The First World War
War Diary of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Transcription by Captain Michael O'Leary, The RCR.


1.11.16. - Trenches

Showery and cool. Enemy fairly active with Trench Mortars. M.G. Fire was very slight as also was rifle fiore and sniping. Two patrols were sent out, One from south side of ALBANY CRATER which reconnoitred enemy line, reporting their wire quite strong. The other from Frenchman's Sap, they entered enemy sap immediately opposite ours and worked up it, the same distance, but owing to our own M.G. and Artillery fire were forced to turn back, Lieut. Irwin DAVIS, wounded, 10 O.R. Killed, 2 O.R. Wounded.

Lieut. Col. A.H. BORDEN, N.S. Highlanders, joined from overseas for instruction.

Captain A.E. WILLOUGHBY rejoined from 5TH Brigade H.Q.

2.11.16. - Trenches

Showery and cool. The trenches are becoming continually worse owing to continual sliding of sides. Bde. Has allotted us larger working parties (150) O.R. than before but there is work for 500 all day for days. Enemy very quite. Our Bombers were active with Rifle Grenades, our Stokes and 2" Trench Mortars were also active. JOSEPHINE opened up and fired two rounds about 5 p.m. Our Bombers put 2 salvos of 8 Newtons into her and she hasn't fired since. Two patrols were sent out; they report no enemy patrols but wire quite strong our own wire is in need of repair.

Lieut. BEARD returned from Leave.

3.11.16. - Trenches

Mostly cloudy and cool. Very little activity on part of enemy. Our Stokes T.M's and rifle grenades active. Relieved at 7.30 p.m. by 49TH Bn. proceeded to Huts in ECOIVRES. (Divisional Reserve)

4.11.16. - Mt. St. ELOI

Showery and cool. Day spent cleaning up. Co. and Detachments commanders inspected their commands as to equipment, Clothing etc. Indents put in. Working party to 7TH Field Co. C.E.

5.11.16. - Mt. St. ELOI

Showery and cool. Co's did P.T. and Platoon drill had lectures on Bombing and Cdn. Corps Trench Orders. Detachments carried on with Specialists Training. 24 O.R. Working party with 7TH Field Co. C.E. Regiment had a bath at MAROEUL.

Lieut. KELTIE and 8 O.R. on Bombers Course.
Lieut. LEWIS and 2 O.R. on Stokes Gun and Bombing Course.

4 O.R. on Instructors Course.

Lieut. MUNN returned from Leave.

6.11.16. - Mt. St. ELOI

Rain. Cooler. Companies carried on with P.T., Platoon, Co. Drill and lectures.

2 O.R. to 1ST Army School for Light Trench Mortar Course.

7.11.16. - Mt. St. ELOI

Rain. Cool.

Captain WILLOUGHBY, M.O, 1 Officer and 2 N.C.O's per Co. proceeded to Divisional Gas School for a demonstration and instruction in small box respirator. In afternoon Co. Officers lectured their units on small box respirators.

8.11.16. - Mt. St. ELOI

Cloudy, with showers. Co's and Detachments paraded throughout day at Gas Hut ECOIVRES, exchanged helmets for small box respirators, were fitted and went through gas. Regt. Relieved 40TH Bn. Relief complete 9.20 p.m. Co's in same sub Sectors as last tour. Enemy quiet. Occasional bursts of M.G. fire and a little T.M. activity vicinity WATLING, LITCHFIELD, B.4. and B.5. Craters. Owing to bright moonlight no patrol was able to go out.

9.11.16. - Trenches

Clear and cool. Enemy quiet. We are active with Rifle Grenades and Stokes on saps in rear of WATLING. There was a suspected relief on, opposite us. At 11.10 p.m. 18 Pounders and 4.5s, T.M.s Stokes and Rifle Grenades opened up with very good effect. Artillery dispersed one working party, L.G's another. Lieut. BOLE claims to have sniped one of a patrol. They disappeared, 1 O.R. wounded. (Accidental).

10.11.16. - Trenches

Enemy quiet. Very little activity. We sent out two patrols, one under Cpl. MURDOCK went our from near B.4 Sap and worked to a point between B.4 and B.5 Owing to the bright moonlight it could go no further. The observed two enemy posts, 1 in B.4 and another in B.5. Several men were seen to go overland to these posts. Lewis Guns were turned on them with good results. Second patrol under Lieut. ROBINSON patrolled enemy sap from WATLING to LITCHFIELD.

11.11.16. - Trenches

Fair and cool. Enemy very quiet. Our snipers claim four hits from B.4. crater Post. They were all where enemy's trench has apparently fallen in for he has to go overland. His trenches are apparently as muddy as ours, for all men observed were very muddy. We were fairly active with Artillery and T.M.s. Our L.G.s dispersed working party of about 30 to right of DEVON Crater.

10 O.R. arrived as reinforcements.

Lieut. Col. HILL, D.S.O., returned from Leave.

1 O.R. wounded.

12.11.16. - Trenches

Cloudy and cool. Enemy quiet except for a few Whizz bangs on C.T.s and Supports. Our Snipers claim 3 hits from B.4. post.

Trenches are gradually improving but still very wet.

1 O.R. wounded

13.11.16. - Trenches

Fine and cool. Enemy quiet except for a few trench Mortars and Whizz bangs. Regiment relieved by 49TH Bn. Relief complete by

9.40 p.m. Regt. Proceeded to Bde. Reserve in NEUVILLE ST VAAST. Co's and Dets distributed as in last tour.

Draft of 131 O.R. from England. Men are of excellent physique, but not well trained or disciplined. They are being kept at Transport Lines for a few days.

14.11.16. - Trenches

Fine and cool. Working parties of 355 O.R. supplied.

Draft is being drilled at Transport Lines.

Captain BUCK and 5 O.R. proceeded on leave.

15.11.16. - Trenches

Fine and cool. 255 O.R. on working parties.

Baths for 70 O.R.

1 Officer and 4 N.C.O's per Co. reconnoitred routes to front line sub section.

16.11.16. - Trenches

Fine and cool. 255 O.R. on working parties.

Baths for 150 O.R.

Lieuts. KELTIE and LEWIS and 11 O.R. returned from Lewis and Stokes Gun Course.

C.O.s Conference at Bde. Re Tunneling.

17.11.16. - Trenches

Fine and cool. 275 O.R. on working parties.

Remainder of Bn. had Baths.

Lieut. BARKER and 20 O.R. returned from Cdn Corps School.

18.11.16. - Trenches

Snow, Sleet, rain and cold. Working parties of 270 O.R. from 8. a.m. to 10. a.m. Relieved 49TH Bn. this afternoon commencing at 3.30 p.m. complete at 4.45 p.m. Co's still hold same frontage as last tour. Trenches have been improved but weather will make three more days work.

Adjutant went on leave.

19.11.16. - Trenches

Raw, Wet, Cold. Major WEAVER and Major PALMER of the 49TH, and Staff Captain WALLACE held conference with the C.O. re work proposed for Tunnelers at right Bn. H.Q. here. R.C.R. Chaplain Capt. GREEN gave a short service in Officers mess here at Hdqrs at 8.30 p.m. This is his first service here.

Lieut. THOMPSON returned from leave.

1 casualty accidental. Pte EDWARDS, C.E. "A" Co. fell backward down a deep dugout, slight concussion.

Enemy attitude and alert. Usual patrol activity. ITILY [sic] sap not held, trench caved in but heavily wired.

Lieut. Col. HILL, D.S.O., made O.C. Composite Bn.

20.11.16. - Trenches

Showery, Cool. Cleared up towards evening.

Major WILLETS and Lieut. Col. BORDEN returned to R.C.T. the latter going to "B" Co.

Lieut. WOODS "C" Co. admitted to Hospital, and replaced by Captain A.E. WILLOUGHBY.

Attitude of enemy. Active in afternoon with Minenwerfer on ROSS St. killing one man of 49TH Bn. who was on working party.

Pte CAMERON wounded.

Artillery active at midnight.

Col. BORDEN very slightly wounded in left thigh.

Pte WARE wounded in left arm by shrapnel.

Col. BORDEN back at duty.

Patrols as usual. Wire report rendered bde.

21.11.16. - Trenches

Cool, Misty. Practice battle stand to at 10.45 visit by General Macdonell. Gas Alert on at 12 Midnight. Artillery active. Patrols active discovered trench 3' wide and 6' deep between CHASSERY and TWINS joining enemy front line behind. We sent over 160 Rifle Grenades at 12 Midnight, in retaliation to 30 sent over by enemy. Aerial torpedos at 3. p.m.

22.11.16. - Trenches

Clear cool and bright. Trench Mortars and Rifle Grenades active.

Lieut. GREEN wounded in face and back, not serious., also L/Cpl SYMONDS and Pte NASH "C" Co. All were slight wounds.

Col. BORDEN left for Bde. From whence he will go to England.

23.11.16. - Trenches

Clear and cool. Great Aerial activity. Relieved by 49TH Bn. Relief complete at 4.15 p.m. No casualties.

Major GARON rejoins Regiment as 2nd in Command.

24.11.16. - Trenches

Lieut. E.A. ROBINSON awarded the Military Cross.

25.11.16. - Trenches

Lieut. POPE struck off strength and invalided to England.

44 O.R. sent to bde on a 3 day Bombing Course.

1 N.C.O. and 10 men on a six day course at bde.

26.11.16. - Mt. St. ELOI

Battalion Bathed at MAROEUL. 100 per hour.

Major C.R.E. WILLETS went on Leave with 9 O.R.

27.11.16. - Mt. St. ELOI

Col. C.H. HILL, D.S.O., left to make arrangements to receive Draft of 600 O.R. expected to arrive shortly from England and to be formed into a Composite Bn. until their training is completed at Divisional Reserve.

Major M.M.L. GARON assumed command of the Bn.

Lieuts. THOMPSON, GILMOUR, MCNEILL reported as reinforcements.

At a meeting of Officers from 4 Bn's at Advance Bde. Hdqrs. It was decided to furnish and form an Officers mess in Divisional Reserve. owing to the discomfort and lack of accommodation there at present. New huts have now been erected. It was decided to collect from all officers 1 day's pay without allowances to purchase crockery etc. and buy furniture. Captain A.E. WILLOUGHBY and Lieut. MUNN represented the Regiment at the meeting.

28.11.16. - Mt. St. ELOI

Bn. left Div. Reserve at 4. p.m. to proceed to trenches to relieve 49TH Bn.

Captain A.E. WILLOUGHBY acting as second in Command.

Relief completed at 10.10 p.m. Situation very quiet. Reported that enemy's suspected mine in vicinity of right of LICHFIELD CRATER. It is now believed that enemy has mined between DEVON and ALBANY. Preparation made to meet the situation. It is not considered that O.C. Bns. receive sufficient information re our own mining, also the enemy's, this would be of the greatest value if information was furnished.

29.11.16. - Mt. St. ELOI

Situation still very quiet, owing to dull and foggy weather.

Lieut. GRANT-SUTTIE reported on arrival from England and was attached to "B" Co. for instruction.

No. 454187 Pte. HESS, W.A. wounded by Rifle Grenade both legs.

Enemy still continue to direct his fire on ROSS STREET. This communication Trench is not being made use of by day so far as possible.

30.11.16. - Mt. St. ELOI

Situation very quiet. Reported from 58TH Bn. on our right that troops had been massing in TILLEUL WOOD. Necessary precautions taken. One Company P.P.C.L.I. in Support was sent up to reinforce "B" Company at dusk and came off at dawn. No further information. No movement probably indicates a relief.

3RD Canadian Divisional Artillery took over from 158TH Divisional Artillery.

M.M.L. Garon, Major
For Lieut. Col.
Commanding The Royal Canadian Regiment.

Appendix 1 - R.C.R. Order No. 55 Battalion to relieve 49TH Bn. 28 Nov 1916.