War Diary of the 18th Battalion: October 1918

Confidential
War Diary
of
18th CANADIAN BATTALION – 2nd CANADIAN DIVISION

From 1st October to 31st October, 1918

Volume 38
With appendices 1 – 15

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Buissy Switch & Hindenburg Line V.30.b & D

Map 51.b. SE.

1 Maps for Reference: 51.b.SE. 1/20,000 51a.SW. 1/20,000 51.A 1/40,000

At 06:00 hrs. The Battalion moved across the CANAL DU NORD resting for the day in open fields south of the ARRAS / CAMBRAI ROAD at w.23. & 24. At dusk the Battalion received orders to move to positions in Divisional Support in the HAYNECOURT VILLAGE (X 15) with Bn. Hdqrs. in old German M.G. Dugout at X.9.c.10.30. In moving up enemy aircraft dropped bombs, killing O.R. and wounding Lieut. J.E. Wylie and 9 other Ranks. In accordance with 4th C.I.B. O.O. No. 20. These positions were put in a state of defence anticipating an enemy attack. One Other Rank admitted to hospital.

Divl. Support

X.9.c.10.30

2 At dawn the Battalion “Stood To” anticipating an enemy attach, which however, failed to materialize. The day was spent in cleaning up by the men and the issuing of Battle Equipment. The enemy shelled the area spasmodically during the day. Major. J.S. Bell and Capt. R.G. Elliott returned from leave to England. Two O.R.s from Paris Leave. Four O.R.s proceeded to First Army Rest Camp.
3 During the day having found good locations in respective companies’ Areas the Cookers and Water carts were brought up. The usual enemy scattered shells throughout the area during the day. Four O.R.s returned from First Army Rest Camp and four O.R.s from hospital. Two O.R.s to hospital. Two O.R.s arrived as reinforcements.
4 During the day Battalion Hdqrs. was moved to a more suitable location in X.14.central.  All Battle Stores, Bombs, Flares, etc. were formed into Company Dumps. A canteen was established to-day near one of our Company Hdqrs. enabling the men to keep well supplied with cigarettes and various eatables. Parties were sent forward to reconnoitre [sic] the MARCOING LINE in squares X.23, 17 and 12c. During there was heavy enemy bombing in the area. Lieut. H.N. Bawden proceeded on leave. Fourteen O.R.s arrived as reinforcements.
5 Weather clear. Orders were received to take up a position in the MARCOING LINE in event of heavy hostile attack and all companies were held in readiness to move forward. “Wintertime” came into operation at Midnight. There was scattered shelling of area during the day with heavy bombing at night. One O.R. from leave. One O.R. from hospital. Two O.R.s arrived as reinforcements. On O.R. proceeded to and one O.R. returned from Corps Gas Course. One O.R. to S.O. & S. Course SENLIS.
6 The Battalion bathed at MARQUION during the day, moved in small parties to and from the baths. There was scattered enemy shelling during the day and night with heavy enemy bombing at night. Lieut. L.E. Hankinson was killed by shell fire while going over his platoon frontage at night. Capt. T.H.O. Rayward and 2 O.R.s admitted to and 15 O.R.s returned from leave. 1 O.R. to hospital.
7 Orders were received that on an indefinite date the 2nd Cdn. Division would attack and establish bridge-head over the CANAL L’ESCAUT. This involving a night attach reconnoitering parties were again sent forward and “White” arm bands were issued to the Battalion. Nothing unusual occurred during the day. Considerable shelling and bombing at night. Capt. C.J. Jackson and 1 O.R. on leave. 2 O.R.s admitted to and 15 O.R.s returned from hospital. 7 O.Rs. arrived as reinforcements.
8 Word was received that the proposed night attack over the canal L’ESCUAT was cancelled as far as the 4th C.I.B. was concerned. The Battalion moved during the night to trenches in x.24.a & c. Battalion Hdqrs. was located in an old German Ammunition dump on the DOUAI-CAMBRAI road at x.24. Lieut. J.H. Barclay[i] and 2 O.R.s to First Army Musketry Camp. 10 O.R.s to Canadian Corps School. Capt. C.J. Jackson attached as instructor to 2nd Div. Wing. C.C.R.C. 6 O.R.s from Leave. 2 O.R.s to hospital. Two O.R.s killed in action. One O.R. wounded.
9 The Battalion rested in trenches in X.24.a.[?].c . in morning, moving off about noon overland to RAMILLIES being heavily shelled en route. Battalion Hdqrs. was located in a cellar of a house on the RAMILLIES-ESCAUDOEUVRES ROAD. At fourteen hrs. reconnoitering parties were sent out to located available bridge over the L’ESCAUT CANAL. On receipt of orders at 17:00 hours the battalion moved across the canal to positions in T.13& 19. And prepared to pass through the 5th C.I.B. in the following order: 18th. Battn. to LEFT, 19th. Battn. on RIGHT. 20th. Battn. in SUPPORT, and 21st. Battn. in RESERVE. Battn Hdqrs. located Chateau ESCAUDOEUVRES[ii]. 2 O.R.s killed in action and 1 O.R. wounded.
Bn. “HQ” in Chateau Escaudoeuvres

Bn. “HQ”

T.10.d.40.50.

Map 51.a.SW

10 At 06:00 hours the Battalion assembled in T.20.a. & d. advancing to jumping off position in T.c.n.d. [?] from which position they jumped off under cover of an Artillery Barrage at 0.7:00 hrs. Battn. Hdqrs. was located in a funk hole in the railway cutting, at T.10.d.40.50. The 19th. Battalion was on the right and the 6th Bde. on the left. The Barrage was not good, the progress of the troops being retarded half an hour on account of our own shells breaking just ahead of the jumping off positions. “A” and “B” Companies (Left and Right respectively) led off, “D” Co’y in support, “C” Co’y, in Reserve. “A” Company reached old trenches in T.10.b. and T.11.a. but further progress was stopped by enemy M.G. fire from the left flank. The Brigade on the left not having gotten forward. “B” Co’y reached the river at T.11.b & d. where a line was formed and held. About 13:00 hrs. the 19th. Battalion with Calvary patrols were successful owing to the intense M.G. fire and the fact that our Artillery was out of range at this time. At 14:00 hrs. Lieut. L.E. Boulton with nine men went forward and established a post in railway embankment at T.11.b.50.60, east of ERCLIN RIVER which was found to be dry. No further attempt was made to advance during the day. During the days fighting the Battalion casualties were Lieut. W.A. Cash and 6 O.R.s killed in action, Lieuts. W. Spyer, M.M. Wilson, and A.E. Babcock and 70 O.R.s wounded. Lieut. J.C. Little and Batman were reported missing. 3 O.R.s were admitted to hospital to-day. The night passed very quietly
Bn. “HQ” in Chateau Escaudoeuvres

 

11 At 09:00 hors. The Battalion in support of the 20th. And 21st. Battalions advanced from trenches in T.10.b. and T.11.a & b. “C” and “D” Companies on right and left front respectively with “B” Co’y in support and “A” Co’y in Reserve. Battn. Hdqrs. was located in the cellar of a farm house at T.12.a.90.10. about 09:30 hrs. The two front line Battalions swung  over too far to the left and “C” Company when line was threatened by enemy tanks took up a position in O.31.c turning back three enemy Tanks with concentrated rifle Lewis Gun and Machine Gun fire, turning five enemy M.G.s around for this purpose. The front line Battalions being driven back by the enemy Tanks on the left and the Imperial Brigade on the right also withdrawing in conjunction with “B” Company to sunken road at T.6.b. and U.1.a. forming a line there with the 20th. And 21st. Battalions and a few men of the W. Yorks. Regt. Who had swung over on our area. At 15:30 hrs. “C” and “D” Co’ys attached to the 21st. Battn. advanced under an Artillery Barrage to N.30.d & O.25.c. & b. but the Imperials on the right not getting forward the troops were drawn back to form a line through N.36.d. & O.31.c. & d. (in which position they were relieved by Units of the 51st. Division). We were notified that the Battalion would be relieved by Units of the 51st. Division. Relief was complete at 23:00 hrs. “C” and “D” Companies were relieved by the Gordons and “A” and B” Co’ys by the Seaforth Highlanders. Upon relief the companies moved independently to billets at ESAUDOEUVRES. During the days operations Capt. W.J. Baxter and Lieut. T.V. Milford and 54 O.R.s were wounded. 11 O.R.s were killed in action and 18 O.R.s were wounded-gassed. Lieut. McMillan returned from leave. Capt. T.H.O. Rayward (and batman) proceeded to 12th. Instructors Course at Senior Officers School, Aldershot. 1 O.R. proceeded to and 1 O.R. returned from Corps Gas Course. 5 O.R.s proceeded to and 2 O.R.s returned from hospital.
12 The men rested during the day. At 17.00 hours the Battalion moved to the village of THUN-LEVEQUE the men were billeted in good billets there, the village having been recently evacuated by the enemy and only slightly damaged by shell fire 3 O.R.s admitted to hospital.
Bn. H.Q. Thun-Leveque

T.3.a.6.7.

13 The Battalion rested in billets during the day. The men were able to get a plentiful supply of a great variety of vegetables from the gardens of the village. The canals nearby were well stocked with fish and these were secured by the means of exploding German cylindrical sticks in the water. Rear Details moved up from X.24 and joined the Battalion at noon. The canteen was opened up, with a good stock in the afternoon. Lieut. M.R. Sloan proceeded on leave. 6 O.R’s returned from leave.
14 Upon receipt of Warning Order all preparations were made for going into the line. Rear Details moving back to ESWARS when the Battalion went forward at dusk relieving the 24th. Cdn. Bn. in the Right Front Line from N.5.d.20.55. to N.22.b.00.90. Battalion headquarters was located in a chateau at HORDAIN at N.16.b.70.50. This was formerly used by enemy as a hospital. Relief was completed by 20.25 hours. During the night the Battalion area was heavily shelled with H.E. and gas shells. One other rank was wounded. 2 O.R’s proceeded and 1 O.R. returned from leave. 4 O.R’s proceeded to and 20 O.R’s returned from hospital. 3 O.R’s arrived a reinforcements. Appendix No. 3 (18th. Bn. Order No. D.250) and Appendix No. 4 (Disposition Sketch) attached.
15 At 21.30 hours last night Lieut. MacMillan and 16 O.R’s with a Lewis Gun left our lines at N.10 central and patrolled from N,16.c.80.10. to N.15.d.80.50 returning to point of exit at 04.00 hours this morning. At 04,40 hours Lieut. Stokes and 3 O.R’s left Bn. H.Q. to reconnoitre Canal. No enemy were seen. There was considerable artillery activity on both sides during the day. HORDAIN was shelled with H.E. and gas shells. Visibility was fair and considerable [activity] was observed on enemy roads. 3 O.R’s proceeded on and 1 O.R. returned from leave.
16 During the night 15th/16th the following patrols covered the Battalion frontage. Lieut. A.E. Jones[iii] with 8 O.R’s patrolled N.16.a and c. up to our position in N.10 and found the ground dry and level and not swampy until area immediately North of platoon in N.10.centreal. Enemy M.G.s where active sweeping the area from approximately N.15.central. On attempting to cross canal in a punt Lieut. Jones and 2 O.R’s were fired on by an M.G. in a house at N.16.c.50.20. Another enemy left this house and proceeded N.W. disappearing behind hedge at N.16.c.10.20. Another patrol consisting of Lieut. Jones and 6 O.R’s in early morning crossed bridge at N.23.a.70.70 and patrolled down road south of canal for 300 yards, then south to N.22.a.cental, thence along road running N.E. to bridge in N.22.a.70.70 No enemy were seen or heard. Our artillery was active during the day. Lieut. McAmmond and W.K. Rooney and 4 O.R.s arrived as reinforcements. Lieut. H.A. Secord proceeded on leave and on O.R. returned from leave. 3 O.R.s proceeded to and 5 O.R.s returned from hospital. 5 O.R.s arrived as reinforcements.
17 The following patrols covered our frontage last night. Lieuts. J.A. McMillan[iv] and 12 O.R.s left our line at 20:00 hrs. at N.16.c.60.20 and patrolled from N.15.d.80.50 to N.10.c.40.40 thence to B.10.central returning to point exit 05:00 hrs. reporting no enemy seen, but considerable M.G. fire from N.4 andN.5. 2 Officers and O.R.s were out between 21:00 and 23:00 hrs. and located M.G. post at approximately N.5.b.50.50. and N.5.d.85.80. They reported that water was slowly flooding in N.5.c. and spread over from CANAL L’ESCUAT to within 100 yards of our post at N.5.c.99.45. Ours and hostile artillery acted during the night. Lieut. Gs. Hosford was killed by M.G. fire while visiting his platoon at night. 1 O.R. also wounded during the night. 4 O.R.s returned from First Army Rest Camp. 2 O.R.s proceeded to and 17 O.R.s returned from hospital. 5 O.R.s arrived as reinforcements.
18 A daylight patrol consisting of Lieut. Stokes and 3 Battalion scouts reconnoitred our post in N.5.c.00.40. and as far as N.5.d.65.90. No enemy were seen. Hostile M.G.s were active during the day. Weather fair but very misty. During the evening the Battalion heavily shelled with H.E and gas. One O.R. wounded. In accordance with 4th C.I.B. order 00 No. 26 and 18th. Battalion O.O.d.251 Battalion was relieved by the 20th. Cdn. Battn. Relief was complete at 21:10 hrs. Upon relief companies moved independently to THUN-LEVEQUE taking over billets formerly occupied there. 2 O.R.s proceeded on and 2 O.R.s returned from leave. 3 O.R.s returned from hospital. Appendix No. 5. (OO.No.D251) attached.
Bn. “HQ”

T.3.A.60.70

19 Battalion paraded in the morning to Baths at ESWARS. At noon in accordance with instructions from Brigade, two companies moved to PAILLENCOURT and two companies moved to ESTRUN. Battn. “HQ” in Chateau at PAILLENCOURT at N.26.50.85. 5 O.R.s to and 1 O.R. from hospital. 2 O.R.s on leave.
Paillencourt

N.26.a.50.85

Map 51A

20 & 21 The mornings were occupied with Company and Unit inspections. Parades for kit shortages were also held. The remainder of the day the Battalion rested in billets. Many of the men went fishing in the near by canals. On the 29th. Lieut. Col. Jones proceeded to PARIS on leave. Lieut. MacRae to England on leave. 2 O.R.s from hospital. Lieut. L.E. Boulton to Officers Rest House, PARIS-PLAGE. Lieut. T.V. Milford died of wounds at No. 33 C.C.S. On the 21st. Lieut. Bandan[v] and on O.R. returned from leave. 3 O.R.s from hospital.
22 In accordance with 4th. C.I.B. Order No. 28. And 18th. Battn. Order No. D.252 the Battalion moved in fighting order to the ANICHE area in A.50. The Battalion moved off at 08:30 hrs. and marched by WASHES-MARQUETTE Road junction in H.14.a. arriving at destination at noon. Bn. “HQ” were located at RUE. DE DRION at G.6.d.20.70. 2 O.R.s on leave. Appendix No. 6 (18th. Battn. O.O. No. D.252) attached.
ANICHES

G.6.d.20.70.

Map 51A

23 The billets of the entire Battalion here ae without doubt the best and most comfortable we have ever occupied during the recent advance. There are no civilians in town, they being forced by the enemy to accompany him in his retirement The numerous gardens about the town were well stocked and furnished a plentiful supply of vegetables for the men. 1 O.R. on leave and 2 O.R.s returned from hospital. Battalion training as per Appendix No. 7 (Syllabus for 23rd.) attached.
24 Battalion training as per Appendix No. 8. (Syllabus for 24th.) attached. Lieut. A.T. Fergusson and 2 O.R.s proceeded on leave. 1 O.R. to England for duty with R.A.F.
25 Battalion training as per Appendix No. 9. (Syllabus for 25th.) attached. Lt-Col. Jones returned from leave to PARIS. 4 O.R.s on leave. 3 Sergt. Instructors (Drill, Lewis Gun and Musketry) attached from C.C.R.C. 2 O.R.s from courses.
26 Battalion training as per Appendix No. 10. (Syllabus for 26th.) attached. 3 O.R.s on leave. 2 O.R.s arrived and reinforcements.
27 Battalion training as per Appendix No. 11. (Syllabus for 27th.) attached. Lieut. C.A. Whittle and 3 O.R.s on leave. 1 O.R. proceeded to and 3 O.R.s returned from hospital.
28 Battalion training as per Appendix No. 12. (Syllabus for 28th.) attached. 6 O.R.s on leave. 4 O.R.s proceeded to ENGLAND for Cadets Course. 1 O.R. arrived as reinforcement. 2 O.R. proceeded to and 7 O.R.s returned from hospital.
29 Battalion training as per Appendix No. 13. (Syllabus for 29th.) attached. 4 O.R.s proceeded on leave.
30 Battalion training as per Appendix No. 14. (Syllabus for 30th.) attached. Lieut. M.R. Sloan returned from leave. 6 O.R.s on leave. 1 N.C.O. attached C.C.R.C. as Instructor. 2 O.R.s to hospital. 2 O.R.s to Canadian Corps Sniping Course.
31 Battalion training as per Appendix No. 15. (Syllabus for 31st.) attached. Lieut. G. Thomas and 12 O.R.s proceeded on leave. Lieut. L.E. Boulton returned from Officers Rest House, PARIS-PLAGE.

 

[i] The War Diaries consistently misspell this name. This is Lieutenant John Henry BARKLEY (MC).

[ii] Possibly this chateau.

[iii] This officer’s identity has not been verified.

[iv] Lieutenant John Alister MacMillan.

[v] This officer not identified.

War Diary

Appendices

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.