War Diary of the 18th Battalion: June 1917

CONFIDENTIAL
WAR DIARY
-OF-

18th CANADIAN BATTALION – 2nd CANADIAN DIVISION

From 1st June to 31th June 1917
Volume 22

With appendicies 1-3

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
1 Map reference WILLERVAL 1/20,000

 

Battalion in Brigade Support with H.Qrs at T.27.d.3.5.

 

During the night Battalion was relieved by 15th Canadian Battalion and the whole of the 4th Brigade moved back to RIDGE Line with H.Qrs at ZIVY CAVE.

2 12 noon. Battalion relieved by the 7th Canadian Battalion and moved back into Reserve camp near NEUVILLE-ST-VAST. Lieut. H.N. Bawden admitted to hospital (sick).
3 10. a.m. 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade relieved the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade. 18th Battalion marched back to billets in BARLIN[i]. 6 o.rs rejoined from hospital. 2 instructors from Canadian Corps Gymnastic Staff attached to Battalion for instructional purposes.
BARLIN 4 Battalion resting and settling down in billets.
5 Battalion Pay and Bath parades. 9 o.rs returned from hospital.
6 Clothing parades and completion of Bath parades. Lieut. C.H. Biscoe and 42 o.rs arrived as reinforcements, many of them old men rejoining.[ii]
7 Inspection of Companies by Company Commanders. Syllabus of training to be carried out (attached). 7 o.rs arrived as reinforcements.
8[iii] Morning

 

 

Afternoon

Company parades and training. Specialists training under qualified instructors.

 

Recreational training and sports. 2 o.rs admitted to hospital.

9 Morning

 

Afternoon

Physical training under special instructors.

 

Recreational training.

10 9. a.m. Church parade. Remainder to day spent in recreation. 3 o.rs admitted to hospital.
11 Morning Training according to syllabus. Afternoon, recreational training. Lieut. L.A. Bissell and 18 o.rs arrived as reinforcements.
12 Morning “C” Company on specialist training under specialists Officers. “A. B. & D” coys training according to syllabus. Lieut. H.N. Bawden and 15 o.rs returned from hospital.

 

A Horse show was held by Brigade at which we gained 1 second and 2 third prizes.

13 Morning “B” Company at ranges on Musketry instruction. Special training by R.S.M. Price[iv] of N.C.Os. 52 o.rs arrived as reinforcements. 3 o.rs returned from hospital.
14 Battalion training to according to syllabus. 3 o.rs accidentally wounded.
15[v] Battalion sports held at RUITZ. Races, Tug of War, Football and Wrestling during the day and a concert in the evening by the Battalion Band.
16 Morning Training according to syllabus. 48 o.rs arrived as reinforcements. 5 o.rs returned from hospital.
17 9.a.m. Church parade. “C” Company on Musketry at ranges. Afternoon being spent in recreational exercise. Battalion Football team played and beat the 4th M.G. coy in competion [sic] for the Divisional Championship.
18 9.15.a.m. Battalion parade to Brigade sports. Battalion Football team making a draw with 20th Battalion for Brigade Championship. Prizes were presented at the close by Brig-General R. Rennie, C.M.G., V.O., D.S.O.
19 Morning “A” and “D” companies on special training under Physical instructors. “B” and “C” on usual syllabus training.
20 Syllabus training. 11.15.a.m. Battalion parade.
21 “D” Company on Musketry at Ranges. “C” Company on Specialist training, remainder of Battalion carrying on with usual syllabus of training. 5 o.rs admitted to hospital.
22 Training according to syllabus. Lt.-Col. L.E. Jones proceeded on leave. Major J.A. McIntosh assumed command of the Battalion.
23 Company bath parades in morning. Voluntary parade to Divisional sports in the afternoon, Lieut. W.S. Caldwell[vi], J.G. Doherty, J.D. Parsons arrived as reinforcements.
24 9.a.m. Church parade. 3 o.rs returned from hospital. Lieut. J. M. Fisher returned from leave.
25 Parade of all casuals for Musketry training at ranges. Company training as per syllabus. 1 o.r. admitted to hospital (injured).
26 Company inspections. Platoon training in attack. Physical training and Bayonet fighting. Major W.J. Gander and 4 o.rs admitted to hospital (sick).
27 Commanding Officer’s inspection of Companies and Units. 3 o.rs returned from hospital. Capt. J.S. Bell rejoined the Battalion from Divisional school.
28 11.a.m. Battalion inspected by G.O.C. 2nd Canadian Division. Battalion paraded in full marching order at 10 a.m. and was highly complimented on their smart appearance.
29 Platoon training in attack and Bayonet fighting. Lieuts. H.L. Mitchell and H.B. Johnson arrived as reinforcements.
30 Company inspections. Close order and Arm drill. Battalion parade at 11.00 a.m. 2 o.rs admitted to hospital.

 

53730 L/Sgt. Sifton E.W. (Killed in Action 9.4.17) Awarded VICTORIA CROSS. “For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.  During the attack in enemy trenches Sjt. Sifton’s company was held up by machine gun fire which inflicted many casualties. Having located the gun he charged it single-handed, killing all the crew.  A small enemy party advanced down the trench, but he succeeded in keeping these off till our men had gained the position.  He was killed just as he returned with the second man.In carrying out this gallant act he was killed, but his conspicuous valour undoubtedly saved many lives and contributed largely to the success of the operation.”

Appendix 1

18TH (WESTERON ONTARIO) CANADIAN BATTALION.
SYLLABUS OF TRAINING.
MUSKETRY COURSE

  • Instruction on Aiming and Trigger Pressing                 2 hours.
  • Instruction in indication and recognition of Targets 2 hours
  • On the Range 8 hours.

(Practice in 1 and 2 to be carried on my units not actually firing.)

Lieutenant
Actg/Adjt. 18th (Western Ontario) Canadian Battalion

5.6.17.

18TH (WESTERN ONTARIO) CANADIAN BATTALION.
SYLLABUS OF TRAINING – 3 WEEKS
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 5.6.17

1ST WEEK

  • Organization – Drill and Discipline 4 days
  • Musketry – 1 day
  • Brigade Route March 1 day
  • Each Day – Mornings
    1. Gas helmet drill, saluting etc. 1 hour
    2. Physical Training and Bayonet Fighting 1 hour
    3. Squad and Platoon Drill 1 hour
    4. Arm drill ½ hour
    5. At disposal of Platoon Commanders ½ hour
  • Afternoons

Training of Specialists –                                          2 hours per day.

 

2ND WEEK

  • Platoon Training 4 days.
  • Musketry – 1 day
  • Brigade Route March 1 day
  • For the week – Mornings
    1. Close order drill                 2 hours
    2. Physical Training and Games 2 hours
    3. Extended order Drill 4 hour
    4. The value of the different weapons and their independence.                                                                 1 hour
    5. Formation of Platoon for Attack 1 hour
    6. The Platoon in the Attack – open warfare                                                                 4 hours
    7. The Platoon in Trench Attack 2 Hours
  • Afternoons

Training of Specialists –                                          2 hours per day.

 

3RD WEEK

  • Company Training 4 days.
  • Musketry – 1 day
  • Brigade Route March 1 day
  • For the week – Mornings
    1. Close order drill                 2 hours
    2. Physical Training and Games 2 hours
    3. The Attack by stages as a Drill 6 hours
      1. 1st Stage – Artillery Formation.
      2. 2nd Stage – Extension into lines.
  • 3rd Stage – Building up a Firing Line.
  1. 4th Stage – The Assualt.
  2. 5th Stage Consolidation and Protection.
  1. Tactical exercise on new ground involving the above                                                                 3 hours
  2. The Trench Attack 3 hours
  • Afternoons

Training of Specialists –                                          2 hours per day.

 

Appendix 2

18TH (WESTERN ONTARIO) CANADIAN BATTALION.

The Battalion Sports will be held on Friday June 15th at the Y.M.C.A. Grounds RUITZ, at 3.00 p.m.

The following events will be staged:

100 yards race
220 yards race
440 yards race (obstacle)
1 Mile Race.
Boot Race.
100 Yards Band Race.
3 Legged Race.
Sack Race.
Long Jump (Standing)
High Jump
Horse-back Wrestling.
Mule Race.
Tug-of-War (8 men per team)
Blind-fold Respirator Race.

Entries for the 100 yards, 220 yards and Long Jump are limited to 4 per Company.

Entries for various events to be handed in to Battalion Orderly Room by 12.00 noon June 14th.

Battalion Football Championship will be decided, followed by a Concert.

Officers are earnestly request to make inquiries among their Companies for singers and entertainers for this Concert.

Special Feature

Tug-of-War between “Q.M. Details” (Captained by Bandmaster G.W. Thomas[vii]) and “Transport Section” (Captained by Sgt. H. Green) will be decided as the result of challenge by the letter.

 

 

PROGRAMME
OF
4TH CANADIAN INFANTRY BRIGADE SPORTS
CHATEAU GROUNDS COUPIGNY

TIME EVENT REMARKS
1 10.00 a.m. OUTDOOR BASEBALL FINAL
2 11:30 a.m. FOOTBALL FINAL
3 11:30 a.m. OFFICERS INDOOR BASEBALL FINAL
AFTERNOON
4 02:00:00 100 YARD DASH (OFFICERS)
5 02:15:00 100 YARD DASH (OTHER RANKS)
6 02:30:00 220 YARD DASH (OTHER RANKS)
7 02:40:00 1 MILE RELAY (OTHER RANKS)
8 02:50:00 OFFICERS RELAY RACE (440 YARDS)
9 03:00:00 HIGH JUMP – FINALS (OPEN)
10 03:00:00 RUNNING ROAD JUMP (OPEN)
11 03:15:00 TUG OF WAR
12 03:30:00 OBSTACLE RACE (OPEN)
13 03:30:00 SACK RACE
14 03:30:00 THREE LEGGED RACE
15 03:45:00 BAND RACE
16 04:00:00 BOOT RACE
17 04:00:00 BLINDFOLD RACE
18 04:15:00 MULE RACE
19 04:30:00 HORSEBACK WRESTLING
20 04:45:00 BOXING – WEIGHT 12O Pounds
BOXING – WEIGHT 135 Pounds
BOXING – WEIGHT 145 Pounds
BOXING – WEIGHT 160 Pounds and over
05:45:00 OFFICERS MOUNTS JUMPING
06:00:00 PRESENTATION of PRIZES
by
BRIG-GENERAL R. RENNIE C.M.G., M.V.O., D.S.O.

 

 

OFFICIALS  
HON. MARSHALL OF THE FIELD BRIG-GENERAL R. RENNIE C.M.G., M.V.O., D.S.O.
HON. JUDGES Lieut.-Col. L.H. MILLEN
HON JUDGES Lieut.-Col. H.V. RORKE D.S.O.
HON JUDGES Lieut.-Col. L.E. JONES
HON JUDGES Lieut.-Col. T.F. ELMITT
JUDGES Major D.E. MACINTYRE, D.S.O., M.C.
JUDGES Major H.E. HATCH
JUDGES Major G.H. MUSGROVE
JUDGES Major W. FORBES-MITCHELL, D.S.O.
CLERK OF COURSE Major H.D. FEARMAN, D.S.O.
STARTER Captain H.C. PATTERSON, Y.M.C.A.
ASST. STARTER Captain MOORE, Y.M.C.A.[viii]
TIMER (TRACK EVENTS) Captain R.N. JAGO
SCORERS (FIELD EVENTS) Captain E.V. BENJAMIN, M.C.
Lieut. A.P. CHRISTMAS
SCORER (BOXING) Major C.E. SINCLAIR, M.C.
ANNOUNCERS R.S.M. T.F. JORDAN, M.C., 21st Bn.
R.S.M. J. COLLETT, 20th Bn.

 

 

[i] Barlin is a commune west of Lens approximately 15 kilometers.

[ii] The reference to “old men rejoining” is unclear but is probably alluding to men of the original draft of the Battalion who joined between October 1914 and March 1915 are returning to the Battalion after being wounded or ill and upon completion of their rest and refitting in England and in France.

[iii] On June 8, 1917 a SPECIAL ORDER was forwarded to all units. This order was a letter to the members of the Canadian Corps by Lieutenant-General Julian Byng saying “Goodbye” to the Corps.

[iv] The identity of this soldier has not been confirmed. Possibly Price, George:  Service no. 928158.

[v] See Appendix 2.

[vi] Lt. Caldwell was one of the 18th Battalion “originals” and rose from the ranks. See his digitized service record for more information.

[vii] Soldier not identified at this time.

[viii] Most likely this soldier.

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