Note: This is the Medical Officer’s War Diary and offers some many illuminating insights into the life of our Canadian soldiers. Sadly, the war diary has a lot of parts that are illegible and consequently it is very difficult to deduce the writing and the mean there of. Included are the images downloaded from the Archives for your reference.
M.O. 18th Infantry Battalion
From 14th September 1915 TO 30th September 1915
VOLUME No 4.
Sept. 14: 5:30 PM – Left Sandling Camp to march to Folkstone. Water Duties Unit; Stretcher Bearers + Sanitary Squad complete
9:30 PM – Left the docks entroute to Boulogne.
10:50 PM – Rammed by British destroyer: have to be towed to Boulogne where we arrived at 56m [56 minutes after midnight?] illegible men jumped on the destroyer at the time of collision and rejoined the Battalion for days later.
Sept. 15: 56m – arrived and marched to rest camp. Left at hospital there the following:
No. 54067 Pte Steenton [illegible but found using service no.] – illegible [medical condition]
No. 54279 Pte Montgomery Thomas [illegible but found using service no.] – illegible [medical condition]
No. 53554 Pte Reginald William Miles Cassell – [illegible but found using service no.] – illegible [medical condition]
No. 53659 [NOTE: this regimental number refers to a Robert Henry Burgess and not a C. Hooker] Pte C. Hooker [illegible but found using service no.] – illegible [medical condition]
No. 54159 Pte W. Cunliffe [illegible but found using service no.] – illegible [medical condition]
6:15 – Entrained for Saint Omer.
10:30 – Started march from Saint Omer to R[illegible] arriving there 2[illegible] and billeting for most of the night.
Singed at bottom of 2nd page: G.C Hale, M.O. [medical officer?] 18’ Can B
Sept. 16: 11 AM – Left for Eicke via Hazenbrouck. About 200 men dropped out owing to fatigue or sore feet. These men joined the Bttn two days later.
Sept 17: am/pm – Men remained in billets & rested.
Sept 18: am/pm – Rested in billets.
Sept 19: am/pm – Expecting to be moved. The following men, unable to march were [illegible] Amb.
No 53357 [actual 53351] Pte G Lee – [illegible] (Most probably George Lee: no attestation papers available)
No. 54035 Pte R [illegible] (McDonald, Ronald)
No. 53702 Pte [illegible] – [illegible] knee (Mariette, Frank)
No. 53768 Cpt. R.E. Allen – [illegible] (Allen, Robert)
No. 54181 Pte. C.G. Harding – [illegible] knee (Harding, Alfred John)
Sept. 20: am/pm – Men rested [illegible] for some physical service [sic]. Sent to 5 Fld. Ambulance
No. 53478 Pte Tansford (?) – [illegible] knee [illegible] (Lowman, Lovell Edward)
No. 53532 Sgt Crosby – appendix – sub acute (Crosby, Grover Stanely)
Sept. 21: 9 am – started to march to Dranutre [place name illegible] via Bailleul [place name illegible]. Arrived 5 p.m. on arrival D Company was set to R.E. Farm as working party.
Sept 21: 7 pm – While marching to R.E. Farm no. 53902 Pte. Dewar was wounded by bullet through fleshy part of thigh. Was sent to hospital. Also
No. 53439 Pte Bancroft [illegible] – appendicitis acute (Bancroft, Harold KIA 22/01/1917. Mil. plot. R.2. G.4., Mount Pleasant Cemetery, London, Ontario)
No. 53206 Pte Bryson – influenza (Bryson, James William)
Sept. 22: Rested in camp areas.
Sept. 23: No. 54070 Pte Chilvers [Illegible name] [illegible medical condition] to 5 7d Ambulance. (Chilvers, Frances DOW 30/04/1921. Grave Ref. Soldiers. 20. Guelph (Woodlawn) Memorial Park)
Sept 24: Rested in camp.
Sept 25: 2 am – Battalion called out to man reserve trenches. Casualties Major Sale with sprained ankle, sent to 5 7d Amb.
No. 53242 J. Jonson [illegible] with epilepsy (?) (Jackson, James)
Also from R.E. Farm no 53849 Corp [illegible] Slaley [illegible name] was sent to hospital with pleurisy. (Stanley, Albert John)
Sept. 26: In reserve trenches all day. C + B companies went into first line trenches, A + D returned to cam at 7 pm.
No. 53067 Pte B Stuart [sic] – syn knee trauma to 5 7th Ambulance. (Stewart, Bert, KIA 09/15/1916)
Sept. 27: Rested in camp area.
Sept. 28: 7 pm – A + D companies marched to [illegible] over trenches from (19?) Btn.
5:30 pm – No. 53476 Pte HJ Logan shot through [illegible] in [illegible]. Killed. [illegible] of our parapet. (Logan, Herbert John, KIA 29/09/1915, Grave Ref. II. A. 4., R.E. Farm Cemetery)
Sept. 29: 7 am – Rather heavy bombardment from German guns.
8:30 am – Capt. Hallam shot through head + killed instantly while looking over broken parapet. [illegible] puncture! (Hallam, Ernest Walter, KIA. 32 years old. Grave Ref. I. C. 129. BAILLEUL COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, NORD)
1 pm – No. 53863 Pt. RC Taylor – [illegible medical notation] (Taylor, William Robert Charles)
Sept. 30: A quiet day. At about 4 pm No. 53227 Pte W.W. Fries(?), while following sandbags in D support was shot by a stray bullet which ploughed through the base of the skull killing him instantly. No. 53428 Sgt. S.J. Real (?) broke his plate of false teeth [illegible] would eat nothing without them. He was sent to 5 7d Amb for repairs.
No. 53227 Frew, William Wallace, KIA 30/09/15, Grave Reg. IV. B. 1. R.E. FARM CEMETERY
No. 53428 Real, Samuel Frederick,
The 18th Battalion C.E.F. was “blooded” in this month. After training in England since May 1915 the battalion was shipped to France and then marched to the Ypres area for acclimation and eventually combat in the trenches.
The battalion suffered several casualties of varying seriousness but it had its first men killed in action. Coincidentally, on September 29, 1915 two soldiers died but only Captain Hallam in listed in the Medical Officer’s War Diary.
Also died that day was Pte.LOGAN, HERBERT JOHN, 53746. He was 22 and the son of E.R. and M. Logan of Brantford, Ontario. See link for more information on this soldier.