Battle of Courcelette: Communications Record for September 15, 1916

Introduction

The record below is a transcription of the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade’s appendices numbered 80 to 150. The appendices records the communications between the various units involved in the battle for Courcelette and relates to the units in the 4th C.I.B. as well as peripheral units attached or adjacent to the Brigade during the battle.

The Battle of Courcelette was a one day conflict that was largely successful. The appendices gives some interesting insights into the minute by minute action of the battalions in the brigade and also shows (albeit with little detail) the cooperation of the new weapon to be introduced on this day – the tank – and cooperation with the Royal Flying Corp in obtaining battlefield intelligence.

This post offers the transcription with minimal commentary. Specific entries will be expanded upon later in greater detail.

Notes on Appendix Transcription

The messages transcribed are currently in order of entry into the appendix of the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade War Diary. The transcription is not in order of time (i.e. from earliest message to latest). In some cases, such as Appendix No. 84, the time of the message does not coincide with the time of the event. This message is recorded to have been received by the 4th C.I.B. at 5.53 am but relates an event that took place at 9.25 am on the same date. In this, and other cases, the accuracy of the events and message is not confirmed.

All communications involving the 18th Battalion directly are indicated by bold headings.

Unit Code Names[i]

Code Name Unit
ENGLAND 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade
YORK 18th Battalion also Right Bn.
DOVER 19th Battalion (in reserve)
NORWICH 20th Battalion also Middle Bn.
BRISTOL 21st Battalion also Left Bn.
WARWICK 4th Machine Gun Company
WHIZZBANG Trench Mortar Company
© IWM (CO 859) The Battle of Flers Courcelette 15 - 22 September: The ruins of the Sugar Refinery in Courcelette.

© IWM (CO 859)
The Battle of Flers Courcelette 15 – 22 September: The ruins of the Sugar Refinery in Courcelette.

Appendix 80 to 150

To: 4th C.I.B. G10[ii] From: 2nd Division Can.[iii]
Time: 3.20 am.[iv] Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 80
Message: If [third] Corps successful they have decided to push forward strong patrols through MARTINPUICH and 50th Div[v] will extend their left to MILL in M 27 c 18 at three hours after Zero [hour]. At the same time 15th and 50th Div Artillery will lift to north of a line Between PRUE trench and Mill at M 27 c 18. Tanks belonging to 15th and 50th Divs will assist in capture of MARTINPUICH. Addressed all Canadian Infantry Brigades, 18th Artillery, 1st and 2nd Can. Artillery, Can Corps Artillery, Can Corp M. Gun Battalion Can Corps.
To: 4th C.I.B. J54 From: Adj. 20th Bn.
Time: 6.50 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 81
Message: Three Tanks seen to go over. Thirty two prisoners have passed our H.Q. from our lines so far.
To: England[vi] (4th C.I.B.) From: Bristol (21st Bn.)
Time: 6.30 am Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 82
Message: First objective taken very few casualties, several prisoners.
To: 2nd Can. Division From: 4th C.I.B. Signed H.D. Harington Capt.[vii]
Time: 6.50 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 83
Message: Left Battalion[viii] report first objective gained with very few casualties and several prisoners taken on the front.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: 2nd Can. Division
Time: 5.53 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 84
Message: At 9.25 am II Corps pushing forward and placing defensive strong points in the slopes N.E. of MARTINPUICH.
To: 2nd Can. Division From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 7.15 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 85
Message: First objective gained on whole front.
To: England From: Unknown (illegible)
Time: Unknown Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 86
Message: Lieut. Dunn reports progress in centre and right flank Met no opposition, thinks right and centre passed Sugar Refinery, he has been in German second line.
To: England From: York[ix]
Time:7.30 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 87
Message: Scout corporals [sic] Dougall[x] reports our advance successful for over 700 yards at 7 a. There were a large number of dead and wounded Germans lying about the intervening land.
To: England From: Bristol
Time: 7.30 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 88
Message: “A” Company Commander reports at 6.36 am his position 450 yards from Factory and advancing.
To: England From: Bristol
Time: 7.50 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 89
Message: Have obtained final objective and are now consolidating.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: Captain Lindsay with the 46th Infantry Brigade
Time: 7.54 am Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 90
Message: 46th Brigade have taken final objective and making strong points in rear at 7.05. Enemy retiring – direction unstated. At 7.12 O.P. states 4th Can. Inf. Bde. well up and consolidating – cannot say if at final objective. 7.46 Report from O.P. says 18th Bn well forward.
To: 2nd Can. Division From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 8.00 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 91
Message: Written reports from Officer of left Battalion[xi] states Sugar Factory entirely in our hands and final objective gained. Now consolidating. Prisoners coming in. 46th Brigade reports final objective also gained and very large number of prisoners taken and enemy retiring.[xii]
To: 1st and 2nd Pioneer Battalion From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 8.00 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 92
Message: Move forward and carry out C.R.E. instructions.
To: 24th Battalion From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 8.05 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 93
Message: Move to position indicated (LUXTOW TRENCH) &c.
To: 5th Field Coy. From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 8.06 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 94
Message: Move forward and carry out C.R.E. instructions.
To: 6th Can. Inf. Bde. From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 8.10 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 95
Message: Have reached final objective and are consolidating. All O.K.
To: England [4th C.I.B.] From: Bristol [21st Bn.]
Time: 8.10 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 96
Message: Company Commander reports th [sic] have reached final objective 30.c.5.1.-36.a.8.7. and have connected up on the right with 20th Battalion and the 27th on our left. About 55 prisoners taken in Sugar Refining, 78 per cent of casualties estimated at 30 in C Company due to men being to [sic] eager and travelling too fast.

–          All three Company Commanders wounded.

To: 2nd Can. Division From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 8.15 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 97
Message: Pioneers and Engineers have been ordered forward to carry out C.R.E. instructions. B 82 Reserve Bn moving forward to close support.
To: All Battalions, 4th C.I.B. From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 8.20 am Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 98
Message: General Turner congratulates you on your success.
To: England [4th C.I.B.] From: Bristol [21st Bn.]
Time: 8.30 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 99
Message: Capt. Miller reports that our front is in good shape, that we have lost our Lewis Guns and that we need 50 more Shovels. He will call on his way out.
To: England [4th C.I.B.] From: York [18th Bn.]
Time: 8.45 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 100
Message: Our objective gained. Support line being dug in appointed place. Battalion H.Q. going forward.
To: England [4th C.I.B.] From: Bristol [21st Bn.]
Time: 8.45 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 101
Message: 50 per cent of Officers are casualties. Will you please send us reinforcements of our company for evacuation of wound and work. This company should have 50 per cent shovels.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: Adj. 20th Bn.
Time: 9.00 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 102
Message: In accordance with instructions a patrol have examined SUNKEN ROAD beyond our objective. Trench lightly held and in poor condition, two prisoners taken in this trench of the 211th Reg.[xiii]
To: 18th, 20th, and 21st Battalions From: 4th C.I.B. (PRIORITY)
Time: 9.00 am Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 103
Message: Artillery has instructions to life barrage at 9.20 am. Establish positions in SUNKEN ROAD beyond final objective. British are cooperating on our right. Acknowledge.
To: 2nd Can. Division From: 4th C.I.B. (PRIORITY)
Time: 9.00 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 104
Message: At 8.50 am 20th Bn reported that Capt. HERON reached SUNKEN ROAD beyond Brigade final objective. He bombed dugouts captured one Machine Gun and two prisoners of the 211th Reg. He reports Road as lightly held.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: 2nd Can. Division
Time: Unknown Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 105
Message: At 9.20 am barrage east of R.30.a.6.1. all lift to line R.30.a.9.5.M.25.b.7.4. – M.26.a.1.9. – M.26.c.3.0. At this hour 4th and 6th Bdes will push posts forward to the line M.32.a.0.9. – M.25.d.8.6. – M.25.d.8.9. – M.25.b.9.1. – R.30.a.6.1. to join up patrols already pushed into COURCELETTE. 5th Bbe will be prepared to advance north through COURCELETTE right flank M.25.d.8.6. – 8.9 – M.25.b.6.5. left flank R.29.d.7.2 – 5.8. Acknowledge. Addressed 4th, 5th, 6th Bdes 18th and 1st Can. Divl. Artillery, Canadian Corps H.A.M. Canadian HMG Bde repeated Canadian Corps 3rd Canadian Div 15th Div.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: Adj. 20th Bn.
Time: 9.30 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 106
Message: Line of shell holes for half way trench being consolidated. Only about 50 men left this Coy available for work.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: 2nd Can. Div.
Time: 9.30 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 107
Message: Canadian Corps wire as follows. Begins. Following from the Reserve Army timed at 8.45 am. Begins. Early morning reconnaissance reports heavy railway movement Cambria to west. Two Battalions on ALBERT PAPAUME ROAD near Ligny moving S.W. Ends.[xiv]
To: 4th C.I.B. From: 8th C.I.B.
Time: 9.30 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 108
Message: 150 prisoners taken by 4th C.I.B. are now passing CHALK PITS.
To: O.C. Commanding York [18th Bn.] From: J.J. Richardson[xv], Objective 2nd Enemy Line
Time: 9.41 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 109
Message: Am building second line connecting shell holes 50 yards in rear of front line. Mr. Lloyd[xvi] with B. Co. is looking after this. I myself have parts of A, C & D companies in front line.[xvii] Have one Machine Gun (Boche) but don’t know how to work it. M.G. organization not very good, otherwise everything alright. Have good connection with H.L.I.[xviii] on right and 20th Bn. on left.
To: 2nd Can. Div. From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 9.45 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 110
Message: Left Bn. report enemy massing in COURCELETTE.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: 2nd Can. Div.
Time: 10.05 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 111
Message: Aeroplane observer just returned at 9.20 am[xix] states that Germans are holding trench from R.29.e.5.4. to r.29.d.3.3. and that he was fired on from this trench. He also states that Germans are strong in GUNPIT trench in M.25.c and 31.b.
To: O.C. 18th Battalion From: L. Sgt. C.E. Routley, C. Coy. 18th Battalion
Time: 9.49 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 112
Message: Have consolidated the captured trench and are working on C.T.[xx] and advanced listening post. Send up Bombs, L.G. [Lewis Gun] ammunition and magazines, also working party of 50 men with shovels and 10 men with picks. “C” Coy Officers nil, and N.C.O.’s scares [scarce].[xxi]
To: 4th C.I.B. From: 2nd Can. Div.
Time: 10.20 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 113
Message: 15th Division wire as follow;- Begins. To 73rd Bde R.F.A. at M.31.d.7.5. at 9.25 am reports enemy has deserted MARTINPUICH and ridge to north of it from M.25.b.5.4 to Mill M.27.e.1.7. Brigades in line to report and confirmation of this.
To: 2nd Can. Div. From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 10.30 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 114
Message: Work on the support line through sound of SUGAR FACTORY is progressing.
To: 24th Battalion From: 4th C.I.B. (Priority & Urgent)
Time:10.52 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 115
Message: Message from 5th Can. Inf. Bde states “cancel previous message” You will now be in Brigade Reserve and the 22nd Bn will reconnoitre to right of COURCELETTE instead. Acknowledge. You will remain in your present position.
To: England [4th C.I.B.] From: York [18th Bn.]
Time: 11.10 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 116
Message: Bn H.Q. now a junction of PEG TRENCH an have formed a first line. Attached from Coy.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: General Staff, 2nd Can. Div.
Time: 11.25 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 117
Message: 2nd C.F.A. Bde report at 10.55 am that enemy putting up heavy barrage with 5.9 H.E. [5.9” high explosive] at BAUPAUME Road from POZIERES to SUGAR REFINERY.
To: England [4th C.I.B.] From: 21st Can. Bn.
Time: 12 noon. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 118
Message: We held a continuous line from R.30.c.5½.1 ½ to R.36.a.7 ½ .9 being connected to the 20th Bn. on right and 25th Bn. on left. We have advanced posts on far side of Sunken Road which are being connected up and C.T. dug. We have four Lewis Guns. The R.C.E. are constructing a strong point in Sugar Factory. One Stokes Gun is in front line. There has been no concentration of enemy noticed. Sniping is active presumably from COURCELETTE. Our 5th wave is digging in at half way trench. The Pioneers are building C.T. from our old front line to old German front line. Situation normal.
To: Norwich [20th Battalion] From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 12 noon. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 119
Message: Mills bombs are being hurried up to your H.Q. also S.O.S. rockets and Shovels. Food is being forwarded to you. Sand bags and Lewis Guns and ammunition will be sent up as soon as possible.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: General Staff. 2nd Can. Div.
Time: 12.05 am. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 120
Message: Capt. Ellis of 82nd Bde R.F.A. reports 10.50 am from COURCELETTE Sugar Factory. We now hold trench from M.25.d.8.1 to M.31.b.9.8. (approx.) and Inf are digging in. Courcelette appears to be held by snipers only. Trench M.25.c.4.7. to M.25.c.6.5. does not appear to be held. Courcelette chimney command valley running through M.19 and M.20 LE SARS is also visible. Enemy appears to have the wind up him badly. 10 officers and 15 men surrendered in Dug out under Courcelette chimney. Ends.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: O.C.[xxii] 18th Battalion
Time: 12.32 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 121
Message: I have personally been to half way trench, our parties well dug in and still working. Must have more Colt guns for half way trench. Could only find one. Following report from final objective 11.35 am. Have almost consolidated, front line trench is good, about 60 prisoners taken in advance of final objective – Corporal Manley[xxiii] 18 C.I.Bn destroyed T.M. [trench mortar] weighing two tones. We have two Lewis Guns in front line and town in advance. Only two officers in front line, remainder casualties as far as I can learn. Reported but not confirmed Loghrin, McKeough, Barnes, Mund, killed[xxiv]. Morris[xxv] severely wounded (I saw him in Sunken Road). If we are holding tonight must have more Lewis Guns, Colt Guns, and Officers, and men for support. Only One Officers left with A Company, half way trench. I got a Boche M.G. In MARTINPUICH read but could not bring it in too heavy. Your 309 will be answered as seen as I have necessary information. Heavy shelling around Battalion H.Q.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: 21st. Can. Bn.
Time: 12.40 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 122
Message: Following just received from our O.C. front line. Will advances and occupy “SUNKEN ROAD” and consolidate, situation is normal. 11.00 am.
To: 2nd Can. Div. From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 1.00 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 123
Message: Enemy shelling more heavily. Sendre [sic] Battalion reports posts in Sunken Road at M 25.d.8.2 where they captured two Officers 50 men and two T.M. Post still held.
To: 20th Battalion URGENT From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 1.30 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 124
Message: Hold on to Sunken Road and establish front line there if possible. British are in MARTINPUICH and 5th C.I.B. will be reinforcing on our left. New troops have been requested.
To: ENGLAND [4th C.I.B.] From: WARWICK [4th Machine Gun Company]
Time: Unknown Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 125
Message: Map location (approx.) of four Coy [company] Guns in Midway trench two guns M 31.c.2.5 also two guns in a strong point about R 36b.5.2 Will reports other as seen as possible.
To: G.O.C. 4th C.I.B. From: Lieut. L. Puruede[xxvi], 5th Field C.E.
Time: 1.30 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 126
Message: Sir,

According orders I have the honor to report that I proceeded this morning 7 am to Sugar Factory, Baupaume Road on erecting a S.P. [strong point] n the place. The trench being the close buildings. I had trench dug in ruins of factory, see attached sketch.

To: 4th C.I.B. From: General Staff, 2nd Can. Div.
Time:  1.50 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 127
Message: Division on our right will make an attack at 3 pm today their objective being PUSH ALLEY from M 32 a central to M 27 c.1.1.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: General Staff, 2nd Can. Div.
Time: Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 128
Message: Canadian Corps are resuming advance northwards. 5th Bde will attack COURCELETTE. Objective M 26 c.2.9 trench along eastern hedge of COURCELETTE to M 25 b.7.6 – M 19 d.6.2. QUARRT R 24 c.7.2 road junction r 29 b.5.8. Third Can. Div. are attacking line R 29 b.5.8. westward to R 28.c.9.5. in conjunction with our attack. Seventh Bde being on our left. Left Boundary fifth Bde TAFFY TRENCH and track running northeast from r 35 b.8.9. to R 29 b.7.2. all inclusive to fifth Bde. The 15th Div are pushing out posts to M 26 c.4.5. when fifth Bde advance to cover our right flank attack will cross line M 32 a.0.9. – R 30 c.5.1 –  R 35 b.5.9. – at 6 pm. Barrage is now established on line M 26 c.2.9. – M 28 b.6.3. – R 29 b.8.2. and will be maintained on that line till 6.15 pm. At 6.15 pm barrage will lift at rate of 50 yards per minute to final barrage line parallel to and 300 yard beyond objective. 4th and 6th Bds will maintain their present positions and 5th Bde will attack through them. 4th Brigade will keep touch with the 15th Div along Gun Pit road. Acknowledge.

Addressed 4th, 5th, and 6th Bdes, 18th Div Art. 1st Can Div Art. C.C.H.A. Canadian M.MG Bde Repeated Can Corps Canadian Corps R.A. 3rd Division 15th Division No 7 Squadron R.F.C.

Priority.

To: 4th C.I.B. From: 2nd Can. Div.
Time: 2.40 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 129
Message: Confirming G.O.C.’s conversation. When post has been established at GUN PIT TRENCH this trench and the road bank are to be consolidated as our front line. The line of trenches in vicinity of SUGAR FACTORY are to be consolidated as a support line.
To: 4th C.I.B. P.H.Q.[xxvii] From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 3.15 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 130
Message: Please instruct all available officers of 21st Bn. to join their unit forthwith
To: 4th C.I.B. From:
Time: Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 131
Message: If [third] Corp [successfull] they have decided to push forward strong patrols through MARTINPUICH and 50th Div will extend their left to MILL at M 27 c 18 at three hours after Zero. At same time 15th and 50th Div Art. Will lift to north of a line between PRUE trench and MILL in M 27 c 18. Tanks belonging to the 15th and 50th will assist in capture of MARTINPUICH. Addressed all Can. Inf Bdes, 18th Art. 1st and 2nd Can. Art. Can. Corps Art. Can Corps M.G. Bn. Can Corps.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: 2nd Can. Div.
Time: 4 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 132
Message: Following the third Corps. Prisoners state there are three batteries in M 22 d central. A battery of 5.9 inch Hows in M 23 a. 15th Div reports 103rd Bde 1.50 pm report the Germans held that part of MARTINPUICH which is N.E. of line M 26 d 4.0. to M 35 a 0.5. and that we have a strong post at M 32 b.6.6. Our men are visible as far up as the Bapaumel road as its jct with Gunpit road m 25 d 7.5 Addressed 4th 5th and 6th Bdes. C.R.E. 1st Ca and 18th Divisional
To: 4th C.I.B. From: 2nd Can Div.
Time: 4.20 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 133
Message: Map and report dropped by R.F.C. observer at Divisional H.Q. at 4.05 pm states that Gunpit trench from m 31.a.b.10.8 ½ to M 25 d.7.4. is empty. To the east of Gunpit road from m 25 b.9 ½ sere [sic] to M 25 d.8.6. groups of soldiers apparently without steel helmets and therefore probably Germans can be seen. These groups are reported to conatin [sic] about 30 men each. No troops can be seen between M 31.a.9.5. and M 25 c.9.1. Addressed 4th 5th and 6th Bdes 15th Div. C.R.A. 18th Div. 3rd Can Div. C.C.H.A. Can Corps and 1st Can Motor M.G. Bde.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: 2nd Can. Div.
Time: 4.30 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 134
Message: Strong points one two and three are now reported completed. These strong points must each be manned two Machine Guns and 20 rifles. Acknowledge. Advise when occupied. Addressed 4th 6th Inf. Bdes. Repeated 5th Can. Inf. Bde for information.
To: 2nd Can. Div. From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 5 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 135
Message: 20th Bn report they have scouts out beyond SUNKEN ROAD who report no movement of enemy can be seen but barrage smoke hamper operations.
To: 19th and 21st Battalions From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 5.35 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 136
Message: Your Battalions will be withdrawn tonight. Further orders will be issued. You may commence to evacuate your wounded as seen as the 5th Can Bde pass through you.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: 2nd Can. Div.
Time: 5.45 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 137
Message: Following wire for Canadian Corps timed 4.35 begins. Following from 3rd Corps. Our patrols pushing forward on MARTINPUICH. Some M.G. fire from east end of village. Consolidation of positions proceeding. Strong Points under constructions at M 31.b.9.3 – M 32.c.6.9. and M 32.d.18 Enemy dump providing wire and necessary material. Ends.
To: 4th C.I.B. & 5th C.I.B. From: 2nd Can. Div.
Time: 5.25 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 138
Message: Units identified as prisoners taken up to date are as follows 211th 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions around Bapaume road. 210th 2nd Bn east of Mequet Farm. 212th second battalion at Mequet Farm and 245th Minewerfer Coy at Baupaume Road. Prisoners opinion of tanks say that it was not war but bloody butchery. One tank astride their front trenches and infiltrated [enfiladed[xxviii]] it both ways. Addressed 4th 5th and 6th Can. Inf Bdes.
To: 4th C.I.B. From:
Time: Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 139
Message: Following from 15th Div begins. 5th Bde Can. Div are attacking COURCELETTE at 6pm right of objective m 26.c.2.9. 46th Bde will continue to maintain touch with 4th Can Bde in Gunpit road and if situation admits will push forward posts to about M 26.c.5.5. to connect with right of 5th Bde when it has advanced. 2nd Can Div being responsible for protection on [right].
To:5th and 6th C.I.B. From: 2nd Can. Div.
Time: 6.40 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 140
Message: Second Corps report through R.A. that large bodies of German troops have been seen moving on COURCELETTE and MOQURT FARM from the direction of PYS. This message received 6.30 pm.
To: All Battalions From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 7.40 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 141
Message: The villages of MARINPUICH and COURCELETTE are now in our hands.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: 2nd Can. Div.
Time: 9.35 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 142
Message: Following reported from 46th Brigade on our immediate right. Reference Q.G. 8 of Qb it will not in my opinion be possible to get in touch with the right of the 5th Can. Inf. Bde between M 25 c.5.5. and Bapaum Road and my line tonight will be PUICH WALEY “ GUNPIT ROAD as far as M 32 a.1.1., Ends.
To: 21st Battalion Very Urgent From: 4th C.I.B. Urgent and Priority
Time: 9.45 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 143
Message: Please send information on following points;-7

1.       Where is your front line located.

2.       Are you in touch with the 22 Battalion on [tour] left.

3.       Are you manning strong point No. 2

Reports state that right of 22nd Battalion is weak but is being reinforced.

To: 21st Battalion From: 4th C.I.B.
Time:11.00 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 144
Message: It appears that a gap exists between your left ad the 22nd Bn. A few enemy reported to be in this gap. Take steps at once to bomb him out and get in touch with the 22nd Bn. and report early. A tank will assist if required.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: 2nd Can. Div.
Time: 10.30 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 145
Message: Following from Reserve Army. The Army Commander is very please with the success of the 2nd and 3rd Divisions today. Please convey his congratulations to all ranks.
To: 2nd Can. Div. From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 11.15 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 146
Message: Situation now normal. There has been considerable hostile shelling in back area from direction of THEIPVAL. Wind S.W.
To: 19th Battalion From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 11.45 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 147
Message: Withdraw to Bde H.Q. when a guide will take you to Bivouac. Inform 18th Battalion before you go and state that you are supporting battalion is now the 24th Battalion, located at 19th Battalion H.Q.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: 21st Battalion
Time: 11.25 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 148
Message:

1.       E 30 c.8 1 ½ to R 36 a.9.8.

2.       We are not in touch with the 22nd Battalion.

3.       We are occupying Strong points at north end of Sugar Factory.

To: 2nd Can. Div. From: 4th C.I.B.
Time: 11.20 pm. Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 149
Message: Can Corps Cav Reg. have been placed at disposal of 2nd Can Div from not until further orders. [The] Reg will remain dismounted in its present position in Divl Reserve. Horses may be left in present position or set back to TARA VALLEY for the night as O.C. may decide. The Reg will be prepared to push through in accordance with Corps Commanders previous instructions if situation in the morning permits of this. O.C. will keep in touch with H.Q. 5th Bde.. Acknowledge. Addressed Can Corp Cav. Reg. Repeated 4th 5th and 6th Can Bdes Can Corps.
To: 4th C.I.B. From: 21st Battalion
Time: 12 Midnight Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix 150
Message: Lieut. Frase[r][xxix] who has been in command for my front line after Capt Pence[xxx] was wounded is now wounded – going out he reports as follows – that my lines are in touch with the 27th Bn on its left flank that on the right flank the 20th Bn were being withdrawn but that he was in touch with an English Reg. Further he states that the 5th Bde attacked at 6 pm and is holding well in advance of my line and that no enemy is within bombing distance of my line. I am sending my scouts to report further and on receipt of the information will advise you. In the meantime I have sent forward an order to the O.C. front line to hunt up any enemy near his line and bomb them out. My present strength in front line from Mr. Fraser’s information is about 110 O.R. In half way trench 25 O.R. I have suffered heavily by enemy shelling since three o’clock. I have no reserve on hand and my runners are gone.

[i] Source: 19th Battalion Web Site

[ii] Where possible the transcription will replicate the text, only making changes to assist in clarity.

[iii] As above.

[iv] Please note that the transcription of this appendix is in order of the appendix notes and not in order of linear time. In some cases, appendix will reflect an later time than the one preceding it. For example, Appendix 111 is time stamped at 10.05 am. Appendix 112 is time stamped 9.49 am. The reason for this discrepancy is unknown.

[v] 50th Division was …

[vi] England refers to the codename of the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade.

[vii] Captain Harry Douglas Harington

[viii] 21st Battalion ? Confirm it is the LEFT battalion.

[ix] 18th Battalion.

[x] This is most probably Thomas Dougall, who would later earn a commission. He was later to die action at Lens.

[xi] The left battalion refers to X Battalion.

[xii] The previous communication (Appendix 90) from the 46th Brigade makes no mention of prisoners.

[xiii] German unit.

[xiv] This message is a forwarded message from the Reserve Army. It was received by the Canadian Corps at 8.45 am. And forwarded to the 4th C.I.B. at 9.30 am. It appears to be air reconnaissance reports of German troop movements.

[xv] Lieutenant J.J. Richardson was to earn the Distinguished Service Order. His citation reads: For conspicuous gallantry in action. When his senior officers had become casualties, he led his men with great courage and determination to the final objective, and consolidated the position. Later, he captured many prisoners. Source: London Gazette issue 29824 page 11044 dated November 14, 1916.

[xvi] Lloyd, Ernest Robert Vivian:  Service no. 53352 (Capt.)

[xvii] This is an interesting statement by such a junior officer. It may indicate that the more senior officers of those companies have been disabled and he has assumed overall command of the companies due to casualties.

[xviii] 10/11th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry of the 15th Scottish Division. On the 18th Battalions right.

[xix] Note the time delay of 45 minutes from the creation of the message. This delay is further exacerbated by the fact that the report does not indicate the time the original observation is made. This high-lights the challenges of communications systems that furnish out-dated information.

[xx] Communication Trench

[xxi] Sergeant Routley’s communication clearly establishes that “C” Company had no officers commanding it.

[xxii] O.C.: Officer Commanding.

[xxiii] This soldier not found at this time.

[xxiv] All these officers were killed during the action on September 15, 1916. There is, however, no record of an officer by the name of “Mund” at this time.

[xxv] Lieutenant Morris was to die of wounds the next day. His Circumstances of Death Register reads: “Died of Wounds” Whilst leading his Company during operations on 15 September, 1916 and after having reached the enemy’s front line he was wounded in the stomach by shrapnel. He was given immediate attention and taken to No. 30 Casualty Clearing Station where he died the next day.

[xxvi] No soldier with this surname can be found.

[xxvii] P.H.Q. is a new term. Perhaps Provisional Head Quarters?

[xxviii] This term is most likely incorrect. Enfilading fire with the tank astride the trench would have mean that the tanks guns could fire down the trenches to the left and right. Any movement in the trenches in the areas exposed to fire would have been very dangerous and would have kept the soldiers at bay and pinned down.

[xxix] This is most likely Lieutenant Alexander Gordon Fraser who died 3 days later on September 18, 1916.

[xxx] Correct spelling if surname is Pense. This is Lieutenant-Colonel Henry E. Pense DSO, MC.

Source Files from the 4th C.I.B. War Diary

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