The First World War
War Diary of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Transcription by Captain Michael O'Leary, The RCR.

MAY 1917



"A" Preparation.

1. Assembly and Assembly AreaOn the night of 7th/8th June 1917 "C" and "D" Companies of the Battalion relieved two Companies of the 5TH. C.M.R. in the front line and "A" and "B" companies relieved two Companies of the 2ND. C.M.R's in the support line. Thus our frontage was astride the Railway Embankment. On the night of 8th/9th June "C" and "D" Companies formed up ready for the attack. "C" Company occupied the frontage on the right of the Railway Embankment and did not have a jumping off trench but assembled in our front line preparatory to attacking up the C.T. which ran along the right of the Embankment. "C" Company was divided into three parties including the moppers up. "D" Co., on the left of the Embankment, had a jumping off trench in font of Dartmouth. "D" Company was to attack in three waves and consisted of two parties including moppers up.
Equipment and Stores Carried."C" and "D" Companies attacked in Battle Order minus the haversacks while they piled up early in the evening of 8th/9th June.
Rifle Grenadiers carried 15 No. 23 Mills Grenades and two Smoke Bombs. Bombers carried 15 No. 5 Mills Bombs, the carriers each having two Smoke Bombs.
The moppers up each carried 5 No. 5 Mills Bombs, two Smoke Bombs and a total of 60 Stokes Gun shells.
For each Lewis Gun there were 31 magazines of ammunition and Nos. 3, 4, 5, and 6 of each gun crew carried 2 No. 5 Mills Bombs.
Medical Arrangement.The Regimental Aid Post was established at T.13.b.3.7. Each party in the attacking Companies included 3 stretch bearers.
Weather.At Zero hour the night was very dark but cleared up a little later. Excellent night for a raid.
Wind.North West.
Other Troops.Four gun crews from 7TH M.G. co. under Lieut. MOTHERSILL, who kept up a protective fire.


11.40 p.m."D" Company under Capt Thompson reports all happy and Company in jumping off trench.
11.45 p.m.Barrage opened up.
11.55 p.m.Enemy opening up with artillery.
June 9th/17.
12.20 a.m.
Signaller from advance Battalion Report centre reported that one line still open from Batt'n H.Q. to them. Enemy shelling heavily in rear of our original front line.
12.35 a.m.Report by Visual Signaller that our first objective reached safely and without resistance.
1.45 a.m.Signals for the withdrawal of the covering parties put up.
1.45 a.m.Runner from 42ND Battalion reported that he had been with his Battalion as far as final objective and that everything was going well. Said he saw the Royal Canadian Regiment in their final objective. Casualties light as far as he knew.
1.55 a.m.Report from Major WILLOUGHBY from Advance Batt'n Report Centre stating that their were no reports from "C" and "D" Companies as yet, but that the main body of "D" Company have already returned, Lieuts CHURCHILL and WAUGH wounded.
2.00 a.m.Capt THOMPSON reported to Advance Battalion Report Centre. Reported that everything was successful. Casualties light and mostly walking cases.
2.05 a.m.Message sent to Brigade with as much detail as possible. "C" Company reported as having withdrawn after having reached safely final objective. Reported casualties few and no prisoners taken.
2.12 a.m.Confirming message from Major WILLOUGHBY that withdrawal completed. Lieut DAVIS of "C" Company wounded.
2.15 a.m.Report sent to Brigade that withdrawal completed. (Sherry Report)
2.35 a.m.Capt. WOODS, M.C., reports at Battalion H.Q. Reported that everything went splendidly. No prisoners and not many casualties. This report forwarded to Brigade.
5.00 a.m.Normal Situation Declared.
6.05 a.m.Major WILLOUGHBY and Capt HOLLOWAY arrived back from Battalion Advance Report Centre and report everything quiet in the line.
6.30 a.m.Report from "A" Company by Capt McCALLUM, D.S.O., stating that the Enemy seems to be returning into his frontage and has sent up many flares. As yet no Enemy seen but several flares sent up.
8.00 a.m.Enemy starting to carry out his dead and wounded under cover of The Red Cross Flag. The day is now fine and clear.
1.(a) On the right of the Railway Embankment "C" Company attacked up the C.T. to the right of the Railway Embankment with three parties. (a) Party entered the Enemy's trench, Alcove, and established a block at T.2.d.2.3.; (b) Party followed, entered the Enemy's trench Amble, and established a block at T.2.d.2.4.; (c) Party followed Party (b) and proceeded along the C.T. East of the Railway Embankment and established a block at T.2.b.4. 1/2.

On the left of the and established a block at "D" Company attacked in two parties. Party (a) assaulted and took Ace Trench; Party (b) leaped frog through Party (a) captured Adept Trench and established a block at app. T.2.b.2 1/2.2.

(b) While in the Enemy Trenches everything was done to destroy them. Dugouts were bombed with Stokes ammunition and Mills Bombs. Many enemy dead were left in the trenches estimated at 75, and the trenches were destroyed.
Withdrawal.(c) At Zero plus 90 minutes the withdrawal of the main body commenced and was carried out successfully. At Zero plus 120 minutes, the withdrawal of the covering parties commenced. The signal for this was a series of Golden and Silver Rain Rockets sent up from battalion Headquarters. The withdrawal was completed successfully but some casualties occurred on the right of the Railway Embankment on account of hostile fire.
Arms, S.A.A., Bombs, etc.2.Entirely satisfactory. Most of the fighting was hand-to-hand. The bayonet and bomb were the most useful weapons, and Rifle Grenades were very useful in silencing enemy's snipers who were in shell holes beyond the final objective.
Lewis Guns.3.Lewis Guns proved of utmost value especially in the holding of the blocks.
Our Machine Guns.4.Unable to give any information other than that they were in their original firing positions and did a considerable amount of firing.
Enemy Machine Guns.5.Enemy machine Gun fire practically Nil.
Stokes Guns.6.Were of sufficient amount of help during the advance.
Our Field Artillery.7.Excellent. Perfect Barrage.
Heavy Artillery.8.Did very good work during the raid. Excellent in wire cutting.
Enemy's Trench Mortars.9.During the withdrawal on the right of the Railway Embankment they put up a heavy fire on the C.T. and caused us several casualties.
Enemy Wire.10.Practically nil.
Enemy's Trenches and Works.11.Practically destroyed by our Artillery.
Rations and Water.12.Nil.
Bombs.13.Sufficient and very useful.
Rifle Grenades and Grenadiers.14.Helped in the advance and proved most useful in silencing Enemy Snipers who were in shell holes beyond the final objective.
Medical Services.15.Very good. All our wounded evacuated, but three of our dead left in Enemy's Trenches.
Flags and Discs.16.Nil.
Communication.17.Advance Battalion Report Centre was established in a dugout at the junction of Dartmouth Trench and the Railway Embankment. Three lines of wire between that and Batt Headquarters. These did not last long. Visual signalling by means of the Lucas Lamp was tried. One message came through stating that we had reached our first objective. The rest of the Communication forward was by runners. This system, although slower, proved far more reliable than the others. Communication kept open to Brigade by wire.
Enemy Morale.18.Fair.
Carrying Parties.20.Nil.
Working Parties.21.Nil.
New Platoon Organization.24.Proved its usefulness by the easy manner in which the organization of different raiding parties was carried out.
Liaison.25.Artillery liaison very good.
Value of Previous Observation and Intelligence.26.For three days previous to the raid our Intelligence Officer was up in the front line observing. His reports, especially those on the wire, were of the greatest assistance. Maps and Aeroplane photographs were invaluable.
Touch with Brigade, and Other Units.27.Touch with Brigade was continuous by wire; other Units by runner.
Distribution During and after the Raid.28.Just after Zero hour "A" Company moved up and took over our original front line. "B" Company remained in support. "C" and "D" Companies in the withdrawal instead of going back to their old positions, were thus enabled to move right back to the position previously occupied by "A" Companyin the support line.

Therefore on completion of the withdrawal "A" Company was holding the front line and "B", "C" and "D" Companies were in support.

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