War Diary Summary: June 1917

  • Battalion in the Thelus sector of Vimy Ridge May 1, 1917 and moved with the entire 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade to the RIDGE line in preparation to a month of intensive training and reinforcement of the battalions in the Brigade.
  • Interesting note on June 3 about “2 instructors from Canadian Corps Gymnastic Staff attached to Battalion for instructional purposes.” This appears to be related to the programme of training and re-conditioning of the soldiers in the Battalion.
  • May 4, 1917 finds the Battalion resting in their billets at Barlin, France.
  • The training syllabus is detailed and available at the blog post. Of note is all the battalions of the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade (approximately 6,000 troops) are all subject to this intense training.
    • The 19th Battalion documents relates that the start of the soldier’s day was thus:
      • 5:30 AM – Reveille,
      • 5:45 AM – Roll Call,
      • 6:30 AM – Breakfast,
      • 7:00 to 8:00 AM – Physical Drill,
      • 8:30 AM t0 9:00 AM – Section drill without arms.
      • 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM – Morning Training Programme per syllabus,
      • 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM – Dinner (note that there is no record of definitive activity),
      • 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM – Afternoon Training Programme per syllabus,
      • 4:30 PM – Supper,
      • 9:00 PM – First Post,
      • 9:30 PM – Last Post,
      • 9:45 PM – Lights Out.
    • Reinforcements on the following dates:
      • May 6 – 1 officers and 42 other ranks,
      • May 7 – 7 other ranks,
      • May 11 – 1 officer and 18 other ranks,
      • May 13 – 52 other ranks,
      • May 16 – 48 other ranks,
      • May 23 – 3 officers,
      • May 29 – 2 officers.
      • During the month of May the Battalion was replenished with 174 soldiers, approximately 16% of a full strength C.E.F. battalion. It is not known if this brings the 18th Battalion up to full strength but an inventory of men in the 19th Battalion shows it to be at close to full strength.
    • A number of officers and men are admitted to hospital during the month.
    • A Brigade Sports Day occurred on June 18, 1917 with a Divisional Sports Day on June 21, 1917.
      • The 18th Battalion was represented in the finals of the Outdoor Baseball against the 29th Battalion and in the 145 pound Boxing Class a Private Foreman (identity of this soldier not yet determined) represented the 18th
      • As there is no notation in the 18th Battalion War Diary as to the result it may be assumed that the baseball team and Private Foreman did not win their contests.
      • Further research finds an entry in the 29th Battalion’s War Diary where it states on June 23, 1917: “Battalion won second place at 2nd Canadian Division Sports held at COUPIGNY.” As this battalion was participating in two events (baseball and boxing) it is possible that it took second in both events, with the outcome that the 18th Battalion won its baseball match.
    • As the Battalion was in training all of June 1917 there were no deaths due to action, wounds, or accident. Three soldiers were wounded accidentally but the circumstances are unknown.
    • It was not until the night of July 12/13 that the Battalion would be back in the line.
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