|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 for September 15, 1916.|
|Message: Have consolidated the captured trench and are working on C.T. 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].[i]|
[i] Sergeant Routley’s communication clearly establishes that “C” Company had no officers commanding it.
Distinguished Conduct Medal notation London Gazette:
53610 L./Sjt C. E. Routley, Infy.
For conspicuous gallantry and ability in action. After all his officers and senior N.C.O.’s had been killed or wounded Lance-Serjeant Routley took command of the company, organized the work of consolidating a captured position, and by his courage and example greatly inspired all with him in the performance of their duty.
Mentioned in War Diary several times. An original member of the 18th Battalion. Author of The Eighteenth Battalion: the Fighting 18th available for consultation and the Canadian War Museum. Mentioned in Matthew Walther’s Neglected Victory: The Canadian Corps at Hill 70.
In his memoir, Sergeant
Routley of the 18th Battalion, which
was holding a section of trench in
the middle of Cité St. Elizabeth, very
close to Lens, described the artillery’s
response to his S.O.S. call:
I dropped on my knees and sent up
the S.O.S. and then dropped back
again for a few minutes to have a
little rest, before taking over my job
as lookout for the platoon. I never
seen such good [sic] Artillery action
in my life. As a matter of fact, I didn’t
think that the Artillery had worked
on my S.O.S. at all. I thought that
somebody else had seen the Germans
coming and had telephoned our
artillery, for before the varey-lights
[sic] had finished burning the heavy
machine guns began firing over our
heads and everything on the line of
Artillery opened up. It was some
days later, when I was talking to
the Adjutant of our Battalion, Major
Bell, that I learned that it was my
S.O.S. that they had worked on. He
said that he was in the Observation
Post with an officer of the Artillery
when they seen [sic] my S.O.S. and
they immediately telephoned the
Artillery, who had their guns all
layed and ready.