War Diary of the 18th Battalion: November 1917

Confidential
War Diary
OF

18th CANADIAN BATTALION – 2ND CANADIAN DIVISION

FROM 1ST November to 30th November 1917

Volume 27
With Appendicies 1 – 2

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
CAESTRE 1 Battalion in Reserve Camp. Coy parades, inspection of arms and equipment. Extra water bottle (1 per man) issued. 2 o.r. admitted to hospital.

 

Map Ref Sheet #28. 1/20,000 2 10:00 AM Battalion entrained at CAESTRE and detrained at YPRES about 3 p.m. from there marching to POTITSE where supper was served on the roadside. Transport [lorries?] left at 6 a.m. came by road. (see O.O. D164.

 

After supper the Battalion moved into support at Abraham Heights, relieving the 75th Battalion whose guides met the Bn. At the junction of Jill and K. trails (D.21.a.45.90) these tracks being trench mat [walks]. Relief completed at 11.40 p.m. Men were in funk holes and shelters around their respective Coy H.Q. viz A Coy H.Q. D.15.b.9.5 B Coy D.15.c.6.5 C Coy rear right D.15.b.2.5 and D Coy D.15.b.8.5. Battalion HQers being in a PILLBOX, BOATHOEK D.15.a.3.3 and R.A.P[i]. D.15.a.2.3.

 

3 7.45 a.m. A priority message was received from 4th C.I.B. for help in the works of evacuating the “wounded”. Immediately 2 platoons of A Coy were sent to the 19th at HILLSIDE FARM (D.17.b.2.8) and 2 platoons B coy sent to the 21st Bn. R.A.P. at TYNE COPSE, for the evacuation of wounded from the front lines to this point, where the casualties were evacuated by the Field Ambulances Stretcher Bearers.

 

Enemy shelling desultory over whole area. 1 o.r. killed in action. 2 o.r. wounded.

 

4 Enemy aeroplanes very active, bombing rear area during the night. 6th C.I.B. staff reported to Bn. H.Q. to take over as Brigade H.Q.

 

7 o.r. wounded.

 

5 18th Battalion relieved in support of the 31st Canadian Bn. 18th Bn. Move back into reserve camp at POTIZE in the YPRES-MENIN Rd. Relief completed about 3.30 a.m. 4 offices and 250 o.r.s on fatigue grading light railway in rear of Abraham Heights, this party dispersed on instructions of R.E.[ii] Officers owing to enemy shellfire.

 

POTIZE 6 Battalion furnishing fatigue parties burying cable, grading for the Railway, and carrying material to forward points (see map). The weather conditions making these fatigues very hard, mud being waist deep in places.

 

I o.r. Killed in Action. 6 o.r. wounded.

 

7 From 8.30 a.m. to 11.15 a.m. 4 Officers and 180 o.r. of A + B Coys dug 150 yards of ditch on both sides of road running from D.14.d.4.3 to D.14.d.6.1 ditch being 6’ wide and 3’ deep.[iii]
Relief 8 During night of 8th/9th 18th Battalion took over front line between D.12.b.45.90 and D.6.b.65.35. relieving portions of the 22nd Canadian Bn. and 25th Canadian Bn. For disposition and location see operational order #167 (attached). Capt. W.J. GANDER and Lieut. H.B. JOHNSON, M.C. being wounded. Lieut. W.S. CALDWELL admitted to hospital GASSED.

 

9 Position as show on Operation Order #167. Owing to bad weather and the continual shelling by the enemy the front line and supports were in poor condition, the mud + water in many places being waist deep.

 

D.12.b.45.90 and D.6.b.65.35 9th/10th/11th/12th During the whole of this tour the Officers and men held this part of the line under the most severe conditions possible. Great difficulty was experienced in the evacuating of casualties from the front line to R.A.P.s and dressing stations. Front line trenches were subjected to frequent barrages and the rear country [area] was also heavily shelled and bombed. The supports on this front were reached by a series of tracks, being trench mat walks, and rations had to be carried by mules up these tracks. Each track being subjected to continual shellfire, the transport and ration parties were fortunate in escaping with the loss of 3 men killed and 1 mule which fell off the duckboard track and owing to the depth of the mud had to be shot. Splendid work was done by the Battalion Stretcher bearers in tending and evacuating the wounded.

 

Night 12th/13th During the night of 12/13th Battalion was relieved in the Front line by the 87th Canadian Bn. relief being completed by 6 a.m. 13th. 18th Battalion commenced arrival at POTIZE CAMP at 8 a.m. after resting proceeded to YPRES and entrained at 11.30 a.m.

 

The total casualties for this tour approximately being:
Killed in action  45 other ranks.
Wounded           6 Officers 60 other ranks.
Gassed                1 “              25      “

 

The Officers being

Capt W.J. Gander
Capt V.M. Eastwood M.C.
Lieut. J.N. Mowbray

  “       E.L. Hankinson
Lieut. J.F. Perkins

 “        H.L. Mitchell
“        W.S. Caldwell (gassed)

 

MOVE 13 11:30 a.m. Battalion entrained at YPRES and detrained at BRANDHOEK siding about 12 noon, from there marched to TORONTO CAMP. Transport moving by road at 10 a.m.

 

TORONTO CAMP 14 Battalion in huts at TORONTO CAMP. Muster parade held during morning. Battalion resting and cleaning up during afternoon. 8 o.r. admitted to hospital.

 

15 8 AM

10

AM

Battalion marched to embossing paint near OUDEROM and then proceeded by bus to ROBECQ via Ouderdom, Renmghelst, La Clytte, Bailleul, Hazebrouch, St. Venant arriving at Robecq about 3 pm. Battalion billeted in buildings on outskirts of village.

 

16 9.30 Battalion moved from ROBECQ to AUCHEL via LILLERS in motor lorries arriving at destination about noon.

 

17 10 AM Battalion again proceeding by motor lorries to VILLERS AU BOIS arriving about 2.30 pm + being billeted in VILLERS CAMP. 4 o.rs. admitted to hospital.

 

VILLERS AU BOIS 18 9.45 AM

11 am

Battalion parade for Divine Service. 11 a.m.

 

Coy parades for inspection of kit + equipment.

 

19 9 am Battalion pay parades occupied the whole of the day. 30 ors. Attached to the 182 Tunneling Coy R.E.s.

 

20 9 am Company parades and training in Bayonet fighting and platoons in attach. Lieuts J.N. MACRAE and E.L. ADDY and 56 o.r.s arrived as reinforcements.

 

21 Parades and Training as yesterday. 22 ors. arrived as reinforcements. 26 ors. rejoined from Base hospitals.

 

22 Entry Missing

 

23 Battalion parades and instruction as per syllabus attached.

 

24 Parades as per syllabus attached. 30 ors arrived as reinforcements. 18 ors (casualties) rejoined. Lieuts C.J. Jackson, T.V. MILLFORD[iv], M.R. SLOAN and W.H.J. KRIETZER arrived as reinforcements.

 

25 12 noon Battalion parade for Divine Service. 6 ors admitted to hospital. Lieut. C.E. Oglesby rejoined from hospital.

 

VILLERS-AU-BOIS 26 Company parade and inspections by Coy Commanders. Training in Bayonet fighting and attack. 2 ors. admitted to hospital.

 

27 Parades as yesterday, Lieuts. R.E. LAWRANCE and L.E. BOULTON arrived as reinforcements.

 

Sheet Maroeull 1/20,000 A.3.c.49.7 28 Battalion moved by light railway to Cellars Camp, Neuville St. Vast. (see operational order attached).
29 Battalion relieved the 21st Battalion in support at Vancouver Rd. Nothing unusual occurred, relief being completed without casualty. H.Q. T.28.a.40.20

 

30 Battalion in support in Vancouver Road. Situation quiet. Major J.J. Richardson, D.S.O. rejoined battalion from England. 5 ors admitted to hospital.

 

[i] Regimental Aid Post: The first place of care for the wounded.

[ii] Royal Engineers.

[iii] That is 300 cubic yards of earth. Dry earth weighs approximately 2,200 pounds PER cubic yard. The total weight of earth moved in this endeavor was approximately (and likely more as the earth was wet) 660,000 pounds. Or 3,667 pounds of earth per man.

[iv] Thayer Vincent Milford.

 

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