War Diary of the 18th Battalion: August 1918

Confidential

War Diary

of

18th CANADIAN BATTALION – 2nd CANADIAN DIVISION

From 1st August to 31st August, 1918

Volume 36

With appendices 1 – 15

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
G.H.Q. RESERVE PISSYMap Sht. 62.M. 1 Battalion moved off, in battle order, to attend Tank Demonstration. “A” Coy. participated in afternoon. Remainder observed demonstration. Lieut. M.R. Sloan returned from Musketry Course. 1 O.R. to hospital. 1 O.R. reinforcement.
2 Battalion carried on with usual routine in training during morning. Afternoon occupied in recreational training. 2 O.Rs rejoined from Course at VI Corps School. Lieut. Goodman proceeded to III Army Infantry School. 2 O.Rs returned from leave.
3 Training carried out on as per attached syllabus. A 7.00 p.m. Battalion moved off in fighting order en route for CAGNY to go into billets, arriving at 5.00 a.m. Major J.S. Bell returned from leave. 1 O.R. proceeded on leave. 1 O.R. to hospital.
G.H.Q. RESERVE CGNY Map Sht. 62.K.S.4.a.80.80 4 Battalion rested here during day. Moved on into Reserve behind VII Australian Division near CACHY. Battalion H.Q. at U.7.a.50.40. Disposition sheet attached. “B” Echelon and Rear Details remained at CAGNY.
RESERVE Map Sht. 62.E.U.7.a.50.50

nr. CACHY

5 Remained in Position all day resting near CACHY. 2 O.Rs to Hospital.
6 Extra ammunition etc. issued for proposed operations. A/Capt. A.R. Mackedie returned from 1st Army Musketry School. Lieut. R.R. Hartry returned from leave. 1 O.R. proceeded on leave. 2 O.Rs to hospital.
7 Battalion relieved 50th Australian Battalion from U.5.b.10.20 exclusive to U.5.c.00.35 inclusive, and assumed jumping off positions for the operation on the 8th, according to barrage map attached. 8 O.R.s ret. From 1st Army Rest Camp. Lieut. Hosford and 3 O.Rs proceeded on Courses. 2 O.Rs to hospital. 1 O.R. committed to prison.
FRONT LINERef. Map 62.E.

U.5.b.10.20 to U.5.c.00.35

8 In contrast to the clear evening previous, the morning of the 8th found a heavy fog in evidence, obstructing all view of the German line and proposed objective. Zero hour had been set to 4.20 a.m. An hour previous all Coys. had taken up their assault positions. Half an hour before the commencement of our bombardment, German artillery of heavy calibre laid down a light barrage on our position, particularly heavy fire being directed on the wood to the South-West of VILLERS-BRETTENEAUX. First impression was that our attack had been anticipated, but his shelling ceased just prior to the opening up of our guns.No preliminary bombardment was indulged in. At 4.30 sharp [our] barrage fell on the German Front line and the Battalion jumped off immediately.

The disposition of the Companies was as follows:- “C” Coy. in 2 platoon frontage was responsible for the Right Flank and contact waves with the 1st Canadian Division; “B” Company in center on a 2 platoon frontage; “A” Company with similar frontage on the left connecting up with the 19th Cdn. Battalion; “D” Company in Support.

The objective lay some 200 yards to the East of MARCELCAVE and the quarry adjoining it.

Operating under a magnificent barrage, and closely co-operating with the tanks, whose support to the infantry was one of the finest features of the day, the Battalion had [reached] the extreme limit of its objective at 7.45 a.m. Casualties where light, partly due to the fog barrier and the admirable manner in which are advance was conducted.

Lieut. Ferguson was wounded in the jumping off. Captain Michell was wounded in the first half mile of the advance along with Captain Wigle; Lieut’s Faulkner and Sheridan a short time later.

Amongst the material captured at MARCELCAVE were five 5.9 Hows., and three 2.2 mm Guns, in addition to a great deal of signal equipment and valued Surgical and Medical Stores.

The Battalion pushed on past the quarries and established a line of defence about 300 yards beyond. Throughout the [affair], considerable opposition was encountered, chief of which lay in the form of well secreted machine-gun nests. The work of Captain T.H.C. Rayward in disposing of some of this [formidable] opposition was very exemplary to all ranks.

Casualties to the extent of approximately 30 killed and 120 wounded were sustained in the advance. 56 O.R’s arrived as reinforcements. 2 O.R’s proceeded on leave.

QUARRY near MACELCAE Ref. Map DEMUIN V.16.d.25.40 9 At 9.00 a.m. the Battalion, less “B” Echelon, moved off and marched to W.19.central where they bivouacked in fields, awaiting further orders from Brigade. The night was spent at this location, shelters improvised from the abandoned enemy material being used by the men. Considerable bombing and machine gun fire of the locality, especially the roads enclosing the position, where carried out by enemy aircraft but no casualties resulted. 5 O.R’s to hospital.
Ref. Map 62.e.NWW.19.Central 10 Moving off at 4.00 pm., Battalion went into Divl. Reserve, occupying the old AMIENS Defence line, about a mile beyond CAIX with Battalion H.Q. at E.16.b.90.70 approx. Coys were in close proximity and Transport directly in rear. 1 O.R. on leave. 1 O.R. from hospital.
nr. CAIX Map 62.e.NWE.16.b.90.70 11 Battalion moved off at 8.30 p.m. and marched to ROSIERES relieving 28th Cdn. Bn. in Divl. Reserve. Bn. H.Q. at approx. F.8.a.60.90 and disposition of Coys as follows: “A” & “B” Coy – FRONT. “C” & “D” Coys – SUPPORT. By 10.00 p.m. all Coys. were in position. Transport was located for the night on the outskirts of ROSIERES. 1 O.R. on leave.
ROSIERESF.8.a.60.90 12 Battalion remained here throughout the great portion of the day. Intermittent shelling of the locality by a H.V. Gun occurred for some time. No casualties resulted. At 10.00 p.m. Bn. H.Q. Details moved off, with Coys. moving independently, to relieve 2 Coys. of 50th Cdn. Bn. and 2 Coys. of 75th Cdn. Bn. in Bde. Support position at f.30 a. & c. and F.23 b. & d. respectively. Bn. H.Q. located at FOUQUESCOURT Corner at F.28.d.9.7. Relief completed at 4.00 a.m. 13th. Lieut. W.A.S. Porter and 2 O.Rs proceeded on leave.
FOUQUESCOURT CornerF.26.d.9.7.

BDE. SUPPORT

13 “B” Echelon moved from ROSIERES to Wood just North of WARVILLERS. Remainder of Bn. remained in Brigade supports. For location Coys. see disposition state attached. 1. O.R. to hospital. 1 O.R. returned from Course. Lts. Gerrard & Cole & 100 O.Rs arrived as reinforcement.
14 At 5.45 a.m. “D” Coy. AA. Gun shot down a low-flying enemy plane, which crashed near Rlyy. In F.5.d. With expectation of resuming the offensive, in conjunction with the attached Bde. Operation Order No. 245, Bn. moved into aras [sic] directly behind assembly positions as shown in attached sketch& disposition state. Lts. Edwards & Wittle [sic] & 50 O.Rs arrived as reinforcements.
I.11.b.335.50 15 Adv. H.Q. at I.12.c.05.90. For disposition of Coys. see att. Disposition state. “A” & “B” coys. placed at disposal of O.C. 19th Cdn. Bn., in the event of the last named unit requiring assistance.At. 3.00 a.m. area in which Bn. was located was subjected to heavy gas bombardment, the line occupied by “C” & “D” Coys receiving particularly severe gassing. Enemy shelling of high calibre H.E. also occurred through the day. During the night Bn. moved back to Bde. Support with Bn. H.Q. in old trench line at I.10.a.2.5. Adv. H.Q. maintained and did not fall back at that time.

1 O.R. on leave. 1 O.R. to Hayling Is. Eng. Musketry Course. Capt. J.C. Little returned from course. 1 O.R. killed; 10 wounded – gassed.

BDE. SUPPORTI.10.a.2.5 16 At 3.30 a.m. Bn. was dispositioned according to attached state. “A” & “B” Coys under order from Bde. united with 19th Bn. & moved forward to Assembly positions. “C” & “D” Coys. standing to, were called in at 4.30 and also moved forward to support of the 19th Cdn. Bn. In attack on German positions that followed Capt. T.H.C. Rayward came in for special mention for his fine work (see attached narrative of operation and personal letter of O.C. 19th Cdn. Bn. Lieut. R.E. Lawrence [Lawrance] rejoined & Lt. R.E. Rouse arrived as reinforcement. 1 O.R. committed to prison. 1 O.R. on leave. 1 O.R. to and 1 from Hospital. 21 O.rs wounded.
17 In the early morning “A” & “B” were relieved by 2 Coys of 46th Cdn. Bn. and “C” & “D” Coys by 2 Coys of 47th Cdn. Bn. At daybreak Bn. moved independently to the old AMIENS defence line, which they occupied for the balance of the day. In the afternoon a bath parade was held at CAIX, and a Bn. parade at 5.15 p.m. after which units marched to WEINCOURT. Bn. H.Q. locating in church at W.13.a.30.70. and Coys. & Transport at V.18.d. Lieut. J.T. Taylor gassed & 4 O.Rs wounded – gassed.
WIENCOURTW.13.a.30.70 18 Pay parade during the day. 2 O.Rs arrived as reinforcements. 1 O.R. on course and 1 O.R. returned from course. 1 O.R. on leave. 2 O.Rs returned from hospital.
19 Capt. Mackedie & party of 75 O.Rs worked under Divl. Salvage Officer cleaning up area between WEINCOURT and MARCELCAVE. At 9.15 p.m. Bn. moved off and marching via CACHY, bivouaced in field outside BOVES. 4 O.Rs to hospital. 1 O.R. on leave. Lieut. M.M. Wilson & 2 O.Rs to C.C.R.C. 4 O.Rs ret. from Guards Divn.
BOVES 20 Packs which had been stored here were reissued to the men. Bn. entrained and leaving at 11.30 a.m. proceeded through AMIENS to WAVRAMS [sic] which was reached by midnight. The arrival here marked transfer of Bn. from 4th Army to 1st Army jurisdiction. Marching from WAVRANS a distance of 3 kilos. Bn. billeted at PIERREMONT – G.H.Q. Reserve. 1 O.R. on leave. 1 O.R. ret. from hospital.
PIERREMONT 21 1 O.R. on leave.
22 1 O.R. on leave. 1 O.R. to hospital.
PIERREMONT 23 Transport moved off at 4.00 a.m. for BERNEVILLE. At 11.15 a.m. Bn. moved to WAVRANS where they entrained at 3.45 p.m. for MARCEUIL. They detrained at 7.00 p.m. and marched to BERNEVILLE, arriving 3 hours later. Lieut. J. Morgan proceeded on leave. 3. O.Rs to hospital. 2 O.Rs ret. from Cdn. Corps School
BERNEVILLE 24 At 7.30 p.m. Bn. less Details out of line, moved off for Support Area in Telegraph Hill Sector. 1 O.R. on leave. 3 O.Rs to hospital.
TELEGRAPH HILLSupport Area. 25 Bn. waited in readiness for coming operations. 4 O.Rs to Hospital. 1 O.R. from hospital. 1 O.R. reinforcement.
26 At 3:00 a.m. following intense 5 min. barrage Bn. jumped off TILOY [sic] TRENCH in front of TELEGRAPH HILL in support of 21st Cdn. Bn. The artillery preparation was good. Owing to getting lost in the darkness, the tanks detailed to go over with the Bn. failed to turn up per schedule, so the Unit was without their assistance in the initial kick-off.MINORCA TRENCH, a difficult nut to crack, was set as the first objective, and SOUTHERN AVENUE TRENCH as the second objective. Both positions were won by 8.00 a.m. “D” Coy. holding the last named defence line in conjunction with the 21st Cdn. Bn. “A” Coy. remained in GORDON TRENCH, and “B” Coy at the first objective, MINORCA TRENCH.

Up to this time the casualties had been far smaller than anticipated, although Lieut. McHardy had gone only a short distance from the Assault trench when he sustained mortal shrapnel wounds.

The German resistance had been slight but at this point was considerably strengthened. At 1. o’clock, the Bn. was ordered to capture the village of GUIMAPPE. Personal reconnaissances in broad daylight and under sever fire by Major C.M.R. Graham and Capt. D.A.G. Parsons, M.C., O.Cs respectively for “D” and “C” Coys. were first conducted. Waiting until artillery support, inadequate as it was to meet the situation, had been obtained, “C” & “D” Coys at 4.00 p.m. advanced and captured the ruined town. Casualties in the face of both terrific machine gun and artillery barrages laid down by the enemy were fairly heavy.

Lieut. Brackin [sic], who had done brilliant work up to this moment, was instantly killed by a shell and Capt. Parsons and Lieut. Edwards sustained wounds that resulted in their immediate evacuation.

Resultant of the progress, “C” and “D” Coys occupied and consolidated STAG TRENCH, and “A” and “B” Coys moved forward to RAKE AND GORDON TRENCHES respectively. At. 11 p.m. “A” Coy under the fine leadership of Lieut. Spence, went forward, despite most stubborn opposition, and captured CALVARY TRENCH. Unfortunately, the achievement went for naught, as the Unit on their immediate left was held up and the Coy. at 3.00 a.m., 27th, after 4 hours of desperate fighting was compelled to withdraw temporarily to RAKE TRENCH. Approx. all ranks 10 killed & 15 wounded. 1 O.R. ret. from leave & 1 O.R. on leave. 2 O.Rs ret. from army rest camp.

RAKE TRENCH in front of GUIMAPPE 27 With the ARRAS-CAMBRAI Road as the left boundary, the Bn. supported the 20th Cdn. Bn. attacked VILLERS GAGINCOURT (VILLERS-ARTOIS) at 10. a.m. By noon, VIS-EN-ARTOIS and the SENSEE RIVER and SENSEE RIVER VALLEY had been reached. At this juncture, a barrage scheduled to continue after half an hours curtailment failed to materialise. Consequently an outpost line running for VIS EN ARTOIS along the West bank of the river had to be formed. Major McIntosh, acting O.C. of the Bn. was wounded while reconnoitring forward positions, and the command of the Unit fell to Major Bell. Lieut. Spence, Comdg “A” Coy., was shot and killed by a German sniper and Lieut. Gerrard suffered severe wounds from shell fire.3 O.Rs to England for Officers course. 2 O.Rs to England for R.A.F. course. Approx. casualties all ranks, 15 killed & 150 wounded. Major J.J. Richardson ret. from Officers Course, Eng. 4 O.Rs to and 2 O.Rs from hospital. 1 O.R. on leave
SENSEE RIVER LINE 28 Zero hour for this days operation was set for 12.30 noon. Bn. was in support of 20th Bn. Heavy casualties were suffered in the advance to the slope of the SENSEE RIVER, machine gun nests and wire in the German line being equally heavy. Capt. Mackedie was shot through the hand and instantly killed rushing a German gun post; Lieut. Cole, shot through the eye, was afterwards found dead; Major Graham and Lts. Lawrence [sic], Donaldson and Krug were wounded. Under terrific fire the Bn. was compelled to temporarily withdraw and take up a line in the sunken roads fronting the German wire East of the SENSEE RIVER. 52 O.R. arrived as reif. 3 O.Rs on leave. Approx. casualties all ranks, 10 killed & 70 wounded.
SUNKEN ROAD beyond SENSEE RIVER 29 At 2.00 a.m. the Battalion was relieved by the 8th Cdn. Bn. 1st Can. Div. and moving independently proceeded to WANCOURT. Capt. W.J. Baxter arrived and reif. 1 O.R. on leave. 1 O.R. to hospital. In the early afternoon Coys. proceeded independently, move to ARRAS where they billeted for the night.
ARRAS 30 Bn. move at 2.00 p.m. and marched to SIMENCOURT, where they billeted. Lt. L.E. Boulton and 1 O.R. on leave. 3 O.Rs to hospital.
31 Bn. was inspected by Coys. in the morning, and rested remainder of day.

War Diary

Appendices

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