “Tent City” training site established in August – October 1914, only for the first contingent of 537 Newfoundland recruits. City brigades cancelled boys’ summer camps donating tents to the Newfoundland Regiment, Governor Davidson sent marquis tents from Government House, other tents came from businesses and private citizens, while some were made from ships’ sails. On Saturday, October 3, 1914, the First Five Hundred marched out of their training camp, down onto the S.S. Florizel which, the next day, sailed from east of Harbourside Park, known then as King’s Beach and out through the Narrows. Seen off by over 25,000 St. John’s citizens, it was exactly two months after Britain had declared war on Germany.