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With a Preface by 

The Rt Hon. A. BONAR LAW 

M.P., LL.D. 


Secretary of State for the Colonies 

And an Introduction by 

The Rt. Hon. 

G.C.M.G., M.P., LL.D. 
Prime Minister of Canada 


I Volume I. of the Official 
I Story of the Canadian 
I Expeditionary Force 



HODDER & STOUGHTON, Publishers, Warwick Square, London, E.G. 






By Sir Max Aitken, M.R 



M.P., LL.D., 




G.C.M.G., M.P., LL.D., 














THE author of this book is an intimate personal 
friend, and possibly for that reason I take too 
favourable a view of his work; but I think he has 
already rendered a great service, and not to Canada 

As Canadian Record Officer, he published a 
glowing account of the part played in the Battle 
of Ypres by the Canadian contingent. This account 
was circulated widely, and it contributed largely to 
make the deeds of the Canadian soldiers a house 
hold word, not only throughout the Dominion, but 
in the United Kingdom as well. 

The present work seems to me a model of lucid, 
picturesque, and sympathetic narrative, and it will 
have, I feel sure, a lasting value. 

We have a right to feel very proud of the part 
which is being played in the terrible tragedy of this 
war by the great Dominions of the British Crown. 
We had no power to compel any one of them to 
contribute a single penny, or to send a single man, 
but they have given of their best, not to help us, 
though I think they would have done that also, but 
to defend the Empire which is theirs as much as 

Led by a General who a few years ago was in 
arms against us and who is the Prime Minister of 
South Africa, the Union Government have wrested 
from Germany a territory larger than the whole 
German Empire; and a South African contingent 



is now in England ready to play their part on the 
battlefields of Flanders. 

The Australians and New Zealanders have shown 
in the Dardanelles that in courage, resourcefulness, 
and tenacity better troops have never existed in the 
world. Whatever the final result of that operation 
may be, the blood which has been shed there has not 
been shed in vain. Not to Australians and New 
Zealanders alone, but to men of every race through 
out the British Empire, the Peninsula of Gallipoli 
will for ever be sacred ground because of the brave 
men who lie buried there. 

" In glory will they sleep, and endless sanctity." 

What Canada has done, and is doing, shines out in 
every page of this book. Higher praise could not 
be given than was contained in the despatch of the 
Commander-in-Chief after the Battle of Ypres : 
" In spite of the danger to which they were exposed, 
the Canadians held their ground with a magnificent 
display of tenacity and courage, and it is not too 
much to say that the bearing and conduct of these 
splendid troops averted a disaster which might have 
been attended with most serious consequences/ 3 

Our enemies said, and probably they believed, 
that the outbreak of war would be the signal for 
the breaking-up of the British Empire. They have 
been mistaken. After this war the relations between 
the great Dominions and the Mother Country can 
never be the same again. The pressure of our 
enemies is welding us together, and the British 
Empire is becoming in reality, as well as in name, 
a united nation. A. BONAR LAW. 


December 6th, 1915. 



MORE than a year ago the bugles of the Empire 
sounded throughout the world the call to duty. The 
justice of the cause was recognised in every quarter 
of the King s dominions, and nowhere more fully 
than in Canada ; it has since been confirmed by the 
judgment of the civilised world. Within a week 
Canada had sprung to arms; within three weeks 
35,000 men were marshalled on Valcartier Plain, 
which had been transformed, as if by magic, into a 
great military camp ; within six weeks from the out 
break of war a Canadian Division, fully organised 
and equipped in every branch of the service, with 
a surplus of guns and ammunition nearly sufficient 
for another Division, and with a detail of reinforce 
ments amounting to 10,000 men, was ready to pro 
ceed overseas. 

Twice in September of last year I saw these forces 
march past under review by the Duke of Connaught. 
Later, I visited every unit of the contingent, ad 
dressed their officers, and bade them all God-speed. 
The Armada which left the shores of Gaspe on 
October 3rd, 1914, carried the largest army that 
ever crossed the Atlantic at one time. 

In the midst of the following winter they went to 



the front. Few of them had any previous experi 
ence of war. They had lived in a peace-loving 
country; they had been gathered from the varied 
avocations of our national life ; they had come from 
the hills and valleys and surf-beaten shores of 
the Maritime Provinces; from the banks of the St. 
Lawrence and its hundred affluents in the two great 
central Provinces; from the mining and lumber 
camps of the north; from the broad prairie Pro 
vinces and their northern hinterlands; from the 
majesty of the mountains that look to the east upon 
the prairies and to the west upon the Pacific; from 
the shores of the great western ocean; from all the 
far-flung communities of our Dominion they had 
hurried, quickly responsive to the call. 

Almost in the dawn of their experience at the 
front there came to them an ordeal such as has 
seldom tested the most tried of veterans. An un 
known and terrible means of warfare, which tem 
porarily shattered the gallant forces that held the 
line at their left, poured upon them torture and 
death. The bravest and most experienced troops 
might well have been daunted and driven back by 
the fierceness of the onslaught to which they were 
exposed and by the horrible methods of the attack. 
Assailed by overwhelming numbers on front and 
flank, they held their own in a conflict which raged 
for days ; they barred the path against the German 
onrush and saved the day for the Empire, for the 
Allies, and for the world. 

The story of their tenacity, their valour, and their 
heroism has been well told in the pages that follow. 
But it can never be completely told. Many of those 
upon whose memories alone splendid incidents of 


that story were indelibly engraven lie beneath the 
sod in Northern France and in Belgium. 

On more than one stricken field the record thus 
made by the ist Canadian Division has held good. 
From the lips of those who fought at Festubert 
and at Givenchy, from dauntless survivors of the 
Princess Patricia s Regiment, I have heard, in many 
a hospital and convalescent home in the Mother 
land, what their comrades had dared and done. 

No Canadian can ever look forth unmoved upon 
that valley where Ypres lies shattered in the dis 
tance, and the sweep of the hills overlooks the 
graves of more than 100,000 men who fell because 
a remorseless militarist autocracy decreed this war. 

In the years to come it will be the duty and the 
pride of Canada to rear, both in this Dominion and 
beyond the ocean, monuments which will worthily 
commemorate the glorious deeds of her sons who 
offered the supreme sacrifice for liberty and civilisa 


OTTAWA, December 6th, 1915. 

* Carry the word to my Sisters 

To the Queens of the East and the South. 
I have proven my faith in the Heritage 

By more than the word of the mouth. 
They that are wise may follow 

Ere the world s war-trumpet ^ blows : 
B ut i I am first in the battle/ 

Said our Lady of the Snows. 3 




I AM so conscious of the imperfections of the 
chapters which follow that I was for long unwilling 
to publish them in the form of a book. They were 
written under great difficulties and in many moods; 
nor am I unaware that the excuse for collecting 
them is very slender. It was, however, represented 
to me by persons of much authority, that the sub 
jects dealt with excited an interest so lively in 
Canada that imperfections in the workmanship 
would be readily overlooked in the Dominion. 

I therefore publish my impressions of the for 
tunes of the ist Canadian Division and of Princess 
Patricia s Regiment. Some of the scenes described 
fell in whole, or in part, under my own observation. 
,In dealing with others I have had access, in the 
discharge of my duties, to a large number of 
military diaries and official documents. 

It may be stated that the greatest care is being 
taken by the Canadian Government to collect and 
preserve every authoritative document which may 
hereafter throw light upon the military history of 
the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Nor is there 
reason to doubt that the official historian of Canada 
(whoever he may prove to be) will find abundant 
material for a grave and adequate work. Perhaps 


such a one may find here and there in these hurriedly 
written pages a contemporary echo, however faint 
and elusive, of the clash and passion of war which 
the author has attempted to describe. 

I shall be content if one Canadian woman draws 
solace from this poor record of her dead husband s 
bravery; if even one reader recognises for the first 
time the right of the Canadians to stand as equals 
in the Temple of Valour with their Australian 
brothers who fought and died at Anzac; if the task 
of consolidating our Imperial resources, which may 
be the one positive consequence of this orgy of 
destruction, counts one adherent the more among 
those who have honoured me by reading these 

And of Englishmen I ask nothing but that they 
shall hereafter think of my countrymen as Brothers 
in whom a man trusts even if a great quarrel arises." 

W. M. AlTKEN. 





War without warning Canada s loyalty Improvising an 

Army Efforts of the Minister of Militia Camp at Val- 

cartier Canadian Armada sails Arrival at Plymouth 

I>ord Roberta s interest King s visit to Canadian Camp 

-Training completed Sailing for France i 



"Plug Street "British Army in being At General Head 
quarters Rest billets Mud or death The trenches 
Buzzing bullets Sir Douglas Haig The Front 
Restrictions on the narrative Reviewed by Commander- 
in-Chief Canadians in the trenches Our men take to 
football "Jack Johnsons" A German challenge 
General Alderson The General s methods His speech to 
the Canadians A fine Force 15 



Canadians valuable help) A ride in the dark Pictures on the 
road Towards the enemy At the cross-roads " Six kilo 
metres to Neuve Chapelle" Terrific bombardment 
Grandmotherly howitzers British aeroplanes Fight with 
a Taube Flying man s coolness Attack on the village 




German prisoners A banker from Frankfort The 
Indians pride A halt to our hopes Object of Neuve 
Chapelle What we achieved German defences under 
rated Machine gun citadels Great infantry attack- 
Unfortunate delays Sir John French s comments British 
attack exhausted Failure to capture Aubers Ridge 
"Digging in" Canadian Division s baptism of fire 
" Casualties " Trenches on Ypres salient ... 32 



Canadians glory A civilian force Ypres salient Poelcappelle 
road Disposition of troops Gas attack on French 
Plight of the 3rd Brigade Filling the gap General 
Turner s move Loss of British guns Canadian valour 
St. Julien Attack on the wood Terrible fire Officer 
casualties Reinforcements Geddes detachment Second 
Canadian Brigade bent back Desperate position Ter 
rible casualties Col. Birchall s death Magnificent artil 
lery work Canadian left saved Canadians relieved 
Story of 3rd Brigade Gas attack on Canadians Cana 
dian recovery Major Norsworthy killed Major 
McCuaig- s stand Disaster averted Col. Hart-McHarg 
killed Major Odium General Alderson s efforts 
British reinforce Canadians 3rd Brigade withdraws 
General Currie stands fast Trenches wiped out Fresh 
gas attack Germans take St. Julien British cheer Cana 
dians Canadians relieved Heroism of men Col. 
Watson s dangerous mission The Ghurkas dead 
Record of all units Our graveyard in Flanders . . 46 



Individual heroism Canadian tenacity Before the battle 
The civilian element A wave of battle New meaning of 
" Canada "" Northern Lights" The fighting pay 
master Major serves as lieutenant Misfortunes of 
Hercule Barre" "Runners" A messenger s apology- 



Swimming a moat Rescue of wounded Colonel 
Watson s bravery Colonel Watson s leadership His 
heroic deed Dash of Major Dyer and Capt. Hilliam 
Major Dyer shot " I have crawled home " Lieut. 
Whitehead s endurance Major King- saves his guns 
Corpl. Fisher, V.C. The real Canadian officer Some 
delusions in England German tricks Sergt. Richard 
son s good sense "No surrender!" Corpl. Baker s 
heroism Bombs from the dead Holding a position 
single-handed The brothers Mclvor Daring of Sergt. - 
Major Hall Sergt. Ferris, Roadmender Heroism of the 
sappers Sergt. Ferris, Pathfinder A sergeant in com 
mand Brave deeds of Pte. Irving He vanishes Absurdi 
ties in tragedy Germans murder wounded Doctors 
under fire The professional manner Red hours Plight 
of refugees Canadian colony in London Unofficial in 
quiries Canada s destiny 80 



Objective of Aubers and Festubert Allies co-operation Great 
French offensive Terrific bombardment British support 
Endless German fortresses Shortage of munitions 

Probable explanation Effect of Times disclosures 
Outcry in England Coalition Government After Ypres 
The Canadian advance Disposition of Canadians 
Attack on the Orchard Canadian Scottish Sapper 
Harmon s exploits Drawback to drill-book tactics A 
Canadian ruse "Sam Slick" The Orchard won 
Arrival of Second Brigade The attempt on " Bexhill " 
In the German trenches Strathcona s Horse King 
Edward s Horse Cavalry fight on foot Further attack 
on Bexhill -Redoubt taken " Bexhill " captured- 

Dig in and hang on "Attack on the "Well" Heroic 
efforts repulsed General Seely assumes command A 
critical moment Heavy officer casualties The courage 
of the cavalry Major Murray s good work Gallantry of 
Sergt. Morris and Corpl. Pym Death of Sergt. Hickey 

Canadian Division withdrawn Trench warfare till 
June ........... 106 





Minor engagements A sanguinary battle Attacks on " Stony 
Mountain " and " Dorchester " Disposition of Canadian 
troops An enemy bombardment " Duck s Bill " A 
mine mishap " Dorchester " taken A bombing party 
Coy.-Sergt.-Major Owen s bravery Lieut. Campbell 
mounts machine-gun on Private Vincent s back How 
Private Smith replenished the bombers Fighting the 
enemy with bricks British Division unable to advance 
Canadians hang on " I can crawl " General Mercer s 
leadership Private Clark s gallantry Dominion Day . 130 


Review in Lansdowne Park Princess Patricia presents the 
Colours South African veterans and reservists Princess 
Patricias in the trenches St. Eloi Major Hamilton Gault 
A dangerous reconnaissance Attack on a sap A 
German onslaught Lessons from the enemy A march 
to battle Voormezeele Death of Colonel Farquhar 
Polygone Wood Regiment s work admired A move 
towards Ypres Heavily shelled A new line Arrival of 
Major Gault Regiment sadly reduced Gas shells A 
German rush Major Gault wounded Lieut. Niven in 
command A critical position Corporal Dover s heroism 
A terrible day Shortage of small arms ammunition 
Germans third attack Enemy repulsed Regiment 
reduced to 150 rifles Relieved A service for the dead 
In bivouac A trench line at Armentieres Regiment at 
full strength again Moved to the south Back in billets 
Princess Patricias instruct new troops Rejoin 
Canadians A glorious record ... . 144 



The Prime Minister s visit Passing of Politics End to 
domestic dissensions The Imperial idea Sir Robert s 
foresight Arrival in England At Shorncliffe Meeting 
with General Hughes Review of Canadian troops 
The tour in France A Canadian base hospital 



A British hospital Canadian graves Wounded under 
canvas Prince Arthur of Connaught Visiting battle 
scenes Received by General Alderson General Turner s 
Brigade Speech to the men First and Second Brigades 
Sir Robert in the trenches Cheered by Princess 
Patricias Enemy aeroplanes Meeting with Sir John 
French The Prince of Wales With the French Army- 
General Joffre A conference in French The French 
trenches The stricken city of Albert To Paris The 
French President Conference with the French War 
Minister Shorncliffe again Canadian convalescent home 
A thousand convalescents Sir Robert s emotion His 
wonderful speech End of journey 162 



Tranquil Canadian lines German reconnaissance Incident 
at " Plug Street " Pte. Bruno saves Capt. Tidy A sniper s 
month Sharpshooters compact Sergt. Ballendine The 
Ross rifle t4 No Man s Land" Our bombers Sergt. 
William Tabernacle His new profession General Sir 
Sam Hughes visit Canadian patriotism Civilian armies 
-"Last Word of Kings "Art of the "soldier s speech " 
Lord Kitchener s inspiration Lord Roberts and the 
Indians General Hughes arrives in France At British 
Headquarters Consultation with King Albert Meeting 
with Prince Alexander of Teck Conference with General 
Alderson The second Canadian Contingent In the firing 
line Many friends General Burstall s artillery Inspec 
tion of cavalry Meeting with Prince of Wales The 
Princess Patricias Conference with Sir Douglas Haig 
General Hughes suggestions Meeting with General 
Foch Impressed with General Joffre The ruin at 
Rheims General Hughes message on departure A 
quiet August The Canadian Corps General Alderson s 
New Command An appreciation of a gallant Commander 
Conclusion 175 







CANADIAN CORPS ....... 228 







War withoi t warning-Canada s loyalty-Improvising an 
Army Efforts of the Minister of Militia Camp at Val- 
tier Canadian Armada sails Arrival at Plymouth- 
Lord Roberts s interest-King s visit to Canadian Camp 
1 raining completed Sailing for France. 

O ye by wandering tempest sown 

Neath every alien star, 
Forget not whence the breath was blown 

That wafted you afar 1 
For ye are still her ancient seed 

On younger soil let fall- 
Children of Britain s island-breed 
To whom the Mother in her need 

Perchance may one day call." 


WAR came upon us without warning 3 like a 
:hunderbolt from a clear sky. Our people were 
essentially non-military, fearing no aggression from 
L peace-loving neighbour, and ignorant of the im 
minence of German aggression. Yet, in seven weeks, 
Canada created the first apparatus of war. In seven 
weeks we assembled an army which, a few months 
later, was to save Calais on the battlefield of Lange- 
marck. As a demonstration of practical loyalty the 
exertions of Canada were only equalled by Australia 




and New Zealand. As an example of administra 
tion rising to an emergency, the effort has never been 
surpassed in military history. 

When the British ultimatum to Germany demand 
ing the recognition of the neutrality of Belgium 
expired, the Canadian Government decided to raise 
an Expeditionary Force. As this news flashed 
across the Dominion, the fires of patriotism, which 
had been smouldering, burst into flame in every 
province. Parliament was in vacation, but the 
Prime Minister returned from the West and sum 
moned his Cabinet. The Minister of Militia was 
already at work in his office, for the proposal of the 
Canadian Government to raise 20,000 men had 
been accepted by the British Government. 

Within two months of the outbreak of war between 
Great Britain and Germany, the Dominion of 
Canada concentrated, armed, and sent to Europe 
an Expeditionary Force of 33,000 men. A volun 
tary army, the first complete Canadian Division 
ever assembled, with more than half a Reserve 
Division,, this force was by far the greatest body 
of soldiers that had ever crossed the Atlantic at 
one time. It comprised cavalry, artillery, infantry, 
engineers, signallers, supply and ammunition 
columns, field ambulances and hospital staffs, pro 
vided with all the apparatus required for the 
handling and treatment of the wounded; it carried 
its own complement of rifles, machine guns, field 
guns, and heavy artillery, and a store of ammunition. 

It was not the first time that Canadians 
had taken up arms in defence of Imperial 
interests. In the Crimean War, Canadians fought in 
the ranks of the British Army. The Indian Mutiny 


saw the old Prince of Wales Royal Canadian 
Regiment at Gibraltar and at Malta. More than 
7,000 Canadians fought for England in the South 
African War. But now the Empire was to be tested 
to its foundations. The Minister of Militia, Major- 
General the Hon. Sir Sam Hughes, K.C.B., acted 
with the promptness and energy for which he was 
already famous in the Dominion. In less than a 
month the Government, which had asked for 20,000 
men, found almost 40,000 at its disposal, and the 
Minister of Militia deemed it necessary to issue 
orders that no more recruits be enrolled for the first 

Thus did Canada answer the call. From the work 
shops and the offices of her cities, from the lumber 
camps of her forests, from the vast wheatfields of 
the West, from the farms and orchards of the East, 
from the slopes of the Rockies, from the shores of 
Hudson Bay, from the mining valleys of British 
Columbia, from the banks of the Yukon, from the 
reaches of the St. Lawrence, the manhood of Canada 
hurried to arms. 

No mere jackboot militarism inspired them. They 
sought neither the glory of conquest nor the rape 
of freedom, nor the loot of sacked cities. No selfish 
ideal led them to leave their homes and exchange 
the ease and comforts of civil life for the sufferings 
of war and the risk of death. They came forward, 
free men and unconstrained, with a simple resolve 
to lay down their lives, if need be, in defence of 
the Empire their Empire too the very existence 
of which, as they swiftly saw, was menaced by the 
most formidable military combination which had 
ever sprung to arms. The first contingent was born 

B 2 


partly of the glory of adventure but more of the 
spirit of self-sacrifice; and this spirit, in its turn, 
was born of the deepest emotions of the Canadian 
people its love of Country, of Liberty, and of 

The Government, in deciding to raise a contingent 
for service in Europe, were carrying out the national 
will, and when Parliament entered upon its special 
session, some days after the declaration of War, 
unanimity prevailed. The Prime Minister spoke 
for all parties when he declared that Canada 
stood shoulder to shoulder with Britain and 
the other British Dominions in this quarrel. 53 Sir 
Wilfrid Laurier spoke of the " double honour " 
of Canadians of French descent in the opportunity 
of ( taking their place to-day in the ranks of the 
Canadian Army to fight for the cause of the allied 
nations." The Government announced its further 
intention of raising a sum of fifty millions of dollars 
for war purposes. 

As soon as the policy of the Government had 
been ratified, General Hughes devised and ordered 
the establishment of the largest camp that had ever 
been seen on Canadian soil. The site at Valcartier 
was well chosen. It lay some sixteen miles to the 
west of Quebec, within a day s march of the gather 
ing transports. The soil was, in the main, light and 
sandy, and a river of pure water was available. 
Yet the work of adapting this virgin soil to mili 
tary purposes was enormous, and the transforma 
tion, effected within a fortnight by an army of 
engineers and workers, a remarkable triumph 
of applied science. Roads were made, drains laid 
down, a water supply with miles of pipes installed, 


electric lighting furnished from Quebec, and in 
cinerators built for the destruction of dry refuse. A 
sanitary system, second to none that any camp has 
seen, was instituted. Every company had its own 
bathing place and shower baths; every cookhouse 
its own supply of water." Troughs of drinking-water, 
for horses, filled automatically, so that there was 
neither shortage nor waste. The standing crops 
were garnered, trees cut down and their roots torn 
up. A line of rifle targets 3^ miles long the largest 
rifle range in the world was constructed. Three 
miles of sidings were run out from the wayside 
station, and a camp telephone exchange was quickly 
put in working order. 

Camp and army leaped to life in the same hours. 
Within four days of the opening of the camp, nearly 
6,000 men had arrived in it. A week later the 
number was 25,000. In those August days all 
roads led to Valcartier, and the railways rose to 
the occasion, gathering the first Division to the 
rendezvous, from every corner of the country, in great 
trains, each of which carried and fed 600 men. 

The assembling force comprised elements from 
every phase of Canadian life. There were those 
whose names were known throughout the land. 
There were men who had fought at Paardeburg 
some of them very barely within the age limit of 
45. One, who had retired from a colonelcy of a 
regiment, offered to serve as a private, so anxious 
was he to go. He was more than satisfied when he 
received a majority. Another, who had spent his 
fifteenth birthday as a bugler in South Africa, has 
since celebrated his third war birthday in the Flemish 


The original intention of the authorities was 
to send to England a Division, consisting of the 
regular complement of three infantry brigades ; but, 
on September ist, General Hughes announced at 
the camp that a fourth brigade would be formed, 
to be used as drafts to supply the war wastage in 
the other three. Towards the end of the month 
the Government decided to send all four brigades 
over together. The total reinforcements for the^, 
first year of a great war," said Sir Robert Borden| 
in announcing his decision, * are estimated at from" 
60 to 70 per cent. If the reserve depots necessary 
for supplying such reinforcements were established 
in Canada, eight or ten weeks might elapse before 
they could reach the front. ... For these reasons, 
as well as others, we deem it advisable that the 
reserves shall be kept on hand in Great Britain, as 
the Force at the front must continually be kept at 
full strength, and that without the slightest unneces 
sary delay." 

While the new army underwent its preliminary 
training at Valcartier, there were other preparations 
of every kind to be made. The cloth mills of Mon 
treal began to hum with the manufacture of khaki, 
which the needles of a great army of tailors con 
verted into uniforms, greatcoats and cloaks. The 
Ordnance Department equipped the host with the 
Ross rifle a Canadian-made arm. Regiments were 
shuffled and reshuffled into battalions; battalions 
into brigades. The whole force was inoculated 
against typhoid. There were stores to manufacture 
and to accumulate ; a fleet of transports to assemble ; 
a thousand small cogs in the machine to be nicely 


Early in September, the whole First Division was 
reviewed by the Governor-General in a torrential 
downpour of rain; and again, towards the end of 
the month, a few days before embarkation, the Duke 
of Connaught (accompanied by the Duchess and the 
Princess Patricia) took the salute at Valcartier from 
the first army of Canada. At this final review the 
contingent was fittingly led past the saluting base 
by the man whose name, more than any one other, 
will be linked in history with the first Canadian Divi 
sion. General Hughes had cause to be proud of 
the 33,000 men who marched past that day, fully 
armed and fully equipped, well within two months 
of the declaration of war in Europe. 

The feat of raising such a force is all the more 
remarkable when one considers that, with the ex 
ception of the Princess Patricia s Light Infantry, 
the overwhelming majority of the men who volun 
teered for the great War were civilians, without 
previous experience or training. The Princess 
Pats," as that already famous regiment is now 
commonly called, was the only one that consisted 
almost entirely of old soldiers. 

The Governor-General s review over, news from 
the camp came fitfully. The censor was at work, 
and the public guessed rightly that the division was 
on the move. Through the darkness and the rain 
and the mud of the night of September 23rd-24th, 
the guns crawled down the sixteen miles of valley 
that brought them to Quebec at daybreak, the men 
drenched, but happy in the knowledge that they were 
at last off to the war. The weather was so bad that 
the infantry, instead of marching, were brought 
down in a long succession of heavy trains. The 


embarkation of horses, men, guns and wagons was 
completed in less than three days. And so the First 
Canadian Division, with its Reserves, sailed away 
down the St. Lawrence, in a fleet of Atlantic liners 
such as the mighty gateway of Canada had never 
before borne on her bosom. 

The fleet assembled in Gaspe Basin, on the coast 
of Quebec, where the warships which were to convoy 
it across the Atlantic awaited it. On October 
3rd the transports steamed out of Gaspe* Bay 
in three lines ahead, led by His Majesty s ships 
Charybdis, Diana, and Eclipse, with the Glory and 
Suffolk on the flanks, and the Talbot in the rear. 
Later, the Suffolk s place was taken by the 
battle-cruiser, Queen Mary. The sealing-ship 
Florizel, with the Newfoundland Regiment aboard, 
joined the fleet after its departure from Gaspe 

The voyage was uneventful if rather long, the 
fleet entering Plymouth Sound on the evening of 
October I4th. So strict had been the censorship 
that the arrival of the Canadian Armada was quite 
unexpected by the people of Plymouth and Devon- 
port ; but no sooner had the word gone forth that the 
Canadian transports had arrived, than the townsfolk 
flocked to the waterside, to cheer and sing, and cheer 

No one was allowed on board the transports, but, 
when on the succeeding days the troops were landed 
and marched through the streets, they received a 
welcome which they will never forget. Hundreds 
of the men had relatives and friends who were 
anxious to catch a glimpse of them at the docks, 
but access was refused. The only exception 


made throughout the various disembarkations 
was in the case of the late Field-Marshal Lord 

Lieut-General Alderson 1 had been appointed to 
the command of the contingent, and visited the com 
manding officers before the work of disembarkation 

The Canadian Division, the Princess Patricia s 
Canadian Light Infantry, and the Newfoundland 
Regiment occupied camps on Salisbury Plain at 
Bustard, West Down South, West Down North, 
Pond Farm, Lark Hill, and Sling Plantation. Here 
the Canadians remained until their departure for 
France. Here, in the mud and cold and rain of 
those four dismal months, they worked and lived 
and displayed that spirit of endurance, courage, 
and willingness which has since proclaimed them 

1 Lieut.-General Edwin Alfred Hervey Alderson, C.B., 
has a distinguished record of service. He was born in 1859, at 
Ipswich, and began his military career with the Militia, from 
which he passed to the Regular Army in December, 1878. He 
joined the Royal West Kent Regiment as Second Lieutenant, and 
was promoted to Lieutenant in July, 1881 ; and in this year he 
first saw active service with the Natal Field Force in the Trans 
vaal campaign. He was ordered to Egypt in the following year, 
serving there with the mounted infantry. He was in two actions, 
at Kassassin and at the battle of Tel-el-Kebir on Septem 
ber i3th. He received the medal with clasp and the Khedive s 
bronze star. Lieut. Alderson took part in the Nile Expedition 
of 1884-1885. He was promoted Captain in June, 1886, and 
Major in May, 1896, and received the brevet of Lieut.-Colonel in 
1897. In 1896 and 1897 he served in South Africa under Sir 
Frederick Canington. In October, 1899, he was given the 
command of the mounted infantry of the ist Cavalry Brigade. 
His services throughout the South African campaign were constant 
and distinguished. In 1903 he was promoted Colonel, and 
appointed to the command of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, ist Army 
Corps. He became a Major-General in 1906, and in 1908 
commanded the 6th Division, Southern Army, India. His rank 
of Lieut.-General dates from October i4th, 1914. 


to the world as troops of the finest quality. On 
the sodden grazing lands, in the fog and mud of 
the battalion lines, in the dripping tents and 
crowded, reeking huts, the men of Canada gave 
promise of the great spirit they possessed, and their 
officers saw it and were proud. 

Lord Roberts visited the Division soon after its 
arrival in England. It was the last public appear 
ance of this great soldier in England, and the 
following are the principal points in his speech to 
the Canadian troops : 

We have arrived at the most critical moment 

of our history, and you have generously come 

to help us in our hour of need. 

* # # 

Three months ago we found ourselves in 
volved in this war, a war not of our own seeking, 
but one which those who have studied Ger 
many s literature and Germany s aspirations, 
knew was a war which we should inevitably 
have to deal with sooner or later. The prompt 
resolve of Canada to give us such valuable 
assistance, has touched us deeply. That re 
solve has been quickened into action in a mar 
vellously short space of time, under the 
excellent organising and driving power of your 
Minister of Militia my friend, Major-General 

* * * 

" We are fighting a nation which looks upon 
the British Empire as a barrier to her develop 
ment, and has, in consequence, long contem 
plated our overthrow and humiliation. To 


attain that end she has manufactured a magni 
ficent fighting machine, and is straining every 
nerve to gain victory. 

# * * 

" It is only by the most determined efforts 
that we can defeat her." 1 

The King paid his first visit to our troops early 
in November. His Majesty was accompanied by 
Field-Marshals Lords Roberts and Kitchener, Sir 
George Perley, Member of the Canadian Cabinet in 
charge of the office of the High Commissioner in 
London, 2 and Sir Richard McBride, Prime Minister 
of British Columbia. 

The Princess Patricia s Canadian Light Infantry 
left Salisbury Plain early in December and joined 
the 27th British Division. The Regiment was 
brigaded with the 3rd King s Royal Rifles, 4th 
King s Royal Rifles, 4th Rifle Brigade, and 2nd 
King s Shropshire Light Infantry. 

The King again visited the Canadian troops on 
February 4th, 1915; and on the following day 
a Division composed of three infantry brigades, three 
artillery brigades, ammunition column, divisional 

1 From Canada of October 3ist, 1914. 

1 Whn war was declared Sir George Perley, K.C.M.G., M.P., 
was in London, on his way from Canada to attend a congress of 
the International Parliamentary Union for Peace, at Stockholm. 
He remained in England to act as High Commissioner for 
Canada, in succession to the late Lord Strathcona, whose place 
had not been filled. Sir George is the first Commissioner, from 
any Dominion, of Cabinet rank, and the advantage to Canada is 
at once obvious. He is, of course, a man of vast business experi 
ence, and it would be difficult to over-estimate the services he has 
already rendered to the Imperial Government and the Govern 
ment of Canada. 


engineers, divisional mounted troops, and divisional 
train, marched off Salisbury Plain and entrained for 
their port of embarkation under the command of 
Lieut-General Alderson. 

Lieut. -Colonel (now Major-General) M. S. Mercer 
commanded the ist Infantry Brigade, which was 
composed of the ist Battalion (Ontario Regiment) 
under Lieut.-Colonel F. W. Hill, the 2nd Battalion 
under Lieut.-Colonel (now Brigadier-General) David 
Watson, the 3rd Battalion (Toronto Regiment) under 
Lieut.-Colonel (now Brigadier-General) R. Rennie, 
and the 4th Battalion under Lieut.-Colonel A. P. 
Birchall, who was killed in action. 

The 2nd Infantry Brigade was commanded by 
Lieut.-Colonel A. W. Currie (now Major-General), 
and his four battalions, the 5th, 7th, 8th, and loth, 
were commanded respectively by Lieut.-Colonels 
G. S. Tuxford, W. F. H. Hart-McHarg, L. J. 
Lipsett (now Brigadier-General), and R. L. 
Boyle. Colonels Hart-McHarg and Boyle fell 
at Ypres. 

Colonel R. E. W. Turner, V.C., D.S.O., who has 
since been promoted to the rank of Major-General, 
commanded the 3rd Infantry Brigade, with Lieut.- 
Colonels F. O. W. Loomis, F. S. Meighen (now 
Brigadier-General), J. A. Currie, and R. G. E. 
Leckie (since promoted to Brigadier-General) com 
manding respectively the i3th Battalion (Royal 
Highlanders of Canada), the i4th Battalion (Royal 
Montreal Regiment), the i5th Battalion (48th High 
landers of Canada), and the i6th Battalion (Cana 
dian Scottish). 

Lieut.-Colonel (now Brigadier-General) H. E. 
Burstall commanded the Canadian Artillery, with 


Lieut-Colonels E. W. B. Morrison (now Brigadier- 
General), J. J. Creelman and J. H. Mitchell com 
manding artillery brigades. The Officer Command 
ing Divisional Engineers was Lieut.-Colonel C. J. 
Armstrong (now Brigadier-General) ; Lieut.-Colonel 
F. C. Jameson was in command of the Divisional 
Mounted Troops and Major F. A. Lister of the 
Divisional Signal Company. 

The Division sailed from Avonmouth, and the last 
transport reached St. Nazaire, on the Bay of Biscay, 
in the second week of February. 

The 6th, 9th, nth, I2th, and i;th Battalions 
were left in England as the Base Brigade of the 
Division. These battalions were formed later into 
the Canadian Training Depot; later still, together 
with reinforcements from Canada, into the Canadian 
Training Division, under the command of Brigadier- 
General J. C. MacDougall. 

Such, in its principal commands, was the Army 
which left Canada for the Great Adventure. It 
carried with it, and it left behind, high hopes. It was 
certain that no men of finer physique or higher 
courage could be found anywhere in any theatre of 
this immense struggle. But there were some and 
these neither faint-hearted nor unpatriotic who 
recalled with anxiety the scientific organisation and 
the tireless patience with which Germany had set 
herself to create the most superb military instrument 
which the world has ever seen. And they may have 
been forgiven if they asked themselves : 

" Can civilians, however brave and intelligent, be 
made in a few months the equals of those inspired 
veterans who are swarming in triumph over the 
battlefields of Europe?" 


Can Generals, and Staffs, and officers be 
improvised, able to compete with the scientific 
output of the most scientific General Staff which 
has ever conceived and carried out military 
operations ? 

These were formidable questions, and even a 
bold man might have shrunk from a confident 

The story of Canada in Flanders, however in 
adequately told, will make it unnecessary ever to 
ask them again. 



"Plug Street" British Army in being At General Head 
quarters Rest billets Mud or death The trenches 
Buzzing bullets Sir Douglas Haig The Front 
Restrictions on the narrative Reviewed by Commander- 
in-Chief Canadians in the trenches Our men take to 
football "Jack Johnsons" A German challenge 
General Alderson The General s methods His speech to 
the Canadians A fine Force. 

"Things ave transpired which made me learn 

The size and meanin of the game. 
I did no more than others did, 

I don t know where the change began; 
I started as an average kid, 
I finished as a thinkin man." 


"The strong necessity of time commands 
Our services awhile." 

Antony and Cleopatra. 

AFTER a slow journey by rail of 350 miles from 
the landing point in France, the Canadians reached 
a wayside station which lies about twelve miles due 
west of Ploegsteert the war-historic " Plug Street* 
wood, which British regiments had already made 
famous. At this point the Canadians were well 
within that triangle of country lying between St. 
Omer to the west, the ruins of Ypres to the east, 


and Bethune to the south, which at that time con 
tained the entire British Army in France. 

It was one of the most remarkably interesting 
pieces of triangular territory imaginable, full of 
movement, romance, and the intricate detail of 
organisation. Within it lay the already wonderful 
beginnings of the great British force as it is to-day, 
and I will do my best to make clear how, within that 
triangle, the first British Army lived, moved, fought, 
and generally had its being. 

You must picture the British Army in the field, 
spread out like a fan. The long, wavy edge of the 
fan is the line of men in the firing trenches, at the 
very forefront of affairs, often within a stone s-throw 
of the opposing German line. Some hundreds of 
yards behind this firing line lie the support trenches, 
also filled with men. The men in the firing and 
supporting trenches exchange places every forty- 
eight hours. After a four days spell they all retire 
for four days rest, fresh troops taking their places 
as they move out. At the end of their four days 
rest they return again to the trenches. All relieving 
movements are carried out in the dark to avoid the 
enemy s rifle fire. 

Further back, along the ribs of the fan, one finds 
the headquarters of the many brigades; behind 
these, headquarters of divisions; then headquarters 
of army corps, then of armies the groups becoming 
fewer and fewer in number as you recede until, 
at the end of the fan handle, one reaches the General 
Headquarters, where the Commander-in-Chief 
stands, with his hand on the dynamo which sends 
its impulses through every part of the great machine 
spread out in front. 


From General Headquarters the movements of the 
entire British Army, or rather of the several British 
armies, are directed and controlled. It is a War 
Office in the field, with numerous branches closely 
co-ordinated and working together like a single 
machine. Here is the operations office, where plans 
of attack are worked out under the direction of the 
Commander-in-Chief and his chief of staff. 

Near by is the building occupied by the " signals 
branch, which with its nerve system of telegraphs, 
telephones, and motor-cycle despatch riders, is the 
medium of communication with every part of the 
field, and also with the base of supplies and the War 
Office in London. "Signals carries its wires to 
within rifle shot of the trenches, and every division 
of the Army has its own field telephones from batta 
lions headquarters to the firing line. 

Close at hand is the office of the intelligence 
branch, which collects and communicates informa 
tion about the enemy from every source it can tap. 
It receives and compares reports of statements made 
by prisoners, and interrogates some prisoners itself. 
It goes through documents, letters, diaries, official 
papers captured in the field and extracts points 
from these. It collects news from its own agents 
it is only your enemy who calls them spies 
-about events that are happening, or are likely 
to happen, behind the screen of the enemy s 

At General Headquarters you find the department 
of the Adjutant-General, who is responsible for the 
whole of the arrangements keeping the army in the 
field supplied with men and munitions of war, for 
the transfer of all prisoners to the base, for the trial 



of offences against discipline, and for the spiritual 
welfare of the troops. 

From a neighbouring office the Quartermaster- 
General controls the movements of food and fodder 
for men and horses, and all other stores, other than 
actual munitions of war. 

Still another branch houses the Director-General 
of Medical Service, who supervises the treatment of 
the wounded from the field aid post to the field 
clearing station, from there to the hospital train, 
and thence to the base hospital in France or Great 

One of the most fascinating spots at General 
Headquarters is the map department. Thousands of 
maps of various kinds and sizes have been produced 
here since the war began. They vary from large 
maps, to be hung on walls or spread on great tables, 
down to small slips with a few lines of German 
trenches accurately outlined and most handy for 
the use of battery and battalion commanders. 
Remarkable photographs are also printed here 
panoramic views and photographs of German posi 
tions, taken at very close quarters, often under fire. 
There are officers who specialise in this perilous and 
wonderful business. 

As one goes forward from General Headquarters 
towards the edge of the fan, one comes in contact 
with more and more men, and realises quickly that, 
in spite of the hardships of trench warfare, our 
troops are superbly fit and ready for any task which 
the fortunes of war may impose on them. Their 
physical condition remains so robust as to be 

For instance, the evening that I reached the 


billeting area, I saw several battalions of the Ex 
peditionary Force marching from their billets to 
wards the trenches they had been at the front for 
months, yet they stepped as freshly as though they 
were just from home or route-marching in English 
lanes. Their faces shone with health ; their eyes were 
as bright as those of a troop of schoolboys. They 
were, in fact, tramping down a long, straight, poplar- 
lined Flemish highway, with a misty vista of flat 
ploughed land on either side. They whistled as 
they marched. 

The complete efficiency of the men is largely due 
to the excellence of their food. The Army is, in 
fact, healthier than any other army that has ever 
faced war. Typhoid is almost unknown. The 
amazing record of health owes much to the sanitary 
precautions which are taken. One of the most 
remarkable of these is the system of hot baths and 
the sterilising of clothing. 

Bathing establishments have been put up in 
various parts of the field, and the largest of them is 
in a building which, before the war, was a jute 
factory. Every hour of the day, successive com 
panies of men have hot baths here. They strip 
to the skin, and while they wallow in huge vats of 
hot water, their clothing is treated with 200 degrees 
of heat, which destroys all vermin. 

At first the small towns, the villages, and the many 
farmhouses and cottages within easy reach of the 
firing line provided all the rest billets. A great 
many men are billeted in this way still. I found, 
for instance, a company of Territorials snugly resting 
in a huge farm, the officers having quarters in the 
farmhouse on the other side of the yard; but 

C 2 


recently a large number of wooden huts have been 
put up in various places across the countryside, and 
here the men come back from the trenches to 
rest. They are tired when they come "home, 53 
but a sound sleep, a wash, a hearty breakfast, 
and a stroll in the fresh air out of range of the 
insistent bullets have a magical effect. In the after 
noon you find them playing football as blithely as 
boys, and those who are not playing stand round and 
chaff and applaud. I saw as many games of foot 
ball one day, in the course of a motor run behind the 
lines, as one would see on a Saturday afternoon in 

Every day brings its letters and newspapers- 
every rail-head has its little travelling letter office 
shunted into a siding. Here the letters of a division 
are sorted. They average more than one letter a 
day for every man in the field. That is another 
reason why the Army is in good spirits. No army 
in the world before ever got so much news from 
home, so regularly and so quickly. Besides this, 
drafts of men are constantly being sent home- 
across the Channel- -for five or seven days leave. 

The firing line is not much further from the base 
than London is from the sea. One passes on 
through the region of rest billets and headquarters 
of sections of troops, and arrives behind the firing 
line. When the Canadians first landed, the British 
forces held a front between twenty and thirty miles 
long, running from Ypres, on the north, where the 
Seventh Division made its heroic stand against the 
Prussian Guards, to Givenchy, on the south, near 
the scene of the battle of Neuve Chapelle. 

This stretch had been held ever since the British 


troops made their swift dart from the Aisne to 
Flanders, hoping (how strange it seems now) to out 
flank the Germans, and in fact, by immense exer 
tions, defeating a far more formidable outflanking 
movement by the enemy. Here they have main 
tained their ground. They lived and fought in 
seas of mud all through the winter. The water 
was pumped out of the trenches with hand- 
pumps, only to ooze back again through the sodden 
soil. Plank platforms were put down, and straw 
was piled in. Yet the mud smothered everything. 
The men stood in mud, sat in mud, and lay in mud. 
Often it was as much as they could do to prevent the 
mud from clogging their rifles. They crawled 
through mud to the trenches when it was their time 
to relieve those in the firing line. They had to hide 
in the mud of the trenches to escape the German 
bullets. It was a choice of mud or death. With 
the arrival of spring, conditions were improved. 
There was less rain, and the winds had begun to 
dry the ground. On fine days there was even dust 
on the paved roads, although the quagmire of mud, 
each side of the centre strip of granite, still remained. 
The trench mud was becoming firmer. 

The line of trenches runs nearly everywhere 
through low-lying ground, intersected with watery 
ditches and small streams; the land is so level, 
and the atmosphere so heavy, that, as a rule, 
the eye ranges little further than a rifle bullet will 
carry. The nearer the firing line the more difficult 
you find it to set eyes on men. Thousands of men 
are almost within hailing distance, but none are to 
be seen. Friend and foe alike are hidden in the 


Some of the most famous trenches are in a wood 
that is known to all the army as " Plug Street," 
although, as I have already made clear, it is spelled 
a little differently on the maps. To reach the 
trenches you have, of course, to come within rifle 
shot of the enemy, for in most places the German 
and British trenches are not more than 250 yards 
from each other, and here and there they are only 
40 or 50 yards apart. One creeps and crawls at 
dusk along paths which months of experience has 
told the soldiers are the best means of approach; 
and one eventually scrambles into a communication 
trench which, in a number of zig-zags, leads you to 
the firing trench, where the men are waiting, rifle in 
hand, in case of attack, or now and again taking a 
snap-shot through a loophole in the trench parapet. 

The trenches in Plug Street 5 are like all the 
other trenches very exciting to think about before 
you reach them, but, unless you happen to arrive 
when shells are bursting overhead, comparatively dull 
and matter-of-fact when you are actually there. It 
is only the chance of death that gives them their 
peculiar interest over other holes excavated by men 
in clammy earth. The bee-like buzz of an occa 
sional bullet overhead reminds you that death is 
searching for its prey. Plug Street J has a fame 
which will endure. All through the first winter, the 
men squashed about in its awful mud, making quite 
a number of slimy, ankle-deep, or knee-deep lanes 
from point to point among the trees. In course of 
time each of the muddy woodland alleys received 
its nickname from the men in the ranks. 

Such was the appearance and atmosphere of things 
at the front when the Canadians first arrived. After 


a few days of special instruction they were billeted 
in the area of the First Army under Sir Douglas 
Haig. The Divisional Headquarters were located 
near Estaires, with the Brigade Headquarters in 
advanced positions, and the Front 3 is clearly 
indicated by the sketch on page 37. 

I have described, as fully as is permissible, the 
general disposition and the general organisation 
of the British Army in the field as it was when the 
Canadians first set foot in France. It now becomes 
necessary to deal in detail with the Front " that 
almost endless succession of warren-like lines where 
scores of thousands of men stand to arms by night and 
day, and where the Canadian troops have already 
fought with a gallantry and a dash, and yet a tenacity, 
which have seldom, if ever, been equalled in military 

None can examine what, for want of a better name, 
is called the "Front 5 of this amazing war, without 
realising the truth of what has been so often said- 
that it is a war almost without a " Front. 33 

As one approaches from a distance the actual 
point of contact between the opposing forces, one is 
struck ever more and more by the immense numbers 
which are converging, as it seems, for some great 
military purpose. But the nearer the front ap 
proaches the more completely does all that is spec 
tacular disappear, until, finally, the flower of the 
youth of Europe vanishes and is swallowed up by 
immense but barely visible lines of field fortifica 

And now the Canadian Division, too, has reached 
the front. The long, the tedious winter discomfort 
of Salisbury Plain, never resented but always dis- 


liked, already seems far away. No one in the Cana 
dian Division grudges the honour which was paid 
to Princess Patricia s Light Infantry, to carry first 
the badge of Canada on the battlefields of Flanders. 
It was freely recognised that this Regiment had 
arrived with greater technical knowledge and had 
reached a degree of efficiency which the other 
battalions could hardly equal without longer pre 
paration. The fortunes of the Princess Patricias 
will be told in another chapter, but it can be said 
that the Battalion has proved itself worthy of fight 
ing side by side, and on equal terms, with the army of 
veterans and heroes which held the trenches during 
the first horrible winter in Flanders. 

It is a story which will demand the utmost care 
in the telling, and, in any case, much that would be 
of the greatest interest must of necessity be omitted, 
because, in face of the superb organisation of the 
German Intelligence Department, it might be mis 
chievous to publish details of units, and of their 
doings, as long as the general military formations in 
which these units play a part remain unchanged. It 
is out of respect for this consideration that the day 
for giving full honours to units by exact identifica 
tion has so often to be postponed, so that the re 
cords of our men s heroism only appear when, in the 
maelstrom of fresh splendid deeds, they are already 
half forgotten. 

This volume, and tho^ which it is hoped will 
follow it, must always be read in the light of these 
most necessary restrictions. Nevertheless it is pos 
sible, while observing every rule which has been 
laid down for our guidance, to give a general picture 
of the Canadian Division, its surroundings and its 


doings, which, whether it interests other people or 
not, will not be read without emotion by those who 
sent their sons and brothers to the greatest battle 
fields of history in support of principles which, in 
their general application, are as important to the 
liberties of Canada as they are to the liberties of 

Before the Canadians took up their allotted posi 
tions in the trenches they marched past the Com- 
mander-in-Chief and his Staff. Those who watched 
the troops defile in the grey, square market-place of 
a typical Flanders town, were experienced judges of 
the physique and quality of soldiers. No one 
desires in such a connection to use exaggerated 
language, and it is therefore unnecessary to say 
more than that the unanimous view of those who 
watched so intently and so critically, was that, judg 
ing the men by their physique and their soldierly 
swing, no more promising troops had come to swell 
our ranks since the day the Expeditionary Force 
landed in France. 

When the Canadian troops first took their turn as 
a Division in the trenches, nothing sensational hap 
pened to them. It was not their fortune, at the out 
set, to be swung forward in a desperate attack, or 
to cling in defensive tenacity to trenches which the 
Germans had resolved to master. There were, of 
course, casualties. One does not enter or leave 
trenches without casualties, for the sniper never fails 
to claim his daily toll, but the early trench experi 
ences of the Canadians were not eventful, as one 
judges incidents in this war. This period of im 
munity, however, was all to the good. Whatever 
else he is, the Canadian is adaptable, and the 


experience of these weeks brought him more wisdom 
than others might have drawn from it. 

Work in the trenches no longer involves, in respect 
of duration, the heartbreaking strain which was 
imposed upon all in the dark and anxious days of 
the autumn of 1914, when a thin line of khaki held, 
often wholly unsupported by reserves, so immense 
a line against superior forces. Trench work now, 
in relation to the period of exposure, is well within 
the powers of stout and resolute troops. For a cer 
tain period, relays of the force take their turn in 
holding their lines. When that period is passed 
they are relieved by their comrades. 

Exciting, if occasionally monotonous, though life 
in the trenches may be, it is strange to a Canadian, 
and deeply interesting, to study the tiny town in 
which the troops in repose are billeted, and the 
hustling life on which they have already stamped so 
much of their individuality. Picture to yourself a 
narrow street, the centre paved, the sides of tenacious 
mud. Line it on each side with houses, rather 
squalid, and with a few unimportant stores. Add a 
chateau (not a grand one) for the Headquarters, a 
modest office for the Staff, and you have a fair con 
ception of the billeting place which shelters that 
part of the division which reposes. But this town 
is like many other towns in this unattractive country. 
Its interest to us lies in the tenants of the moment. 
Walk down the street, and you will, if you are 
a Canadian, feel at once something familiar and 
homelike in the atmosphere. One hears voices 
everywhere, and one does not need the sight of the 
brass shoulder badges, " CANADA/ 3 to know the 
race to which these voices belong. It may be the 


speech of Nova Scotia, it may be the voice of British 
Columbia, or it may be the accents in which the 
French-Canadian seeks to adapt to the French of 
Flanders the tongue which his ancestors, centuries 
ago, carried to a new world ; but, whichever it be it 
is all Canadian. 

And soon, a company swings by, going perhaps to 
bath parade to that expeditious process which, in 
half an hour, has cleansed the bathers and fumigated 
every rag which they possess. And as they pass they 
sing carelessly, but with a challenging catch, a song 
which, if by chance you come from Toronto, will 
perhaps stir some association. For these, or many 
of them, are boys from the College; and the song is 
the University song whose refrain is, Toronto. 3 

And if you go still a little further in the direction 
of the front, you will soon very soon after leaving 
the place of billeting, come to the country over which 
the great guns, by day and night, contend for mastery. 
And as one advances, there seem to be Canadians 
everywhere. Here are batteries, skilfully masked. 
Here are supplies on their way to the trenches. And 
all the time can be seen reliefs and reserves until it 
is strange to meet anyone not in khaki and without 
the badge of " CANADA." The passion for foot 
ball, which the Canadian has begun to share with his 
English comrade, abates none of its keenness as he 
marches nearer to the front. A spirited match was 
in progress near our lines not long ago when a dis 
tracting succession of "Weary Willies began to 
distribute themselves not very far from the football 
ground. The only people who took no notice were 
the players, and nothing short of a peremptory order 
from the Provost Marshal brought to an end a game 


which was somewhat unnecessarily dangerous. 
And our men have, of course, made the acquaint 
ance of Jack Johnson," and without liking him 
-for he is not likeable they endure him with 
as much constancy as brave men need. Nor, 
indeed, have our own artillery failed to do more 
than hold their own. The gunners inherited 
from the division which preceded them in the 
trenches a disagreeable inheritance in the shape of 
an observation post which had long harassed and 
menaced our lines by the information which it placed 
at the disposal of the enemy. We were so fortunate 
as to put it out of action in the third round which we 
fired a success very welcome as an encouragement, 
and giving a substantial relief from an unwhole 
some scrutiny. 

Our infantry were not specially engaged in the 
fighting at Neuve Chapelle, but our artillery played 
its part in that triumph of artillery science which 
preceded the British attack, and our men were ready 
during the whole fight for the order which, had the 
tactical situation so developed, would have sent them, 
too, to make their first assault upon the German 
trenches. And there were not a few who were long 
ing for that order. They thought that the Germans 
had presumed upon a slight acquaintance. For, 
the very first night on which our men were put into 
the trenches, the Germans began to call out, "Come 
out, you Canadians ! Come out and fight ! Now, 
the trenches at normal times have their own code of 
manners and of amenity, and this challenge was, and 
is, regarded as impertinent. 

The Canadian brings his own phrases into his 
daily life. When the German flares in the trenches 


nervously lighted up the space between the two 
lines, There are the Northern Lights was the 
comment of Canada ; and Northern Lights they 
have remained to this day. 

It would be evidently impertinent to say more of 
the General Officer Commanding the force, General 
Alderson, than that he enjoys the most absolute 
confidence of the fine force he commands. He 
trusts them, and they trust him ; and it will be strange 
if their co-operation does not prove fruitful. And 
an observer is at once struck by the extraordinarily 
accurate knowledge which the General has gained 
of the whole body of regimental officers under his 
command. He seems to know them as well by 
name and sight, as if he had commanded the force 
for six years instead of six months. And this is a 
circumstance which, in critical moments, counts for 

General Alderson s methods his practical and 
soldierly style could not be better illustrated than 
by some extracts from the speech which he addressed 
to the troops before they went into the trenches for 
the first time : 

All ranks of the Canadian Division : We are 
about to occupy and maintain a line of trenches. 
I have some things to say to you at this moment 
which it is well that you should consider. You are 
taking over good and, on the whole, dry trenches. 
I have visited some myself. They are intact, and 
the parapets are good. Let me warn you first that 
we have already had several casualties while you 
have been attached to other divisions. Some of 
those casualties were unavoidable, and that is war. 
But I suspect that some at least a few could have 


been avoided. I have heard of cases in which men 
have exposed themselves with no military object, 
and perhaps only to gratify curiosity. We cannot 
lose good men like this. We shall want them all 
if we advance, and we shall want them all if the 
Germans advance. Do not expose your heads, and 
do not look round corners, unless for a purpose 
which is necessary at the moment you do it. It will 
not often be necessary. You are provided with 
means of observing the enemy without exposing 
your heads. To lose your lives without military 
necessity is to deprive the State of good soldiers. 
Young and brave men enjoy taking risks. But a 
soldier who takes unnecessary risks through levity, 
is not playing the game. And the man who does so 
is stupid, for whatever be the average practice of 
the German Army, the individual shots they em 
ploy as snipers shoot straight, and, screened from 
observation behind the lines, they are always watch 
ing. And if you put your head over the parapet 
without orders they will hit that head. 

" There is another thing. Troops new to the 
trenches always shoot at nothing the first night. You 
will not do it. It wastes ammunition and it hurts no 
one. And the enemy says : These are new and 
nervous troops. You will be shelled in the trenches. 
When you are shelled, sit low and sit tight. This 
is easy advice, for there is nothing else to do. If 
you get out you will only get it worse. And if you 
go out the Germans will go in. And if the Germans 
go in, we shall counter-attack and put them out ; and 
that will cost us hundreds of men, instead of the few 
whom shells may injure. The Germans do not like 
the bayonet, nor do they support bayonet attacks. 


If they get up to you, or if you get up to them, go 
right in with the bayonet. You have the physique 
to drive it home. That you will do it I am sure, and 
I do not envy the Germans if you get among them 
with the bayonet. 

" There is one thing more. My old regiment, the 
Royal West Kents, has been here since the beginning 
of the war, and it has never lost a trench. The Army 
says, The West Kents never budge/ I am proud 
of the great record of my old regiment. And I think 
it is a good omen. I now belong to you and you 
belong to me ; and before long the Army will say : 
The Canadians never budge. Lads, it can be left 
there, and there I leave it. The Germans will never 
turn you out." 

I may, before concluding the present chapter, 
point out that the most severe military critics, both 
in England and in France, are loud in their admira 
tion of the organising power which, in a non-military 
country, has produced so fine a force in so short a 
time. In equipment, in all the countless details 
which in co-ordination mean efficiency, the Division 
holds its own with any division at the war. This 
result was only made possible by labour, zeal, and 
immense driving power, and these qualities were ex 
hibited in Canada at the outbreak of war by all those 
whose duties lay in the work of improvisation. 



Canadians valuable help A ride in the dark Pictures on the 
road Towards the enemy At the cross-roads "Six kilo 
metres to Neuve Chapelle " Terrific bombardment 
Grandmotherly howitzers British aeroplanes Fight with 
a Taube Flying man s coolness Attack on the village 
German prisoners A banker from Frankfort The 
Indians pride A halt to our hopes Object of Neuve 
Chapelle What we achieved German defences under 
rated Machine gun citadels Great infantry attack 
Unfortunate delays Sir John French s comments British 
attack exhausted Failure to capture Aubers Ridge 
"Digging in" Canadian Division s baptism of fire 
" Casualties "--Trenches on Ypres salient. 

"The glory dies not, and the grief is past." BRYDGES. 

" During the battle of Neuve Chapelle the Canadians held a part 
of the line allotted to the First Army, and, although they were 
not actually engaged in the main attack, they rendered valuable 
help by keeping the enemy actively employed in front of their 
trenches." Sir John French s Despatch on the Battle of Neuve 
Chapelle, which began on March loth, 1915. 

IT was night when I left the Candian Divisional 
Headquarters and motored in a southerly direction 
towards Neuve Chapelle. It was the eve of the 
great attack, and in the bright space of light cast 
by the motor lamps along the road, there came a 
kaleidoscopic picture of tramping men. 

Here at the front there is no need of police 


restrictions on motor headlights at night as there 
is in London and on English country roads. The 
law under which you place yourself is the range of 
the enemy s guns. Beyond that limit you are free 
to turn your headlights on, and there is no danger. 
But, once within the range of rifle fire or shell, you 
turn your lights on at the peril of your own life. 
So you go in darkness. 

As we rode along with lamps lit, thousands of 
khaki-clad men were marching along that road- 
marching steadily in the direction of Neuve 
Chapelle. The endless stream of their faces flashed 
along the edge of the -pave in the light of our lamps. 
Their ranked figures, dim one moment in the dark 
ness, sprang for an instant into clear outline as the 
light silhouetted them against the background of 
the night. Then they passed out of the light again 
and became once more a legion of shadows, march 
ing towards dawn and Neuve Chapelle. The tramp 
of battalion after battalion was not, however, the 
tramp of a shadow army, but the firm, relentless, 
indomitable step of armed and trained men. 

Every now and then there came a cry of " Halt/ 3 
and the columns came on the instant to a stand. 
Minutes passed, and the command for the advance 
rang out. The columns moved again. So it went 
on halt march halt march hour by hour 
through the night along that congested road a 
river of men and guns. 

For while in one direction men were marching, 
in the other direction came batteries of guns, bound 
by another route for their position in front of Neuve 
Chapelle. The two streams passed one another- 
legions of men and rumbling, clattering lines of 



artillery, all moving under screen of the dark, to 
wards the line of trenches where the enemy lay. 

This was no time to risk a block in traffic, and 
my motor, swerving off the paved centre of the road, 
sank to her axles in the quagmire of thick, sticky 
mud at the side. The guns passed, and we sought 
to regain the paved way again, but our wheels spun 
round, merely churning dirt. We could not move 
out of that pasty Flemish mud, until a Canadian 
ambulance wagon came to our aid. The unhitched 
horses were made fast to the motor, and they heaved 
the car out of her clinging bed. 

In the early morning I came to the cross roads. 
The signpost planted at the crossing and pointing 
down the road to the south-east bore the inscription 
" Six kilometres to Neuve Chapelle." 

This was the road that the legions had taken. 
It led almost in a straight line to the trenches that 
were to be stormed, to the village behind them that 
was to be captured, and to the town of La Bassee, 
a few kilometres further on, strongly held by the 

" Six kilometres to Neuve Chapelle -barely four 
miles; one hour s easy walking, let us say, on such 
a clear, fresh morning; or five minutes in a touring 
car if the time had been peace. But who knew how 
many hours of bloody struggle would now be needed 
to cover that short level stretch of f Six kilometres 
to Neuve Chapelle " ! Between this signpost and 
the village towards which it pointed the way, many 
thousands of armed men sons of the Empire- 
had come from Britain, from India, from all parts 
of the Dominions Overseas, to take their share in 
driving the wedge down to the end of this six kilo- 


metres of country road, and through the heart of 
the German lines. Here for a moment they paused. 
What hopes, what fears, what joys, what sorrows, 
triumphs and tragedies were suggested by that 
austere signpost, pointing like Death s lean-lifted 
forefinger 3 down that little stretch of road marked 
* Six kilometres to Neuve Chapelle"! 

I went on foot part of the way here, for so many 
battalions of men were massed that motor traffic 
was impossible. These were troops held in reserve. 
Those selected for the initial infantry attack were 
already in the trenches ahead right and left of the 
further end of the road, waiting on the moment of 
the advance. 

I had just passed the signpost when the com 
parative peace of morning was awfully shat 
tered by the united roar and crash of hundreds 
of guns. 

This broke out precisely at half-past seven. The 
exact moment had been fixed beforehand for the 
beginning of a cannonade more concentrated and 
more terrific than any previous cannonade in the 
history of the world. It continued with extraordinary 
violence for half-an-hour, all calibres of guns 
taking part in it. Some of the grandmotherly British 
howitzers hurled their enormously destructive shells 
into the German lines, on which a hurricane of 
shrapnel was descending from a host of smaller 
guns. The German guns and trenches offered little 
or no reply, for the enemy were cowering for shelter 
from that storm. 

I turned towards the left and watched for awhile 
the good part which the Canadian Artillery played 
in that attack. The Canadian Division, which was 

D 2 


a little further north than Neuve Chapelle, waited 
in its trenches, hoping always for the order to 

Then I passed down the road until I came to a 
minor crossways where a famous general stood in 
the midst of his Staff. Motor despatch riders 
dashed up the road, bringing him news of the pro 
gress of the bombardment. The news was good. 
The General awaited the moment when the can 
nonade should cease, as suddenly as it had begun, 
and he should unleash his troops. 

Indian infantry marched down the road and 
saluted the General as they passed. He returned 
the salute and cried to the officer at the head of the 
column, Good luck. 53 The officer was an Indian, 
who, with a smile, replied in true Oriental fashion : 
Our Division has doubled in strength, General- 
Sahib, since it has seen you. 33 

While the bombardment continued, British aero 
planes sailed overhead and crossed over to the Ger 
man lines. The Germans promptly turned some guns 
on them. We saw white ball-puffs of smoke as the 
shrapnel shells burst in front, behind, above, below, 
and everywhere around the machines, but never near 
enough to hit. They hovered like eagles above the 
din of the battle, surveying and reckoning the 
damage which our guns inflicted, and reporting 

Once a German Taube rose in the air and lunged 
towards the British lines. Then began a struggle 
for the mastery, which goes to the machine which 
can mount highest and fire down upon its enemy. 
The Taube ringed upwards. A couple of British 
aeroplanes circled after it. To and fro and round 

Line occupied by British in March. 1915. 

New Line after the Advance at Neuve- \ 
Chapel/e. March /0 th - .13 /9/s. I 

Area in which the prolonged fighting ^ 
occurred, the capture ofwhicn, haa 
oar troops succeeded in their attach, 
would have brought the Canadian. 
Division into the fight 




t ^UC 


-$ vv .rs. 

^ -, v , -I &^i. 


^.-^VA/i /-N r-s^v, 



" Ir* 

Marqu lilies ^* 

FestubertX Jxvblai 

GCOGf?AFHiA" L TO 55 rijfr r s/sr/r 


and round they went, until the end came. The British 
machines secured the upper air, and soon we saw 
that the Taube was done. Probably the pilot had 
been wounded. The machine drooped and swooped 
uneasily till, like a wounded bird, it streaked down 
headlong far in the distance. 

I walked over to where a British aeroplane was 
about to start on a flight. The young officer of the 
Royal Flying Corps in charge was as cool as though 
he were taking a run in a motor-car at home. As 
a matter of fact," he said, f I wanted change and 
rest. I had spent five months in the trenches, and 
was worn out and tired by the everlasting monotony 
and drudgery of it all. So I applied for a job in 
the Flying Corps. It soothes one s nerves to be 
up in the air for a bit after living down in the mud 
for so long." 

I watched him soar up into the morning sky and 
saw numerous shrapnel bursts chasing him as he 
sailed about over the German lines. What a quiet, 
easy-going holiday was this, dodging about in the 
air, a clear mark for the enemy s guns ! But, to tell 
the truth, the British flying men and machines are 
very rarely hit. Flying in war-time is not so perilous 
as it looks, though it needs much skill and a calm, 
collected spirit. 

At length the din of the gunfire ceased, and we 
knew that the British troops were rushing from their 
trenches to deal with the Germans, whose nerve the 
guns had shaken. Astounded as they had been by 
our artillery fire, the Germans were still more amazed 
by the rapidity of the infantry attack. The British 
soldiers and the Indians swept in upon them in 
stantly till large numbers threw down their weapons, 


scrambled out of their trenches, and knelt, hands 
up, in token of surrender. 

The fight swept on far beyond the German 
trenches, through the village, and beyond that again. 
The big guns occasionally joined in, and the chatter 
of the machine-guns rose and broke off. Now the 
motor ambulances began to come back up that 
road down which the finger pointed to Neuve 
Chapelle. They lurched past us as we stood by the 
signpost in an intermittent stream, bearing the 
wounded men from the fight. 

Presently the cheerful sight of German prisoners 
alternated with the saddening procession of am 
bulances. Large squads of prisoners went by, many 
hatless and with dirt-smeared faces, their uniforms 
looking as though dipped in mustard, the effect of 
the bursting of the British lyddite shells among them 
in their trenches. The dejection of defeat was on 
their faces. 

Some of them were halted and were questioned 
by the General. One man turned out to be a Frank 
fort banker, whose chief concern later was what 
would become of his money, which he said had been 
taken charge of by some of his captors. He was 
also anxious to know where he would be imprisoned, 
and seemed relieved, if not delighted, when he 
heard that it would be in England. 

Another prisoner had been a hairdresser in 
Dresden. The General questioned him, and he 
gave an entertaining account of his experiences as 
a soldier. 

" I am a Landwehr man/ 3 he said. : I was in 
Germany when I was ordered to entrain. Presently 
the train drew up and I was ordered to get out, and 


was told I had to go and attack a place called Neuve 
Chapelle. So I went on with others, and soon we 
came into a hell of fire, and we ran onwards and 
got into a trench, and there the hell was worse than 
ever. We began to fire our rifles. Suddenly I heard 
shouting behind me, and looked round and saw a 
large number of Indians between me and the rest 
of the German Army. I then looked at the other 
German soldiers in the trench and saw that they 
were throwing their rifles out of the trench. Well, 
I am a good German, but I did not want to be 
peculiar, so I threw my rifle out also, and then I 
was taken prisoner and brought here. Although I 
have not been long at the war, I have had enough 
of it. I never saw daylight in the battlefield until 
I was a prisoner/ 3 

Some of the prisoners were brought along by the 
Indian troops who had captured them. They com 
plained bitterly that they, Germans, should be 
marched about in the custody of Indians ! They 
did not understand the grimly humorous reply : If 
the Indians are good enough to take you, they are 
good enough to keep you." 

The Indians smiled with delight, for they are 
particularly fond of making prisoners of Germans. 
Most of them brought back their little trophies of 
the fight, which they held out for inspection with a 
smile, crying, " Souvenir ! 

The stream of prisoners and of wounded 
passed on. The fury of battle relaxed. Now 
and then some of the guns still crashed, but the 
machine guns rattled further and further away, 
and the crackle of the rifle fire came from a 


The British Army had traversed in triumph those 
six kilometres to Neuve Chapelle. 53 

At Neuve Chapelle it halted, and there halted, 
too, the hopes of an early and conclusive victory for 
the Allied forces. 

The enemy s outposts had been driven in, but 
beyond these, their fortified places bristled with 
machine guns, which wrought havoc on our troops, 
and, indeed, brought the successful offensive to a 
close. Controversy has arisen over the disappointing 
results which were achieved. For a month after the 
battle, Neuve Chapelle was heralded by the public 
as a great British victory. But doubt followed con 
fidence, and in a few weeks the * victory was 
described as a failure. The truth lies between these 

The object of this battle of Neuve Chapelle was 
to give our men a new spirit of offensive and to 
test the British fighting machine which had been 
built up with so much difficulty on the Western 
front. Besides, if this attack succeeded in destroying 
the German lines, it would be possible to gain the 
Aubers ridge which dominates Lille. That ridge 
once firmly held in our hands, the city should have 
been ours. That would have been a great victory. 
It would probably have meant the end of the Ger 
man occupation of this part of France. In any case 
it must have had a marked effect upon the whole pro 
gress of the war. 1 

1 The scheme of the attack on Neuve Chapelle had been worked 
out by General John Gough just before he was killed, and it was 
explained to his Corps Commanders by Sir John French on May 
8th as follows : The ist Army was to launch the main assault, 
the 4th Corps being- on the left flank and the Indian Corps on 
the right. To hold up the enemy all along the line, and to 


That was what we hoped to do. What we actu 
ally accomplished was the winning of about a mile 
of territory along a three-mile front, and the 
straightening of our line. The price was too high 
for the result. 

It was the first great effort ever made by the 
British to pierce the German line since it had been 
established after the open field battles of the Marne 
and the Aisne. The British troops had faced the 
German lines for months, and while the funda 
mental principles of the German defences were 
fairly well understood, their real strength was very 
much underrated. 

Things went badly from the beginning of the 
action. The artillery "preparation 5 represented 
quite the most formidable bombardment the British 
had so far made, but even so, it was ineffective 
along certain sections of the line. After the way 
had been paved by shrapnel and high explosive, 
the British infantry moved forward in a splendid 
offensive to secure what everyone believed would 
be a decisive victory; and trained observers of the 
battle were under the impression that the gallant 
British infantry had won their end. This is an 
impression, too, which was shared by some of the 
men for a time. 

For many months the British had been almost 
entirely on the defensive, and over and over again 
had been called on to repulse heavy, massed Ger 
man attacks. The casualties sustained in repulsing 

prevent his massing reinforcements to meet the main attack, two 
other supplementary attacks were also to be made one attack 
by the ist Corps from Givenchy, and the other by the 3rd Corps- 
detailed from the 2nd Army for that purpose to the south of 


these attacks first revealed our shortage of machine- 
guns. What they lacked in machine-guns, how 
ever, the British troops made up for in a deadly 
accuracy of rifle fire, which was at once the terror 
and the admiration of the Germans. The British 
had thus come to an exaggerated idea of the efficacy 
of rifle fire, and a consequent over-estimate of the 
importance of the German first line trenches. Over 
these they swarmed, and the word went forth that 
the day was won. 

It was only when the British troops had occupied 
the enemy s first and second line trenches, they dis 
covered that, in actual fact, they had not done more 
than drive in the outposts of an army. Close at hand, 
the Germans third line loomed up like a succession 
of closely interlocked citadels. Nay, more, those 
citadels were so constructed that the trenches from 
which our men had ousted the enemy with so much 
heroism and loss were deathtraps for the new 
tenants. The circumstances were such that to retire 
meant acknowledgment of failure, and to hang on, a 
grisly slaughter. 

Even so, there were features of the situation 
which made for hope. There were positions to be 
won which would very seriously jeopardise the 
whole German scheme of defence; but, at the 
critical moment of the battle, the advanced troops 
seem to have passed beyond the control of the 
various commanders in the rear on account of the 
misty weather. 

The real tragedy, however, was the non-arrival 
of the supports at a point and at a time when the 
appearance of reserves might have made all the 
difference to the fortunes of the day. The enemy 


was still bewildered and demoralised, and, but for 
the delay, might have been completely routed. 
Unfortunately, the British front was in great need 
of straightening out. The 23rd Brigade continued 
to hang up the 8th Division, while the 25th Brigade 
was fighting along a portion of the front where it 
was not supposed to be at all. Units had to be 
disentangled and the whole line straightened before 
further advance could be made. 

The fatal result was a delay which, Sir John 
French says, would never have occurred had the 
( clearly expressed orders of the General Officer com 
manding the ist Army been more carefully observed. 53 

Sir Douglas Haig himself hurried up to set things 
right, but it was then too late to retrieve the 
failure which had been occasioned by delay. The 
attack was thoroughly exhausted, its sting was gone, 
and the enemy had pulled himself together. Night 
was falling, and there was nothing to be done but 
dig in beneath the ridge above Lille, the capture 
of which would have altered the whole story of the 
campaign on the Western front. 

As I have said, the Canadian infantry took no 
part in the battle, though the troops waited im 
patiently and expectantly for the order to advance, 
but the activity of the Canadian artillery was con 
siderable and important. The Canadian guns took 
their full share in the c preparation for the sub 
sequent British infantry attack, and the observation 
work of our gunners was good and continuous. 

After Neuve Chapelle, quiet reigned along the 
Canadian trenches, though the battle raged to the 
north of us at St. Eloi, and the Princess Patricia s 
Battalion was involved. Early in the last days of 


March our troops were withdrawn and retired to 
rest camps. 

The Canadians had received their baptism of 
fire, and in extremely favourable circumstances. 
They had not been called on to make any desperate 
attacks on the German lines. Nor had the Ger 
mans launched any violent assaults upon theirs. 
The infantry had sustained a few casualties, but 
that was all ; while German artillery practice against 
our trenches had been curtailed on account of the 
violent fighting both to the south and the north. 

On the other hand, we had been surrounded by 
all the circumstances of great battles. We had 
watched the passage of the giant guns, of which the 
British made use for the first time at Neuve 
Chapelle, and we had moved and lived and stood 
to arms amid all the stir and accessories of vehement 
war. The guns had boomed their deadly message 
in our ears, we had seen death in many forms, and 
understood to the full the meaning of Casualties, 53 
while, day by day, the aeroplanes wheeled and 
circled overhead, passing and re-passing to the 
enemy s lines. 

The Canadians had come to make war, and had 
dwelt in the midst of it, and after their turn in the 
trenches many of them, no doubt, accounted them 
selves war-worn veterans. Little they knew of the 
ordeals of the future. Little they dreamt, when 
towards the middle of the month of April they were 
sent to take over French trenches in the Ypres 
salient, that they were within a week of that terrible 
but wonderful battle which has consecrated this 
little corner of Flanders for Canadian generations 
yet unborn. 



Canadians glory A civilian force Ypres salient Poelcappelle 
road Disposition of troops Gas attack on French 
Plight of the 3rd Brigade Filling the gap General 
Turner s move Loss of British guns Canadian valour 
St. Julien Attack on the wood Terrible fire Officer 
casualties Reinforcements Geddes detachment Second 
Canadian Brigade bent back Desperate position Ter 
rible casualties Col. BirchalPs death Magnificent artil 
lery work Canadian left saved Canadians relieved 
Story of 3rd Brigade Gas attack on Canadians Cana 
dian recovery Major Norsworthy killed Major 
McCuaig s stand Disaster averted Col. Hart-McHarg 
killed Major Odium General Alderson s efforts 
British reinforce Canadians 3rd Brigade withdraws 
General Currie stands fast Trenches wiped out Fresh 
gas attack Germans take St. Julien British cheer Cana 
dians Canadians relieved - - Heroism of men Col. 
Watson s dangerous mission The Ghurkas dead 
Record of all units Our graveyard in Flanders. 

" If my neighbour fails, more devolves upon me." 


"Gloucester, tis true that we are in great danger; 
The greater therefore should our courage be." 


THE fighting in April, in which the Canadians 
played so glorious a part, cannot, of course, be 
described with precision of military detail until time 
has made possible the co-ordination of all the 
relevant diaries, and the piecing together in a narra- 

YPRES. 47 

tive both lucid and exact of much which is confused 
and blurred. 1 

The battle which raged for so many days in the 
neighbourhood of Ypres was bloody, even as men 
appraise battles in this callous and life-engulfing 
war. But as long as brave deeds retain the power 
to fire the blood of Anglo-Saxons, the stand made 
by the Canadians in those desperate days will be 
told by fathers to their sons; for in the military 
records of Canada this defence will shine as brightly 
as, in the records of the British Army, the stubborn 
valour with which Sir James Macdonnel and the 
Guards beat back from Hougoumont the Division 
of Foy and the Army Corps of Reille. 

The Canadians wrested from the trenches, over 
the bodies of the dead and maimed, the right to 
stand side by side with the superb troops who, in the 
first battle of Ypres, broke and drove before them the 
flower of the Prussian Guards. 

Looked at from any point, the performance would 
be remarkable. It is amazing to soldiers, when the 
genesis and composition of the Canadian Division 
are considered. It contained, no doubt, a sprinkling 
of South African veterans, but it consisted in the 
main of men who were admirable raw material, but 
who at the outbreak of war were neither disciplined 
nor trained, as men count discipline and training in 
these days of scientific warfare. 

It was, it is true, commanded by a distinguished 
English general. Its staff was supplemented, with 
out being replaced, by some brilliant British staff 

1 Canadians owe a debt of gratitude to Lt.-Colonel Lamb for 
the extreme care and detailed accuracy with which he has com 
piled the maps and diaries of the ist Canadian Division. 


officers. But in its higher and regimental commands 
were to be found lawyers, college professors, busi 
ness men, and real estate agents, ready with cool 
self-confidence to do battle against an organisation 
in which the study of military science is the ex 
clusive pursuit of laborious lives. With what devo 
tion, with a valour how desperate, with resourceful 
ness how cool and how fruitful, the amateur soldiers 
of Canada confronted overwhelming odds may, 
perhaps, be made clear even by a narrative so 
incomplete as this. 

The salient of Ypres has become familiar to all 
students of the campaign in Flanders. Like all 
salients, it was, and was known to be, a source of 
weakness to the forces holding it; but the reasons 
which have led to its retention are apparent, and 
need not be explained. 

On April 22nd the Canadian Division held a line 
of, roughly, five thousand yards, extending in a 
north-westerly direction from the Ypres-Roulers 
railway to the Ypres-Poelcappelle road, and connect 
ing at its terminus with the French troops. 1 The 
Division consisted of three infantry brigades, in 
addition to the artillery brigades. Of the infantry 
brigades the first was in reserve, the second was on 
the right, and the third established contact with 
the Allies at the point indicated above. 

The day was a peaceful one, warm and sunny, 
and except that the previous day had witnessed a 

1 The 2n3 and 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigades took over the 
line from the French nth Division on April i7th. It was perhaps 
true that the French had not developed at this part of the line 
the elaborate system of support trenches which had been a model 
to the British troops in the south. The Canadians had planned 
several supporting points which were in a half-finished state 
when the gas attack developed. 

YPRES. 49 

further bombardment of the stricken town of Ypres, 1 
everything seemed quiet in front of the Canadian 
line. At five o clock in the afternoon a plan, care 
fully prepared, was put into execution against our 
French allies on the left. Asphyxiating gas of great 
intensity was projected into their trenches, probably 
by means of force pumps and pipes laid out under 
the parapets. 

The fumes, aided by a favourable wind, floated 
backwards, poisoning and disabling over an ex 
tended area those who fell under their effects. The 
result was that the French were compelled to give 
ground for a considerable distance. 2 The glory which 
the French Army has won in this war would make 
it impertinent to labour the compelling nature of 
the poisonous discharges under which the trenches 
were lost. The French did, as everyone knew they 

1 The great bombardment of Ypres began on April 2oth, when 
the first 42 centimetre shell fell into the Grand Place of the little 
Flemish city. The only military purpose which the wanton 
destruction of Ypres could serve was the blocking of our supply 
trains, and on the first day alone 15 children were killed as they 
were playing in the streets, while many other civilians perished 
in the ruined houses. 

3 The French troops, largely made up of Turcos and Zouaves, 
surged wildly back over the canal and through the village of 
Vlamertinghe just at dark. The Canadian reserve battalions (of 
the ist Brigade) were amazed at the anguished faces of many 
of the French soldiers, twisted and distorted by pain, who were 
gasping for breath and vainly trying to gain relief by vomiting. 
Traffic in the main streets of the village was demoralised, and 
gun-carriages and ammunition wagons added to the confusion. 

The chaos in the main streets of the village was such that any 
coherent movement of troops was, for the moment, impossible ; 
gun-carriages and ammunition wagons were inextricably mixed, 
while galloping gun-teams without their guns were careering 1 
wildly in all directions. When order had been to some extent 
restored, Staff Officers learned from fugitives who were in a condi 
tion to speak that the Algerians had left thousands of their 
comrades dead and dying along the four-mile gap in our AHjr s 
lines through which the Germans were pouring behind their gas. 



would, all that stout soldiers could, and the Canadian 
Division, officers and men, look forward to many 
occasions in the future in which they will stand side 
by side with the brave armies of France. 

The immediate consequences of this enforced 
withdrawal were, of course, extremely grave. The 
3rd Brigade of the Canadian Division was without 
any left, or, in other words, its left was "in the air. 3 
The following rough diagrams may make the 
position clear. 






Contrast this with the diagram on the following 










It became imperatively necessary greatly to 
extend the Canadian lines to the left rear. 
It was not, of course, practicable to move the 
ist Brigade from reserve at a moment s notice, 
and the line, extended from 5,000 to 9,000 
yards, was naturally not the line that had 
been held by the Allies at five o clock, and a 
gap still existed on its left. The new line, of 
which our recent point of contact with the 

E 2 


French formed the apex, ran, quite roughly, as 
follows : 

t " * 

a * O 








A I 55 /let / STHUTKMJW L. 

As shown above, it became necessary for Brigadier- 
General Turner (now Major-General), command 
ing the 3rd Brigade, to throw back his left flank 
southward, to protect his rear. In the course of the 
confusion which followed on the readjustment of the 
position, the enemy, who had advanced rapidly after 
his initial successes, took four British 4.7 guns, lent 
by the 2nd London Division to support the French, 
in a small wood to the west of the village of St. 
Julien, two miles in the rear of the original French 

YPRES. 53 

The story of the second battle of Ypres is the 
story of how the Canadian Division, enormously 
outnumbered for they had in front of them at least 
four divisions, supported by immensely heavy artil 
lery with a gap still existing, though reduced, in 
their lines, and with dispositions made hurriedly 
under the stimulus of critical danger, fought through 
the day and through the night, and then through 
another day and night; fought under their officers 
until, as happened to so many, these perished 
gloriously, and then fought from the impulsion of 
sheer valour because they came from fighting stock. 

The enemy, of course, was aware- -whether fully 
or not may perhaps be doubted of the advantage 
his breach in the line had given him, and imme 
diately began to push a formidable series of attacks 
on the whole of the newly-formed Canadian salient. 
If it is possible to distinguish, when the attack was 
everywhere so fierce, it developed with particular 
intensity at this moment on the apex of the newly- 
formed line running in the direction of St. Julien. 

It has already been stated that four British guns 
were taken in a wood comparatively early in the 
evening of April 22nd. The General Officer Com 
manding the Canadian Division had no intention of 
allowing the enemy to retain possession of either the 
wood or the guns without a desperate struggle, and 
he ordered a counter-attack towards the wood to be 
made by the 3rd Infantry Brigade under General 
Turner. This Brigade was then reinforced by the 
2nd Battalion under Lieut.-Colonel (now Brigadier- 
General) Watson and the 3rd (Toronto) Battalion 
under Lieut.-Colonel Rennie (now also a Brigadier- 
General), both of the ist Brigade. The 7th Bat- 


talion (British Columbia Regiment), from the 2nd 
Brigade, had by this time occupied entrenchments 
in support of the 3rd Brigade. The loth Battalion 
of the 2nd Brigade, intercepted on its way up as a 
working party, was also placed in support of the 
3rd Brigade. 

The assault upon the wood was launched shortly 
after midnight of April 22nd-23rd by the loth 
Battalion and i6th (Canadian Scottish) Battalion, 
respectively commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Boyle 
and Lieut.-Colonel (now Brigadier-General) R. G. E. 
Leckie. The advance was made under the heaviest 
machine gun and rifle fire, the wood was reached, 
and, after a desperate struggle by the light of a 
misty moon, they took the position at the point of 
the bayonet. 

An officer who took part in the attack describes 
how the men about him fell under the fire of the 
machine guns, which, in his phrase, played upon 
them Mike a watering pot. 53 He added quite 
simply, * I wrote my own life off. 3 But the line 
never wavered. 

When one man fell another took his place, and, 
with a final shout, the survivors of the two Batta 
lions flung themselves into the wood. The German 
garrison was completely demoralised, and the im 
petuous advance of. the Canadians did not cease 
until they reached the far side of the wood and 
entrenched themselves there in the position so 
dearly gained. They had, however, the disappoint 
ment of finding that the guns had been destroyed 
by the enemy, and later in the same night, a most 
formidable concentration of artillery fire, sweeping 
the wood as a tropical storm sweeps the leaves from 



the trees of a forest, made it impossible for them 
to hold the position for which they had sacrificed 

so much. 

Within a few hours of this attack, the 
loth Canadian Battalion was again ordered to 
advance by Lieut.-Colonel Boyle, late a rancher 

W A \_ 55 rittT srffffr t GfCOH I C 

in the neighbourhood of Calgary. The assault 
was made upon a German trench which was being 
hastily constructed within two hundred yards of 
the Battalion s right front. Machine gun and rifle 
fire opened upon the Battalion at the moment the 
charge was begun, and Colonel Boyle fell almost 


instantly with his left thigh pierced in five places. 
Major MacLaren, his second in command, was also 
wounded at this time. Battalion stretcher-bearers 
dressed the Colonel s wounds and carried him back 
to the Battalion first aid station. From there he was 
moved to Vlamertinghe Field Hospital, and from 
there again to Poperinghe. He was unconscious 
when he reached the hospital, and died shortly after 
wards without regaining consciousness. 

Major MacLaren, already wounded, was killed by 
a shell while on his way to the hospital. The com 
mand of the loth Battalion passed to Major D. M. 
Ormond, who was wounded. Major Guthrie, a 
lawyer from Fredericton, New Brunswick, a member 
of the local Parliament and a very resolute soldier, 
then took command of the Battalion. 

The fighting continued without intermission all 
through the night of April 22nd-23rd, and to those 
who observed the indications that the attack was 
being pushed with ever-growing strength, it hardly 
seemed possible that the Canadians, fighting in posi 
tions so difficult to defend and so little the subject 
of deliberate choice, could maintain their resistance 
for any long period. 

Reinforcements of British troops, commanded by 
Colonel Geddes, of the Buffs, began to arrive in the 
gap early on Friday morning. These reinforcements, 
consisting of three and a half battalions of the 28th 
Division drawn from the Buffs, King s Own Royal 
Leinsters, Middlesex, and York and Lancasters 
and other units which joined them from time to time, 
became known as Geddes Detachment. The 
grenadier company of a battalion of the Northumber 
land Fusiliers, numbering two officers and 120 men, 

YPRES. 57 

who were on their way to rejoin their division after 
eight days of trench-fighting at Hill 60, encountered 
Colonel Geddes 5 force and joined it. 1 

At 6 a.m. on Friday, the 2nd Canadian Brigade 
was still intact, but the 3rd Canadian Brigade, on 
the left, was bent back upon St. Julien. It became 
apparent that the left was becoming more and more 
involved, and a powerful German attempt to out 
flank it developed rapidly. The consequences, if it 
had been broken or outflanked, need not be insisted 
upon. They would not have been merely local. 

It was therefore decided, formidable as the 
attempt undoubtedly was, to try to give relief by 
a counter-attack upon the first line of German 
trenches, now far, far advanced from those originally 
occupied by the French. The attack was carried 
out at 6.30 a.m. by the ist (Ontario) Battalion and 
the 4th Battalion of the ist Brigade, under Brigadier- 
General Mercer, acting with Geddes Detachment. 
The 4th Battalion was in advance and the ist in 
support, under the covering fire of the ist Canadian 
Artillery Brigade. 

It is safe to say that the youngest private in the 
ranks, as he set his teeth for the advance, knew the 
task in front of him, and the youngest subaltern 
knew all that rested on its success. It did not seem 
that any human being could live in the shower of 
shot and shell which began to play upon the 
advancing troops. 

They suffered terrible casualties. For a short time 

1 Colonel Geddes was killed on the morning of April 28th in 
tragic circumstances. He had done magnificent work with his 
composite force, and after five days terrific fighting received 
orders to retire. He was just leaving his dug-out, after handing 
over his command, when a shell ended his career. 


every other man seemed to fall, but the attack was 
pressed ever closer and closer. The 4th Canadian 
Battalion at one moment came under a particularly 
withering fire. For a moment not more it 
wavered. Its most gallant Commanding Officer, 
Lieut-Colonel Birchall, carrying, after an old 
fashion, a light cane, coolly and cheerfully rallied 
his men, and at the very moment when his example 
had infected them, fell dead at the head of his Batta 
lion. With a hoarse cry of anger they sprang for 
ward (for, indeed, they loved him) as if to avenge 
his death. 

The astonishing attack which followed, pushed 
home in the face of direct frontal fire, made in broad 
daylight by battalions whose names should live for 
ever in the memories of soldiers, was carried to the 
first line of the German trenches. After a hand-to- 
hand struggle, the last German who resisted was 
bayoneted, and the trench was won. 

The measure of our success may be taken when 
it is pointed out that this trench represented, in the 
German advance, the apex in the breach which the 
enemy had made in the original line of the Allies, 
and that it was two and a half miles south of that 
line. This charge, made by men who looked death 
indifferently in the face for no man who took part in 
it could think that he was likely to live saved, and 
that was much, the Canadian left. But it did more. 

Up to the point where the assailants conquered, 
or died, it secured and maintained during the most 
critical moment of all, the integrity of the Allied line. 
For the trench was not only taken it was held there 
after against all comers, and in the teeth of every 
conceivable projectile, until the night of Sunday, 


April 25th, when all that remained of the war-broken 
but victorious battalions was relieved by fresh troops. 

In this attack, the work of the ist Artillery Brigade 
was extremely efficient. Under the direction of 
Lieut.-Colonel Morrison, whose services have gained 
him the command of the artillery of the 2nd Divi 
sion with the rank of Brigadier-General, the battery 
of four i8-pounders was strengthened, in the after 
noon, with two heavier guns. 

Captain T. E. Powers, of the Signal Company 
attached to General Mercer s command, maintained 
communication throughout with the advanced line 
of the attack under a heavy shell fire that cut the 
signal wires continually. The work of the Company 
was admirable, and was rendered at the price of 
many casualties. 

It is necessary now to return to the fortunes of 
the 3rd Brigade, commanded by General Turner, 
which, as we have seen, at five o clock on Thursday 
was holding the Canadian left, and after their first 
attack assumed the defence of the new Canadian 
salient, at the same time sparing all the men it could 
to form an extemporised line between the wood and 
St. Julien. This Brigade was also at the first moment 
of the German offensive made the object of an attack 
by a discharge of poisonous gas. The discharge 
was followed by two enemy assaults. 1 

Although the fumes were extremely poisonous, 

1 Although methods for resisting- gas attacks were quickly 
developed when the need was realised, the Canadians were, of 
course, at this time unprovided with the proper means for with 
standing them. They discovered that a wet handkerchief stuffed 
in the mouth gave relief. To fall back before the gas attack 
merely meant that one kept pace with it, while the effort of 
running, and the consequent heavy breathing, simply increased the 

YPRES. 61 

they were not, perhaps, having regard to the wind, 
so disabling as on the French lines (which ran almost 
east to west), and the Brigade, though affected by the 
fumes, stoutly beat back the two German assaults. 
Encouraged by this success, it rose to the supreme 
effort required by the assault on the wood, which has 
already been described. At 4 a.m. on the morning 
of Friday, the 23rd, a fresh emission of gas was 
made both on the 2nd Brigade, which held the line 
running north-east, and on the 3rd Brigade, which, 
as has been fully explained, had continued the line 
up to the pivotal point as defined above, and had 
there spread down in a south-easterly direction. 

It is, perhaps, worth mentioning that two privates 
of the 48th Highlanders, who found their way into 
the trenches commanded by Lieut-Colonel (now 
Brig.-General) Lipsett (QOth Winnipeg Rifles), 8th 
Battalion, perished in the fumes, and it was noticed 
that their faces became blue immediately after disso 
lution. The Royal Highlanders .of Montreal, I3th 
Battalion, and the 48th Highlanders, isth Battalion, 
were more especially affected by the discharge. The 
Royal Highlanders, though considerably shaken, 
remained immovable on their ground. The 48th 
Highlanders, who no doubt received a more poison 
ous discharge, were for the moment dismayed, and, 
indeed, their trench, according to the testimony of 
very hardened soldiers, became intolerable. 

The Battalion retired from the trench, but for a 
very short distance and for a very short time. In a 
few moments they were again their own men. They 

poison in the lungs. The Canadians quickly realised that it was 
best to face the cloud, and hold on in the hope that the blindness 
would be temporary, and the cutting pain would pass away. 


advanced on and reoccupied the trenches which they 
had momentarily abandoned. 

In the course of the same night, the 3rd Brigade, 
which had already displayed a resource, a gallantry, 
and a tenacity for which no eulogy could be exces 
sive, was exposed (and with it the whole Allied 
cause) to a peril still more formidable. It has been 
explained, and, indeed, the fundamental situation 
made the peril clear, that several German divisions 
were attempting to crush or drive back this devoted 
Brigade, and in any event to use their enormous 
numerical superiority to sweep around and over 
whelm its left wing. At some point in the line which 
cannot be precisely determined, the last attempt 
partially succeeded, and, in the course of this critical 
struggle, German troops in considerable, though not 
in overwhelming numbers, swung past the unsup 
ported left of the Brigade, and, slipping in between 
the wood and St. Julien, added to the torturing 
anxieties of the long-drawn struggle by the appear 
ance, and indeed for the moment the reality, of isola 
tion from the Brigade base. 

In the exertions made by the 3rd Brigade during 
this supreme crisis it is almost impossible to single 
out one battalion without injustice to others, but 
though the efforts of the Royal Highlanders of 
Montreal, I3th Battalion, were only equal to those 
of the other battalions who did such heroic service, 
it so happened, by chance, that the fate of some of 
its officers attracted special attention. 

Major Norsworthy was in the reserve trenches, 
half a mile in the rear of the firing line, when he 
was killed in his attempt to reach Major McCuaig 
with reinforcements; and Captain Guy Drummond 

YPRES. 63 

fell in attempting to rally French troops. This was 
on the afternoon of the 22nd, and the whole respon 
sibility for coping with the crisis then fell upon the 
shoulders of Major McCuaig until he was relieved 
early on the morning of the 23rd. 

All through the afternoon and evening of the 
22nd, and all through the night which followed, 
McCuaig had to meet and grapple with difficulties 
which might have borne down a far more experi 
enced officer. His communications had been cut by 
shell fire, and he was, therefore, left to decide for 
himself whether he should retire or whether he 
should hold on. He decided to hold on, although 
he knew that he was without artillery support and 
could not hope for any until, at the earliest, the 
morning of the 23rd. 

The decision was a very bold one. By all the 
rules of war McCuaig was a beaten man. But the 
very fact that he remained appears to have deceived 
the Germans. They might have overwhelmed him, 
but they feared the supports, which did not in reality 
exist. It was not in the enemy s psychology to 
understand that the sheer and unaided valour of 
McCuaig and his little force would hold the position. 

But with a small and dwindling force he did hold 
it, until daylight revealed to the enemy the naked 
deception of the defence. 

In case the necessity for retreat developed, the 
wounded had been moved to the trenches on the 
right; and, under the cover of machine gun fire, 
Major McCuaig withdrew his men just as Major 
Buchanan came up with reinforcements. 

The sorely tried Battalion held on for a time in 
dug-outs, and, under cover of darkness, retired again 


to a new line being formed by reinforcements. The 
rearguard was under Lieut, (now Captain) Green- 
shields. But Major McCuaig remained to see that 
the wounded were removed. It was then, after 
having escaped a thousand deaths through the long 
battle of the night, that he was shot down and made 
a prisoner. 

The story of the officers of the 7th Battalion 
(British Columbia Regiment) is not less glorious. 
This Battalion was attached to the 3rd Brigade on 
Thursday night, and on Friday occupied a position 
on the forward crest of a ridge, with its left flank 
near St. Julien. This position was severely shelled 
during the day. In the course of the afternoon the 
Battalion received an order to make its position 
secure that night. At half-past four Colonel Hart- 
McHarg, a lawyer from Vancouver, Major Odium 
(who is now Lieut.-Colonel commanding the Batta 
lion), and Lieut. Mathewson, of the Canadian En 
gineers, went out to reconnoitre the ground and 
decide upon the position of the new trenches to be 
dug under cover of darkness. The exact location 
of the German troops immediately opposed to their 
position was not known to them. The reconnoitring 
party moved down the slope to the wrecked houses 
and shattered walls of the village of Keerselaere a 
distance of about 300 yards- -in broad daylight with 
out drawing a shot; but, when they looked through 
a window in the rear wall of one of the ruins, they 
saw masses of Germans lining hedges not 100 yards 
away, and watching them intently. As the three 
Canadian officers were now much nearer the German 
line than their own, they turned and began to retire 
at the double. They were followed by a burst of 

YPRES. 65 

rapid fire the moment they cleared the shelter of the 
ruins. They instantly threw themselves flat on the 
ground. Colonel Hart-McHarg and Major Odium 
rolled into a shell-hole near by, and Lieut. Mathew- 
son took cover in a ditch close at hand. It was then 
that Major Odium learned that his Commanding 
Officer was seriously wounded. Major Odium 
raced up the hill under fire in search of surgical 
aid, leaving Lieut. Mathewson with the wounded 
officer. He found Captain George Gibson, medical 
officer of the 7th Battalion, who, accompanied 
by Sergt. J. Dryden, went down to the shell-hole 
immediately. Captain Gibson and the sergeant 
reached the cramped shelter in safety in the face of 
a heavy fire. They moved Colonel Hart-McHarg 
into the ditch where Mathewson had first taken 
shelter, and there dressed his wound. They re 
mained with him until after dark, when the stretcher- 
bearers arrived and carried him back to Battalion 
Headquarters; but the devotion and heroism of 
his friends could not save his life. The day after 
he passed away in a hospital at Poperinghe. 1 
But his regiment endured, and, indeed, through 
out the second battle of Ypres fought greatly 
and suffered greatly. Major Odium succeeded 
Colonel Hart McHarg. At one time the Batta 
lion was flanked, both right and left, by the enemy, 
through no fault of its own; and it fell back 
when it had been reduced to about 100 men still 
able to bear arms. On the following day, strength 
ened by the remnants of the roth Battalion, the 
7th was again sent in to hold a gap in our line, 

1 Col. Hart-McHarg and Col. Boyle who fell on the same 
day that Col. Hart-McHarg was wounded lie in the same burial 
ground, the new cemetery at Poperinghe. 



which duty it performed until, again surrounded 
by the enemy, it withdrew under cover of a dense 
mist. 12 

Every effort was made by General Alderson from 
first to last, to reinforce the Canadian Division with 
the greatest possible speed, and on Friday afternoon 
the left of the Canadian line was strengthened by 
the 2nd King s Own Scottish Borderers and the 
ist Royal West Kents, of the I3th Infantry Brigade. 
From this time forward the Division also received 
further assistance on the left from a series of French 
counter-attacks pushed in a north-easterly direction 
from the canal bank. 

But the artillery fire of the enemy continually 
grew in intensity, and it became more and more 
evident that the Canadian salient could no longer 
be maintained against the overwhelming superiority 
of numbers by which it was assailed. Slowly, stub 
bornly, and contesting every yard, the defenders 
gave ground until the salient gradually receded from 
the apex, near the point where it had originally 
aligned with the French, and fell back upon St. 
Julien. Soon it became evident that even St. Julien, 
exposed to fire from right and left, was no longer 
tenable. 8 

1 The losses of the yth Battalion were heavy even for this time 
of heavy losses. Within a period of less than three days its 
colonel was killed and 600 of its officers and men were either 
killed or wounded, including every company commander. Some 
companies lost every officer. 

* Lieut. E. D. Bellew, machine-gun officer of the Battalion, 
hoisted a loaf stuck on the point of his bayonet, in defiance of 
the enemy, which drew upon him a perfect fury of fire; he 
fought his gun till it was smashed to atoms, and then continued 
to use relays of loaded rifles instead, until he was wounded and 
taken prisoner. 

* The remarkable services rendered at St. Julien by the Com- 





F 2 


The 3rd Brigade was therefore ordered to retreat 
further south, selling every yard of ground as dearly 
as it had done since five o clock on Thursday. But 
it was found impossible, without hazarding far 
larger forces, to disentangle detachments of the 
Royal Highlanders of Montreal, i3th Battalion, and 
of the Royal Montreal Regiment, I4th Battalion. 
The Brigade was ordered, and not a moment too 
soon, to move back. 

The retirement left these units with heavy hearts. 
The German tide rolled, indeed, over the deserted 
village; but for several hours after the enemy had 
become master of the village, the sullen and per 
sistent rifle fire which survived, showed that they were 
not yet master of the Canadian rearguard. If they 
died, they died worthily of Canada. 

The enforced retirement of the 3rd Brigade (and 
to have stayed longer would have been madness) 
reproduced for the 2nd Brigade, commanded by 
Brigadier-General Currie (now Major-General), in 
a singularly exact fashion, the position of the 3rd 
Brigade itself at the moment of the withdrawal of 
the French. The 2nd Brigade, it must be remem 
bered, had retained the whole line of trenches, 
roughly 2,500 yards, which it was holding at five 
o clock on Thursday afternoon, supported by the 
incomparable exertions of the 3rd Brigade, and by 
the highly hazardous deployment in which necessity 
had involved that Brigade. 

The 2nd Brigade had maintained its lines. It 
now devolved on General Currie, commanding this 

mandant, Lt.-Col. Loomis, of the i3th Batt., ought not to be 
forgotten. This officer remained at his post under constant and 
very heavy fire until the moment of evacuation, and did much by 
the example of his tranquillity to encourage the troops. 

YPRES. 69 

Brigade, to repeat the tactical manoeuvres with which, 
earlier in the fight, the 3rd Brigade had adapted 
itself to the flank movement of overwhelming 
numerical superiority. He flung his left flank round 
south ; and his record is that, in the very crisis of this 
immense struggle, he held his line of trenches from 
Thursday at five o clock till Sunday afternoon. And 
on Sunday afternoon he had not abandoned his 
trenches. There were none left. They had been 
obliterated by artillery. 

He withdrew his undefeated troops from the 
fragments of his field fortifications, and the hearts 
of his men were as completely unbroken as the 
parapets of his trenches were completely broken. 
In such a Brigade it is invidious to single out any 
battalion for special praise, but it is perhaps neces 
sary to the story to point out that Lieut-Colonel 
Lipsett, commanding the 8th Battalion (goth Winni 
peg Rifles) of the 2nd Brigade, held the extreme 
left of the Brigade position at the most critical 

The Battalion was expelled from the trenches 
early on Friday morning by an emission of poisonous 
gas ; but, recovering, in three-quarters of an hour it 
counter-attacked, retook the trenches it had aban 
doned, and bayoneted the enemy. And after the 
3rd Brigade had been forced to retire, Lieut.-Colonel 
Lipsett held his position, though his left was in the 
air, until two British regiments, 8th Durham Light 
Infantry and ist Hampshires, filled up the gap on 
Saturday night. 

At daybreak on Sunday, April 25th, two com 
panies of the 8th Battalion (goth Winnipeg Rifles), 
holding the left of our line, were relieved by the 


Durhams, and retired to reserve trenches. The 
Durhams suffered severely, and at 5 p.m. on Sunday 
afternoon, a Company of the 8th Canadian Battalion 
took their place on our extreme left. The Germans 
entrenched in the rear of this Company, and German 
batteries on the left flank enfiladed it. The position 
became untenable, and the Company was ordered to 
evacuate it, two platoons to retire and two platoons 
to cover the retirement. The retiring platoons were 
guided back, under terrific fire, by Sergeant (now 
Captain) Knobel, with a loss of about 45 per cent, 
of their strength. They joined the Battalion Reserve. 
Of the platoons which covered this retirement, every 
officer and man was either killed or taken prisoner. 
All the officers of the Company who were in action at 
the time the retirement was ordered, remained with 
the covering platoons. 

The individual fortunes of the 2nd and 3rd 
Brigades have brought us to the events of Sunday 
afternoon, but it is necessary, to make the story 
complete, to recur for a moment to the events of 
the morning. After a very formidable attack the 
enemy succeeded in capturing the village of St. 
Julien, which has so often been referred to in 
describing the fortunes of the Canadian left. This 
success opened up a new and very menacing line of 
advance, but by this time further reinforcements 
had arrived. 

Here, again, it became evident that the tactical 
necessities of the situation dictated an offensive 
movement as the surest method of arresting further 
progress. General Alderson, who was also in com 
mand of the reinforcements, accordingly directed that 
an advance should be made by two British brigades 


(the loth Brigade under Brigadier-General Hull, 1 
and the Northumberland Brigade), which had been 
brought up in support. The attack was thrust 
through the Canadian left and centre; and as the 
troops making it swept on, many of them going to 
certain death, they paused an instant, and, with 
ringing cheers for Canada, gave the first indication 
to the Division of the warm admiration which their 
exertions had excited in the British Army. 2 

The advance was indeed costly, but it was made 
with a devotion which could not be denied. The 
story is one of which the Brigades may be proud, but 
it does not belong to the special account of the 
fortunes of the Canadian contingent. It is sufficient 
for our purpose to notice that the attack succeeded 
in its object, and the German advance along the line, 
momentarily threatened, was arrested. 

We had reached, in describing the events of the 
afternoon, the points at which the trenches of the 
2nd Brigade had been completely destroyed. This 
Brigade, the 3rd Brigade, and the considerable re 
inforcements which by this time filled the gap 
between the two Brigades, were gradually driven, 
fighting every yard, upon a line running roughly 

1 Brig.-General Hull rendered distinguished services throughout 
this trying time. In addition to his own Brigade the loth 
General Hull commanded for a considerable period the York and 
Durham Brigade, the 2nd King s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 
the Qth Queen Victoria Rifles, the ist Suffolk Regiment, the I2th 
London Regiment, and the 4th Canadian Battalion. 

2 The particular objective of the attack was the village of St. 
Julien, the wood near by, and the enemy s trenches between these 
two points. Arrangements had been made with the Canadian 
Artillery for a preparatory bombardment of the wood, and the 
St. Julien trenches, but at the last moment the order to fire on 
St. Julien had to be cancelled as it was found that some of the 
Canadians were still holding on in the village although completely 

YPRES. 73 

from Fortuin, south of St. Julien, in a north-easterly 
direction towards Passchendaele. Here the two 
Brigades were relieved by two British brigades, after 
exertions as glorious, as fruitful, and, alas ! as costly, 
as soldiers have ever been called upon to make. 

Monday morning broke bright and clear and found 
the Canadians behind the firing line. But this day, 
too, was to bring its anxieties. The attack was still 
pressed, and it became necessary to ask Brigadier- 
General Currie whether he could once more call on 
his shrunken Brigade. 

" The men are tired," this indomitable soldier 
replied, but they are ready and glad to go again 
to the trenches." And so, once more, a hero leading 
heroes, the General marched back the men of the 
2nd Brigade, reduced to a quarter of its strength, 
to the very apex of the line as it existed at that 
moment. The Brigade held this position throughout 
Monday; on Tuesday it occupied reserve trenches, 
and on Wednesday it was relieved and retired to 
billets in the rear. 1 

* On the morning of April 26th Lt.-Col. Kemis-Betty, Brigade 
Major, and Major Mersereau, Staff Captain, were wounded by a 
shell. Colonel Kemis-Betty, though his wound was serious, 
discharged his duty all day. Major Mersereau, however, who was 
grievously injured, was carried into General Currie s dug-out; 
and there, as no ambulance was available, he lay till late that 
night. Lt.-Col. Mitchell, of the Canadian Divisional Head 
quarters Staff, while on a general reconnaissance, heard of the 
plight of the wounded officers, who were badly in need of medical 
aid, and he determined to carry them to safety in his own car. 
With very great difficulty, for the road was being heavily shelled, 
Colonel Mitchell got his motor as far as Fortuin. The rest of 
the way had to be covered on foot, and when General Currie s 
dug-out was reached it was found that only Colonel Kemis-Betty 
could be moved. Major Mersereau s injuries were such that he 
had to be left in the dug-out until it was practicable to bring up 
an ambulance. Finally, he was removed, and is now in Canada 
slowly recovering from his wounds. 


It is a fitting climax to the story of the Canadians 
at Ypres that the last blows were struck by one who 
had borne himself throughout gallantly and resource 
fully. Lieut.-Colonel Watson, on the evening of 
Wednesday, April 28th, was ordered to advance with 
his Battalion and dig a line of trenches which were 
to link up the French on the left and a battalion of 
the Rifle Brigade on the right. It was both a diffi 
cult and a dangerous task, and Lieut.-Colonel 
Watson could only employ two companies to dig, 
while two companies acted as cover. 

They started out at 7 o clock in the evening from 
the field in which they had bivouacked all day west 
of Brielen, and made north, towards St. Julien. And, 
even as they started, there was such a hail of shrap 
nel, intended either for the farm which served as the 
Battalion s Headquarters, or for the road junction 
which they would have to cross, that they were com 
pelled to stand fast. 

At 8 o clock, however, Colonel Watson was able 
to move on again; and, as the men marched north, 
terrible scenes en route showed the fury of the artil 
lery duel which had been in progress since the Batta 
lion had moved out of the firing line on the morning 
of the 26th. 

At the bridge crossing Ypres Canal, guides met 
the Regiment, and the extraordinary precautions 
which were taken to hide its movements indicated 
the seriousness of its errand. 

The Battalion had suffered heavy losses at this 
very spot only a few days before, and a draft of five 
officers and 112 men from England had reinforced 
it only that morning. And the officers and men of 
this draft received an awful baptism of fire within 

YPRES, 75 

practically a few hours of their arrival at the front. 
High explosives were bursting and thundering; 
there were shells searching hedgerows and the 
avenue of trees between which the Battalion marched, 
and falling in dozens into every scrap of shelter 
where the enemy imagined horses or wagons might 
be hidden. Slowly and cautiously, the march con 
tinued until the Battalion arrived behind the first line 
trench held by a battalion of the King s Own Scot 
tish Borderers. Through this line Colonel Watson 
and his men had to pass, and on every side were 
strewn the bodies of scores of Ghurkas, the gallant 
little soldiers who had that morning perished while 
attempting the almost impossible task of advancing 
to the assault over nearly 700 yards of open ground. 

When the Battalion reached the place where the 
trenches were to be dug, two companies were led out 
by Colonel Watson himself, to act as cover to the 
other two companies, which then began digging 
along the line marked by the Engineers. And if 
ever men worked with nervous energy, these men 
did that night. From enemy rifles on the ridge 
came the ping of bullets, which mercifully passed 
overhead, although, judging from the persistency 
and multitude of their flares, the enemy must have 
known that work was being done. 

It was two o clock in the morning before the work 
was finished, and the Battalion turned its back 
upon about as bad a situation as men have ever 
worked in. 

The return to the billets at Vlamertinghe was dis 
tressing in the extreme. Officers and men, alike 
worn out, slept on the march oblivious of route and 


During the night of May 3rd 1 and the morning of 
the 4th, the ist Canadian Infantry Brigade withdrew 
to billets at Bailleul. On the night of May 4th 
Lieut-General Alderson handed over the command 
of this section of front to the General Officer Com 
manding the 4th Division, and removed his head 
quarters to Nieppe, withdrawing the 3rd Canadian 
Infantry Brigade on the night of the 4th, and the 
2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade on the 5th of May. 2 

1 At 5 o clock on the afternoon of May 2nd the ist Canadian 
Infantry Brigade moved up in support of the loth and i2th 
Infantry Brigades (British) on account of a gas attack along our 
whole front. The gas enveloped all our trenches except at our 
extreme right. The loth Infantry Brigade held fast, but the 
I2th Infantry Brigade was compelled to fall back, for the attack 
was so heavy that men were dazed and reeling, and utterly 
incapable of any further fighting. The ist Canadian Brigade 
was not called upon to resist the enemy, but the movements of 
the troops show the effects of the gas, and how the men who had 
to contend with it contrived to baffle the Germans. At 5.40 p.m. 
the Reserve Battalion of the I2th Infantry Brigade was thrown 
into the battle. In the meantime the General Officer commanding 
the loth Infantry Brigade, observing the troops on his left 
retreating, very judiciously sent up the yth Argyll and Sutherland 
Highlanders to occupy the vacated trenches, and arranged with 
the 3rd Cavalry Brigade to assist them. These two units arrived 
in time to catch the enemy advancing in the open, and inflicted 
severe losses on him. The manner in which they went through the 
gas was worthy of great praise. Each Company of the 2nd Essex 
Regiment of the i2th Brigade had one platoon in support about 
150 yards in the rear of the first line. This platoon waited until 
the gas had passed the front line trenches, and then, advancing 
straight through the gas, occupied the front line trenches in time 
to bring heavy fire to bear on the advancing Germans. Some of 
the French infantry closed to the right, thus strengthening the 
Essex line, while the French artillery gave an intense and excel 
lently directed fire, which raked the German lines. General 
Alderson says, " I subsequently wrote to General Joppe" thanking 1 
him for this help, and I received a grateful acknowledgment of 
my letter." 

* On General Alderson and the Staff of the ist Canadian Divi 
sion there devolved during the battle the control of 47 Battalions, 
2 Cavalry Brigades, Artillery, Engineers, &c. No greater tribute 
can be paid to the resources and energy of the General and of his 

YPRES. 77 

Such, in the most general outline, is the story of 
a great and glorious feat of arms. A story told so 
soon after the event, while rendering bare justice to 
units whose doings fell under the eyes of particular 
observers, must do less than justice to others who 
played their part and all did as gloriously as 
those whose special activities it is possible, even at 
this stage, to describe. But the friends of men who 
fought in other battalions may be content in the 
knowledge that they too will learn, when the his 
torian has achieved the complete correlation of 
diaries of all units, the exact part which each played 
in these unforgettable days. It is rather accident 
than special distinction which has made it possible 
to select individual battalions for mention. 

It would not be right to close even this account 
without a word of tribute to the auxiliary services. 
The signallers were always cool and resourceful. 
The telegraph and telephone wires were being con 
stantly cut, and many belonging to this service ren 
dered up their lives in the discharge of their duty, 
carrying out repairs with the most complete calmness 
in exposed positions. The despatch carriers, as 
usual, behaved with the greatest bravery. Theirs is 
a lonely life, and very often a lonely death. One 
cycle messenger lay on the ground badly wounded. 
He stopped a passing officer and delivered his mes 
sage, with some verbal instructions. These were 
coherently given, but he swooned almost before the 
words were out of his mouth. 

The Artillery never flagged in the sleepless 

Divisional Staff than to record that they handled and fought an 
Army adequately and intelligently through one of the longest 
and most bitterly-contested battles of the Western War. 


struggle in which so much depended upon its exer 
tions. Not a Canadian gun was lost in the long 
battle of retreat. And the nature of the position 
renders such a record very remarkable. One battery 
of four guns found itself in such a situation that it 
was compelled to turn two of its guns directly aboufy 
and fire on the enemy in positions almost diametric 
ally opposite. 

The members of the Canadian Engineers, and of 
the Canadian Army Medical Corps, rivalled in cool 
ness, endurance and valour the men of the battalions 
who were their comrades. On more than one occa 
sion during that long battle of many desperate 
engagements, our Engineers held positions, working 
with the infantry. Lieut.-Colonel (now Brigadier- 
General) Armstrong commanded our Engineers 
throughout the battle. A fighting force, a construc 
tive force, and a destructive force in the battle of 
Ypres, the Canadian Engineers plied their rifles, 
entrenched, and mined bridges across the canal (the 
approaches to which they held) in case of final 

No attempt has been made in this description to 
explain the recent operations except in so far as 
they spring from or are connected with the for 
tunes of the Canadian Division. The exertions of 
the troops who reinforced, and later relieved, the 
Canadians, were not less glorious, but the long- 
drawn-out struggle is a lesson to the whole Empire 
" Arise, O Israel ! 3 The Empire is engaged in a 
struggle, without quarter and without compromise, 
against an enemy still superbly organised, still 
immensely powerful, still confident that its strength 
is the mate of its necessities. To arms, then, and 

YPRES. 79 

still to arms ! In Great Britain, in Canada, in Aus 
tralia, there is need, and there is need now, of a 
community organised alike in military and industrial 

The graveyard of Canada in Flanders is large. 
It is very large. Those who lie there have left their 
mortal remains on alien soil. To Canada they have 
bequeathed their memories and their glory. 

On Fame s eternal camping" ground 

Their silent tents are spread, 
And Glory guards with solemn round 
The bivouac of the dead." 




Individual heroism Canadian tenacity Before the battle 
The civilian element A wave of battle New meaning of 
Canada -"Northern Lights "The fighting pay 
master Major serves as lieutenant Misfortunes of 
Hercule Barre" "Runners" A messenger s apology 
Swimming a moat Rescue of wounded Colonel 
Watson s bravery His leadership His heroic deed 
Dash of Major Dyer and Capt. Hilliam Major 
Dyer shot " I have crawled home " Lieut. White- 
head s endurance Major King saves his guns 
Corpl. Fisher, V.C. The real Canadian officer Some 
delusions in England German tricks Sergt. Richard 
son s good sense "No surrender!" Corpl. Baker s 
heroism Bombs from the dead Holding a position 
single-handed The brothers Mclvor Daring of Sergt.- 
Major Hall Sergt. Ferris, Roadmender Heroism of the 
sappers Sergt. Ferris, Pathfinder A sergeant in com 
mand Brave deeds of Pte. Irving He vanishes Absurdi 
ties in tragedy Germans murder wounded Doctors 
under fire The professional manner Red hours Plight 
of refugees Canadian colony in London Unofficial in 
quiries Canada s destiny. 

" It is by presence of mind in untried emergencies that the 
native metal of a man is tested." LOWELL. 

IN a battle of the extent and diversity of Ypres, 
there naturally arose innumerable acts of individual 
heroism, to which reference could not be made in 
the course of the narrative of the engagement with 
out disturbing- its military balance as a whole. 



I therefore propose to deal with a few of these 
incidents now, as they form a record of unsurpassed 
valour and tenacity of which every Canadian 
must be proud. 

Quite apart, however, from incidents which occur 
in the actual fighting, there is a time immediately 
before a battle, and a time immediately after it, 
which provide a wealth of human interest too 
poignant to be overlooked. Our vision, narrowed 
a little by direct concentration on the progress of 
the engagement, and our ears dulled a little by the 
din of the conflict, we are prone to overlook the fact 
that this war is waged amid scenes only a short time 
ago devoted to the various avocations of peace, and 
that on the Western Front, especially, the armies of 
the Allies are oftentimes inextricably mixed with the 
civilian element and the civilian population. 

A wave of battle is like a wave of the sea. While 
it advances, one is only conscious of its rush and 
roar, only concerned to measure how far it may 
advance. As it ebbs, the known landmarks show 
again, and we have leisure to gather observations of 
comrades who were borne backwards or forwards 
on the flood. 

The wave that fell on us round Ypres has bap 
tised the Dominion into nationhood the mere 
written word, " Canada," glows now with a new 
meaning before all the civilised world. Canada has 
proved herself, and not unworthily; but those who 
survive of the men who have won us our world-right 
to pride, are too busy to trouble their heads about 
history. That may come in days of peace. The 
main outlines of the battle have been dealt with 
already. We know what troops took part in it and 



how they bore themselves, but the thousand vivid 
and intimate episodes, seen between two blasts of 
gunfire, or recounted by men met by chance in some 
temporary shelter, can never all be told. Yet they 
are too characteristic in their unconsciousness to be 
left without an attempt at a record ; so I give a little 
handful from a great harvest. 

In the days before the battle, when the Canadians 
lived for the most part in and about Sailly, whence 
one saw, as I have already written, the German 
trench-flares like Northern Lights on the horizon, 
Honorary Captain C. T. Costigan, of Calgary, was 
the paymaster, and lived, as the paymaster must, de 
cently remote from the firing line. Then came the 
attack that proved Canada ; and the German flares ad 
vanced, and advanced, till they no longer resembled 
flickering auroras, but the sizzling electric arc-lights 
of a great city. Captain Costigan locked up his pay- 
chest and abolished his office with the words : There 
is no paymaster/ 3 Next, sinking his rank as 
honorary captain, he applied for work in the trenches, 
and went off, a second lieutenant of the loth 
Canadians, who needed officers. He was seen no 
more until Monday morning, when he returned to 
search for his office, which had been moved to a 
cellar at the rear and was, at the moment, in charge 
of a sergeant. But he had only returned to inveigle 
some officer with a gift for accounts into the pay- 
mastership. This arranged, he sped back to his 
adopted Battalion. 1 He was not the only one of his 
department who served as a combatant on that day. 

1 Captain Costigan has now combative rank in the loth Bat 
talion, and is acting as Brigade Bombing Officer. 


Honorary Captain McGregor, of British Columbia, 
for example, had been paymaster in the Canadian 
Scottish, 1 6th Battalion. He, too, armed with a cane 
and a revolver, went forward at his own desire to 
hand-to-hand fighting in the wood where he was 
killed, fighting gallantly to the last. 

The case of Major Guthrie, of New Brunswick, 
is somewhat similar. He was Major of the i2th 
Battalion, still in England, but was then at the front 
in some legal-military capacity connected with courts- 
martial. He, like Captain Costigan, had asked 
the General that Friday morning for a com 
mission in the sorely tried loth. There was some 
hesitation, since Guthrie as a major might quite 
possibly find himself in command of what was left 
of the loth if, and when, he found it. " I ll go as 
a lieutenant, of course," said he ; and as a lieutenant 
he went. 1 

The grim practical joking of Fate is illustrated 
by the adventures of Major Hercule Barre a young 
French Canadian who fought well and spoke Eng 
lish imperfectly. He had been ordered to get to his 
company in haste, and on the way (it was dark) met 
some British officers, who promptly declared him a 
spy. The more he protested, the more certain they 
were that his speech betrayed him. So they had him 
back to the nearest Headquarters, where he was 
identified by a brother officer, and started off afresh- 
only to be held up a second time by some cyclists, 
who treated him precisely as the British officers had 

1 During the progress of the battle Major Guthrie was, after 
all, compelled to take command of the loth after two commanding 1 
officers had been killed and a third had been wounded. He led 
his Battalion with wisdom and great gallantry. 

G 2 


done. Once again he reached Headquarters; once 
more the officer, who had identified him before, 
guaranteed his good faith; and for the third time 
Barre set out. This time it was a bullet that stopped 
him. He dragged himself to the side of the road 
and waited for help. Someone came at last, and 
he hailed. " Who is it ? " said a voice. " I, Barre ! " 
he cried. What, you, Barre? What do you want 
this time ? It was the officer who had twice iden 
tified him within the last hour. Stretcher-bearers/ 3 
said Barre. His friend in need summoned a stretcher- 
bearer, and Barre was borne off- -to tell the tale 
against himself afterwards. 

There were many others who fell by the way in 
the discharge of their duty. Lieut. -Colonel Currie, 
commanding the 48th Highlanders, i5th Battalion, 
had his telephone communication with his men in 
the trenches cut by shrapnel. He therefore moved 
his Battalion Headquarters into the reserve trenches, 
and took with him there a little band of runners " to 
keep him in touch with the Brigade Headquarters, a 
couple of miles in the rear. A runner is a man 
on foot who, at every risk, must bear the message 
entrusted to him to its destination over ground cross- 
harrowed by shellfire and, possibly, in the enemy s 
occupation. One such runner was despatched, and 
was no more heard of until, days after the battle, 
the Lieut.-Colonel received a note from him in hos 
pital. It ran : : My dear Colonel Currie, I am so 
sorry that you will be annoyed with me for not bring 
ing back a receipt for the message which you sent to 
Headquarters by me. I delivered the message all 
right, but on the way back with a receipt, I was hurt 


by a shell, and I am taking this first opportunity 
of letting you know that the message was delivered. 
I am afraid that you will be angry with me. I am 
now in hospital.- -Yours truly, (Sgd.) M. K. Kerr." 
It is characteristic of the Colonel, and our country, 
that he should always refer to the private as M. K. 
Kerr; and, from the English point of view, equally 
characteristic that M. K. Kerr s report should begin : 
" My dear Colonel Currie." And it marks the tone 
of the whole Battalion, that only two hundred men 
and two officers should have come unscathed out of 
the battle. 

And here is a story of a Brigade Headquarters 
that lived in a house surrounded by a moat over 
which there was only one road. On Thursday the 
enemy s artillery found the house, and later on, as 
the rush came, their rifle fire found it also. The staff 
went on with its work till the end of the week, when 
incendiary shells set the place alight and they were 
forced to move. The road being impassable on 
account of shrapnel, they swam the moat, but one of 
them was badly wounded, and for him swimming 
was out of the question. Captain Scrimger, medical 
officer attached to the Royal Montreal Regiment, 
protected the wounded man with his own body 
against the shrapnel that was coming through the 
naked rafters, and carried him out of the blazing 
house into the open. 1 Two of the staff, Brig.- 
General Hughes (then Brigade Major of the 3rd 
Infantry Brigade) and Lieut. Thompson (then 
Assistant Adjutant, Royal Montreal Regiment) re- 
swam the moat and, waiting for a lull in the shell 

1 For this action Captain Scrimger was awarded the V.C. 


fire, got the wounded man across the road on to a 
stretcher and into a dressing station, after which 
they went on with their official duties. 

On April 24th Colonel Watson, who was editor 
of the Quebec Chronicle before he took command 
of the 2nd Battalion, was called on to perform as 
difficult and dangerous a task as fell to the lot of 
any commander during all these difficult and bloody 
days. The operation was most ably carried out, and 
Colonel Watson crowned his success, in the midst of 
what appeared to be defeat, with a deed of personal 
heroism which, but for his rank, would most assuredly 
have won for him the Victoria Cross. It may be said 
at once that Colonel Watson proved himself the 
bravest of the brave. 

About noon, the General Officer Commanding the 
3rd Brigade telephoned to Colonel Watson to ask 
whether, in his opinion, the line of which he was in 
charge, could still be held. Colonel Watson, though 
the position was precarious, said that he could still 
hold on; and he was then instructed to regard as 
cancelled an order which had been telegraphed to 
him to retire. 

Matters, however, grew worse, and at two o clock 
the General Officer Commanding sent Colonel 
Watson a peremptory order to fall back at once. 
Unfortunately, this message was not received until 
about a quarter to three, when the position had 
become desperate. 

The Battalion, apart from many dead, had by this 
time upwards of 150 wounded, and the Colonel first 
saw to the removal of all these. Then, leaving his 
Battalion Headquarters, he went up to the frontline, 
in order that he might give, in person, his instructions 


to his company commanders to retire. When he 
reached the front line, Colonel Watson made the 
most careful dispositions so as to avoid, even at that 
terrible moment, any excuse for disorder and undue 
haste in the course of the most perilous and intricate 
manoeuvre which had now to be carried out. He 
began by sending back all details, such as signallers 
and pioneers, and then proceeded to get the com 
panies out of the trenches, one by one first the 
company on the left, then the centre company, and, 
lastly, the company on the right. 

It was from the angle of a shattered house, which 
had been used as a dressing station, that Colonel 
Watson and Colonel Rogers, the second in com 
mand of the Battalion, watched the retirement of the 
three companies, together with details of the i4th 
Battalion, which had been attached to them since 
the morning. The men were in extended order, 
and as they passed the officers the enemy s fire 
was very heavy, and men fell like wheat before a 

When the last company was well on its way to 
safety, the two officers, after a brief consultation, 
decided that it would be best for them to take 
separate routes back to the Battalion Headquarters 
line. The reason for this was simple and poignant 
it increased the chances of one of them getting 
through; not, for that matter, that either had very 
much hope of escaping the enemy s pitiless fire. 
They never expected to see each other again, and 
they shook hands in farewell before they dashed out 
on their separate ways, which lay through a spray of 
bullets and flying shrapnel. When he had gone 
about 300 yards, Colonel Watson paused for a 


moment under the cover of a tree to watch the further 
retirement of the company he was following. It was at 
this moment that he noticed one of his officers, Lieut. 
A. H. Hugill, lying on the ground about sixty yards 
to the left, in the direction of the enemy s attack. 
Without a moment s hesitation, Colonel Watson went 
back to him, thinking that he was wounded; but on 
asking him what was the matter, Lieut. Hugill told 
him that he had simply been compelled to rest and 
recover his breath before he could make another 

Almost at the same moment, Private Wilson, also 
of the 2nd Battalion, was passing near by when he 
was shot through the leg. The man was so close at 
hand that Colonel Watson felt impelled to en 
deavour to rescue him, and suggested to Lieut. 
Hugill that, between them, they might be able to 
carry the wounded man back over the eight or nine 
hundred yards nearly half a mile which still 
separated them from a place of comparative safety. 
Lieut. Hugill immediately agreed, whereupon 
Colonel Watson knelt down, and got Wilson on to 
his back, and carried him several hundred yards until 
the original Battalion Headquarters was reached; 
and all the time that Colonel Watson staggered 
along with his load the air was alive with bullets, 
which grew thicker and thicker, as the enemy was 
now rapidly advancing. 

The various companies had already retired beyond 
what had been the Battalion Headquarters, so that 
Colonel Watson and Lieut. Hugill had no oppor 
tunity of calling for aid. They rested for a few 
minutes and then started off once more, and between 
them they managed to get the wounded private 


across the 700 yards of fire-swept ground which still 
had to be covered. But, in spite of the fact that the 
ground was ploughed up with shells all round them 
during their desperate and heroic retreat, Colonel 
Watson and Lieutenant Hugill retrieved their man 
in safety. 

What, again, could be more thrilling than the 
story of the dash of Major H. M. Dyer, a farmer 
from Manitoba, and Captain (now Lieut.-Col. 
25th Battalion) Edward Hilliam, a fruit farmer 
from British Columbia, when in the face of 
almost certain death, after the trench telephones 
were disabled, they set out to order the retirement of 
a battalion on the point of being overwhelmed ! 

It was on April 25th that the position of the 
5th Canadian Battalion on the Gravenstafel Ridge 
became untenable ; but the men in the fire trench did 
not entertain any thought of retirement. The tele 
phones between Headquarters and the trench were 
disabled, the wires having been cut again and again 
by the enemy s shell fire. General Currie saw the 
immediate need of sending a positive order to 
the Battalion to fall back, and Major Dyer 
and Captain Hilliam, both of the 5th Battalion, 
undertook to carry up the word to the fire trench. 
Each received a copy of the order, for nothing 
but a written order signed by their Brigade 
Commander would bring the men out. The two 
officers advanced with an interval of about twenty 
yards between them, for one or other of them had 
to get through. They were soon on the bald hill 
top, where there were no trenches and no cover of 
any description. Machine gun and rifle fire swept 
the ground. They reached a little patch of mustard, 


and laughed to each other at the thought of using 
these frail plants as cover. Still unhit, they reached 
a region of shell holes, great and small. These holes 
pitted the ground, irregularly, some being only five 
yards apart, others ten or twelve; but to the 
officers, each hole in their line of advance 
meant a little haven of dead ground, and a brief 
breathing space. So they went forward, scrambling 
and dodging in and out of the pits. When within 
100 yards of our trench, Captain Hilliam fell, shot 
through the side, and rolled into a ditch. Major 
Dyer went on, and was shot through the chest when 
within a few yards of the trench. He delivered the 
message, and what was left of the Battalion fell 
back. Men who went to the ditch to assist Captain 
Hilliam, found only a piece of board, on which the 
wounded officer had written with clay, I have 
crawled home." It only remains to add that both 
these officers returned to duty with their Battalion 
after convalescence. 

Though these two officers gave a very fine example 
of active courage, it would be hard to find a more 
remarkable illustration of passive endurance, nobly 
borne, than that afforded by Lieut. E. A. Whitehead 
on April 24th. On that day, Captain Victor Currie, 
with Lieut. Whitehead and Lieut, (now Captain) 
W. D. Adams, was holding a company of the I4th 
(Royal Montreal) Battalion, on the salient of which 
both flanks were exposed to a merciless fire. At 
5 a.m. that morning, Lieut. Whitehead was shot in the 
foot, but he remained in command of his platoon with 
the bullet still in his ankle-bone until three o clock 
in the afternoon, when he swooned from pain and 
fatigue. It is sad to record that Sergeant Arundel, 


who tried to lift Lieut. Whitehead from the trench, 
was shot and instantly killed. 

On the previous day, the men of No. 2 Company 
of the same Battalion had assisted Major (now 
Lieut.-Colonel) W. B. M. King, of the Canadian 
Field Artillery, to perform one of the most astonish 
ing and daring feats of the campaign. With superb 
audacity Major King kept his guns in an advanced 
position, where he deliberately awaited the approach 
of the Germans till they were within 200 yards. 
Then, after he had fired his guns into the massed 
ranks of the enemy, he succeeded, with the assist 
ance of the infantry, in getting the guns away. It 
was during the course of this part of the action that 
Lance-Corporal Fred Fisher, of the i3th Battalion, 
won his V.C., but lost his life. Being in charge of a 
machine gun, he took it forward to cover the extrica 
tion of Major King s battery. All the four men of 
his gun crew were shot down, but he obtained the 
services of four men of the i4th Battalion, and 
continued to work his gun until the battery was 

No sooner were Major King s men in safety than 
Fisher pushed still further forward to reinforce our 
front line, but while getting his men into position 
in the face of a combined fire of shrapnel, machine 
guns, and rifles, he was shot dead. 

And here, I would say, that over and above the 
pleasure it naturally gives a Canadian to record the 
splendid heroism of his fellow-countrymen, the 
occasion has provided me with the welcome oppor 
tunity of dissipating a delusion which at the outset 
prevailed in England as to the capacity of our 
officers. At the beginning of the war it was a 


common saying in the British Army I have never 
been able to trace the saying to its source that the 
Canadian troops were the finest in the world, but 
that they carried their officers as mascots. 

Nothing could be further from the truth; and 
nothing more ridiculous, as the brilliant records of 
the war service of many of these officers amply 
proves. For ingenuity and daring in attack, for skill 
and resource in extricating their men from positions 
where disaster seemed inevitable, their ability as 
regimental officers has only been equalled in this 
war by the experienced officers of the first Expedi 
tionary Force. As for bravery, for heroic devotion 
and self-sacrifice, to compile a full record of their 
incomparable deeds, would require a chapter many 
times the length of this whole volume. From 
generals down, they have shown the world that, for 
sheer valour, Canadian officers can proudly take their 
place beside any in the world, while they have 
afforded an example and inspiration to their men 
which have done much to make the splendid story 
of the Canadians in France and Flanders what it is. 

But if the deeds of the commissioned officers 
have been splendid, the exploits of the non-com 
missioned officers and men have been not less so. 
The narrative of the Division consists of story after 
story of coolness in danger, incentive daring, 
and unflinching courage which has never been 

Take, for instance, the story of Sergeant J. 
Richardson, of the 2nd Canadian Battalion. It is a 
tale of how shrewd common sense defeated the wiles 
of the enemy. On April 23rd Richardson was on 
the extreme left of our line in command of a half- 


platoon, when the words, Lieutenant Scott orders 
you to surrender/ 3 were passed to him. He knew 
that there were three company commanders in the 
line between himself and Lieutenant Scott, and, 
therefore, correctly concluded that the order had 
nothing to do with any officer of his regiment, but 
was of German origin. He not only ignored the 
order, but discredited it with his men by passing 
back " No surrender ! It is impossible to say how 
much ground, and how many lives, the sergeant saved 
that day by his lively suspicion of German methods, 
his quick thought, and his absolute faith in the sense 
and courage of his officers. Sergeant Richardson 
belongs to Coburg, Ontario, and is a veteran of the 
South African War. 

Of a different order of courage was Corporal H. 
Baker, of the loth Battalion. After the attack on the 
Wood and the occupation of a part of the German 
trench by the loth Canadian Battalion, on the night of 
April 22nd-23rd, Corporal Baker, with sixteen bomb- 
throwers, moved to the left along the German line, 
bombing the enemy out of the trench. The Ger 
mans checked Baker s advance with bombs and rifle 
fire and put nine of his men out of action during the 
night. The enemy then established a redoubt by 
digging a cross-trench. Corporal Baker and the six 
other survivors of his party maintained a position 
within ten yards of the redoubt throughout the re 
maining hours of the night. Early in the morning 
of the 23rd the Germans received a fresh supply of 
bombs and renewed their efforts to dislodge the little 
party of Canadians. They threw over Baker, who 
was closer in to their position than the others of his 
party, and killed his six companions. Alone among 


the dead, with the menace of death hemming him 
in, Baker collected bombs from the still shapes 
behind him, and threw them into the enemy s redoubt. 
He threw with coolness and accuracy, and slackened 
the German fire. He held his position within ten 
yards of the cross-trench all day and all night, and 
returned to his Battalion just before the dawn of the 
24th, over the bodies of dead and wounded men 
who had fallen before the rain of bombs and rifle 

And now we come to the story of two brothers, 
Privates N. and J. Mclvor, who were stretcher- 
bearers, of whom much is expected as a matter of 
course. On April 24th, they were attached to the 
5th Battalion (which held a position on the Graven- 
stafel Ridge), and carried Major Sanderman, of 
their battalion, from the bombarded cross-roads back 
to the dressing station over open fire-raked country. 
Major Sanderman had been hit by shrapnel, and 
died soon after reaching the dressing station. Four 
days later, on April 28th, when the 5th Battalion 
was in rear of the Yser Canal, the two Mclvors 
volunteered to attempt a rescue of the wounded from 
the Battalion dressing station beyond Fortuin. They 
discovered the station to be in the enemy s hands, 
and J. Mclvor was severely wounded. 

Nor can one dwell without pride on the case of 
Company Sergeant-Major F. W. Hall, V.C. Dur 
ing the night of April 23rd-24th the 8th Battalion 
took over a line of trenches from the i5th Battalion. 
Close in rear of the Canadian position at this point 
ran a high bank fully exposed to the fire of the 
enemy; and while crossing this bank to occupy the 
trench, several men of the 8th Battalion were 


wounded. During the early morning of Saturday, 
the 24th, Company Sergeant-Major F. W. Hall 
brought two of these wounded into the trench. A 
few hours later, at about 9 a.m., groans of suffering 
drew attention to another wounded man in the high 
ground behind the position. Corporal Payne went 
back for him, but was wounded. Private Rogerson 
next attempted the rescue, and was also wounded. 
Then Sergeant-Major Hall made the attempt. He 
reached his objective without accident, though under 
heavy fire from the German trenches in front. This 
was deliberate, aimed fire, delivered in broad day 
light. He managed to get his helpless comrade 
into position on his back, but in raising himself a 
little to survey the ground over which he had to 
return to shelter, he was shot fairly through the head 
and instantly killed. The man for whom he had 
given his life was also killed. 

For this gallant deed Sergeant-Major Hall was 
awarded a posthumous V.C. He was originally 
from Belfast, but his Canadian home was in Winni 
peg. He joined the 8th Battalion at Valcartier,, 
Quebec, in August, 1914, as a private. 

Sergeant C. B. Ferris, of the 2nd Field Company 
of the Canadian Engineers, proved in the face of 
the enemy that he could keep a road repaired faster 
than they could destroy it by shell fire. From 
April 25th to the 29th, the road between Fortuin 
and the Yser Canal was under the constant 
hammer of German shells. It was of vital import 
ance to the Canadian and British troops in the 
neighbourhood that this road should be kept open 
for all manner of transportation, and Captain Irving, 
commanding the 2nd Field Company, Canadian 


Engineers, sent a party under Sergeant Ferris 
and Corporal Rhodes to keep the highway in repair. 
Every shell-hole in the road-bed had to be filled 
with bricks brought up in wagons from the nearest 
ruined houses; and at times it seemed as if the 
German artillery would succeed in making new 
holes faster than the little party of Canadian En 
gineers could fill in the old ones. Sergeant Ferris 
and his men stuck to their task day and night, amid 
the dust and splinters and shock of bursting shells, 
and their work of reconstruction was more rapid than 
the enemy s work of destruction. They kept the road 

On a moonlit night, a month later, the Roadmender 
developed the talents of a Pathfinder, when the 2nd 
Field Company of the Canadian Engineers was 
ordered to link up a trench in the Canadian front 
line with the attempted advance of a British division 
on our left, and establish a defensive flank. A 
pre-arranged signal was given, indicating that the 
advance had reached, and was holding, a point where 
the connection was to be made. In response, Sapper 
Quin attempted to carry through the tape, to mark 
the line for digging the linking trench, under a heavy 
fire of shells, machine guns, and rifles. He did not 
return, and Sapper Connan went out and failed to 
come back ; and neither of these men has been seen 
or heard of since. Then Sapper Low made an 
attempt to carry the tape across, and failed to return. 
Without a moment s hesitation, Sergeant Ferris 
sprang over the parapet in the face of the most 
severe fire, and, with the tape in one hand and 
revolver in the other, cautiously crawled in the 
direction of the flaring signal. 


Midway, he stumbled upon the wire entangle 
ments of a German redoubt fairly on the line which 
his section had thought to dig. He followed the 
wire entanglements of this redoubt completely 
round, and for a time was exposed to rifle and 
machine gun fire from three sides. At this moment 
he was severely wounded through the lungs, but he 
persisted in his effort. He found out that a mistake 
had been made and that the attack had not reached 
the point indicated, and staggered back to make his 
report, bringing Sapper Low with him. Sergeant 
Ferris s information was eagerly listened to by 
Lieut. Matthewson and Sergeant-Major Chetwynd, 
who was present as a volunteer. Sergeant-Major 
Chetwynd quickly realised the nature of the diffi 
culty, and, encouraged by Lieut. Matthewson, he 
rallied the detachment and led it to another point 
from which he successfully laid the line under very 
heavy fire from the German trenches. 

Now we come to the story of Private Irving, one 
of General Turner s subordinate staff, who went out 
to do as brave a deed as a man might endeavour, 
but never returned. Irving had been up for forty- 
eight hours helping to feed the wounded as they 
were brought in to Brigade Headquarters, which had 
been turned into a temporary dressing station, when 
he heard that a huge poplar tree had fallen across 
the road and was holding up the ambulance wagons. 

Though utterly weary, he at once offered to go 
out and cut the tree in pieces and drag it from the 
path at the tail of an ambulance wagon. 

Irving set forth with the ambulance, but, on near- 
ing the place of which he was in search, left it, and 
went forward on foot along the road, which was 



being swept by heavy artillery fire and a cross 
rifle fire. And then, even as, axe in hand, he 
tramped up this road, with shells bursting all around 
him and bullets whistling past him, he disappeared 
as completely as though the night had swallowed 
him up ! General Turner, who appreciated the 
gallant work Irving had set out to do, himself had 
all the lists of the Field Force checked over to 
see if he had been brought in wounded. But 
Irving was never traced. He is missing to this 
day a strange and brave little mystery of this 
great war. 

In another portion of the field Sergeant W. 
Swindells, of the 7th Battalion, when all the com 
pany officers had become casualties, and the remnant 
of the company left their trench under stress of 
terrific fire, rallied them and took them back; but 
this again is only one instance in a record for cool 
daring which was later built up at Festubert and 
Givenchy. Swindells comes from Kamloops, and 
before the war was a rancher on Vancouver Island. 

Very similar was the action of Sergeant- Major P. 
Flinter, of the 2nd Battalion, who displayed con 
spicuous gallantry at Langemarck on April 23rd 
while in command of a platoon on the left flank of 
the Battalion. This position was under excep 
tionally heavy gun and rifle fire, and his pure daring 
and bravery were such an inspiration to the men 
under his command, that they withstood successfully 
all attacks upon them. He was wounded in the 
head, but gallantly cheered his men to renewed 
attack. By fortunate observation he discovered an 
enemy bomb depot in the woods near at hand, and 
concentrating all available fire on it, managed to 


blow it up. Throughout his service at the front his 
example has been an inspiration to all ranks. 

It is difficult, where all men were brave, to select 
individual cases of extreme courage, but it would 
be wrong to close this record without mentioning 
Lance-Corporal F. Williams, of the 3rd Canadian 
Battalion, and Private J. K. Young, of the 2nd 
Battalion. On April 25th, near St. Julien, Williams 
volunteered to go out with Captain J. H. Lyne- 
Evans from the shelter of a farm and bring in Cap 
tain Gerrard Muntz, who lay wounded in a small 
hollow several hundred yards away. The rescue, 
which was carried out in broad daylight and in the 
midst of a heavy rifle and machine gun fire, was 
successful, though Captain Muntz died of his 
wounds five days later. Again, at Festubert, just 
a month later, Williams displayed great courage 
and resourcefulness in keeping good the wires 
for communication between the signal station 
and other centres. The area was under con 
tinuous enemy rifle and shell fire, and the 
repairs had to be made under other adverse 

Indeed, the Canadian non-commissioned officers 
have proved beyond all doubt their capacity to take 
the places of commissioned officers who have been 
shot down. 

Private Young was " mentioned" for handling his 
machine gun so well that it was mainly through his 
efforts the German attack on the 2nd Battalion was 
repulsed on April 24th. Later, at Givenchy, on 
June 1 5th, he refused to leave his guns even when 
he was wounded, and pluckily remained until the 
action was over. 

H 2 


These are but a few of a hundred other deeds, 
done on the spur of the moment, of which there 
will never be any memorial except the moment s 
cheer or the moment s laughter from those who had 
time to observe. A man can be both heroic and 
absurd in the same act, and human nature under 
strain always leans to the comic. What follows is 
not at all comic, although it made men laugh at the 
time. In one of the many isolated bits of night 
work which had to be undertaken, it happened that 
a German detachment was cut off by one of ours 
and its situation became hopeless. There was 
something like a gasp as the enemy realised this, 
and then a silence broken by a voice crying, in un 
mistakable German-American accents, " Have a 
heart! 3 The detachment had just recovered a 
dressing station which had been abandoned a few 
hours before, and there they had found the bodies 
of their comrades with their wounds dressed dead 
of fresh wounds by the bayonet ! It is unfortunate 
that the Canadians first serious experience of the 
enemy should have included asphyxiation by gas 
and the murder of wounded and unconscious men, 
because Canadians, more even than the British, 
have been accustomed to Germans in their midst, 
and till lately have looked upon them as good 
citizens. Now they will tell their children that they 
were mistaken, and the end of that war may well be 
generations distant. 

The supply of ammunition and medical attend 
ance continued unbroken and unconcerned through 
all the phases of the Ypres engagement. The am 
munition columns waited for hour after hour at their 
stated points, ready to distribute supplies as needed. 


Their business was to stay where they could be 
found, and if the shrapnel caught them when lined 
up by the roadside, that was part of the business 
too. They stuck it out the livelong days and 
nights, coming up full and going away empty with 
no more fuss than is made by delivery wagons on 
Drummond Street. The doctors had the distraction 
of incessant work, and it was curious to see how 
they took their professional manner into the field. 
Half the cities and towns in the Dominion might 
have identified their own doctors under the official 
uniforms as far as they could have seen them. 
Though they were working at high pressure, they 
were unmistakably the same men. Some were as 
polite as though each poor, mangled case represented 
(which it might well have done) the love and hopes 
of wealthy and well-known families. Others em 
ployed the same little phrases of encouragement, and 
the same tricks of tone and gesture, at the beginning 
and end of their operations, as their hospitals have 
known for years. 

Others, again, switched off from English to 
French-Canadian -patois as the cases changed under 
their hands ; but not one of them had a thought to 
waste on anything outside the cases. Their profes 
sional habit seemed to enwrap them like an armoured 
belt, to protect them from all consciousness of the 
hurricanes of death all round. This is difficult to 
explain to anybody who has not seen a doctor s 
face pucker with a slight impatience when one 
side of his temporary field ambulance dressing 
station is knocked out by the blast of a shell, 
and he must wait until someone finds an elec 
tric torch to show him where his patient lies. 


It would be inadequate to call such men 

Each soul of those engaged and Canada threw 
in all she had on the ground will take away in his 
mind pictures that time can never wipe out. For 
some the memory of that struggle in the wood where 
the guns were will stand out clearest in the raw 
primitiveness of its fighting. Others will recall only 
struggles among rubbish heaps that once were vil 
lages; some wall-end or market square, inestimably 
valuable for a few red hours, and then a useless and 
disregarded charnel-house. Very many will think 
most of the profiles of bare fields over which men 
moved in silence from piles of stacked overcoats and 
equipment towards the trench where they knew the 
fire was waiting that would sweep them away. There 
was one such attack in which six thousand troops, 
of whom not more than a third were Canadians, made 
a charge. Each little company in the space felt 
itself alone in the world. It is so with all bodies 
and all individuals in war. Only when night fell 
did the same picture reveal itself to all. Then it 
was war as the prints and pictures in our houses 
at home show it the horizon lighted all round by 
the flame of burning villages, and the German flares 
pitching and curving like the comets which are sup 
posed to attend the death of kings. Morning light 
broke up all the connections, and we were each alone 
once more- -horribly visible or hidden. 

During the bombardment refugees fled back from 
the villages while shrapnel fell along the roads they 
took. Amidst all the horrors of this war there was 
nothing more heartrending than the misery of these 
helpless victims. They met our supports and re- 


serves coming up, and pressed aside from the -paves 
to give them room. They had packed what they 
could carry on their own backs and the backs of 
their horses and cows, while prudent men hired 
out dog teams; for one noticed the same busied 
dogs passing and repassing up and down the line, 
tugging hard in front of the low-wheeled little carts. 
Invalids, palsied old men and women swathed in 
pillows and bolstered up by the affectionate care of 
their middle-aged children, struggled in the proces 
sion. Their fear had overcome their infirmities, and 
they had been dragged away swiftly as might be 
from that death which Time itself would have dealt 
them in a little while. 

Then, as you know, we buried our dead; the 
records began to be made, and the terrible cables 
started to work on the list of names for home. There 
is in London a colony of Canadians who have 
come across to be a little nearer to their nearest. 
They suffer the common lot, and live from hour to 
hour in the hotels and lodging-houses, where every 
guest and servant is as concerned as they. Life is 
harder for them than for the English, because they 
are not among their own surroundings, and France 
is very far off. 

The colony is divided now, as the English have 
been since war began, into three classes those who 
know the worst, those who fear it, and those who for 
the time being have escaped any blow, and are 
therefore at liberty to help the others. The cables 
from the west are alive with appeals, and as informa 
tion is gathered it is flashed back to Canada. A 
voice calls out of a remote township, asking for 
news of a certain name. It has no claim on the 


receiver, who may have been, perhaps, his deadly 
rival in the little old days. But it calls, and must 
be answered. Who has had news of this name? 
Add it to your list that you carry about and consult 
with your friends; and when you have made sure 
of your own beloved, in your grief or your joy, 
remember to mention this name. Somebody iden 
tifies it as having come from his own town son of 
the minister or the lawyer. He was probably with 
comrades from the same neighbourhood, and that at 
least will be a clue. Meantime a soothing cable 
must carry the message that inquiries are being 
pursued. There are men in hospitals back from 
the trenches who may perhaps recall or remember 
him, or be able to refer one to other wounded men. 
The unofficial inquiry spreads and ramifies through 
all sorts of unofficial channels, till at last some sure 
word can be sent of the place of his death, or the 
nature of his wound, or the date on which he was 
missing, or the moment when he was last seen going 
forward. The voice ceases. Others take its place- 
clear, curt, businesslike, or, as the broken words tell, 
distracted with grief. The Canadian colony does 
its best to deal with them all, and their inquiries cut 
across those of the English, and sorrows and griefs 
are exchanged. It is all one family now, so closely 
knit by blood that sympathy and service are taken 
for granted. Your case may be mine to-morrow," 
people say to each other. My time, and what 
inquiries I can make, are at your disposal if you 
will only tell me your need and your name. 33 

The grief that we suffer is more new to us than 
to the English, who have paid the heavy tolls of 
Mons, the retreat, the battle of Neuve Chapelle, and 


the first attack on Ypres, and, like ourselves, have 
prepared and are preparing men to fill the gaps ; but 
through their grief and ours runs the unbreakable 
pride of a race that has called itself Imperial before 
it knew what Empire signified, or had proved itself 
within its own memory by long and open-handed 
sacrifice. In that pride we are full partners, and 
through the din and confusion of battle Canada 
perceives how all that has gone before was but fit 
preparation for the destiny upon which she enters 
and the history which she opens from this hour. 




Objective of Aubers and Festubert Allies cooperation Great 
French offensive Terrific bombardment British support 
-Endless German fortresses Shortage of munitions 
-Probable explanation Effect of Times disclosures 
Outcry in England Coalition Government After Ypres 
The Canadian advance Disposition of Canadians Attack 
on an Orchard Canadian Scottish Sapper Harmon s ex 
ploits Drawback to drill-book tactics A Canadian ruse 
" Sam Slick " The Orchard won Arrival of Second 
Brigade The attempt on " Bexhill " In the German 
trenches Strathcona s Horse King Edward s Horse 
Cavalry fight on foot Further attack on " Bexhill " 
Redoubt taken " Bexhill " captured " Dig in and hang 
on Attack on the " Well " Heroic efforts repulsed 
General Seely assumes command A critical moment- 
Heavy officer casualties The courage of the cavalry 
Major Murray s good work Gallantry of Sergt. Morris 
and Corpl. Pym Death of Sergt. Hickey Canadian 
Division withdrawn Trench warfare till June. 

"In records that defy the tooth of time." THE STATESMAN S 

To many minds the battle of Festubert, some 
times called the battle of Aubers, in which the 
Canadians played so gallant and glorious a part, 
represents only a vast conflict which raged for a 
long period without any definite objective, any 
clearly defined line of attack, and with no decisive 
result from which clear conclusions can be drawn. 

1 06 


This unfortunate impression is largely due to the 
fact that it is impossible at the opening of a great 
battle for the commander to give any indication of 
his intentions; that newspaper correspondents are 
debarred from discussing them; and that the official 
despatches which reveal the purpose and the plan 
of a battle, are only issued when the engagement has 
already passed into history and has been lost sight 
of among newer feats of arms. 

As a matter of fact, the battle of Festubert is, in 
all its aspects, one of the most clearly defined of the 
war, notwithstanding the length of time that it 
covered and the numerous and confused individual 
and sectional engagements fought along its front. 
Its aim was clear, and it was a portion of a definite 
scheme on the part of the Allies. The actual fight 
is perfectly easy to follow, and the results are im 
portant, not only from the military point of view 
(although in this respect Festubert must be counted 
a failure), but from the political changes they pro 
duced in England changes designed for the better 
conduct of the war. 

As I have already explained, if we had completely 
broken the German lines at the battle of Neuve 
Chapelle, we should have gained the Aubers Ridge, 
which dominates Lille, the retaking of which would 
have completely altered the whole aspect of the war 
on the Western front. 

General Joffre had determined on a great offen 
sive movement in Artois, in May, for which purpose 
he concentrated the most overwhelming artillery 
force up to this time assembled in the West. 
It was on a par with the terrific masses of 
guns with which von Mackensen was, about the 


same time, blasting his way through Galicia. The 
French made wonderful progress, and only a few 
of the defences of Lens, the key of the whole French 
objective, remained in German hands. But the 
Germans were pouring reinforcements into the south, 
and it was then that Sir John French, in conjunction 
with General Joffre, moved his forces to the attack. 
This British offensive was designed to hold up the 
German reinforcements destined for Lens, and at 
the same time to offer the British a second oppor 
tunity for gaining the Aubers Ridge, from which 
Lille and La Bassee could be dominated. If the 
British could gain the ridge, which they hoped 
to secure at the battle of Neuve Chapelle, and 
if the French could win through to Lens, the 
Allies would then be in a position to sweep on 
together towards the city which was their common 

The attack on the German positions began on 
May 9th, 1 and continued through several days and 
nights, and waned, only to be renewed with re 
doubled fury on May i6th. On May iQth, the 2nd 
and 7th Divisions, which had suffered very severely, 
were withdrawn, and their places taken by the 
Canadian Division and the 5ist Highland Division 
(Territorial). With the share of the battle which 

1 The detailed plan of the engagement was as follows : Sir 
Herbert Plumer with the 2nd Army was to protect Ypres while 
the 3rd Corps held Armentieres. The ist Army under Sir Douglas 
Haig was to carry the entrenchments and redoubts on the right 
of the Crown Prince Rupprecht s Army. Sir John French had 
arranged for the 4th Corps to attack the German position at 
Rouges- Banes, to the north-west of Fromelles. The ist Corps 
and the Indian Corps were first to occupy the plain between 
Neuve Chapelle and Givenchy, and afterwards take the Aubers 


fell to the lot of the Canadians I will deal in detail 

The British attack failed to clear the way to Lille, 
which still remains in German hands. With the 
reasons which resulted in our check at Neuve 
Chapelle I have already dealt, and it is now neces 
sary to consider the two principal reasons which 
may be assigned for our second failure to secure 
the all-important Aubers Ridge. 

The first reason is definite and explicable. The 
second reason is debatable. 

At various points along this sector of the front, 
and on many occasions, the German lines were 
pierced pierced but not broken. Again and again 
the British and Canadian troops took the first, the 
second, and the third line German trenches. This 
may have destroyed the mathematical precision of 
the German line, but it only succeeded in splitting 
it up into a series of absolutely impregnable fortms. 
It must be remembered that the Germans fought a 
defensive battle, and in this they were greatly 
assisted by the nature of the ground, which was 
dotted with considerable hummocks, cleft with 
ravines and indented with chalk pits and quarries, 
and was, moreover, abundantly furnished with pit 
heads, mine-works, mills, farms, and the like, all 
transformed into miniature fortresses, to approach 
which was certain death. They had constructed 
trenches reinforced by concrete-lined galleries, and 
linked them up with underground tunnels. The 
battle of the miniature fortresses proved the triumph 
of the machine gun. The Germans employed the 
machine gun to an extent which turned even a pig- 
stye into a Sebastopol. Only overwhelming artil- 


lery fire could have shattered this chain of forts, 
bound by barbed wire and everywhere covered by 
machine guns. 

Our artillery fire was not sufficient to reduce 
them, and the British attack slowly weakened; and 
finally the battle died out on the 26th, when Sir John 
French gave orders for the curtailment of our artil 
lery fire. 

This brings me to the second reason which has 
been assigned for our failure to clear the way to 
Lille at the battle of Festubert, and that is the 
debatable one of shortage of munitions. 53 

The military correspondent of The Times, who 
had just returned from the front, affirmed in his 
journal on May i4th that the first part of the battle 
of Festubert had failed through lack of "high 
explosives. 3 

The English public was profoundly disturbed at 
the failure of an engagement on which it had set 
high hopes, and, rightly or wrongly, it fastened on 
this accusation of The Times as an indictment of 
the Government at home. Both the Press and the 
public settled down with a grim tenacity to discover 
what was wrong. They were alike determined that 
the British Army in the future should lack nothing 
which it required to achieve success. 

Amid the hubbub to which The Times disclosure 
gave rise, the undercurrent of the reply of officials 
at home was never heard, and certainly was never 
understood. Probably the answer of Lord Kitchener 
was this : that the requirements of those in command 
in the field, based on the calculations of the artil 
lery experts there, had been faithfully fulfilled so 
far as our resources permitted. 


In any case, Festubert led us to believe that high 

explosives must determine the issue of similar battles 

in the future, and the outcry in England against the 

* shortage of munitions J produced the crisis from 

which emerged the Coalition Government. 

It may therefore be said that the political effects 
of Festubert were infinitely greater than its military 
results. The munitions crisis cleared the political 
atmosphere and gave England a better understand 
ing of the difficulties of the war and a steadier 
determination to see it through. It paved the way 
for the War Committee, and, finally, for the Allies 
Grand Council of War in Paris. 

I will now proceed to deal with the battle of 
Festubert as it concerns the fortunes of the Cana 
dians. The record is a bald one of work in the 
trenches by our own people. It is couched almost 
in official phrases, but now and then I have inter 
polated some personal anecdote which may help 
to show you what triumph and terror and tragedy 
lie behind the smooth, impersonal stage directions 
of this war. 

After the second battle of Ypres the Canadian 
Division, worn but not shattered, retired into billets 
and rested until May 14-th, when the Headquarters 
moved to the southern section of the British line in 
readiness for new operations. During that time re 
inforcements had poured in from the Canadian base 
in England, where were gathered the Dominion 
troops, whose numbers we owe to the large vision 
and untiring energy of the Minister of Militia and 

On May i7th the remade infantry brigades ad 
vanced towards the firing line once more. 


It must be understood that on the afternoon of 
May 1 8th, the 3rd Brigade occupied reserve trenches, 
two companies of the i4th (Royal Montreal) Batta 
lion, commanded by Lieut-Colonel Meighen, 1 and 
two companies of the i6th (Canadian Scottish), under 
Lieut.-Colonel (now Brig.-General) Leckie, being 
ordered to make an immediate advance on La 
Quinque Rue, north-west of an Orchard which had 
been placed in a state of defence by the enemy. 
One company of the i6th Canadian Scottish was 
to make a flanking movement on the enemy s position 
in the Orchard by way of an old German communi 
cating trench, and this attack was to be made, of 
course, in conjunction with a frontal one. 

Little time was available to make dispositions, 
and as there was no opportunity to reconnoitre the 
ground, it was very difficult to determine the proper 
objective. The flanking company of the i6th Batta 
lion reached its allotted position, but after the 
advance of the remaining company of that regiment, 
and the I4th s under very heavy shell fire, the proper 
direction was not maintained. The detachments 
reached part of their objective, but owing to the lack 
of covering fire it was undesirable at the moment 
to make an attack on the Orchard. The companies 
were told to dig themselves in and connect up with 
the Wiltshire Battalion on their right and the Cold- 
stream Guards on their left. They had then gained 

1 Lt.-Colonel Meighan led his troops with capacity and judg 
ment. He had already won distinction at Ypres. In accordance 
with the English custom of recalling men who have acquired 
experience in the field for training purposes at home, Colonel 
Meighan has been sent to Canada, and given charge of the instruc 
tional scheme of the Canadian Forces from the Atlantic to the 
Pacific, with the temporary rank of Brigadier-General. 


500 yards. Lieut.-Colonel Leckie sent up the other 
two companies of the i6th to assist in the digging 
and to relieve the original two companies at day 
break. During the night the companies of the I4th 
Battalion (Royal Montreal) were also withdrawn, and 
the trench occupied by these was taken over by 
stretching out the Coldstream Guards on one flank 
and the i6th Canadian Scottish on the other. 1 

On the morning of the 2Oth orders were issued 
for an attack on the Orchard that night. A recon 
naissance of the position was made by Major Leckie, 
brother of Lieut.-Colonel Leckie, when patrols were 
sent out, one of which very neatly managed to escape 
being cut off by the enemy, and another suffered a 
few casualties. This showed the Germans were in 
force, and that an attack on the Orchard would be 
no light work. That night the Canadian Scottish 
occupied a deserted house close to the German lines, 
and succeeded in establishing there two machine 
guns and a garrison of thirty men. The enemy were 
evidently not aware that we were in possession of 
this house, for although they bombarded all the 
British trenches with great severity throughout the 

1 Our men were very anxious to get to grips with the enemy 
on this day (May i8th), as it was the birthday of Prince 
Rupprecht of Bavaria, who had issued an order that no prisoners 
were to be taken. Some idea of the efforts made to incite the 
enemy s forces to further outrages against the conventions of war 
may be gathered from the following paragraph extracted from the 
Lille War News, an official journal issued to the German troops : 
"Comrades, if the enemy were to invade our land, do you think 
he would leave one stone upon another of our fathers houses, our 
churches, and all the works of a thousand years of love and toil? 
. . . and if your strong arms did not hold back the English (God 
damn them !) and the French (God annihilate them !) do you think 
they would spare your homes and your loved ones? What would 
these pirates from the Isles do to you if they were to set foot 
on German soil ? " 


whole of the next day, this little garrison was left 
untouched. The attacking detachment under Major 
Rae consisted of two companies of the Canadian 
Scottish, one commanded by Captain Morison, the 
other by Major Peck. The attack was to take place 
at 7.45 p.m., and at the same time the I5th Battalion 
(48th Highlanders) were directed to make an assault 
on a position several hundred yards to the right. 
During that afternoon the Orchard was very heavily 
bombarded by our artillery, the bombardment in 
creasing in severity up to the delivery of the attack. 
Promptly to the minute, the guns ceased, and the 
two companies of the i6th Canadians climbed out 
of their trenches to advance. At the same instant 
the two machine guns situated in the advanced post 
opened on the enemy. As the advance was carried 
out in broad daylight, the movements were at once 
seen by the Germans, and immediately a torrent of 
machine gun, rifle fire, and shrapnel was directed 
upon our troops. Their steadiness and discipline 
were remarkable, and were greatly praised by the 
officers of the Coldstream Guards who were on our 

When they reached the edge of the Orchard an 
unexpected obstacle presented itself in the form of 
a deep ditch, and on the further side a wired hedge. 
Without hesitation, however, the men plunged 
through the ditch, in some places up to their necks 
in water, and made for previously reconnoitred gaps 
in the hedge. Not many Germans had stayed in 
the Orchard during the bombardment. The bulk of 
the garrison, according to the usual German method 
under artillery fire, had evidently retired to the sup 
port trenches in the rear. A few had been left 


I 2 


behind to man a machine gun redoubt near to the 
centre of the Orchard with the idea of holding up 
our advancing infantry till the enemy, withdrawn 
during the bombardment, could return in full 
strength; but these machine guns retreated when 
the Canadians came. On the far side of the 
Orchard, however, the Germans, following their 
system indicated above, came up to contest the posi 
tion, but the onset of the Canadians forced them to 
beat a hasty retreat. Although double our numbers, 
they could not be induced to face a hand-to-hand 
fight. Three platoons cleared the Orchard, while a 
fourth platoon, advancing towards the north side, 
were hampered by a very awkward ditch, which 
forced them to make a wide detour, so that they did 
not reach the Orchard until its occupation was 

One company did not enter the Orchard, but 
pushed forward and occupied an abandoned German 
trench running in a south-westerly direction, to pre 
vent any flank counter-attack being made by the 
enemy. They then found themselves in a very ex 
posed position, and consequently suffered heavily. 
The casualties, in proportion to the number of men 
employed in the attack, were heavy for all engaged, 
but the position was a very important one, and had 
twice repulsed assault by other regiments. 

Had our advance been less rapid the enemy would 
no doubt have got back into this position, and our 
task might have been impossible. They argued, as 
I have said, that any attack might be held up by the 
machine guns in the redoubt and in the fortified 
positions on the flank for long enough to enable 
them to return to the Orchard after our bombardment 


had ceased, and then throw us back. The speed 
with which our assault was carried out altogether 
checkmated this plan. 

The 1 6th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) included 
detachments from the 72nd Seaforths of Vancouver, 
the 79th Camerons of Winnipeg, the 5oth Gordons 
of Victoria, and the gist Highlanders of Hamilton; 
so all Canada, from Lake Ontario to the Pacific 
Ocean, was represented in the Orchard that night. 

It was in the course of the struggle in the Orchard 
that Sapper Harmon, of the ist Field Company, 
C.E., performed one of those exploits which have 
made Canadian arms shine in this war. He was 
attached to a party of twelve sappers and fifty 
infantrymen of the 3rd Canadian Battalion which 
constructed a barricade of sandbags across the road 
leading to the Orchard, in the face of heavy fire. 
Later, this barricade was partially demolished by a 
shell, and Harmon actually repaired it while under 
fire from a machine gun only sixty yards away ! 
Of the party, in whose company Harmon first went 
out, six of the twelve sappers were wounded, and of 
the fifty infantrymen six were killed and twenty- 
four wounded. Later, he remained in the Orchard 
alone for thirty-six hours constructing tunnels under 
a hedge, with a view to further operations. Sapper 
B. W. Harmon is a native of Woodstock, New 
Brunswick, and a graduate of the University of 
New Brunswick. 

The drawback to drill-book tactics is that if one 
side does not keep the rules the other suffers. And 
a citizen army will not keep to the rules. For 
example, not long after the affair of the Orchard, a 
Canadian battalion put up a little arrangement with 


the ever-adaptable Canadian artillery in its rear. 
The artillery opened heavy fire on a section of Ger 
man trenches while the battalion made ostentatious 
parade of fixing bayonets, rigging trench ladders 
and whistling orders, as a prelude to attack the 
instant the bombardment should cease. The Ger 
mans, who are experts in these matters, promptly 
retired to their supporting trenches and left the 
storm to rage in front, ready to rush forward the 
instant it stopped, to meet the Canadian attack. So 
far all went perfectly. Our guns were lifted from 
the front trenches and shelled the supporting trench, 
in the manner laid down by the best authorities, to 
prevent the Germans coming up. The Germans 
none the less came, and crowded into the front 
trenches. But there was no infantry attack what 
ever. That deceitful Canadian battalion had not 
moved. Only the guns shortened range once more, 
and the full blast of their fire fell on the German 
front trench, now satisfactorily crowded with men. 
Next day s German wireless announced that a 
desperate attack had been heavily repulsed," but 
the general sense of the enemy was more accurately 
represented by a ( hyphenated voice that cried out 
peevishly next evening : * Say, Sam Slick, no dirty 
tricks to-night." But to resume. 

At seven o clock in the evening of the 2oth the 
1 3th Battalion (Royal Highlanders) of the 3rd 
Brigade, under Lieut. -Colonel Loomis, advanced 
across the British trenches, under heavy shell fire 
and with severe losses, in support of the i6th Batta 
lion Canadian Scottish. 

The attack on the Orchard having succeeded, 
three companies of the I3th Battalion (Royal High- 


landers) immediately marched forward. As four 
officers of one company, including the officer com 
manding, had been severely wounded, the command 
was taken over by Major Buchanan, the second in 
command of the regiment. 

A fourth company marched to a support trench 
immediately in the rear. The position was then 
consolidated, and the i6th Battalion, after its hard 
work and brilliant triumph, withdrew. 

Next afternoon the enemy in their trenches made 
a demonstration fifty yards north of the Orchard, 
but our heavy fire soon drove them off the parapets. 
During the night the disputed ground between the 
trenches was brightly lighted by the enemy s flares 
and enlivened by the rattle of continuous musketry. 
None the less, our working parties went on with 
their improvements and left the position in good 
shape for the 3rd (Toronto) Battalion of the ist 
Brigade, which relieved the Royal Highlanders on 

On the night of May iQth, the 2nd Canadian 
Infantry Brigade took over some trenches which had 
recently been captured by the 2ist Brigade (British), 
and also a section of trenches from the 47th Divi 
sion. The 8th and loth Battalions occupied the 
front-line trenches, the 5th Battalion went into 
Brigade Reserve, with one company near Festubert, 
and three companies bivouacked in the vicinity of 
Willow Road; and the 7th Battalion was posted in 
Divisional Reserve. 

On May 2oth, at 7.45 p.m., the loth Canadian 
Battalion, under Major Guthrie, who joined the Bat 
talion at Ypres as a lieutenant after the regiment 
had lost most of its officers, made an attempt to 


secure a position known as " Bexhill." This attack 
was a failure, as no previous reconnaissance had 
been carried out, and the preliminary bombard 
ment had been quite ineffectual. Moreover, our 
troops were in full view of the enemy when crossing 
a gap in the fire trench, and as the only approach 
to Bexhill was through an old communicating 
trench swept by machine guns, the leading men of 
the front company were all shot down and the loth 
Battalion retired. 1 

During the night a further reconnaissance of the 
enemy s position was carried out and repairs were 
effected in the gap in the fire trenches, which assured 
covered communication to all parts of our line. 

On the evening of May 2ist an artillery bombard 
ment opened under direction of Brigadier-General 
Burstall, and went on intermittently until 8.30, when 
our attack was launched. The attacking force con 
sisted of the grenade company of the ist Canadian 
Brigade and two companies of the loth Canadian 
Battalion. This attack was met by overwhelming 
fire from the " Bexhill redoubt, and our force on 
the left was practically annihilated by machine guns ; 
indeed, against that steady stream of death no man 
could advance. On the right the attackers succeeded 
in reaching the enemy s trench line running south 
from : Bexhill, 53 and,, preceded by bombers, drove 
the enemy 400 paces down the trench and erected a 
barricade to hold what they had won. During the 
night the enemy made several attempts to counter 
attack, but was successfully repulsed. 2 

1 The casualties of the loth Battalion during the fighting in 
April and May were 809. The casualties at Ypres alone were 600 
of all ranks. 

2 Coy. Sergt.-Major G. R. Turner (now Lieutenant), of the 3rd 


In our attack, which was only partially suc 
cessful, Major E. J. Ashton, of Saskatoon, who 
was slightly wounded in the head on the previous 
night, refused to leave his command. He was 
again wounded, and Privates Swan and Walpole 
tried to get him back to safety, and in so doing 
Swan was also wounded. During the same night 
Corporal W, R. Brooks, one of the roth Battalion 
snipers, went out from our trench under heavy 
fire and brought in two men of the 4/7th Camerons 
who had been lying wounded in the open for three 

At daybreak of May 22nd the enemy opened a 
terrific bombardment on the captured trench, which 
continued without ceasing through the whole day 
and practically wiped the trench out. 1 After very 

Field Company, Canadian Engineers, who served with courage 
and coolness throughout the second battle of Ypres, and parti 
cularly distinguished himself on the nights of April 22nd and 27th 
by bringing in wounded under severe artillery and rifle fire, again 
attracted the attention of his superior officers by his courageous 
conduct at Festubert. From May i8th to 22nd he was in com 
mand of detachments of sappers employed in digging advanced 
lines of trenches, and generally constructing defences. This work 
was carried through most efficiently, although under fire from 
field guns, machine guns, and rifles. 

1 It was during this bombardment that Captain McMeans, 
Lieut. Smith-Rewse, and Lieut. Passmore were killed, and Lieut. 
Denison was wounded. The fate of Captain McMeans was parti 
cularly regrettable as he had on all occasions borne himself most 
gallantly. Such was the force of his example that, when he 
himself, and all the other officers, as well as half the men of the 
Company, had been killed or wounded, the remainder clung 
doggedly to the position. The conduct of Captain J. M. Prower 
also calls for mention. He was wounded, but returned to his 
command as soon as his wounds were dressed, and though again 
buried under the parapet, continued to do his duty. He is now 
Brigade Major of the 2nd Infantry Brigade. On the same day 
Coy. Sergt. -Major John Hay steadied and most ably controlled 
the men of his Company after all the officers and 70 men out of 
the 140 had been put out of action. 


heavy casualties the southern end of the captured 
trench was abandoned, and a second barricade was 
erected across the portion that remained in our 

In the afternoon the enemy s infantry prepared 
for an attack, but retired after coming under our 
artillery and machine gun fire. During the night 
the trenches were taken over by a detachment of 
British troops and a detachment of the ist Canadian 
Infantry Brigade, and by King Edward s Horse and 
Strathcona s Horse. These latter served, of course, 
as infantry, and it was their first introduction to this 
war, though Strathcona s Horse took part in the South 
African campaign. 

King Edward s Horse took over the trench held 
up to that time by the 8th l Battalion. On the right 
of Strathcona s Horse were the Post Office Rifles, of 
the 47th Division; but the Post Office Rifles machine 
guns were manned by the machine gun detachment 
of the Strathconas. 

May 23rd passed without incident, although the 
enemy threatened an attack upon King Edward s 
Horse, but broke back in the face of a heavy artil 
lery fire searchingly directed by the Canadian 
artillery brigades. 2 

At ii p.m. on the night of May 23rd the 5th 
Canadian Battalion received orders from the General 

1 Casualties of 8th Battalion. About 90 per cent, of the original 
officers and men of the 8th Battalion have been casualties. Only 
three of the original officers of the battalion have escaped wounds 
or death. 

2 This was an attack made by the yth Prussian Army Corps 
which had been very strongly reinforced. The German efforts 
to break through the Canadian lines were very determined, and 
they advanced in masses, which, however, melted away before 
our fire. 


Officer Commanding the 2nd Canadian Infantry 
Brigade to take the ; Bexhill salient and redoubt, 
on which our previous attack had failed. The force 
detailed for the fresh attack then consisted of two 
companies of the Battalion, numbering about 500 
men, under Major Edgar, together with an additional 
100 men furnished by the 7th (British Columbia) 
Battalion, divided into two parties fifty to construct 
bridges before the attack, and fifty to consolidate 
whatever positions were gained. The bridging 
party was commanded by Lieut, (now Captain) R. 
Murdie, and he took his men out at 2.30 a.m. on the 
morning of May 24th. In bright moonlight, and 
under machine gun and rifle fire, he managed to 
throw twelve bridges across a ditch 10 ft. in width 
and full of water, which lay between our line and 
the objective of the attack. This party naturally 
suffered heavy casualties. The attack itself went 
over at 2.45, and in it many of the bridging party 
joined ; at the same time the battalion bombers under 
Lieut. Tozer forced their way up a German com 
munication trench leading to the redoubt. Ex 
tremely stiff fighting followed, but in the face of 
heavy machine gun fire the redoubt was occupied 
shortly after four in the morning. In addition to 
the redoubt, the attacking party gained and held 
200 yards of trenches to the left of it, and a short 
piece to the right, driving the Germans out and back 
with heavy losses. 

c Bexhiir proper, however, had still to be taken, 
and to that end the two companies of the 5th Batta 
lion, which were in reality inadequate to capture so 
strong a position, were reinforced by a company from 
the 7th Battalion and a squadron of Strathcona s 


Horse. 1 With this reinforcement the attack was im 
mediately pressed home, and " Bexhill and 130 
yards of trenches towards the north fell into our 
hands at 5.49 a.m. 

Further progress, however, was impossible owing 
to the unbreakable positions of the enemy. Forty 
minutes later, at about 6.30 a.m., further reinforce 
ments were received in the form of a platoon from 
the 5th Battalion, and with their arrival came orders 
to dig in and hang on/ but not to attempt the 
taking of any more ground. It was about this time 
that Major Odium, commanding the 7th Battalion, 
took charge of the 5th, as Colonel Tuxford was ill 
and Major Edgar had been wounded soon after the 
launching of the attack. The losses among the 
officers of Major Edgar s little force had been ter 
rible. Major Tenaille and Captain Hopkins, who 
commanded the two companies, were killed, as were 
also Captains Maikle, Currie, McGee, and Mundell, 
while Major Thornton, Captain S. J. Anderson, 
Captain Endicott, Major Morris, Lieut. Quinan, and 
Lieut. Davis were wounded. Matters were made 
worse by the fact that Major Powley was wounded 
just as he came up with his reinforcing company from 
the 7th. All through the morning the enemy s artil 
lery was exceedingly active, although the Canadian 
artillery surrounded our troops, who were holding on 
in the redoubt, with a saving ring of shrapnel, and, 
at the same time, distracted the enemy s guns with 
accurate fire upon their positions. Canada had good 
reason to be proud of her gunners that day. 

1 Casualties of 5th Battalion during Ypres, Festubert, and 
Givenchy about 60 per cent. Casualties at Festubert alone, 380, 
all ranks. 


The captured trenches were held all day, but only 
at great cost, by the forces which had won them ; and 
at night the Royal Canadian Dragoons and the 2nd 
Battalion of the ist Brigade arrived, and took them 

The total losses of the 2nd Brigade amounted to 
55 officers and 980 men. 

The hostile shelling was the most severe that the 
Brigade ever experienced, but the ordeal was borne 

On the night of May 24th, at 1 1.30 p.m., while the 
troops which had taken " Bexhill J> were still hanging 
on to what they had won, the 3rd Battalion, com 
manded by Lieut.-Colonel (now Brigadier-General) 
Rennie, attacked a machine-gun redoubt known as 
The Well/ 3 which was a very strongly fortified 
position. The attacking force gained a section of 
trench in the position with fine dash; but to take 
the redoubt, or to hold their line under the pounding 
of bombs and the pitiless fire of the machine guns 
in the redoubt, was more than flesh and blood could 
accomplish. To remain would have been to die to a 
man and win nothing. This heroic attack was re 
pulsed with heavy losses. 

On the following day (May 25th) at noon, 
Brigadier-General Seely, M.P., assumed command 
of the troops which had won " Bexhill." General 
Seely had already endeared himself to the Canadians 
by his personality, and now he was to win their con 
fidence as a leader in the field. He arrived at a 
perilous and critical moment, and he at once fastened 
on the situation with understanding and vigour. He 
remained in command until noon on May 27th, and 
through two extremely trying and hazardous days 


and nights, displayed soldierly qualities and a gift 
for leadership. Some idea of the severity of the 
fighting may be gathered from the fact that the losses 
among officers of General Seely s Brigade included, 
Lieut. W. G. Tennant, Strathcona s Horse, killed; 
Major D. D. Young, Royal Canadian Dragoons, 
Major J. A. Hesketh, Strathcona s Horse, Lieuts. 
A. D. Cameron, D. C. McDonald, J. A. Sparkes, 
Strathcona s Horse, Major C. Harding and Lieuts. 
C. Brook and R. C. Everett, King Edward s Horse, 
wounded. The casualties in other ranks, killed, 
wounded, and missing, were also very heavy. 

An inspiring feature of the fighting at this par 
ticular period was the dash, gallantry, and steadiness 
of the regiments of horse which, to relieve the terrible 
pressure of the moment, were called on to serve as 
infantry, without any fighting experience, and flung 
into the forefront of a desperate and bloody battle. 

It is impossible to record all the acts of heroism 
performed by officers and men, but the narrative 
would be incomplete without a few of them. 

Major Arthur Cecil Murray, M.P., of King 
Edward s Horse, for instance, distinguished himself 
by the determined and gallant manner in which he 
led his squadron, held his ground, and worked at the 
construction of a parapet under heavy machine gun 
fire. The considerable advance made on the left of 
the position was in a large measure due to his efforts. 
Lieut, (now Captain) J. A. Critchley, of Strathcona s 
Horse, armed with bombs, led his men in the assault 
on an enemy machine gun redoubt with notable 
spirit. Corporal W. Legge, of the Royal Canadian 
Dragoons, went out on the night of May 25th and 
located a German machine gun which had been 


causing us heavy losses during the day, and so en 
abled his regiment to silence it with converging fire. 

It was on May 25th, too, that Sergeant Morris, of 
King Edward s Horse, accompanied the Brigade 
grenade company, who were sent to assist the Post 
Office Rifles of the 47th London Division in an 
attack on a certain position on the evening of thai 

Morris led the attack down the German com 
munication trench, and all the members of his party, 
with the exception of himself, were either killed or 
wounded. He got to a point at the end of the trench 
and there maintained himself- -to use the cold official 
phrase- -by throwing bombs and by the work of his 
single rifle and bayonet. By fighting single-handed 
he managed to hold out until the extreme left of the 
Post Office Rifles came up to his relief. 

On the following day, the 26th, Corporal Pym, 
Royal Canadian Dragoons, exhibited a self-sacrifice 
and contempt for danger which can seldom have 
been excelled on any battlefield. Hearing cries for 
help in English between the British and German 
lines, which were only sixty yards apart, he resolved 
to go in search of the sufferer. The space between 
the lines was swept with incessant rifle and machine 
gun fire, but Pym crept out and found the man, who 
had been wounded in both thigh-bones and had been 
lying there for three days and nights. Pym was un 
able to move him without causing him pain which 
he was not in a state to bear. Pym therefore called 
back to the trench for help, and Sergeant Hollowell, 
Royal Canadian Dragoons, crept out and joined him, 
but was shot dead just as he reached Pym and the 
wounded man. 


Pym thereupon crept back across the fire-swept 
space to see if he could get a stretcher, but having 
regained the trench he came to the conclusion that 
the ground was too rough to drag the stretcher across 

Once more, therefore, he recrossed the deadly 
space between the trenches, and at last, with the 
utmost difficulty, brought the wounded man in alive. 

Those were days of splendid deeds, and this 
chapter cannot be closed without recording the most 
splendid of all- -that of Sergeant Hickey, of the 
4th Canadian Battalion, 1 which won for him the 
recommendation for the Victoria Cross. Hickey had 
joined the Battalion at Valcartier from the 36th Peel 
Regiment, and on May 24th he volunteered to go 
out and recover two trench mortars belonging to the 
Battalion which had been abandoned in a ditch the 
previous day. The excursion promised Hickey cer 
tain death, but he seemed to consider that rather an 
inducement than a deterrent. After perilous adven 
tures under hells of fire he found the mortars and 
brought them in. But he also found what was of 
infinitely greater value- -the shortest and safest route 

1 The 4th Canadian Battalion was under continuous fire at 
Festubert through ten days and eleven nights. On the morning 
of May 2;th all communication wires between the fire-trench and 
the Battalion and Brigade Headquarters were cut by enemy fire, 
and at nine o clock Pte. (now Lieutenant) W. E. F. Hart volun 
teered to mend the wires. Hart was with Major (now Lieut.- 
Colonel) M. J. Colquhoun at the time, and they had together 
twice been partially buried by shell fire earlier in the morning. 
Pte. Hart mended eleven breaks in the wires, and re-established 
communication with both Battalion and Brigade Headquarters. 
He was at work in the Orchard, under shrapnel, machine-gun, 
and rifle fire, without any cover, for an hour and thirty minutes. 
Hart, who is now signalling officer of the 4th Battalion, is^ a 
young man, and the owner of a farm near Brantford, Ontario. 
He has been with the Battalion since August, 1914. 


by which to bring up men from the reserve trenches 
to the firing line. It was a discovery which saved 
many lives at a moment when every life was of the 
greatest value, and time and time again, at the risk 
of his own as he went back and forth, he guided 
party after party up to the trenches by this route. 

Rickey s devotion to duty had been remarkable 
throughout, and at Pilckem Ridge, on April 23rd, he 
had voluntarily run forward in front of the line to 
assist five wounded comrades. How he survived the 
shell and rifle fire which the enemy, who had an un 
interrupted view of his heroic efforts, did not scruple 
to turn upon him, it is impossible to say; but he 
succeeded in dressing the wounds of all the five and 
conveying them back to cover. 

Hickey, who was a cheery and a modest soul, and 
as brave as any of our brave Canadians, did not live 
to receive the honour for which he had been recom 
mended. On May 3Oth a stray bullet hit him in the 
neck and killed him. And so there went home to 
the God of Battles a man to whom battle had been 

On May 3ist the Canadian Division was with 
drawn from the territory it had seized from the enemy 
and moved to the extreme south of the British line. 
Here the routine of ordinary trench warfare was 
resumed until the middle of June. 1 

1 The following is Sir John French s official reason for bring 
ing the battle of Festubert to a close : " I had now reasons to 
consider that the battle which was commenced by the ist Army 
on May gth and renewed on the i6th, having attained for the 
moment the immediate object I had in view, should not be 
further actively proceeded with. . . ." " In the battle of Festubert 
the enemy was driven from a position which was strongly 
entrenched and fortified, and ground was won on a front of four 
miles to an average depth of 600 yards." 




Minor engagements A sanguinary battle Attacks on "Stony 
Mountain" and " >orchester " Disposition of Canadian 
troops An enemy bombardment l4 Duck s Bill" A 
mine mishap "Dorchester" taken A bombing party 
Coy.-Sergt.-Major Owen s bravery Lieut. Campbell 
mounts machine-gun on Private Vincent s back How 
Private Smith replenished the bombers Fighting the 
enemy with bricks British Division unable to advance 
Canadians hang on " I can crawl " General Mercer s 
leadership Private Clark s gallantry Dominion Day. 

" Of fifteen hundred Englishmen, 

Went home but fifty-three ; 
The rest were slain in Chevy-Chace, 
Under the greenwood tree." 


BETWEEN the close of the battle of Festubert, on 
May 26th, and the beginning of the great conflict at 
Loos, on September 25th, there was a series of 
minor engagements along the whole British front, in 
which Givenchy stands out as another red milestone 
on Canada s road to glory. 

The brief mention of Givenchy in the official 
despatch in which Sir John French reviewed the 
operations of the British Army between Festubert 
and Loos, conveys no idea of the desperate fury or 
the scope of the fighting in which the Canadians 
again did all, and more than all, that was asked of 


That in the end they were forced to fall back from 
the fortified positions they had won with so much 
heroism and at so much cost, was due to difficulties 
in other portions of the field, which prevented the 
7th British Division from coming up in time. 

Givenchy may appear but an incident in a long chain 
of operations when one is taking a bird s-eye view of 
the campaign on the Western Front as a whole, but 
it was in reality a very considerable and sanguinary 
battle, the story of which should appeal to every 
Canadian heart. 

The /th British Division had been directed to 
make a frontal attack on a fortified place in the 
enemy s entrenched position known to our troops as 
* Stony Mountain," and the ist Canadian (Ontario) 
Battalion, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Hill, of 
the ist Brigade, was detailed to secure the right 
flank of the British Division by seizing two lines of 
German trenches extending from " Stony Mountain 
150 yards south to another fortified point known to 
us as " Dorchester. 53 Working parties from the 2nd 
and 3rd Canadian Battalions were detailed to secure 
the lines of trenches taken by the ist Battalion, to 
connect these with our trenches, and finally to form 
the defensive flank wherever it might be required. 

After a few days of preparation the ist Canadian 
Battalion (Ontario Regiment) moved up, and at three 
o clock on the afternoon of June i5th, the Battalion 
reached our line of trenches opposite the position 
to be attacked, when the 2nd Canadian Battalion, 
under Lieut.-Colonel Watson, which was holding the 
trench position, withdrew to the right to make room 
for them. 

The trench line on the right of the attacking Batta- 

K 2 



lion was held by the 2nd and 4th Canadian Battalions 
as far as the La Bassee Canal, with the 3rd Canadian 
Toronto Regiment in support. The left was held 
by the East Yorks. 

From three o clock until six in the evening, the 
Ontario Regiment awaited the command to charge, 
and sung* their chosen songs all popular but all 





JUNE 15 1915 


unprintable. The enemy bombarded our position 
heartily, though our artillery had the better of them. 
Fifteen minutes before the attack was timed to take 
place, two i8-pounder guns, which had been placed 
in the infantry trenches under the cover of dark 
ness on the instructions of Brigadier-General Bur- 
stall, opened fire upon the parapets of the enemy 


trenches. One gun, under Lieut. C. S. Craig, fired 
over 100 rounds, sweeping the ground clear of wire 
and destroying two machine-guns. Lieut. Craig, who 
was wounded at Ypres early in May and again while 
observing near Givenchy, was seriously wounded 
after completing his task here. Lieut. L. S. Kelly, 
who was in command of the other gun, succeeded in 
destroying a machine-gun, when his own gun was 
wrecked by an enemy shell, and he was wounded. 
The gun shields themselves were tattered and twisted 
like paper by the mere force of musketry fire. 1 

1 On June I2th the 4th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, com 
manded by Major Geo. H. Ralston, received orders to place two 
g-uns in our front-line trench, at "Duck s Bill," and to have 
them dug in and protected by sandbag s by the morning of the 
I5th. The German trench was only 75 yards away at this point, 
and the purpose of the two guns was to cut wire, level parapets, 
and destroy machine-gun emplacements on a front of 200 yards. 

The positions for the field guns in our trench were ready by 
the night of the i4th, and at 9.30 of the same night the two guns, 
their wheels muffled with old motor tyres, left the battery s 
position near the canal, and, in charge of Captain Stock well and 
Sergeant-Major Kerry, passed through Givenchy. At this point 
the horses were unhooked, and the guns were hauled to their 
places in our front-line trench by hand. Shells were also drawn 
in by hand, in small armoured wagons. The guns were protected 
by one-quarter-inch armour plate, and their crews remained with 
them throughout the night. 

The Right Section gun was commanded by Lieut. C. S. Craig, 
with Sergeant Miller as No. i, and the Left Section gun by 
Lieut. L. S. Kelly, with Sergeant E. G. MacDougall as No. i. 

On the afternoon of the i5th, the batteries of the Division com 
menced firing on certain selected points of the enemy s front. At 
5.45 the infantry, working to the minute on advance orders, 
knocked down our parapet in front of the two entrenched guns 
and so uncovered their field of fire. The guns opened fire in 
stantly on the German position, and by six o clock had disposed 
of six machine-gun emplacements, levelled the German parapets 
and cut the wire to pieces. Our infantry attacked immediately 
after the firing of the last shot, and just as the German batteries 
began to range on our two guns. A shell burst over and behind 
the Right Section gun, killing three of its crew and wounding 
Lieut. Craig and Corporal King, who died of his wounds. Lieut. 


Just before six o clock a mine, previously prepared 
by the sappers, was exploded. Owing to the dis 
covery of water under the German trenches, its tunnel 
could not be carried far enough forward, and the 
Canadian troops had accordingly been withdrawn 
from a salient in the Canadian line, known as 
* Duck s Bill," to guard against casualties in our own 
trenches, when it went off. However, to make sure 
that the explosion would reach the German line, so 
heavy a charge had to be used that the effects upon 
the Canadian trench line were somewhat serious. 
Several of our own bombers were killed and 
wounded, and a reserve depot of bombs was buried 
under the debris. Another bomb-depot was blown 
up by an enemy shell about this time. These two 
accidents made us short of bombs when we needed 
them later on, and we had to rely entirely on the 
supply of bombs which the bombers carried them 

Lieut.-Colonel Beecher, second in command, who 
escaped injury from the first explosion in our trench, 
was killed by a splinter from a high explosive shell 
at this moment. 

The leading company, under Major G. J. L. 
Smith, rushed forward, with the smoke and flying 
dirt of the mine explosion for a screen, and met 
a withering fire from the German machine-guns 
placed in " Stony Mountain." But their dash was 

Kelly was wounded a few minutes later. Sergeant MacDougall 
found Lieut. Craig lying helpless among the dead and wounded, 
and carried him back to a dressing station. Later, the Right 
Section gun was smashed by a direct hit. 

Sergeant MacDougall, who comes from Moncton, New Bruns 
wick, and is a graduate of McGill University in Electrical En 
gineering, again did valuable work on the following night in 
removing the two guns from the trench back to safety. 


irresistible, and almost immediately the company 

was in possession of the German front trench and 

Dorchester " ; but those who were opposite ta 

1 Stony Mountain were stopped by fire from that 

fort, all being killed or wounded. 

The leading company was followed by bombing 
parties on the right and left flanks, and by a blocking 
party of eight sappers of the ist Field Company 
Canadian Engineers. Lieut. C. A. James, who was 
in charge of the right bombing party, was killed at 
the time of the explosion of the mine. Those who 
remained advanced without a leader. Lieut. G. N. 
Gordon, in charge of the bomb party on the left, 
advanced in the direction of " Stony Mountain," 
but his bombers were almost all shot down. A few 
reached the first-line trench, including Lieut. 
Gordon. He was soon wounded, and was afterwards 
killed by a German bomb party while lying in the 
German first-line trench with two other comrades 
who had exhausted their supply of bombs. They 
were almost the only survivors of the bombing 
party. The members of the blocking party, 
too, had all been killed or wounded, save 
Sapper Harmon, who, being unable to follow 
his vocation single-handed, loaded himself with 
bombs which he hurriedly collected from the dead 
and dying and wounded bombers and set out to 
bomb his way along the trench alone. He retired, 
with ten bullet wounds in his body, only after he 
had thrown his last bomb. 

The second company, under Captain G. L. 
Wilkinson, at once followed the leading company 
and the bombers, and both companies charged for 
ward to the second-line trench, where the enemy 


presented a firm front, although stragglers were 
retreating through the tall grass in the rear. The 
bombers went to work from right to left to clear the 
trench. Many resisting Germans were bayoneted, 
and some prisoners were taken and sent back, and 
later, with some of their escort, were killed by 
rnachine-gun and rifle fire from " Stony Mountain 

Captain Wilkinson s company was followed 
almost immediately by the third company under 
Lieut. T. C. Sims, as the other company officers, 
Captain F. W. Robinson and Lieut. P. W. 
Pick, had been killed by a shell at the moment 
our mine blew up. This company began to con 
solidate the first-line German trench which had been 
captured that is to say, it reversed the sandbag 
parapet and turned the trench facing enemy-wards. 
It had suffered heavily in its advance across the 
open space between the opposing lines, and Cap 
tain Delamere s company was the fourth sent forward 
to support. Captain Delamere had been wounded 
and the command devolved upon Lieut. J. C. L. 
Young, who was wounded at our parapet. Lieut. 
Tranter took command, and was killed in a moment. 
Company-Sergeant-Major Owen then assumed com 
mand, and led the company with bravery and good 

Lieut. F. W. Campbell, with two machine-guns, 
had advanced in the rear of Captain Wilkinson s 
company. The entire crew of one gun was killed 
or wounded in the advance, but a portion of the 
other crew gained the enemy s front trench, and 
then advanced along the trench in the direction^ of 
" Stony Mountain." The advance was most diffi- 


cult, and, although subjected to constant heavy rifle 
and machine-gun fire, the bombers led the way 
until further advance was impossible owing to a 
barricade across the trench which had been hurriedly 
erected by the enemy. The bomb and the machine- 
gun bear the brunt of the day s work more and more 
as time goes on, till one almost begins to think that 
the rifle may come to be superseded by the shot-gun. 
The machine-gun crew which reached the trench was 
reduced to Lieut. Campbell and Private Vincent (a 
lumberjack from Bracebridge, Ontario), the machine- 
gun and the tripod. In default of a base, Lieut. 
Campbell set up the machine-gun on the broad back 
of Private Vincent and fired continuously. After 
wards, during the retreat, German bombers entered 
the trench, and Lieut. Campbell fell wounded. 
Private Vincent then cut away the cartridge belt, 
and, abandoning the tripod, dragged the gun away 
to safety because it was too hot to handle. Lieut. 
Campbell crawled out of the enemy trench, and was 
carried into our trench in a dying condition by 
Company-Sergeant-Major Owen. In the words of 
Kinglake, "And no man died that night with 
more glory, yet many died and there was much 

The working parties detailed for the construction 
of the line adjoining our trenches with the hostile 
line which had been captured, moved out according 
to arrangement, but the heavy machine-gun fire from 
c Stony Mountain forced them back to the cover 
of our trench, and all further attempts to continue 
work while daylight lasted came to nothing. The 
efforts of the Battalion were now confined to erecting 
barricades just south of " Stony Mountain" and north 


of Dorchester," and to holding the second-line 

The supply of bombs ran short, and Private 
Smith, of Southampton, Ontario, son of a Methodist 
Minister, and not much more than nineteen, was 
almost the only source of replenishment. He was, 
till Armageddon, a student at the Listowell Busi 
ness College. History relates he was singing the 
trench version of * I wonder how the old folks are 
at home, 3 when the mine exploded and he was 
buried. By the time he had dug himself out he dis 
covered that all his world, including his rifle, had 
disappeared. But his business training told him 
that there was an active demand for bombs for the 
German trenches a few score yards away. So 
Private Smith festooned himself with bombs from 
dead and wounded bomb-throwers around him, and 
set out, mainly on all-fours, to supply that demand. 
He did it five times. He was not himself a bomb- 
thrower but a mere middleman. Twice he went up 
to the trenches and handed over his load to the busy 
men. Thrice, so hot was the fire, that he had to lie 
down and toss the bombs (they do not explode till 
the safety pin is withdrawn) into the trench to the 
men who needed them most. His clothes were 
literally shot into rags and ravels, but he himself 
was untouched in all his hazardous speculations, and 
he explains his escape by saying, I kept moving." 

So through all these hells the spirit of man 
endured and rejoiced, indomitable. 

But, after all, the supply of bombs ran out, and 
the casualties resulting from heavy machine-gun and 
rifle fire from "Stony Mountain" considerably in 
creased the difficulties of holding the line. The 


bombers could fight no more. One unknown 
wounded man was seen standing on the parapet of 
the German front-line trench. He had thrown every 
bomb he carried, and, weeping with rage, continued 
to hurl bricks and stones at the advancing enemy 
till his end came. 

Every effort was made to clear out the wounded, 
and reinforcements from the 3rd Battalion were sent 
forward. 1 But still no work could be done, and a 
further supply of bombs was not yet available. 
Bombs were absolutely necessary. At one point 
four volunteers who went to get more were killed, 
one after the other; upon that, Sergeant Kranz, 
of London, England, by way of Vermillion, 
Alberta, and at one time a private of the Argyll and 
Sutherland Regiment, went back, and, fortunately, 
returned with a load. He was followed by Sergeant 
Newell, a cheese-maker from Watford, near Sarnia, 
and Sergeant-Major Cuddy, a druggist from Strath- 
roy. Gradually our men in the second German line 
were forced back along the German communication 
trench, and the loss of practically all of our officers 
hampered the fight. The volunteers who were bring 
ing forward a supply of bombs were nearly all killed, 
and the supply died out with them. 

The British Division had been unable to advance 
on the left owing to the strength of the fortified 
position at u Stony Mountain," and the German line 
north of that fort. The Canadians held their 
ground, however, hoping for the ultimate success 

1 The 3rd (Toronto) Battalion has now only five of its original 
officers serving with it ; 85 officers have been on the strength of 
the Battalion at one time and another since its organisation. 
Of other ranks, about 240 of the original members of the Battalion 
are still with it. 


of the attack on the left, in the face of heavy pres 
sure on their exposed left flank. 

The enemy meanwhile had been accumulating 
strong forces, and finally, at about half -past nine, the 
remnants of the Battalion were forced to evacuate 
all the ground that had been gained, The with 
drawal was conducted with deliberation, through a 
hail of bullets, but it cost us heavily. 

One splendid incident among many may perhaps 
explain the reason. Private Gledhill is eighteen 
years of age. His grandfather owns a woollen mill 
in Ben Miller, near Goderich, Ontario. Ben Miller 
was, till lately, celebrated as the home of the fattest 
man in the world, for there lived Mr. Jonathan 
Miller, who weighed 400 Ibs., and moved about in a 
special carriage of his own. Private Gledhill, 
destined perhaps to confer fresh fame on Ben Miller, 
saw Germans advancing down the trench; saw also 
that only three Canadians were left in the trench, 
two with the machine-gun, and himself, as he said, 
"running a rifle." Before he had time to observe 
more, an invader s bomb most literally gave him a 
lift home, and landed him uninjured outside the 
trench with his rifle broken. He found another rifle 
and fired awhile from the knee till it became neces 
sary to join the retreat. During that manoeuvre, 
which required caution, he fell over Lieut. Brown 
wounded, and offered to convoy him home. 
"Thanks, no," said the lieutenant, "I can crawl." 
Then Private Frank Ullock, late a livery stable 
keeper at Chatham, New Brunswick, but now with 
one leg missing, said, " Will you take me? " " Sure," 
replied Gledhill. But Frank Ullock is a heavy man 
and could not well be lifted. So Gledhill got down 


on hands and knees, and Ullock took good hold of 
his web equipment and was hauled gingerly along 
the ground towards the home trench. Presently 
Gledhill left Ullock under some cover while he 
crawled forward, cut a strand of wire from our en 
tanglements and threw the looped end back, lassoo 
fashion, to Ullock, who wrapped it round his body. 
Gledhill then hauled him to the parapet, where the 
stretcher-bearers came out and took charge. All 
this, of course, from first to last and at every pace, 
under a tempest of fire. It is pleasant to think that 
Frank Ullock fell to the charge of Dr. Murray Mac- 
laren, also of New Brunswick, who watched over 
him with tender care in a hospital under canvas, of 
i, 080 beds a hospital that is larger than the 
General, the Royal Victoria, and the Western of 
Montreal combined. Gledhill was not touched, and 
in spite of his experiences prefers life at the front to 
work in his grandfather s woollen mills at Ben 
Miller, near Goderich, Ontario. 

Out of twenty-three combatant officers who went 
into this action only three missed death or wounding. 
They are Colonel Hill, who fought his men to the 
bitter end with high judgment and courage; Lieut. 
S. A. Creighton and Lieut, (now Captain) T. C. 
Sims, who did their work soldierly and well. 

Although the whole plan of attack was prepared 
by the Corps Commander, the operations of the ist 
Canadian Battalion (Ontario Regiment) were bril 
liantly directed by General Mercer, who commanded 
the Brigade. He is a man of mature years, a philo 
sopher by nature and a lawyer by profession, always 
calm and even-tempered, and not given to too many 


For twenty-five years he took an active part in 
Canadian Militia affairs, and the 2nd Queen s Own 
of Toronto held him in high esteem as their Com 
manding Officer. 

As a soldier, in the face of the enemy, he has 
gained vast experience since he set foot in France. 
But, in addition, he has the inestimable possession 
of shrewd common sense, great courage, and an 
instinctive knowledge of military operations. There 
can be no finer tribute to his personality than the 
respect and affection of the men about him. 

On the day following the attack, a wounded man 
was seen lying in the open between the British and 
the German lines. Lance-Corporal E. A. Barrett, 
of the 4th Battalion, and at one time the steward of 
the Edmonton Club, at once went out in broad day 
light under heavy shell and rifle fire and brought the 
wounded man in. 

Two days later, on the i8th, Private G. F. Clark, 
of the 8th Battalion (Winnipeg Rifles), displayed 
even greater coolness and daring. 

About midday, in the neighbourhood of " Duck s 
Bill," Lieut. E. H. Houghton, of Winnipeg, machine- 
gun officer of the 8th Battalion, saw a wounded British 
soldier lying near the German trench. As soon as 
dusk fell he and Private Clark, of the machine-gun 
section, dug a hole in the parapet, through which 
Clark went out and brought in the wounded man, 
who proved to be a private of the East Yorks. The 
trenches at this point were only thirty-five yards 
apart. Private Clark had received a bullet through 
his cap during his rescue of the wounded English 
man, but he crawled through the hole in the parapet 
again and went after a Canadian machine-gun which 


had been abandoned within a few yards of the 
German trench during the recent attack. He brought 
the gun safely into our trench, and the tripod to 
within a few feet of our parapet. He wished to keep 
the gun to add to the battery of his own section, but 
the General Officer Commanding ruled that it was 
to be returned to its original battalion, and promised 
Clark something in its place which he would find 
less awkward to carry. Private Clark comes from 
Port Arthur, Ontario, and, before the war, earned his 
living by working in the lumber-woods. 

After several days of heavy artillery fire our troops 
were relieved and the Headquarters moved to the 
north. Here a trench line was taken over from a 
British Division. 

When Dominion Day came they remembered with 
pride that they were the Army of a Nation, and 
those who were in the trenches displayed the 
Dominion flag, decorated with the flowers of France, 
to the annoyance of the barbarians, who riddled it 
with bullets. Behind the lines the Day was cele 
brated with sports and games, while the pipers of the 
Scottish Canadian Battalions played a " selection of 
National Airs." 

But the shouting baseball teams and minstrel 
shows, with their outrageous personal allusions, the 
skirl of the pipes and the choruses of the well-known 
ragtimes, moved men to the depths of their souls. 
For this was the first Dominion Day that Canada 
had spent with the red sword in her hand. 



Review in Lansdowne Park Princess Patricia presents the 
Colours South African veterans and reservists Princess 
Patricias in the trenches St. Eloi Major Hamilton Gault 
A dangerous reconnaissance Attack on a sap A 
German onslaught Lessons from the enemy A march 
to battle Voormezeele Death of Colonel Farquhar 
Polygone Wood Regiment s work admired A move 
towards Ypres Heavily shelled A new line Arrival of 
Major Gault Regiment sadly reduced Gas shells A 
German rush Major Gault wounded Lieut. Niven in 
command A critical position Corporal Dover s heroism 
A terrible day Shortage of small arms ammunition- 
Germans third attack Enemy repulsed Regiment 
reduced to 150 rifles Relieved A service for the dead 
In bivouac A trench line at Armentieres Regiment at 
full strength again Moved to the south Back in 
billets Princess Patricias instruct new troops Rejoin 
Canadians A glorious record. 

" Fair lord, whose name I know not noble it is, 
I well believe, the noblest will you wear 
My favour at this tourney?" 


ON Sunday, August 23rd, 1914, on a grey and 
gloomy day, immense numbers of people assembled 
in Lansdowne Park, in the City of Ottawa, to attend 
divine service with the Princess Patricia s Canadian 
Light Infantry, and to witness the presentation to 
the Battalion of the Colours which she had worked 
with her own hand. The Regiment, composed very 


largely of South African Veterans and Reservists, 
paraded with bands and pipers, and then formed 
three sides of a square in front of the grand stand. 
Between the Regiment and the stand were the 
Duchess of Connaught, Princess Patricia, and their 
Ladies-in-Waiting. The Princess Patricia, on pre 
senting the Colours to Colonel Farquhar, the Com 
manding Officer of the Regiment, said : " I have 
great pleasure in presenting you with these Colours 
which I have worked myself; I hope they will be 
associated with what I believe will be a dis 
tinguished corps; I shall follow the fortunes of you 
all with the deepest interest, and I heartily wish 
every man good luck and a safe return. 3 

Not even the good wishes of this beautiful and 
gracious Princess have availed to safeguard the 
lives of the splendid Battalion which carried her 
Colours to the battlefields of Flanders; but every 
member of the Battalion resolved, as simply and 
as finely as the knights of mediaeval days, that he 
would justify the belief in its future so proudly ex 
pressed by the lady whose name he was honoured 
to bear. 

It is now intended to give some account of the 
fortunes of the Battalion since the day, which seems 
so long ago, when with all the pride and circum 
stance of military display, it received the regimental 
colours amid the cheers of the citizens of Ottawa. 

The Princess Patricias, containing a far larger 
proportion of experienced soldiers than any other 
unit in the Canadian Division, was not called upon 
to endure so long a period of preparation as the rest 
of the Canadian Expeditionary Force; and at the 
close of the year 1914 they sailed from England at 



a moment when reinforcements were greatly needed 
in France, to strengthen the 8oth Brigade of the 
27th Division, and to take their part in a line thinly 
held and very fiercely assailed. For the months of 
January and February the Regiment took its turn 
in the trenches, learning the hard lessons of the 
unpitying winter war. A considerable length of 
trenches in front of the village of St. Eloi was 
committed to its charge. Its machine-guns were 
planted upon a mound which rose abruptly from 
the centre of the trenches. 

The early days were uneventful and the casualties 
not more than normal, although some very valu 
able officers were lost. On February 28th, 1915, the 
Germans completed a sap, from which the Battalion 
became constantly subject to annoyance, danger, 
and loss. It was therefore determined by the Bat 
talion Commander to dispose of the menace. Major 
Hamilton Gault and Lieut. Colquhoun carried out 
by night a dangerous reconnaissance of the German 
position, and returned with much information. 
Lieut. Colquhoun went out a second time, alone, to 
supplement it, but never returned. He is to-day 
a prisoner of war in Germany. 

The attack was organised under Lieut. Crabbe"; 
the bomb-throwers were commanded by Lieut. 
Papineau. The last-named officer, a very brave 
soldier, is a lineal descendant of the rebel of 1837. 
He is himself loyal to his family traditions except 
when dangers and wars menace the Empire. At 
such moments, in spite of himself, his hand flies to 
the sword. The snipers were under Corporal Ross. 
Troops were organised in support with shovels 
ready to demolish the parapet of the enemy trench. 


The ground to be traversed was short enough, for 
the sappers nearest point was only fifteen yards 
from the Canadian trench. The attacking party 
rushed this space and threw themselves into the sap. 
Corporal Ross, who was first in the race, was killed 
immediately. Lieut. Crabbe then led the detach 
ment down the trench while Lieut. Papineau ran 
down the outside of the parapet throwing bombs 
into the trench. Lieut. Crabbe made his way 
through the trench, followed by his men, until his 
progress was arrested by a barrier which the 
Germans had constructed. 

In the meantime, troops had occupied the rear 
face of the sap to guard against a counter-attack. 
A platoon under Sergeant-Major Lloyd, who was 
killed, attacked and demolished the enemy parapet 
for a considerable distance. The trench was occu 
pied long enough to complete the work of demolish 
ing the parapet. With dawn, orders were given 
for the attackers to withdraw, and as the grey 
morning light began to break, they made their way 
to their own trenches, with a difficult task well and 
successfully performed. Major Gault was wounded 
in the course of the engagement, in which all ranks 
behaved with dash and gallantry, although the men 
had been for six weeks employed in trench warfare 
under the most depressing conditions of cold and 

On March ist the enemy made a vigorous attack 
on the Princess Patricias with bombs and shell fire. 
Between the ist and the 6th, a fierce contest was 
continually waged for the site of the sap which the 
Battalion had destroyed. Sometimes the Princess 
Patricias defended it; sometimes the British 

L 2 


battalions, with whom they were brigaded and whose 
staunch and faithful comrades they had become. 

On March 6th, carrying out a carefully concerted 
plan, our men withdrew from the trench lines, which 
were still only twenty or thirty yards from the 
German trenches; and our artillery, making very 
successful practice, obliterated the sap and the 
trench which the enemy had used for the purpose 
of creating it. The enemy were blown out of the 
forward trenches, and fragments of dead Germans 
were thrown into the air, in some cases as high as 
sixty feet. The bombardment was carried out with 
high explosive shells. 

The Canadian soldier is always adaptable, and 
the Battalion learned, when they captured the sap 
on February 28th, that the German trenches were 
five feet deep with parapets two feet high, and yet 
that every day they were pumped and kept dry. 
This knowledge resulted in a considerable improve 
ment i-n the trenches occupied by the Regiment. 
The experience was welcome, for the men had been 
standing in water all through the winter months and 
the Regiment had suffered much from frostbite. 

On March I3th, while the Princess Patricias were 
in billets, the Germans, perhaps in reply to bur 
offensive at Neuve Chapelle, made a vigorous attack 
in overwhelming numbers upon the trenches and 
mound at St. Eloi. The attack, which was preceded 
by a heavy artillery bombardment, was successful, 
and it became necessary to attempt by a counter 
attack to arrest any further development. 

The Battalion was billeted in Westoutre, where, at 
5.30 on March i4th, peremptory orders were received 
to prepare for departure. At 7 p.m. the march was 


begun. At Zevecoten the Princess Patricias met a 
battalion of the King s Royal Rifle Corps, and 
marched to Dickebush. At 9.30 it reached the cross 
roads of Kruistraathoek. Here a short halt was made, 
after which the Battalion reached Voormezeele, 
where it was drawn up on the roadside. While it 
was in this position reports were brought in that 
the Germans were advancing in large numbers to 
wards the eastern end of Voormezeele. The Bat 
talion Commander, therefore, as a precaution against 
surprise, detailed Number 4 Company of the Bat 
talion to occupy the position on the east. Soon 
after 2 a.m. orders were received to co-operate with 
a battalion of the Rifle Brigade in an attack on the 
St. Eloi mound, which had been lost early in the 
day. The zone of the operations of the Battalion 
was to the east of the Voormezeele-Warneton road. 
The following rough diagram may make the 
position clear : 





The actual situation in the front line was still 
obscure. It was known that the mound and certain 
trenches to the west of it, were in German hands. 
It was also known that towards the east we had lost 
certain trenches known to our Intelligence Staff as 
P and A. It was uncertain whether the trench T 
was still held by our troops. It was decided, in a 
matter in which certainty was unattainable, to pro 
ceed towards a farm building which was an easily 
recognised objective. This course at least promised 
information, for if trench T had fallen it was certain 
that the Battalion would at once be heavily attacked. 
If it was still intact the Battalion would, it was 
hoped, cover the commencement of an assault along 
the German line against trenches A and P and the 
mound, successively. 

The alternative was to advance southwards with 
the Battalion right on the Ypres-St. Eloi road. The 
adoption of this plan would have meant slow pro 
gress through the enclosures round St. Eloi, and the 
subsequent attack would have been exposed to heavy 
flanking fire from trenches A and P. 

The progress of the Battalion was necessarily 
slow ; the street in Voormezeele was full of stragglers. 
Touch was difficult to maintain across country with 
out constant short halts. It was necessary always to 
advance with a screen of scouts thrown out. 

It was ascertained in St. Eloi that trench A had 
been retaken by British troops. This knowledge 
modified the plan provisionally adopted. The Bat 
talion altered its objective from the farm building 
to a breastwork 200 yards to the west of it. This 
point was reached about twenty minutes before day 
light, and an attack was immediately organised by 


Number 2 Company against trench P, approaching 
it from the back of trench A. The attack was made 
in three parties. 

The advance was made with coolness and resolu 
tion, but the attackers were met by heavy machine- 
gun fire from the mound. No soldiers in the world 
could have forced their way through, for the fire 
swept everything before it. It was clear that no 
hope of a surprise existed, and to have spent 
another company upon reinforcement would have 
been a useless and bloody sacrifice. Three platoons 
were, therefore, detailed to hold the right of the 
breastwork in immediate proximity to the mound, 
and the rest of the Battalion was withdrawn to 
Voormezeele, reaching Dickebush about 8 a.m. 1 

The forces engaged behaved with great steadi 
ness throughout a trying and unsuccessful night, 
and at daylight withdrew over open ground without 
Voormezeele, reaching Dickebush about 8 a.m. 

On March 2oth the Battalion sustained a severe 
loss in the death, by a stray bullet, of its Com 
manding Officer, Colonel Farquhar. He had been 
Military Secretary to the Duke of Connaught. This 
distinguished officer had done more for the Bat 
talion than it would be possible in a short chapter 
to record. The Regiment, in fact, was his creation. 

1 Commenting on the Princess Patricias at St. Eloi, in Nelson s 
" History of the War," Mr. John Buchan says :- Princess 
Patricia s Regiment was the first of the overseas troops to be 
engaged in an action of first-rate importance, and their deeds 
were a pride to the whole Empire a pride to be infinitely 
heightened by the glorious record of the Canadian Division in the 
desperate battles of April. This Regiment five days later suffered 
an irreparable loss in the death of its Commanding Officer, Col. 
Francis Farquhar, kindest of friends, most whimsical and delight 
ful of comrades, and bravest of men." 


A strict disciplinarian, he was nevertheless deeply 
beloved in an army not always patient of discipline 
tactlessly asserted; he was always cheerful, always 
unruffled, and always resourceful. Lieut.-Colonel 
H. C. Buller succeeded him in command of the 

After the death of Lieut.-Colonel Farquhar, the 
Battalion again retired to rest, and it has not since 
returned to the scene of its earliest experience in 
trench warfare. On April Qth it took up a line on 
the Polygone Wood, in the Ypres salient, and there 
did its round of duty with the customary relief in 
billets. By this time the men were becoming 
familiar with their surroundings, and gave play to 
their native ingenuity. Near the trenches they built 
log huts from trees in the woods, and it was a 
common thing for French, Belgian, and British 
officers to visit the camp to admire the work of the 
Regiment. Breastworks were built also behind the 
trenches under cover of the woods, and the trenches 
themselves were greatly improved. 

The Battalion presently moved into billets in the 
neighbourhood of Ypres, and on April 2Oth, during 
the heavy bombardment of that unhappy town 
which preceded the immortal stand of the Canadian 
Division, it was ordered to leave billets, and on the 
evening of that day moved once again to the 

From April 2ist and through the Wowing days 
of the second battle of Ypres the Regiment re 
mained in trenches some distance south and west 
of the trenches occupied by the Canadian Division. 
They were constantly shelled with varying intensity, 
and all through those critical days waited, with ever- 


growing impatience, for the order that never came 
to take part in the battle to the north, where their 
kinsmen were undergoing so cruel an ordeal. 

On May 3rd, after the modification of the line to 
the north, the Battalion was withdrawn to a sub 
sidiary line some distance in the rear. From eight 
in the evening to midnight small parties were silently 
withdrawn, until the trenches were held with a rear 
guard of fifteen men commanded by Lieut. Lane. 
Rapid fire was maintained for more than an hour, 
and the rear-guard then withdrew without casualties. 

On May 4th the Regiment occupied the new line. 
On the morning of that day a strong enemy attack 
developed. This was repulsed with considerable 
loss to the assailants, and was followed by a heavy 
bombardment throughout the day, which demolished 
several of the trenches. At night the Regiment was 
relieved by the King s Shropshire Light Infantry 
and withdrawn to reserve trenches. In this un 
healthy neighbourhood no place, by this time, was 
safe, and on May 5th, Lieut.-Colonel Buller was 
unfortunate enough to lose an eye from the splinter 
of a shell which exploded 100 yards away. Major 
Gault arrived during the day and took over com 
mand. The Battalion was still in high spirits, and 
cheered the arrival of an officer to whom all ranks 
were attached. 

Just after dark on the night of May 6th, the 
Battalion returned to the trenches and relieved the 
2nd King s Shropshire Light Infantry. Through 
out the night, and all the following day, it was 
assailed by a constant and heavy bombardment. 
The roll call on the night of the 7th showed the 
strength of the Battalion as 635. 


The day that followed was at once the most 
critical and the most costly in the history of the 
Battalion. Early in the morning, particularly heavy 
shelling began on the right flank, soon enfilading 
the fire trenches. At 5.30 it grew in intensity, and 
gas shells began to fall. At the same time a number 
of Germans were observed coming at the double 
from the hill in front of the trench. This move 
ment was arrested by a heavy rifle fire. 

By 6 a.m. every telephone-wire, both to the 
Brigade Headquarters and also to the trenches, had 
been cut. All signallers, pioneers, orderlies, and ser 
vants at Battalion Headquarters were ordered into 
the support trenches, for the needs of the moment 
left no place for supernumeraries. Every single 
Canadian upon the strength was from that time 
forward in one or other of the trenches. A short 
and fierce struggle decided the issue for the time 
being. The advance of the Germans was checked, 
and those of the enemy who were not either 
sheltered by buildings, dead or wounded, crawled 
back over the crest of the ridge to their own trenches. 
By this time the enemy had two, and perhaps three, 
machine-guns in adjacent buildings, and were sweep 
ing the parapets of both the fire and support 
trenches. An orderly took a note to Brigade Head 
quarters informing them exactly of the situation of 
the Battalion. 

About 7 a.m., Major Gault, who had sustained his 
men by his coolness and example, was severely hit 
by a shell in the left arm and thigh. It was impos 
sible to move him, and he lay in the trench, as did 
many of his wounded companions, in great anguish 
but without a murmur, for over ten hours. 


The command was taken over by Lieut. Niven, 
the next senior officer who was still unwounded. 
Heavy Howitzers using high explosives, combined 
with field-guns from this moment in a most trying 
bombardment both on the fire and support trenches. 
The fire trench on the right was blown to pieces at 
several points. 1 

At 9 o clock the shelling decreased in intensity; 
but it was the lull before the storm, for the enemy 
immediately attempted a second infantry advance. 
This attack was received with undiminished resolu 
tion. A storm of machine-gun and rifle fire checked 
the assailants, who were forced, after a few in 
decisive moments, to retire and take cover. The 
Battalion accounted for large numbers of the enemy 
in the course of this attack, but it suffered seriously 
itself. Captain Hill, Lieuts. Martin, Triggs, and 
De Bay were all wounded at this time. 

At half-past nine, Lieut. Niven established con 
tact with the King s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry 
on the left, and with the 4th Rifle Brigade on the 
right. Both were suffering heavy casualties from 
enfilade fire; and neither, of course, could afford 
any assistance. At this time the bombardment 
recommenced with great intensity. The range of 
our machine-guns was taken with extreme precision. 
All, without exception, were buried. Those who 
served them behaved with the most admirable 
coolness and gallantry. Two were dug out, mounted 
and used again. One was actually disinterred three 
times and kept in action till a shell annihilated the 

1 The German bombardment had been so heavy since May 4th 
that a wood which the Regiment had used in part for cover was 
completely demolished. 


whole section. Corporal Dover stuck to his gun 
throughout and, although wounded, continued to 
discharge his duties with as much coolness as if 
on parade. In the explosion that ended his ill- 
fated gun, he lost a leg and an arm, and was com 
pletely buried in the debris. Conscious or un 
conscious, he lay there in that condition until dusk, 
when he crawled out of all that was left of the 
obliterated trench, and moaned for help. Two of 
his comrades sprang from the support trench by 
this time the fire trench and succeeded in carrying 
in his mangled and bleeding body. But as all that 
remained of this brave soldier was being lowered 
into the trench a bullet put an end to his sufferings. 
No bullet could put an end to his glory. 

At half-past ten the left half of the right fire 
trench was completely destroyed; and Lieut. 
Denison ordered Lieut. Clarke to withdraw the 
remnant of his command into the right communicat 
ing trench. He himself, with Lieut. Lane, was still 
holding all that was tenable of the right fire trench 
with a few men still available for that purpose. 
Lieut. Edwards had been killed. The right half 
of the left fire trench suffered cruelly. The trench 
was blown in and the machine-gun put out of action. 
Sergeant Scott, and the few survivors who still 
answered the call, made their way to the communica 
tion trench, and clung tenaciously to it, until that, 
too, was blown in. Lieut. Crawford, whose spirits 
never failed him throughout this terrible day, was 
severely wounded. Captain Adamson, who was 
handing out small arms ammunition, was hit in the 
shoulder, but continued to work with a single arm. 
Sergeant-Major Fraser, who was similarly engaged 


feeding the support trenches with ammunition, was 
killed instantly by a bullet in the head. At this 
time only four officers were left, Lieuts. Papineau, 
Vandenberg, Niven, and Clark, of whom the last 
two began the war in the ranks. 

By 12 a.m. the supply of small arms ammunition 
badly needed replenishment. In this necessity the 
snipers of the Battalion were most assiduous in the 
dangerous task of carrying requests to the Brigade 
Headquarters and to the Reserve Battalion, which 
was in the rear at Belle-Waarde Lake. The work 
was most dangerous, for the ground which had to 
be covered was continually and most heavily shelled. 

From 12 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. the Battalion held on 
under the most desperate difficulties until a detach 
ment of the 4th Rifle Brigade was sent up in re 
inforcement. The battered defenders of the 
support trench recognised old friends coming to 
their aid in their moment of extreme trial, and gave 
them a loud cheer as they advanced in support. 
Lieut. Niven placed them on the extreme right, in 
order to protect the Battalion s flanks. They remained 
in line with the Canadian support trenches, pro 
tected by trees and hedges. They also sent a 
machine-gun and section, which rendered invaluable 

At 2 p.m. Lieut. Niven went with an orderly to 
the Headquarters, in obedience to Brigade orders, 
to telephone to the General Officer Commanding the 
Brigade, complete details of the situation. He 
returned at 2.30 p.m. The orderlies who accom 
panied him both coming and going were hit by 
high explosive shells. 

At 3 p.m. a detachment of the 2nd King s Shrop- 


shire Light Infantry, who were also old comrades in 
arms of the Princess Patricias, reached the support 
line with twenty boxes of small arms ammunition. 
These were distributed, and the party bringing them 
came into line as a reinforcement, occupying the left 
end of the support trench. At four o clock the 
support trenches were inspected, and it was found 
that contact was no longer maintained with the 
regiment on the left, the gap extending for fifty 
yards. A few men (as many as could be spared) 
were placed in the gap to do the best they could. 
Shortly afterwards news was brought that the bat 
talions on the left had been compelled to withdraw, 
after a stubborn resistance, to a line of trenches a 
short distance in the rear. 

At this moment the Germans made their third and 
last attack. It was arrested by rifle fire, although 
some individuals penetrated into the fire trench on 
the right. At this point all the Princess Patricias had 
been killed, so that this part of the trench was 
actually tenantless. Those who established a 
footing were few in number, and they were gradually 
dislodged; and so the third and last attack was 
routed as successfully as those which had pre 
ceded it. 

The afternoon dragged on, the tale of casualties 
constantly growing ; and at ten o clock at night, the 
company commanders being all dead or wounded, 
Lieuts. Niven and Papineau took a roll call. It 
disclosed a strength of 150 rifles and some stretcher- 

At 11.30 at night the Battalion was relieved by 
the 3rd King s Royal Rifle Corps. The relieving 
unit helped those whom they replaced, in the last 


sorrowful duty of burying those of their dead who 
lay in the support and communicating trenches. 
Those who had fallen in the fire trenches needed 
no grave, for the obliteration of their shelter had 
afforded a decent burial to their bodies. Behind the 
damaged trenches, by the light of the German flares 
and amid the unceasing rattle of musketry, relievers 
and relieved combined in the last service which one 
soldier can render another. Beside the open graves, 
with heads uncovered, all that was left of the Regi 
ment stood, while Lieut. Niven, holding the Colours 
of Princess Patricia, battered, bloody, but still 
intact, tightly in his hand, recalled all he could 
remember of the Church of England service for the 
dead. Long after the service was over the remnant 
of the Battalion stood in solemn reverie, unable it 
seemed to leave their comrades, until the Colonel 
of the 3rd King s Royal Rifle Corps gave them 
positive orders to retire, when, led by Lieut. 
Papineau, they marched back, 150 strong, to reserve 
trenches. On arrival they were instructed to pro 
ceed to another part of the position, where during 
the day they were shelled, and lost five killed and 
three wounded. 

In the evening of the loth the Battalion furnished 
a carrying party of fifty men and one officer for 
small arms ammunition, and delivered twenty-five 
boxes at Belle-Waarde Lake. One man was killed 
and two wounded. It furnished also a digging party 
of 100 men, under Lieut. Clarke, who constructed 
part of an additional support trench. 

On May i3th the Regiment was in bivouac at the 
rear. The news arrived that the 4th Rifle Brigade, 
their old and trusty comrades in arms, was being 


desperately pressed. Asked to go to the relief, the 
Princess Patricias formed a composite Battalion 
with the 4th King s Royal Rifle Corps, and success 
fully made the last exertion which was asked of them 
at this period of the war. 

On May i5th Major Pelly arrived from England, 
where he had been invalided on March I5th, and 
took over the command from Lieut. Niven, who, 
during his period of command, had shown qualities 
worthy of a regimental commander of any experience 
in any army in the world. 

At the beginning of June the Princess Patricias 
took up a trench line at Armentieres and remained 
there until the end of August. In the middle of 
July Lieut. C. J. T. Stewart, a brave officer who 
had been severely wounded in the early days of the 
Spring, rejoined the Battalion. Other officers re 
turning after wounds, and reinforcements from 
Canada, brought the Battalion up to full strength 

Trench work and digging then alternated with 
rest. About the middle of September the Battalion 
moved with the 27th Division to occupy a line of 
trenches held by the 3rd Army in the south. 

When the 2;th Division was withdrawn from this 
line the Princess Patricias were moved into billets 
far back from the battle zone, and for a while the 
Battalion was detailed to instruct troops arriving 
for the 3rd Army. 

On November 2/th, 1915, they were once again 
happily reunited with the Canadian Corps after a 
long separation. 

Such, told purposely in the baldest language, and 
without attempting any artifice in rhetoric, is the 


history of Princess Patricia s Light Infantry Regi 
ment from the time it reached Flanders till the 
present day. 

Few, indeed, are left of the men who met in 
Lansdowne Park to receive the regimental Colours 
nearly a year ago; but those who survive, and the 
friends of those who have died, may draw solace 
from the thought that never in the history of arms 
have Soldiers more valiantly sustained the gift and 
trust of a Lady. 




The Prime Minister s visit Passing of politics End to 
domestic dissensions The Imperial idea Sir Robert s 
foresight Arrival in England At Shorncliffe Meeting 
with General Hughes Review of Canadian troops 
The tour in France A Canadian base hospital 
A British hospital Canadian graves Wounded under 
canvas Prince Arthur of Connaught Visiting battle 
scenes Received by General Alderson General Turner s 
Brigade Speech to the men First and Second Brigades 
Sir Robert in the trenches Cheered by Princess 
Patricias Enemy aeroplanes Meeting with Sir John 
French The Prince of Wales With the French Army 
General Joffre A conference in French The French 
trenches The stricken city of Albert To Paris The 
French President Conference with the French War 
Minister Shorncliffe again Canadian convalescent home 
A thousand convalescents Sir Robert s emotion His 
wonderful speech End of journey. 

"I think I can trace the calamities of this country to the single 
source of our not having had steadily before our eyes a general, 
comprehensive, well-connected, and well-proportioned view of the 
whole of our dominions, and a just sense of their true bearings 
and relations." BURKE. 

"And statesmen at her council met 
Who knew the seasons when to take 
Occasion by the hand, and make 
The bounds of freedom wider yet." 


THE news that the Prime Minister had arranged a 
visit to England and to the battlefield in France 

aroused great and general interest. Since the com- 



mencement of the titanic struggle which is now 
convulsing the world, the standards by which we 
used to measure statesmen have undergone great 
modification. The gifts of brilliant platform 
rhetoric, the arts of partisan debate, the instinct for 
a conquering election issue, all these have dwindled 
before the cruel perspective of war into their true 
insignificance. It is felt here in England to-day, 
and not least by some of us who are ourselves 
chargeable in the matter, that it will be long before 
the politicians at home clear themselves at the 
inquest of the nation from the charge of having 
endangered the safety of the Empire by their 
absorption in those domestic dissensions which now 
seem at once so remote and so paltry. 

And there is already at work a tendency to adopt 
wholly different standards in measuring men who, 
in the wasted years which lie behind us, kept stead 
fast and undeluded eyes upon the Imperial position ; 
who thought of it and dreamed of it, and worked for 
it, when so many others were preaching disarma 
ment in an armed world, sustaining meanwhile the 
combative instinct by the fury with which they flung 
themselves into insane domestic quarrels. 

Sir Robert Borden s was not, perhaps, a per 
sonality which was likely to make a swift or facile 
appeal to that collective Imperial opinion whose 
conclusions matter so much more than the con 
clusions of any individual part of the Empire. 
Modest, unassuming, superior to the arts of adver 
tisement, he never courted a large stage on which 
to exhibit the services which he well knew he could 
render to the Empire. To-day it is none the less 
recognised that Borden has won his place by the 

M 2 


side of Rhodes and Chamberlain and Botha, in 
that charmed circle of clear-sighted statesmen whose 
exertions, we may hope, have saved the Empire in 
our generation as surely as Chatham and Pitt and 
Clive and Hastings saved it in the crisis of an earlier 

Sir Robert Borden is the first Colonial statesman 
who has attended a British Cabinet, a precedent 
which may be fruitful in immense Constitutional 
developments hereafter. 

I wonder whether any of those whose delibera 
tions he assisted recalled the prescience, and the 
grave and even noble eloquence, with which Sir 
Robert closed his great speech delivered how 
short a time ago !- -upon the proposed Canadian con 
tribution to the British Fleet. The passage is worth 
recalling : 

The next ten or twenty years will be preg 
nant with great results for this Empire, and it 
is of infinite importance that questions of 
purely domestic concern, however urgent, shall 
not prevent any of us from rising to the height 
of this great argument. But to-day, while the 
clouds are heavy, and we hear the booming of 
the distant thunder, and see the lightning flash 
above the horizon, we cannot, and we will not, 
wait and deliberate until any impending storm 
shall have burst upon us in fury and with 
disaster. Almost unaided, the Motherland, not 
for herself alone, but for us as well, is sus 
taining the burden of a vital Imperial duty, and 
confronting an overmastering necessity of 
national existence. Bringing the best assistance 
that we may in the urgency of the moment, 


we come thus to her aid in token of our deter 
mination to protect and ensure the safety and 
integrity of this Empire, and of our resolve to 
defend on sea as well as on land our flag, our 
honour, and our heritage. 3 

This gift of wise and spacious speech has been 
used more than once with extreme impressiveness 
notably at the Guildhall during the Prime Minis 
ter s recent visit. " All that," he said, for which 
our fathers fought and bled, all our liberties and 
institutions, all the influences for good which pene 
trate humanity, are in the balance to-day. There 
fore we cannot, because we must not, fail in this 


It was my duty to accompany Sir Robert Borden 
on the visit whkh he paid to the front, and I gladly 
embrace this opportunity of substituting for the 
stories of bloodshed and glory, which have engaged 
my pen so much, the record of a mission which, 
though peaceful, was of profound and often of most 
moving interest. 

Sir Robert Borden arrived in England in the 
middle of July. On Friday, the i6th, he motored 
to Shorncliffe, accompanied by Sir George Perley 
and Mr. R. B. Bennett, M.P. There he met General 
Hughes. At nine o clock on the morning of the 
1 7th the Canadian troops of the 2nd Division 
marched past the Prime Minister. It was impossible 
to watch without emotion, if one came from Canada, 
this superb body of men gathered from every part of 
the Dominion, and animated in all ranks by the 
desire to take their place side by side with the 
ist Division, and, if possible, to wrest from the war 
laurels as glorious as theirs. Certainly, on the view, 


no finer body of men could be imagined, and if to 
a critical eye it seemed that the tactical efficiency of 
the Western regiments was a shade higher than that 
of the Eastern, the reflection readily occurred that 
the whole of the ist Division was criticised on this 
very ground, and that this war, of all wars, is not 
to be determined on the parade ground. 

Sir Robert Borden s tour began on Tuesday, 
July 2Oth. Accompanied by Mr. R. B. Bennett and 
a military staff, he embarked for France. Colonel 
Wilberforce, the Camp Commandant, who had 
served on the staff of a former Governor-General 
of Canada, met him at the pier on his arrival. After 
lunch he visited a Canadian base hospital, com 
manded by Colonel McKee, of Montreal. It was 
pathetic to see the pleasure of the wounded at his 
presence, and the plainness with which they showed 
it, in spite of the pain which many of them were 

The next visit was paid to a British hospital, 
where Sir Robert saw Captain George Bennett, of 
the Princess Patricias, who was just fighting his 
way back to consciousness after one hundred and 
twenty-five days of burning fever. 1 

From the hospital the Prime Minister went to 
the graveyard, where he planted seeds of the maple 
tree on the graves of our dead officers and men. 
The scene was touching, and Sir Robert was deeply 
moved. Side by side with the British dead, lie Cap 
tain Muntz, of the 3rd Battalion Toronto Regiment, 
Major Ward, of the Princess Patricias, whose fruit 

i Since that time Captain Bennett has been brought to England, 
but even now he is in a convalescent home and only slowly 
recovering . 


farm in the Okanagan Valley lies fallow, and Lieu 
tenant Campbell, of the ist Battalion Ontario Regi 
ment, who won the Victoria Cross and yet did not 
live to know it. How he won it, against what odds, 
and facing how certain a death, has been fully told 
in another chapter. 

Sir Robert then visited the McGill College Hos 
pital, commanded by Colonel Birkett, the Canadian 
Base Hospital, in charge of Colonel Shillington, 
and Colonel Murray MacLaren s Hospital, under 
canvas, in the sand dunes fringing the sea. Every 
where one noticed the same patience under suffering, 
the same gratitude for all done to relieve pain, and 
the same sincere and simple pleasure that the Prime 
Minister of Canada had wished to see them and to 
thank them. 

Perhaps the long corridor tents in the sand dunes 
impressed themselves most upon the memory. The 
convalescents stood to attention to receive the 
Colonial Prime Minister. Some would not be 
denied whom the medical staff would perhaps rather 
have seen sitting. Nor was it less moving to notice 
how illustrious in private life were many members 
of the brilliant staff which had assembled to meet 
the first citizen of Canada. Colonel Murray Mac- 
Laren, Colonel Finlay, Colonel Cameron, and many 
others, if they ever reflect upon the immense private 
sacrifices they have made, would draw rich com 
pensation from the knowledge that their skill and 
science have in countless cases brought comfort in 
the midst of suffering to the heroic soldiers of 
Canada. Sir Robert, in a few sentences of farewell, 
made himself the mouthpiece of Canada in render 
ing to them a high tribute of respect and gratitude. 


Early on Wednesday morning the Prime Minister 
set forth to visit the Canadian troops at the front. 
He was joined in the course of his journey by Prince 
Arthur of Connaught, who came to represent the 
Governor-General of Canada. 

The road followed took the party near to where 
Canada, at the second battle of Ypres, held the left 
of the British line. The Prime Minister examined 
the position with the greatest care and interest, and 
looked upon the ruined city of Ypres, and far in 
the horizon identified the shattered remnants of 
Messines. And before he left he spoke to those 
about him, with deep pride and thankfulness, 
of those who stood and died for the honour of 
Canada in that great critical day in the Western 

At noon Sir Robert reached the Canadian Divi 
sional Headquarters, where he was received by 
General Alderson. Two familiar faces were missing 
from the number of those who had made the staff 
dispositions in the great battle. Colonel Romer, 
then Chief General Staff Officer, always cool, always 
lucid, always resourceful, had become a Brigadier. 
He is an extremely able officer, and if a layman may 
hazard a prediction as to a soldier s future, he has 
in front of him a very brilliant and perhaps a very 
high career. However brilliant and however long 
it may prove, he will never, I think, forget the 
second battle of Ypres, or the brave comrades 
whose exertions it was his duty, under the General, 
to co-ordinate and direct. 

And we missed, too, the quiet but friendly per 
sonality of Colonel Wood (now Brigadier-General), 
who had been transferred to Shorncliffe to organise 


the Corps Staff. He has returned again to the 
front, and is now in charge of our " Administration. 53 
General Wood spent some years at the Royal Mili- 
ary College at Kingston, Ontario, and there acquired 
a great knowledge of, and sympathy with, the Can 
adian point of view. He is devoted to the Canadian 
troops, of whom he is intensely proud, and they 
on their part understand and trust him. 

General Alderson accompanied Sir Robert on his 
visit to the units of the Division not on duty in the 
trenches. The Brigade of General Turner was 
commanded for the last time by that officer, for his 
soldierly merits have won for him the command of 
the 2nd Canadian Division. The command of his 
Brigade has been given to Brigadier-General Leckie, 
of whom I have frequently written. 

Sir Robert addressed the men in a few ringing 
sentences which excited the greatest enthusiasm in 
all ranks. The men ran after the moving motor, 
and the last to desist was Captain Ralph Markham, 
a gallant officer, who was unhappily killed a few 
days after by a chance shell as he was returning to 
billets along a communication trench. 

The 2nd Brigade, under the command of General 
Currie, who has since been given the command of 
the ist Division, and the ist Brigade (General 
Mercer) were also visited. Here it was that Colonel 
Watson, of Quebec, marched past at the head of the 
2nd Battalion, leading his men to the trenches. A 
capable, brave, and very modest officer, he now 
commands a Brigade in the 2nd Canadian Division. 

Sir Robert then visited the trenches accompanied 
by General Alderson and Brigadier-General Bur- 
stall, and after a visit to the Army Service Corps, 


under Colonel Simpson, he parted from General 
Alderson and his fine command. 1 

His next visit was neither less important nor less 
interesting, for it was to the Princess Patricia s 
Canadian Light Infantry. The Regiment, which 
assembled 500 strong in a field five miles from 
Canadian Headquarters, received with cheers, 
which broke out again and again, the Prime Minister 
and the brother of the Princess, under whose name 
and favour the Battalion has so bravely fought. 
Major Pelly was in command, the second-in-com 
mand being Lieutenant (now Captain) Niven, of 
whose deeds I attempted to give some account in the 
preceding chapter. 

The Regiment was formed in three sides of a 
square and as the Prime Minister and the Prince 
advanced, the colours, presented by the Princess in 
Lansdowne Park on that great day which seems so 
long ago, were ceremoniously unfurled. And, as the 
tattered folds spread before a light breeze, the clouds 
broke, and there was a moment or two of bright sun 
shine. Overhead two enemy aeroplanes flew, and 
there followed them persistently through the sky 
bursting shells of shrapnel. 

1 Before returning to England, Sir Robert Borden sent the 
following message to General Alderson, which was circulated 
in Orders of July 3oth : " The fine spirit of the Canadian 
Division, and their evident efficiency for the great task in which 
they are engaged, very deeply impressed me. It was a great 
privilege to have the opportunity of seeing them, and of convey 
ing to them, from the people of Canada, a message of pride and 
appreciation. As I said on more than one occasion in addressing 
the officers and men, they can hardly realise how intensely all 
Canada has been thrilled by the tidings of their achievements. 
The President of the French Republic, as well as General Joffre 
and Sir John French, spoke of the troops under your command 
in terms of the highest praise. I bid you God speed in the 
great task in which you are engaged." 


The Prime Minister conveyed in simple words 
a message from the Governor-General. The Prince, 
in plain and soldierly language, spoke in deep affec 
tion of the Regiment whose glory, he said, was so 
dear to his sister s heart. The men were deeply 

On his return to Headquarters the Prime Minister 
was invited to take part in a conference with the 
Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief and his Staff. 
Among those present was his Royal Highness the 
Prince of Wales. 

It had been arranged that Sir Robert s visit to 
the French armies a visit most courteously and 
even pressingly suggested by the French Govern 
ment should take place on the conclusion of the 
conference at General Headquarters. 

Sir Robert was received at a small town, which 
it would be indiscreet to name, by General Joffre. 
The famous General, who was full of confidence and 
hope, was surrounded by one of the most brilliant 
staffs which any army in the world could boast. For 
a long time he discussed with the most charming 
frankness, and the most lucid explanations, the posi 
tion and the prospects of the Allied forces in the 

The French Staff was most anxious to enlarge 
upon their plans in conversation with the Prime 
Minister. It was interesting, indeed, to an observer 
of Canadian birth, to listen to the animated con 
versation carried on entirely in French. What 
reflections did the interview not suggest? The 
Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of France 
in conference with the Prime Minister of Canada 
in the throes of a mighty war ! Jacques Cartier, 


Frontenac, De Levis, De Salaberry, Wolfe, Mont- 
calm, the Heights of Abraham, the far-flung 
antagonism of the great French and British nations 
-how many memories crowded the mind as one 
silently watched this historic interview ! And, of all 
reflections, perhaps the most insistent was that the 
bitterest antagonisms of mankind may be composed 
in a period relatively very brief. 

After a long day in the French trenches, varied 
by visits to advanced observation posts, from which 
the Prime Minister could plainly see the German 
front-line trenches, the party returned through the 
stricken city of Albert. The majestic fabric of its 
ancient cathedral has been smitten with a heavy 
hand. There remain only a scarred and desolate 
ruin, and the figure of the Madonna a true Mater 
Dolorosa hung suspended in mid-air from the 
mutilated spire. 

And so to Paris, with minds saddened indeed by 
all the misery and the havoc and the horror, but still 
full of confidence that right shall yet conquer wrong, 
that a period shall yet be assigned to that bloody 
and calculated savagery which has swept over so 
many fair provinces in Europe, and has not yet 
abandoned the hope of dominating the world. 

The rest of the week was spent with the Govern 
ment in Paris and in discussion with the French 
President and the Minister of War. Here again 
Sir Robert met with the most distinguished kind 
ness. Nothing promising or unpromising in the 
prospects of the Allies was concealed from him, 
and on his departure from Paris the First Citizen 
of France conferred upon the First Citizen of 
Canada the highest order of the Legion of Honour. 


After a visit on the way home to the great Cana 
dian Base Hospital, over which Colonel Bridges, 
an officer of the Permanent Force, presides, and in 
which Major Keenan, of Montreal and of the 
Princess Patricias, gives his services, the party 
reached Boulogne on Sunday, and were carried back 
to English soil again. 

Monday morning was spent in visiting the great 
hospital at Shorncliffe, which is under the direction 
of Colonel Scott, of Toronto. Everywhere one 
noticed in the hospitals the same cheerfulness, the 
same patience under suffering, and the same un 
affected pleasure at the visit of the Prime Minister. 

In the late afternoon the Prime Minister arrived 
at the Canadian Convalescent Home, where troops 
are gathered from all the hospitals in England, 
either to return in due course to duty or leave for 
ever the military service. This wonderful organisa 
tion is under the direction of Captain McCombe. 
The institution so largely his creation is a shining 
example of what such a home can become under 
intelligent and humane direction. 

The convalescents here were over a thousand 
strong. Those physically fit stood to attention. 
Others in the blue and white uniform of the hos 
pital leaned heavily upon their crutches. Others 
lay upon their couches unable to move, but watching 
and listening intently. All Canada was represented, 
from Halifax to Vancouver. Here were the survivors 
of the battle for the Wood ; there a remnant of the 
heroes who charged to save the British left. Here 
were those brave men who gloriously assaulted the 
Orchard; there the veterans of the ist Ontario Regi 
ment who attacked on June i5th. 


The Prime Minister was profoundly moved. 
Flanders had moved him too. Nor had he escaped 
deep feeling when he saw the Canadian troops 
marching to the trenches. But not until he came 
face to face with the shattered survivors of four 
glorious battles, did he openly show that deep spring 
of emotion and affection which those who saw him 
will always cherish as their fondest recollection of 

The warmth and sincerity of his nature found 
expression in one of the most wonderful speeches 
which he or anyone else has ever made. It has not 
been reported ; it cannot be reported, for those who 
heard him were themselves too much moved to recol 
lect the words. But it was a speech vital with 
humanity ; it was the speech of a father who mourned 
over stricken sons, and, closing in a sterner note, it 
was the speech of one who foresaw and promised a 
day of retribution for the conscienceless race which, 
with cold calculation, had planned this outrage on 

And so ended the memorable journey. The 
narrative attempted here cannot, of course, be too 
explicit. But the writer has not altogether failed in 
his purpose if he has shown the dignity, the restraint, 
the eloquence, and the wisdom with which the Prime 
Minister of Canada has represented our great 
Dominion among the leading soldiers and states 
men of Europe. 



Tranquil Canadian lines German reconnaissance Incident 
at " Plug Street " Pte. Bruno saves Capt. Tidy A sniper s 
month Sharpshooters compact Sergt. Ballendine The 
Ross rifle " No Man s Land " Our bombers Sergt. 
William Tabernacle His new profession General Sir 
Sam Hughes visit Canadian patriotism Civilian armies 
" Last Word of Kings -Art of the " soldier s speech " 
Lord Kitchener s inspiration Lord Roberts and the 
Indians General Hughes arrives in France At British 
Headquarters Consultation with King Albert Meeting 
with Prince Alexander of Teck Conference with General 
Alderson The second Canadian Contingent In the firing 
line Many friends General Burstall s artillery Inspec 
tion of cavalry Meeting with Prince of Wales The 
Princess Patricias Conference with Sir Douglas Haig 
General Hughes suggestions Meeting with General 
Foch Impressed with General Joffre The ruin at 
Rheims General Hughes message on departure A 
quiet August The Canadian Corps General Alderson s 
new command An appreciation of a gallant Commander 

" Fortes a fortibus creantur." 
Brave men are created by brave men. 

SAVE for the great interest aroused by the visit 
of the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden, an 
almost uncanny tranquillity reigned along the whole 
Canadian front during the month of July. 

The enemy soon became aware that new troops 
had taken up the position, and reconnaissance 
parties were very active in endeavouring to ascertain 



precisely what troops they now had opposite them. 
They had probably caught a few words from our 
trenches which were sufficient to tell them that they 
were now opposed to Canadians, and they were no 
doubt anxious to discover whether they were con 
fronted by the experienced veterans who had proved 
their qualities at Ypres, or whether their opponents 
were the soldiers of the 2nd Division, as yet fresh 
to the field of war. 

We, for our part, had a similar curiosity. We, 
too, were anxious to discover the identity and, there 
fore, the quality, of the men whose trenches it was 
our lot to watch by night and by day. 

Knowing, however, that their reconnaissance par 
ties were moving about, we were content to bide our 
time to await the opportunity of seizing upon one 
of their detachments when they were either careless, 
ill-led, or over-bold. 

That opportunity came at (< Plug Street " at half- 
past eight on the morning of July 2 7th. One of the 
observers of the 3rd Battalion (Toronto Regiment) 
reported a party of the enemy in the wild wheat, 
never to be garnered, growing between the British 
and German lines. It was then that Captain Tidy, 
with Private Bruno, who had joined the Battalion 
at Valcartier from the Queen s Own of Toronto, and 
two other privates of the names of Candlish and 
Subervitch, left the trenches and crawled out to 
take the enemy by surprise. In this they were suc 
cessful. Two of the Germans surrendered the 
moment they were covered by Captain Tidy s pistol ; 
but the third, though putting up his hands at 
first, lowered them again and fired at the officer. 
At this, Bruno, who was in a crouching position 


among the wheat, fired two shots from the hip and 
killed the treacherous German. The party returned 
safely with their two prisoners, though the whole 
affair had taken place in full view of the German 
trenches. The prisoners, when questioned, stated 
that they had been sent out during the night in the 
hope that they would be able to identify our troops. 
July was a sniper s month. True, every month 
is a sniper s month ; the great game of sniping never 
wanes, but the inactivity in other methods of righting 
left the field entirely free for the sharpshooter in 

It was during the fighting at Givenchy in June, 
1915, that four snipers of the 8th Canadian Bat 
talion (Winnipeg Rifles) agreed to record their pro 
fessional achievements from that time forward on 
the wood of their rifles. 

Private Ballendine, one of the four, is from 
Battleford. He is tall and loosely built. In his 
swarthy cheeks, black eyes, and straight black hair, 
he shows his right to claim Canadian citizenship 
by many generations of black-haired, sniping 
ancestors. He learned to handle a rifle with some 
degree of skill at the age of ten years, and he has 
been shooting ever since. At the present time he 
carries thirty-six notches on the butt of his rifle. 
Each notch stands for a dead German to the best 
of Ballendine s belief. One notch, cut longer and 
deeper into the brown wood than the others, means 
an officer. 

To date, Private Smith, of Roblin, Manitoba, has 
scratched the wood of his rifle only fourteen times ; 
but he is a good shot, has faith in his weapon, and 
looks hopefully to the future. 



Private McDonald, of Port Arthur, displays no 
unseemly elation over his score of twenty-six. 

Private Patrick Riel makes a strong appeal to the 
imagination, though his tally is less than McDonald s 
by two or three. He is a descendant of the late 
Louis Riel, and when he enlisted in the goth Win 
nipeg Rifles at the outbreak of the war, and was 
told by one of his officers that his regiment had done 
battle against his cousin Louis at Fish Creek and 
Batoche, he showed only a mild interest in this trick 
of Time. Riel, like McDonald, comes from Port 
Arthur way. Before the war he earned his daily 
bacon and tobacco as a foreman of lumber- jacks on 
the Kaministiquia River. 

The weapons used by these four snipers are Ross 
rifles, remodelled to suit their peculiar and par 
ticular needs. Each is mounted with a telescopic 
sight, and from beneath the barrel of each much of 
the wood of the casing has been cut away. The men 
do their work by day, as the telescopic sight is not 
good for shooting in a poor light. They are 
excused all fatigues while in the trenches and go 
about their grim tasks without hint or hindrance 
from their superiors. They choose their own posi 
tions from which to observe the enemy and to fire 
upon him sometimes in leafy covers behind our 
front-line trench, sometimes behind our parapet. 
Very little of their work is done in the No Man s 
Land between the hostile lines, for there danger 
from the enemy is augmented by the chance of a shot 
from some zealous but mistaken comrade. The men 
tion of "No Man s Land reminds me that, on the 
Canadian front, this desolate and perilous strip of 
land is now called " Canada/ The idea is that our 


patrols have the upper hand here, night and day 
that we govern the region, though we have not 
stationed any Governor or Resident Magistrate there 
as yet. 

Our bombers, too, are an interesting and peculiar 
body of men, evolved by the needs of this warfare 
from all classes. Sergeant William Tabernacle is 
a bomber. He has lived for so long in an 
environment of cramped quarters, alternating five 
days and five nights of narrow trenches and 
low dug-outs, with five days and five nights of 
circumscribed huts in the reserve lines, week after 
week, month after month, that he sometimes wonders 
if the pictures in the back of his mind pictures of 
dry-floored houses, wide beds, and secure streets 
are memories or only dreams. At first, for a little 
while, he fretted after the soft things of the old, soft 
life in far-away Canada; but now he is content to 
shape his life and live it only from day to day, to 
question the future as little as to review the past. 
The things that matter to William now are the 
things of the moment the trench mortars behind 
the opposite parapet, the guns screened in the wood 
behind our own lines, food, and his ration of rum. 

William loves bombs, though he had never heard 
of such things before the war and had never believed 
in them until two exploded near him, in the first trench 
of his experience long ago, before the Second 
Battle of Ypres. It seems that he brought to France 
with him, all unknown to himself or his comrades, 
an instinctive understanding of and affection for 
every variety of explosive missile. He grasped 
the idea and intention of this phase of warfare 
in a flash in the flash of his first hostile 

N 2 


grenade. He was told to be a bomber; so he be 
came a bomber, and everything he threw exploded 
with precision. His Colonel made a Corporal of 
him. As Corporal he added to his duties of throw 
ing bombs the work of overhauling the bombs of 
others and of manufacturing a few on his own 
account. He became a Sergeant and now he is an 
accepted authority on bombs. He makes them, 
repairs them, assembles them, takes care of them, 
issues them to his men, and sometimes heaves a few 
himself, just to show the youngsters how the trick 
is done. 

Nothing comes amiss to William. Bombs and 
grenades that enter his trench and fail to explode 
are quickly investigated, and, sooner or later, are 
returned to their original owners in working order. 
Rifle grenades that explode in William s vicinity 
never fail to attract his attention, and while others 
attend to the wounded he looks for the stick. Find 
ing the stick, he immediately welds it to the base 
of a small, cone-shaped bomb from his own stores 
and, behold, a rifle grenade of superior quality all 
ready to be fired against the enemy s loopholes. 

William is considered by some to have grown 
peculiar in his habits. His dug-out is hung and 
cluttered with the materials and tools and weapons 
of his trade. He fondles specimens of British, 
French, and German bombs, even as old ladies back 
in Canada fondle their grandchildren. He ex 
patiates on their good points and their defects. He 
has his favourites, of course, and should anyone 
venture to belittle the fuse, the detonating charge, 
or the explosive quality of one of his favourites, he 
becomes arrogant, ill-mannered, and quarrelsome. 


William lives to-day for the explosion of to 
morrow. If he were Lord Kitchener doubtless this 
war would end very suddenly, some fine day, in a 
rending crash that would split and rip these fair 
lands from the sea to the high hills. 

William is a Canadian. Before the war his fellow- 
countrymen believed that he lacked ambition and 
smoked too many cigarettes. But here he is doing 
his queer work, in his own queer way, in a trench in 
the Low Countries one of the hardest rivets 
to break or bend in that long barrier which the 
fighting legions of Germany can neither bend nor 

One cannot help wondering what William will 
do for excitement when he returns to that little town 
in Ontario if ever he does return. Perhaps, an 
Uncle Toby of the New World, he will tell, " with 
remembrances," the story of how he fought in 
Flanders" on the old soil and with the old weapons. 

* * * * * # 

At the beginning of August the men were cheered 
by a welcome visitor from home Major-General 
Sir Sam Hughes, K.C.B., whom the men naturally 
regard as the father of the Canadian Contingent. 

The passionate love of country, the lofty, if in 
articulate, patriotism which called men from the 
lumber camp and the mine, the desk and the store, 
was expressed in the formation of great armies, by 
the guiding hand of the Minister of Militia. 

At that supreme moment in our country s history, 
when Canada was at the cross roads of her destiny, 
she was indeed happy in the possession of the man 
who gathered in and marshalled, with a speed and 


noble energy seldom, if ever, equalled, the hosts of 
willing but untrained civilians who came rushing 
from the Pacific Coast, the Rockies, the grain-belt, 
the Western Prairie, and the fields and forests and 
cities of the East, to offer themselves to the Empire 
in her hour of need. 

It is unnecessary to dwell upon the efforts which 
in a few weeks assembled the first armies of Canada, 
armies which were in a brief period to prove that 
they were able to meet on equal terms the military 
brood of the great Frederick. Indeed, properly to 
enforce the true spirit and meaning of Canada s 
great arming, one cannot insist too strongly on the 
wonderful fact that by a supreme effort of organisa 
tion, men who had, in the main, passed their lives 
in peaceful pursuits, were forged into an army fitted 
to face with honour and success the highly trained 
hordes of a nation steeped for centuries in the tradi 
tions of militarism. 

These gallant men of ours have displayed a 
valour which has never been surpassed; they have 
become versed in the arts of war with a thorough 
ness and swiftness which gives them a superb con 
fidence, even when faced by overwhelming numbers 
of the Kaiser s hosts. And they are full of a great 
joy and a great pride when they consider that new 
born civilian armies have done so much. 

Every Canadian soldier, too, is heartened by an 
appreciation of the fact that in every detail of arms, 
equipment, and supply, the organisation behind him 
works ceaselessly to make every Canadian unit as 
perfect a fighting machine as can be. They know 
that, thanks to Major-General Carson, the Agent 
of the Militia Department in England, all their 


requirements for fighting purposes are thought out 
in advance, and provided to the last detail in more 
than good time. Such confidence makes for material 
well-being, and a spirit of intuitive military flair 
does the rest. 

General Hughes is a business soldier, though he 
possesses a true soldier s heart. A soldier is popu 
larly supposed to be a silent man. When the 
statesmen and the politicians have ceased talking, 
when all their speeches have been of no avail and it 
is left to the guns to speak " the last word of Kings," 
the civilian believes that his military leaders are not 
in the habit of speechmaking. That idea, however, 
is profoundly mistaken. A study of military history 
shows that all great leaders who have inspired troops 
to resist to the death when disaster appeared to be 
certain, and all great leaders who have victoriously 
led assaults which seemed the very children of 
despair, have had the capacity of making what in 
armies is known as a "soldier s speech/ 3 

It is an art which cannot be cultivated. It is the 
instinctive knowledge of precisely the right road to 
the soldier s heart at the supreme moment when an 
appeal may make all the difference between success 
or failure. 1 

1 The classic example of this form of eloquence is contained 
in Napoleon s address to the Army of Italy, made on April 26th, 

" Soldiers 1 In fifteen days you have won six victories, captured 
twenty-one flags, fifty-five guns, several fortresses, conquered the 
richest part of Piedmont : you have made 15,000 prisoners : you 
have killed or wounded nearly 10,000 men. 

" Until now you have fought for barren rocks. Lacking every 
thing, you have accomplished everything. You have won battles 
without cannon, crossed rivers without bridges, made forced 
marches without boots, bivouacked without brandy, and often 


War makes men s minds simple and sentimental. 
Without sentiment, armies could never, in free com 
munities, be got together, and armies could never be 
led. Lord Kitchener proved that he had a very 
great understanding of the art of the "soldier s 
speech when he issued his message to the Expedi 
tionary Force on the eve of its sailing for France. 
It made an ineffaceable impression on the men, and 
its inspiration saw them through the bitter hours of 
the long retreat from Mons. 

Just before his death Lord Roberts made a speech 
to the Indian troops, from which they drew a fervour 
which carried them through many a bloody welter, 
in which the best soldiers in the world might have 

The Military Correspondent of The Times, too, 
has borne witness to the fact that Sir John French 
knows precisely what to say to reach and stir the 
soldier s heart. 

And General Hughes has the same gift. He em 
ployed it well when he spoke to the troops he had 
come to visit. He did not say much, but his words 
had an electrical effect upon the men s patriotism, 
and strengthened them to fight even more sternly 
than they had already done for freedom; while, in 
the contemplation of soldierly glory, he made them 
forget the horrors and losses of the preceding months. 

It was on Thursday, August 5th, that the Minister 

without bread. Only the phalanx of the Republic, only the 
soldiers of Liberty, could endure the things that you have suffered. 
"There are more battles before you, more cities to capture, more 
rivers to cross. You all burn to carry forward the glory of the 
French people; to dictate a glorious peace; and to be able when 
you return to your villages to exclaim with pride, * I belonged 
to the conquering army of Italy. 


for War crossed from Folkestone to Boulogne on a 
British destroyer, accompanied by Brigadier-General 
Lord Brooke, acting A.D.C. to Lord Kitchener, and 
Lieut.-Colonel Carrick, M.P., the Canadian repre 
sentative at the General Headquarters of the British 
Army in France. At Boulogne the party was met 
by Captain Frederick Guest, M.P., A.D.C. to Sir 
John French. 

Early the following morning Sir Sam Hughes 
motored to the British Headquarters, where he was 
received by the Commander-in-Chief. After a 
brief meeting, the party motored to Belgian 
Headquarters, whence they made a tour of the 
Belgian lines and inspected the Belgian trenches. 

Later, the Minister met King Albert in a little 
cottage on the seashore, and there, with the King, 
he went thoroughly into the whole Belgian position, 
and in particular the Belgian defences, while shells 
were whistling unceasingly overhead. That night he 
returned to the British Headquarters, where he met 
Prince Alexander of Teck, who, until the outbreak 
of the war, was Governor-General Designate of 

The next day, accompanied by Prince Alexander, 
the Minister met General Alderson and his Staff 
near Armentieres. And it was deeply interesting to 
watch the meeting between these two men- -the man 
who had called the Canadian Army into being, and 
the man who commanded it in the field. 

It was at this time that discussions took place 
and decisions were reached in regard to sending the 
2nd Canadian Division to join the Army in France. 

From that meeting the two Generals went straight 
into the firing line, and General Hughes made an 


inspection of the men he had come so far to see. 
He noted how cheerful, fit, and well the men were, 
in spite of the perils and hardships they had under 

Along the line of trenches the General met many 
officers and men he knew. All of them knew him. 
There were delighted greetings, quick handclasps, 
and brief exchanges of conversation, from which 
radiated pride, heartiness, and good sense. 

Later, the Minister went up to the main artillery 
observation post, and here General Burstall gave a 
very effective exhibition of what Canadian guns can 
do. But it was a demonstration which called forth a 
reply from the German trenches, and soon enemy 
shells were screaming inwards. 

Next the General inspected Strathcona s Horse, 
the Royal Canadian Dragoons, and King Edward s 
Horse, under Brigadier-General the Right Hon. 
J. C. Seely, M.P., with whose soldierly mind and 
strangely similar personality the Minister found 
himself in accord. 

That evening, on his return to the British Head 
quarters, he dined with Sir John French and the 
Prince of Wales. 

On the Sunday morning the General inspected 
the Princess Patricias, and later in the day he 
spent some time with General Sir Douglas Haig. 
Sir Douglas realised at once General Hughes 
gift for the appreciation of military positions, 
and went very fully with him into the defences 
of the ist Army. It must afford Canadians 
not only satisfaction, but pride, to know that 
their Minister was able to make suggestions of 
great value. Then the General set out for Festubert 


and Givenchy. Afterwards came the inspection of 
the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery under Colonel 

On Monday morning the Minister motored to the 
Headquarters of General Foch, and the meeting was 
a pleasant one because the two men were old friends. 
They had been companions on three successive 
years at British and French Army manoeuvres, and 
they had much to discuss as, during the afternoon, 
they traversed the French lines. Major-General 
Hughes spent the evening with the French 
Generalissimo, with whose clear, bold thinking 
and kindly but robust personality he was much 

On Tuesday he went to Rheims, where he was 
met by General D Espere, of the French ist Army, 
in whose company he witnessed the terrible traces 
of recent heavy fighting shattered caissons, splin 
tered gun carriages, and ruined buildings, and, 
above all, that towering monument to German 
frightf ulness" the shattered mass of the great 

The next day Major-General Hughes proceeded 
to Paris, where he was entertained by Lord Bertie, 
the British Ambassador, and met the President of 
the Republic and the French Minister of War. 

He returned to England as he had come, in a 

Before sailing from Liverpool, the Minister wrote 
the following farewell, which was made known to 
the troops through Orders of the Day :- 

: In departing for Canada, it is my desire to 
thank all the splendid forces Canadians of 
whom we are so justly proud at the front, for 


their splendid services to King, country, and 
the glorious cause of Liberty. 

" When these troops left Valcartier last year 
and sailed from Canadian shores, I took the 
liberty of predicting that when they met the 
foe they would give an account of themselves 
that would reflect honour upon the glorious 
Empire whose liberties we are all endeavouring 
to maintain. 

The highest predictions have been more 
than fulfilled. 

I am leaving you all more than ever proud 
of our gallant boys. 

They have already earned the recognition 
of a grateful country. Throughout whatever 
trials these valiant soldiers may pass, they will 
be encouraged and strengthened by the thought 
that behind them, in Canada, those near and 
dear to them realise that their duty will be done 
fearlessly and well. 

May kind heaven guard and prosper these 
brave fellows in their great struggle. 

"(Sgd.) SAM HUGHES, Major-General, 
" Minister of Militia and Defence." 

August passed quietly by. 1 The enemy some- 

1 It was on August ist that the enemy carried out a severe 
bombardment of a location known as " Ration Farm," opposite 
Messines, which drove the men of Major Hesketh s squadron of 
Strathcona s Horse, who were in reserve, into their dug-outs. 
The farm was hit repeatedly, and suddenly sounds as of heavy 
machine-gun fire were heard coming from the midst of the 
shattered buildings. Major Hesketh left his dug-out and entered 
the farm to investigate. He saw that the magazine, containing 
100,000 rounds of ammunition with the reserve supply of bombs 
and grenades, had been pierced and set on fire by a high explosive 


times shelled our trenches, but never heavily, and 
the Canadians enjoyed a comparatively peaceful 
summer month. 

In the early days of September the Canadian 
Government determined, in response to the require 
ments and necessities of the Empire, to furnish 
another Division, thus placing a complete Army 
Corps in the field. 

It was a matter of intense gratification to the 
Canadians that General Alderson, who had so bril 
liantly led the ist Division in the terrible and hard- 
fought battles in Flanders, was appointed to com 
mand the Corps. 

General Alderson is a soldier with great experi 
ence and with great military gifts, and, above all, a 
genius for the leadership of men. 

Apart from his qualities as a soldier, however, a 
simple and noble personality illumines his character. 
It is not too much to say that every officer and man 
under his command loves and trusts him. Not only, 
however, have they confidence in his military leader 
ship, but they know that in his personality, and in his 
whole outlook upon humanity, he is to be respected 
and trusted too. 

With the arrival in France of the 2nd Division, 1 

shell. In spite of the fact that the position was still under 
persistent shell fire, that the small-arms ammunition was explod 
ing" rapidly under the influence of the heat, and that the entire 
contents of the magazine was likely to explode at any moment, 
Major Hesketh fought the fire with sacks and extinguished it. 

i Prior to its departure for France the 2nd Division was com 
manded by General Sam Steele, C.B., M.V.O., a distinguished 
Canadian soldier and a distinguished Canadian citizen. General 
Steele s military experience dates from the days of the Red River 
Expedition, and his appointment was much appreciated by the 
officers and troops of the 2nd Division during their period of 
training. He has since joined the Imperial Service, and is now 
the General Officer Commanding at Shorncliffe. 


and the formation of the Canadian Army Corps, a 
point is reached which clearly marks the end of the 
first phase of Canada s part in the world war. 

Henceforth we shall oe represented in the field by 
an Army Corps, a noble contribution to the necessity 
of the Empire. When we contemplate, quite apart 
from their moral value, the immense material 
contributions which the Dominions have made 
to this campaign, we may reflect with irony upon 
the strange errors of which many brilliant men are 

Professor Goldwin Smith wrote of the Cana 
dians : Judge whether these men are likely to 
pour out their blood without stint for the British 
connection ; see at least first, whether they are ready 
to pour out a little money or to reduce their duties 
on your goods. 3 And he joyfully quoted Cobden. 
1 Loyalty is an ironical term to apply to people who 
neither obey our orders nor hold themselves liable 
to fight our battles. 3 

We may perhaps be permitted to hope that the 
study of the past is sometimes more helpful to those 
who presume to foretell the future. 

The 2nd Division cannot fail to be inspired by 
the superb example of that with which it is linked. 
It has the advantage of being commanded by a most 
distinguished and experienced officer, Major- General 
Turner, V.C., the Brigadier-General Turner who 
held the left at Ypres in the great days of April. 

Of all the officers of high rank fighting to-day in 
Flanders, none is more modest, none more resource 
ful, none more chivalrous. He is in Canada a great 
national figure. Conspicuous among the heroes of 
Ypres, he will in his new position write his record 


in Flanders, in letters not indeed more glorious, but 
upon a larger slate. 

And here for the present we take leave of the 
Canadians in Flanders. After incredible hardships 
patiently supported, after desperate battles stub 
bornly contested, their work is still incomplete. But 
they will complete it, meeting new necessities with 
fresh exertions, for it is the work of Civilisation and 
of Liberty. 




To the First Division. 

ON February 4th, 1915, His Majesty the King 
inspected the ist Canadian Division on Salisbury 
Plain, and afterwards wrote a message to the troops, 
which was read to all units on board ship after their 
embarkation for France. The full text of the 
message is as follows :- 

Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and 

At the beginning of November I had the 
pleasure of welcoming to the Mother Country 
this fine contingent from the Dominion of 
Canada, and now, after three months training, 
I bid you Godspeed on your way to assist my 
Army in the field. 

I am well aware of the discomforts that you 
have experienced from the inclement weather 
and abnormal rain, and I admire the cheerful 
spirit displayed by all ranks in facing and over 
coming all difficulties. 



From all I have heard, and from what I have 
been able to see at to-day s inspection and 
march-past, I am satisfied that you have made 
good use of the time spent on Salisbury Plain. 

By your willing and prompt rally to our 
common flag you have already earned the grati 
tude of the Motherland. 

By your deeds and achievements on the field 
of battle I am confident that you will emulate 
the example of your fellow-countrymen in the 
South African War, and thus help to secure the 
triumph of our arms. 

I shall follow with pride and interest all your 
movements. I pray that God may bless you 
and watch over you. 

To the Second Division. 

On September 2nd, 1915, the King, accompanied 
by Lord Kitchener, inspected the 2nd Division in 
Beachborough Park, Shorncliffe. Before leaving, 
His Majesty directed General Turner to inform all 
Commanding Officers that he considered the Divi 
sion one of the finest he had inspected since the 
beginning of the war. Subsequently the following 
message from the King was published in Orders :- 

Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and 
Men of the 2nd Canadian Division six months 
ago I inspected the ist Canadian Division 
before their departure for the front. The 
heroism they have since shown upon the field 
of battle has won for them undying fame. You 
are now leaving to join them, and I am glad to 


have an opportunity of seeing you to-day, for it 
has convinced me that the same spirit that 
animated them inspires you also. The past 
weeks at Shorncliffe have been for you a period 
of severe and rigorous training; and your ap 
pearance at this inspection testmes to the 
thoroughness and devotion to duty with which 
your work has been performed. You are going 
to meet hardships and dangers, but the steadi 
ness and discipline which have marked your 
bearing on parade to-day will carry you through 
all difficulties. History will never forget the 
loyalty and readiness with which you rallied 
to the aid of your Mother Country in the hour 
of danger. My thoughts will always be with 
you. May God bless you and bring you 



THE following are extracts from the official 
despatches of Field- Marshal Sir John French, 
Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces in 
France, dealing with the battles and other fighting 
in which the Canadian troops have taken part : 


With regard to these inspections, I may mention 
in particular the fine appearance presented by the 
27th and 28th Divisions, composed principally of 
battalions which had come from India. 

Included in the former Division was the Princess 
Patricia s Royal Canadian Regiment. They are a 
magnificent set of men, and have since done ex 
cellent work in the trenches. 

Sir John French s Despatch, February 2nd, 1915. 

ST. ELOI, FEBRUARY 28th, 1915. 

On February 28th a successful minor attack was 
made on the enemy s trenches near St. Eloi by small 

parties of the Princess Patricia s Canadian Light 



Infantry. The attack was divided into three small 
groups, the whole under the command of Lieutenant 
Crabbe : No. i group under Lieutenant Papineau, 
No. 2 group under Sergeant Patterson, and No. 3 
group under Company Sergeant-Major Lloyd. 

The head of the party got within fifteen or twenty 
yards of the German trench and charged; it was 
dark at the time (about 5.15 a.m.). 

Lieutenant Crabbe, who showed the greatest dash 
and elan, took his party over everything in the trench 
until they had gone down it about eighty yards, 
when they were stopped by a barricade of sandbags 
and timber. This party, as well as the others, then 
pulled down the front face of the German parapet, 
A number of Germans were killed and wounded, 
and a few prisoners were taken. 

The services performed by this distinguished 
corps have continued to be very valuable since I 
had occasion to refer to them in my last despatch. 
They have been most ably organised, trained, and 
commanded by Lieut. -Colonel F. D. Farquhar, 
D.S.O., who, I deeply regret to say, was killed while 
superintending some trench work on March 2Oth. 
His loss will be deeply felt. 

Sir John French s Despatch, April sth, 1915. 



MARCH I4th, 1915. 

It is satisfactory to be able to record that, though 
the troops occupying the first line of trenches were 
at first overwhelmed, they afterwards behaved very 
gallantly in the counter-attack for the recovery of 


the lost ground, and the following units earned and 
received the special commendation of the Army 
Commander. The 2nd Royal Irish Fusiliers, the 
2nd Duke of Cornwall s Light Infantry, the ist 
Leinster Regiment, the 4th Rifle Brigade, and the 
Princess Patricia s Canadian Light Infantry. 
Sir John French s Despatch, April sth, 1915. 


On February i5th the Canadian Division began 
to arrive in this country. I inspected the Division, 
which was under the command of Lieut.-General 
E. A. H. Alderson, C.B., on February 2oth. 

They presented a splendid and most soldier-like 
appearance on parade. The men were of good 
physique, hard, and fit. I judged by what I saw 
of them that they were well trained, and quite able 
to take their places in the line of battle. 

Since then the Division has thoroughly justified 
the good opinion I formed of it. 

The troops of the Canadian Division were first 
attached for a few days by brigades for training 
in the 3rd Corps trenches under Lieut.-General Sir 
William Pulteney, who gave me such an excellent 
report of their efficiency that I was able to employ 
them in the trenches early in March. 

During the battle of Neuve Chapelle they held a 
part of the line allotted to the ist Army, and 
although they were not actually engaged in the main 
attack, they rendered valuable help by keeping the 
enemy actively employed in front of their trenches. 


All the soldiers of Canada serving in the army 
under my command have so far splendidly upheld 
the traditions of the Empire, and will, I feel sure, 
prove to be a great source of additional strength to 
the forces in this country. 

Sir John French s Despatch, April sth, 1915- 


It was at the commencement of the second battle 
of Ypres, on the evening of April 22nd, referred to 
in Paragraph i of this report, that the enemy first 
made use of asphyxiating gas. 

Some days previously I had complied with 
General Joffre s request to take over the trenches 
occupied by the French, and on the evening of the 
22nd the troops holding the line east of Ypres were 
posted as follows : 

From Steenstraate to the east of Langemarck, as 
far as the Poelcappelle road, a French division. 

Thence, in a south-easterly direction towards the 
Passchendaele-Becelaere road, the Canadian Divi 

Thence a division took up the line in a southerly 
direction east of Zonnebeke to a point west of 
Becelaere, whence another division continued the 
line south-east to the northern limit of the corps on 
its right. 

Of the 5th Corps there were four battalions in 
divisional reserve about Ypres; the Canadian Divi 
sion had one battalion in divisional reserve, and 
the ist Canadian Brigade in army reserve. An 


infantry brigade, which had just been withdrawn 
after suffering heavy losses on Hill 60, was resting 
about Vlamertinghe. 

Following a heavy bombardment, the enemy at 
tacked the French Division about 5 p.m., using 
asphyxiating gases for the first time. Aircraft re 
ported that at about 5 p.m. thick yellow smoke had 
been seen issuing from the German trenches between 
Langemarck and Bixschoote. The French reported 
that two simultaneous attacks had been made east 
of the Ypres-Staden railway, in which these 
asphyxiating gases had been employed. 

What followed almost defies description. The 
effect of these poisonous gases was so virulent as 
to render the whole of the line held by the French 
Division mentioned above practically incapable of 
any action at all. It was at first impossible for 
anyone to realise what had actually happened. The 
smoke and fumes hid everything from sight, and 
hundreds of men were thrown into a comatose or 
dying condition, and within an hour the whole posi 
tion had to be abandoned, together with about fifty 

I wish particularly to repudiate any idea of 
attaching the least blame to the French Division 
for this unfortunate incident. 

After all the examples our gallant Allies have 
shown of dogged and tenacious courage in the many 
trying situations in which they have been placed 
throughout the course of this campaign, it is quite 
superfluous for me to dwell on this aspect of the 
incident, and I would only express my firm con 
viction that if any troops in the world had been 
able to hold their trenches in the face of such a 


treacherous and altogether unexpected onslaught, 
the French Division would have stood firm. 

The left flank of the Canadian Division was thus 
left dangerously exposed to serious attack in flank, 
and there appeared to be a prospect of their being 
overwhelmed and of a successful attempt by the 
Germans to cut off the British troops occupying the 
salient to the east. 

In spite of the danger to which they were exposed, 
the Canadians held their ground with a magnificent 
display of tenacity and courage; and it is not too 
much to say that the bearing and conduct of these 
splendid troops averted a disaster which might have 
been attended with the most serious consequences. 

They were supported with great promptitude by 
the reserves of the Divisions holding the salient 
and by a Brigade which had been resting in billets. 

Throughout the night the enemy s attacks were 
repulsed, effective counter-attacks were delivered, 
and at length touch was gained with the French 
right, and a new line was formed. 

The 2nd London Heavy Battery, which had been 
attached to the Canadian Division, was posted be 
hind the right of the French Division, and, being 
involved in their retreat, fell into the enemy s hands, 
It was recaptured by the Canadians in their counter 
attack, but the guns could not be withdrawn before 
the Canadians were again driven back. 

During the night I directed the Cavalry Corps 
and the Northumbrian Division, which was then in 
general reserve, to move to the west of Ypres, and 
placed these troops at the disposal of the General 


Officer Commanding the 2nd Army. I also directed 
other reserve troops from the 3rd Corps and the 
ist Army to be held in readiness to meet eventuali 

In the confusion of the gas and smoke the Ger 
mans succeeded in capturing the bridge at Steen- 
straate and some works south of Lizerne, all of 
which were in occupation by the French. 

The enemy having thus established himself to 
the west of the Ypres Canal, I was somewhat appre 
hensive of his succeeding in driving a wedge be 
tween the French and Belgian troops at this point. 

I directed, therefore, that some of the reinforce 
ments sent north should be used to support and 
assist General Putz, should he find difficulty in pre 
venting any further advance of the Germans west 
of the canal. 

At about ten o clock on the morning of the 23rd 
connection was finally ensured between the left of 
the Canadian Division and the French right, about 
eight hundred yards east of the canal; but as this 
entailed the maintenance by the British troops of a 
much longer line than that which they had held 
before the attack commenced on the previous night, 
there were no reserves available for counter-attack 
until reinforcements which were ordered up from 
the Second Army were able to deploy to the east 

of Ypres. 

* # # 

Early on the morning of the 23rd I went to see 
General Foch, and from him I received a detailed 
account of what had happened, as reported by 
General Putz. General Foch informed me that it 
was his intention to make good the original line and 


regain the trenches which the French Division had 
lost. He expressed the desire that I should main 
tain my present line, assuring me that the original 
position would be re-established in a few days. 
General Foch further informed me that he had 
ordered up large French reinforcements, which 
were now on their way, and that troops from the 
north had already arrived to reinforce General Putz. 

I fully concurred in the wisdom of the General s 
wish to re-establish our old line, and agreed to co 
operate in the way he desired, stipulating, however, 
that if the position was not re-established within a 
limited time I could not allow the British troops 
to remain in so exposed a situation as that which 
the action of the previous twenty-four hours had 
compelled them to occupy. 

During the whole of the 23rd the enemy s artil 
lery was very active, and his attacks all along the 
front were supported by some heavy guns which 
had been brought down from the coast in the neigh 
bourhood of Ostend. 

The loss of the guns on the night of the 22nd 
prevented this fire from being kept down, and much 
aggravated the situation. Our positions, however, 
were well maintained by the vigorous counter 
attacks made by the 5th Corps. 

During the day I directed two Brigades of the 
3rd Corps and the Lahore Division of the Indian 
Corps to be moved up to the Ypres area and placed 
at the disposal of the 2nd Army. 

In the course of these two or three days many 
circumstances combined to render the situation east 
of the Ypres Canal very critical and most difficult 
to deal with. 


The confusion caused by the sudden retirement 
of the French Division, and the necessity for closing 
up the gap and checking the enemy s advance at all 
costs, led to a mixing-up of units and a sudden 
shifting of the areas of command, which was quite 
unavoidable. Fresh units, as they came up from the 
south, had to be pushed into the firing line in an 
area swept by artillery fire, which, owing to the 
capture of the French guns, we were unable to 
keep down. 

All this led to very heavy casualties, and I wish 
to place on record the deep admiration which I feel 
for the resource and presence of mind evinced by 
the leaders actually on the spot. 

The parts taken by Major-General Snow and 
Brigadier-General Hull were reported to me as 
being particularly marked in this respect. 

An instance of this occurred on the afternoon of 
the 24th, when the enemy succeeded in breaking 
through the line at St. Julien. 

Brigadier-General Hull, acting under the orders 
of Lieut. -General Alderson, organised a powerful 
counter-attack on the 24th--with his own Brigade 
and some of the nearest available units. He was 
called upon to control, with only his Brigade Staff, 
parts of battalions from six separate Divisions which 
were quite new to the ground. Although the attack 
did not succeed in retaking St. Julien, it effectually 
checked the enemy s further advance. 

It was only on the morning of the 25th that the 
enemy were able to force back the left of the Cana 
dian Division from the point where it had originally 
joined the French line. 

During the nigrht and the early morning of the 


25th the enemy directed a heavy attack against the 
Division at Broodseiende cross-roads, which was 
supported by a powerful shell fire, but he failed to 
make any progress. 

During the whole of this time the town of Ypres 
and all the roads to the east and west were un 
interruptedly subjected to a violent artillery fire, 
but in spite of this the supply of both food and 
ammunition was maintained throughout with order 
and efficiency. 

During the afternoon of the 25th many German 
prisoners were taken, including some officers. The 
hand-to-hand fighting was very severe, and the 
enemy suffered heavy loss. 

* * * 


On May i5th I moved the Canadian Division 
into the ist Corps area and placed them at the dis 
posal of Sir Douglas Haig. 

* * # 

On May igth the 7th and 2nd Divisions were 
drawn out of the line to rest. The 7th Division was 
relieved by the Canadian Division and the 2nd Divi 
sion by the 5ist (Highland) Division. 

Sir Douglas Haig placed the Canadian and 5ist 
Divisions, together with the artillery of the 2nd and 
7th Divisions, under the command of Lieut-General 
Alderson, whom he directed to conduct the opera 
tions which had hitherto been carried on by the 
General Officer Commanding ist Corps; and he 
directed the 7th Division to remain in Army Reserve. 


During the night of the i9th-2Oth a small post of 
the enemy in front of La Quinque Rue was captured. 

During the night of the 2Oth-2ist the Canadian 
Division brilliantly carried on the excellent progress 
made by the 7th Division by seizing several of the 
enemy s trenches and pushing forward their whole 
line several hundred yards. A number of prisoners 
and some machine-guns were captured. 

On the 22nd instant the 5ist (Highland) Division 
was attached to the Indian Corps, and the General 
Officer Commanding the Indian Corps took charge 
of the operations at La Quinque Rue, Lieut.- 
General Alderson with the Canadians conducting 
the operations to the north of that place. 

On this day the Canadian Division extended their 
line slightly to the right and repulsed three very 
severe hostile counter-attacks. 


After the conclusion of the battle of Festubert 
the troops of the ist Army were engaged in several 
minor operations. By an attack delivered on the 
evening of June i5th, after a prolonged bombard 
ment, the ist Canadian Brigade obtained possession 
of the German front-line trenches north-east of 
Givenchy, but were unable to retain them owing to 
their flanks being too much exposed. 

Sir John French s Despatch, October 


Speeches of the Right Hon. Sir Robert Laird 
Borden, G.C.M.G., M.P. 


At the Canadian Club, Winnipeg, on December 

29^/2, 1914. 

IT is within the bounds of probability that the four 
free nations of the Overseas Dominions will have 
put into the fighting line 250,000 men if the war 
should continue another year. That result, or even 
the results which have already been obtained, must 
mark a great epoch in the history of inter-Imperial 
relations. There are those, within sound of my voice, 
who will see the Oversea Dominions surpass in 
wealth and population the British Isles. There are 
children. playing in your streets who may see Canada 
alone attain that eminence. Thus it is impossible 
to believe that the existing status, so far as concerns 
the control of foreign policy and extra-Imperial 
relations, can remain as it is to-day. All are con 
scious of the complexity of the problem thus pre 
sented, but no one need despair of a satisfactory 



solution, and no one can doubt the profound 
influence which the tremendous events of the past 
few months and those in the immediate future must 
exercise upon one of the most interesting and far- 
reaching questions ever presented for the considera 
tion of statesmen. 


At a meeting of the United Kingdom Branch of 
the Empire Parliamentary Association, Howe 
of Commons, July i$th y 1915. 

I appreciate very sincerely, and very warmly as 
well, what Mr. Eonar Law said with regard to the 
part which Canada has played in this great contest. 
There was no doubt in my own mind as to what that 
part would be, and I took the responsibility four 
days before the actual declaration of war of sending 
a message to His Majesty s Government stating 
that, if war should unhappily supervene, they might 
be assured that Canada would regard the quarrel as 
her own, and would do her part in maintaining the 
integrity of this Empire and all that this war means 
to us. We are not a military nation in Canada; 
we are a peace-loving and peace-pursuing people 
with great tasks of development within our own 
Dominions lying before us. Thus, for a struggle 
such as this, upon so gigantic a scale, we were 
naturally unprepared. But even so, relatively un 
prepared as we were, the Minister of Militia and 
Defence in Canada succeeded in placing upon the 
Plain of Valcartier, within six weeks of the outbreak 
of war, a force of 33,000 men, thoroughly armed 


and equipped in every branch of the Service artil 
lery, commissariat, Army Service Corps, and all the 
vast organisation that is necessary in war as carried 
on in the present day. 

We have sent overseas up to the present time 
nearly 75,000 men, including troops which are doing 
garrison duty in the West Indies. We have in 
Canada to-day 75,000 men in training, with organisa 
tion being prepared as rapidly as possible for their 
advent to the front when needed. The response 
from every province in Canada, indeed, has been so 
warm, so impressive, so inspiring, that our difficulty 
has been to secure arms and equipment and material 
and all that is necessary to enable our men to go 
to the front. So far as the men were concerned 
they were there in abundance. So far as the other 
preparations were concerned we have been very 
much in the same condition as yourselves, unpre 
pared for war upon so tremendous a scale. In this 
conflict we are engaged with great nations whose 
military preparation has extended over nearly half 
a century, and whose aim, as far as we can compre 
hend it, has been world-wide supremacy by force of 
arms. Naturally in the opening months, and the 
opening year, of such a struggle we could not ac 
complish all that might be expected at first, but I 
take comfort in this thought, that for purposes of 
war, or for any other purposes, the resources of this 
Empire are not only abundant, but almost unlimited, 
and there is yet time for that preparation which per 
haps ought to have been made at an earlier day. The 
day of peril came before our day of preparation 
had been fully reached. 

Looking back on what we had to face and upon 


what we had to contend with, I venture to think that 
the condition of affairs to-day is one upon which we 
should rather congratulate ourselves than otherwise. 
I have no fear for the future, although the struggle 
may be a long one and may entail sacrifices which 
we did not anticipate at first. I think I may bring 
to you from the people of Canada this message, 
that in whatever is necessary to bring this war to an 
honourable and triumphal conclusion, Canada is 
prepared to take her part. And I am sure that is 
true of every Dominion of the Empire. Last 
autumn, in speaking before a Canadian club in the 
west of Canada, I said that if this war should con 
tinue for a year it was reasonably probable that the 
oversea Dominions would have in the field 250,000 
men. I venture to think that to-day, if you estimate 
what Australia has done and is doing, what New 
Zealand has done and is doing, what South 
Africa has done and is doing, and what Canada has 
done and is doing, the oversea Dominions of this 
Empire have, either in the field, or in training as 
organised troops, no less than 350,000 men. 

Mr. Bonar Law has spoken of the courage and 
resourcefulness of the Canadian troops. They went 
to the front as men taken from civil avocations of 
life, with no prolonged military training, but with 
the habit of overcoming obstacles, with a certain 
resourcefulness, with all the traditions of the great 
races from which they spring, and in such a manner 
as made us sure that their record would be worthy 
of the great Dominion which they represented. I 
would not speak the truth if I did not confess to 
you that I am proud, very proud indeed, of the 
part which they have played. I am equally proud 


of the splendid valour shown by the men of these 
islands in that great retreat against overwhelming 
numbers, under difficulties which I think were 
greater than those which ever attended a great 
retreat before ; and I desire to pay my tribute to the 
splendid valour and heroism of the British Army 
at that time, worthy of the highest traditions of the 
race from which we all spring. It is almost 
superfluous to speak of the splendid valour which 
has distinguished the troops of Australia and New 
Zealand at the Dardanelles. I had the pleasure of 
sending telegrams to the Governments of these two 
Commonwealths and of congratulating them upon 
the part which their men are taking in these very 
dangerous operations. 

What a fantastic picture it was that Prussian 
militarism made for itself before the outbreak of 
this war. It pictured Canada, Australia, and New 
Zealand standing aloof and indifferent, or seeking 
an opportunity to cut themselves aloof from this 
Empire. What is the actual picture to-day ? They 
are bound to the Empire by stronger ties than ever 
before, and are prepared to fight to the death for the 
maintenance of its integrity and for the preserva 
tion of our common civilisation throughout the 
world. What of South Africa? The Prussian 
picture was that it should flare into rebellion at 
once, cut itself off from the Empire, and proclaim 
its independence. What is the actual picture ? The 
heroic figure of General Louis Botha receiving the 
surrender of German South-West Africa territory 
larger than the German Empire itself. 

We have nothing to fear as the outcome of this 
war. We do not and dare not doubt the success of 

P 2 


the cause for which the British Empire and the 
Allied nations are fighting to-day. It is impossible 
to believe that the democracies of the British 
Empire, even though unprepared on so tremendous 
a scale as our opponents for such a war as this, will 
not prove their efficiency in this day of peril. They 
have proved it, and I think they will prove it in the 
future. In the later days when peace comes to be 
proclaimed, and after the conclusion of peace, it is 
beyond question that large matters will come up for 
consideration by the statesmen of the United King 
dom and the Overseas Dominions. It is not desir 
able, nor perhaps becoming, that I should dwell 
upon these considerations to-day. I said what I 
had to say on the subject with considerable frank 
ness and some emphasis three years ago when I 
had the pleasure of addressing you. What I said 
then represents my convictions now. I do not doubt 
the problems which will be presented, exceedingly 
difficult and complex as they are, will find a wise 
and just solution, and in thanking you for the recep 
tion which you have accorded me to-day, and for 
the honour which you have done to the Dominion 
which I represent as its Prime Minister, let me 
express the hope and aspiration that in confronting 
the immense responsibilities which devolve upon 
those inheriting so great an Empire as ours, and 
one which must necessarily command so profound 
an influence on the future of civilisation and the 
destiny of the world, we shall so bear ourselves, 
whether in these mother islands or in the Overseas 
Dominions, that the future shall hold in store no 
reproach for us for lack of vision, want of courage, 
or failure of duty. 



At the Canadian Matinee at the Queen s Theatre, 

London, July i$th, 1915. 

All Canada is thrilled by the part the Canadians 
have played, and their achievements have brought 
to Canada a vivid realisation of the meaning of the 
war. They are worthy of their traditions and their 


At the Guildhall, on being presented with the Free 
dom of the City of London, July 2^th, 1915. 

I appreciate the honour which has been conferred 
upon me, coming as it does from a city which may 
be described as a great Imperial City, in a fashion 
which is perhaps not known elsewhere throughout 
the world to-day. Through the march of civilisa 
tion across the centuries, the progress and develop 
ment of London have kept time with the march. 
That it is a great Imperial City to-day is due to 
the great achievement of our race. While it may 
not be fitting that one of our kindred should speak 
of the British people as a great race, I may be per 
mitted to say that it has wrought great things, and 
that the greatest of all its achievements is the up 
building of an Empire bound together by such ties 
as those which unite ours. 

In the beginning, in the founding of the nation 
within these islands, there was need for orderly 
government, and that made necessary a strong and 


autocratic system of government. But, as the years 
rolled on, there came to the people the right to 
govern themselves. Orderly government, individual 
liberty, equal rights before the people upon these 
secure foundations the fabric of the national life 
was erected, and in these later days has come the 
not less noble ideal of a democracy founded upon 
equality of opportunity for all the people before 
the conditions of modern life. 

In the Dominions beyond the seas, the same ideals 
of liberty and of justice have led inevitably to the 
establishment of self-governing institutions. Their 
development there has been very much the same as 
within your own islands, and those short-sighted 
ones who believed that the right to govern them 
selves would drive the far-flung nations of our 
Empire asunder, have found that that very circum 
stance, and that free development, have united them 
by ties stronger than would be possible under any 
system of autocratic government. 

I have listened with the deepest possible appre 
ciation to the words which have been spoken of the 
action of Canada in this war. That action was due 
to no Government, to no statesman or group of 
statesmen. It was due to the spirit of the Canadian 
people, a spirit which will make the cause for which 
we are contending victorious, and which will per 
vade the Dominions to the end. I do not need to 
tell you of the part that Canada has played and the 
part she proposes to play. But it might not be 
amiss for a moment to allude to the remarkable 
circumstance that four great Overseas Dominions, 
self-governing Dominions of the Empire, have been 
actuated by a common impulse at this juncture 


Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada ! 
Why have all these great free nations sent their men 
from the remotest corners of the earth to fight side 
by side with you of this island home in this quarrel ? 
Why in Canada do we see those who are the 
descendants of those who fought under Wolfe, and 
of those who fought under Montcalm, standing side 
by side in the battle-line of the Empire? Why, 
coming down to later days, do we see the grandson 
of a Durham, and the grandson of a Papineau, 
standing shoulder to shoulder beyond the Channel 
in France or Belgium? When the historian of the 
future comes to analyse the events which made it 
possible for the Empire to stand like this, he 
will see that there must have been some over 
mastering impulse contributing to this wonderful 

One such impulse is to be found in the love of 
liberty, the pursuit of ideals of democracy, and the 
desire and determination to preserve the spirit of 
unity founded on those ideals, which make the whole 
Empire united in aim and single in purpose. But 
there was, also, in all the Overseas Dominions, the 
intense conviction that this war was forced upon the 
Empire- -that we could not with honour stand aside 
and see trampled underfoot the liberties and inde 
pendence of a weak and unoffending nation whose 
independence we had guaranteed. And, above and 
beyond all that, was the realisation of the supreme 
truth- -that the quarrel in which we are engaged 
transcends even the destinies of our own Empire 
and involves the future of civilisation and of the 

We must not forget that in this war we are con- 


fronting the power of a military autocracy more 
highly organised, and more formidable, perhaps than 
was ever nation before in fhistory. I am sure that 
the military strength which has been developed by 
our chief antagonists, has surprised the whole world ; 
and I think that this war will bring to us a very 
vital question as to the future of democratic institu 
tions. We have always cherished in these islands, 
and in the Oversea Dominions as well, the ideal 
of orderly government coupled with that of indi 
vidual liberty. It remains to be seen, as the war 
proceeds, whether individual liberty, within the 
British Isles and the Overseas Dominions, is coupled 
with so strong a sense of duty and of service to the 
State- -whether in peace or in war as to make it 
possible for us to withstand the onslaught of so 
formidable a foe. 

For myself, I have no doubt as to the issue, be 
cause I remember that, if we take the British Empire 
alone, our resources are infinitely greater than those 
of Germany; and, if we consider the question of 
population, that of the British Isles and of the Over 
seas Dominions is almost equal to that of Germany. 
It is true that we were not prepared, as Germany 
was prepared, for war on this scale; but I believe 
the time for preparation is not past, and I feel also 
that we have every reason to congratulate ourselves 
upon the splendid preparation which has been made, 
not only in these islands, but in the Dominions. 
Yet I would impress upon the people of the Empire 
that all for which our fathers fought and bled, all 
our liberties and institutions, all the influences for 
good which have been sent forth by the activities 
of the Empire throughout the world, hang in the 


balance to-day, and therefore we cannot, because 
we must not, fall in this war. 

During the past week I visited France, and I 
have seen some of our forces at the front. It is a 
very inspiring thing to see a nation under arms. 
The manhood of France, except those engaged in 
industrial pursuits, is at the front to-day; and yet 
I have seen the whole country up to the lines of 
the trenches, bearing bountiful harvests. The soil 
was prepared, the seed was planted, and the harvest 
is now being reaped by old men and women and 
children. It is my intense conviction that a nation 
so inspired can never perish or be subdued; and I 
am glad to remember this great Allied nation is of 
our own kin, because you in the British Isles look 
back to Celtic and Norman, as well as to Saxon 
ancestors ; and if this be true of you in Britain it is 
still more true of us in Canada. 

Last week I looked into the keen, intent faces, of 
10,000 Canadian soldiers, within sound and range 
of the German guns. Three days ago I looked into 
the undaunted eyes of 1,000 Canadian con 
valescents returned from the valley of the shadow 
of death. In the eyes, and in the faces of those 
men, I read only one message- -that of resolute 
and unflinching determination to make our cause 
triumphant; to preserve our institutions and our 
liberties, to maintain the unity of our Empire and its 
influence through the world. That message, which 
I bring to you from those soldiers, I bring you also 
from the great Dominion which has sent those men 
across the sea. 

While the awful shadow of this war overhangs 
our Empire, I shall not pause to speak of what may 


be evolved in its constitutional relations. Upon 
what has been built in the past it is possible, in my 
judgment, that an even nobler and more enduring 
fabric may be erected. That structure must embody 
the autonomy of the self-governing Dominions and 
of the British Isles as well, but it must also embody 
the majesty and power of an Empire united by ties 
such as those of which I have spoken, and more 
thoroughly and effectively organised for the purpose 
of preserving its own existence. Those who shall be 
the architects of this monument will have a great 
part to play, and I do not doubt that they will play 
it worthily. To those who shall be called to design 
so splendid a fabric, crowning the labours of the 
past and embodying all the hopes of the future, we 
all of us bid God speed in their great task. 



At a patriotic meeting at the London Opera House> 

August ^th, 1915. 

Considering all the events of the year, there are 
indeed some matters on which we have the right and 
privilege to-night of congratulating ourselves to the 
full. Was the unity of this Empire ever so strikingly 
made manifest before? Was it ever more clearly 
demonstrated that the race which inhabits these 
islands and the Overseas Dominions is not a de 
cadent race ? What has been the result of the call 
of duty to this Empire? You in these islands 
debated years ago, and not so long ago for that 


matter, as to whether in case of necessity you could 
send abroad an Expeditionary Force of 80,000 or 
120,000 or 160,000 men, and if I am not mistaken 
the most optimistic among you believed that 160,000 
men was the limit. What has been the result of the 
call ? You have in part organised, and you are now 
organising, armies from ten to twenty times greater 
than those which were the limit you set for yourselves 
in the past. That is not an indication of a decadent 
race, and I am glad indeed to know that we in the 
Overseas Dominions as well are doing our part as 
best we can. 

Indeed, in Canada, and I believe the same is true 
in all the Overseas Dominions, the difficulty has been 
with armament and equipment all that is neces 
sary for the organisation of a great modern army, 
and not with the provision of men, for the men came 
faster than we were able to organise the armour to 
equip them. And so it has been in India as well. I 
remember having, in the early months of the war, the 
privilege of reading a debate which took place in the 
Council of India, a great debate which was worthy of 
the Mother of Parliaments herself; a debate couched 
in language of the most intense patriotism; and in 
that debate the demand of India was that she should 
be permitted to do her part in this war. The same 
is true of Egypt and all the Crown Colonies. From 
East to West, from North to South, throughout the 
Empire, the response on all hands has been more 
than we could have ventured to anticipate. 

Mr. Balfour has referred in the most eloquent and 
appropriate terms to the work of the great Navy 
which is under his direction, and which has accom 
plished its task so wonderfully ever since the war 


broke out. We of the Overseas Dominions realise 
as much as you realise, that the pathways of the seas 
are the veins and arteries of this Empire through 
which its lifeblood must flow. If these are once 
stopped or interfered with in any way the Empire 
cannot continue to exist. We are as conscious as 
you are conscious of the wonderful vigil in the North 
Sea and of the patience, endurance, and fortitude of 
officers and men. We are grateful, as you are grate 
ful, with the most intense appreciation of all they 
have done for us, and, more than all, the fact 
that they have rid the seas of the marauders by 
which our commerce was troubled has enabled us 
to keep in close contact with you, and keep up 
that intercourse which is so absolutely necessary 
for you and for us, not only in war but in peace as 

I have no military knowledge nor experience I 
am going to say a word with regard to military affairs 
in a moment- -but before doing that I would like to 
express my own appreciation, and I think of all the 
people in the Dominion which I have the honour to 
represent, of the splendid work which has been done 
by the Royal Flying Corps in this war. Knowing 
the great efforts that have been made by other 
nations in this particular branch of the military and 
naval services, we were rather inclined to anticipate 
and expect that it might not be up to the highest 
standard of the great nations of the world. I have 
good reason to know, because I have had some 
intimate accounts of what has transpired at the front 
-I have good reason to know that the work of our 
aeroplane service has been equal to the best, and 
that in initiative, courage, resourcefulness, and forti- 


tude our men have held their place with the best, 
ever since the outbreak of this war. 

It is not necessary to dwell on the valour of our 
troops, to which eloquent reference has been made 
by Lord Crewe and Mr. Balfour. I do not believe 
that in all the splendid traditions of the British Army 
for centuries past, a more splendid record can be 
shown than that displayed in the retreat from Mons. 
I believe that no retirement was ever conducted 
successfully under greater difficulties and against 
more overwhelming odds, and the conduct of officers 
and men adds glory to the British Army that will not 
be forgotten as long as our race endures. I may, 
perhaps, be permitted to say that those who were sent 
across the sea to France and to the Dardanelles, from 
Australia, from New Zealand, from Canada, have 
proved that the old traditions of our race are not for 
gotten overseas, and that the men there are prepared 
in any danger, in any peril, to stand side by side with 
their comrades of these islands. A splendid force 
has been raised in South Africa, and I associate 
myself with what has been so well said as to the 
valour of the troops from India, who have fought by 
the side of our men in France and Belgium. 

Mr. Balfour has spoken of our Allies, and with 
what he has said I may be permitted to associate 
myself. One cannot forget the courage, the patience, 
the fortitude of France. We know that the soul of 
Russia is unconquered and unconquerable. The 
devotion and heroism of Belgium and Serbia have 
moved the admiration of the world. The fine valour 
of Italy is now in the fighting line with the Allies, 
and she is doing her appointed task as we expected 
she would do it. She stands ready, I imagine, for 


further services in case the emergencies of this war 
should demand them. I have said before that this 
is not like the wars of a hundred or two hundred 
years ago. 

This is a war of nations, and not of armies alone. 
But it is more than that. It is a war of material 
resources to an extreme degree. The industrial re 
sources of the nations are being organised; all that 
the knowledge and science of the nations can devise 
is being brought into play. The command of the 
forces of nature which in the past centuries, and 
especially in the past 100 years, we have learned has 
been brought to bear, and for that reason I have 
every confidence in the outcome of this struggle, 
because we have within this Empire resources almost 
limitless resources infinitely greater than those of 
Germany and Austria-Hungary combined, and it 
merely depends upon our self-denial, and organised 
capacity and patriotism, as to whether we can and 
shall organise those resources to the end that our 
cause shall triumph. 

I do not believe that we shall fail in that. Our 
race has never failed in time of crisis. Why should 
it fail now? To fail in doing that would be 
accounted to us, in the years to come, as dishonour. 
We will not fail. All that men can do, our men have 
done at the front, and they will continue to do in 
the future. 

In Canada, we began, as early as possible, to 
organise our industrial resources for the production 
of munitions of war. We made our first effort as far 
back as August 2ist. Munitions of war have been 
the great and growing need of our men at the front. 
Because it is apparent to us that, so far as it is in the 


power of this Empire to strain every effort for the 
purposes of the war, we must not attempt to do with 
men alone what our enemies are doing with muni 
tions and guns. 

As to what we have done in the past, whether in 
Canada or in these islands or elsewhere, let the dead 
past bury its dead. This is not the time to speak 
of the past, but to look at the future. What con 
cerns us, whether in these islands or in any of the 
Overseas Dominions, is to see that, so far as the 
future is concerned, there shall be no failure ; and I 
believe there will be no failure. 

It may be said that in some respects the twelve 
months war has not been all that we anticipated. 
I believe I am entirely within the bounds of truth 
when I state that if there is any disappointment with 
us, the disappointment of Germany is tenfold 
greater; and if there has been any disappointment, 
or if there should be any reverse in the future, that 
should merely inspire us with a higher resolve and 
a more inflexible determination to do our duty, and 
to see that that which concerns the cause of civilisa 
tion and humanity shall be carried to the issue which 
we all desire. 

For a hundred years we have not had any wars 
which threatened the existence of our Empire, and 
for more than fifty years we have not been involved 
in any war which might perhaps be called a great 
one. Under the conditions of modern democracies, 
here and elsewhere in the Empire, considerations of 
material prosperity have been urged, and this is 
especially a danger in a new country like Australia 
or Canada. The call of the market-place has been 
sometimes clamorous and insistent, and in days such 


as these the soul of a nation is more truly tried than 
it is in war days, for the highest character of an 
Empire is sometimes formed then and not in the 
days of stress and trial- -through the consequences 
of duty and self-sacrifice. 

I rejoice greatly that in these islands, and in the 
Overseas Dominions, men have realised most fully 
that there is something greater than material pros 
perity, something greater than life itself. This war 
cannot fail to influence most profoundly the whole 
future of the world and of civilisation. It has 
already most profoundly influenced the people of 
this Empire. There were great strivings for wealth, 
everywhere, but no one could deny that the material 
advancement and prosperity of the Empire has not 
in itself been a good thing. The standards of life 
for the people have been raised and comfort in 
creased. It is not the wealth we should rail at. 
Rome fell, I know, at a time of wealth, but it was 
because she made wealth her god. 

In the early days of the war we were much com 
forted by the fact that men and women were ready 
to make sacrifices for this, the greatest cause of all. 
In Canada, and I am sure elsewhere throughout the 
Empire, there has been manifest a spirit of co-opera 
tion, of mutual helpfulness, of a desire to assist, of 
self-sacrifice which is most comforting to those who 
have at heart the welfare of our Empire in years to 
come. So I am sure it will be in the future. The 
influence of a spirit of helpfulness and self-sacrifice, 
which we see everywhere throughout the world, and 
within our Empire, is one for which I give thanks 
and am most grateful. 

I have come far across this ocean to see our men 


within these islands and at the front, and our men 
in hospital who are wounded. To see them, whether 
at the front, where they stand almost within the 
valley of the shadow of death, or wounded in the 
hospitals, is an inspiration in itself. I am glad to 
say that in visiting the hospitals I have had the 
opportunity of speaking to many soldiers, officers 
and men, from these islands, and with them I have 
found, as among our Canadians, just one spirit a 
wonderful spirit of heroism and of patience, a spirit 
of consecration to the cause we all have at heart. 
We who come from overseas are touched by all this, 
perhaps more than you can imagine. 

Last night I walked down the Embankment. At 
my right was the great Abbey, at my left the great 
Cathedral. The historic river was at my feet. 
Here came in bygone centuries the Celt, the Saxon, 
the Dane, the Norman, each in turn, finally all in co 
operation, lending their influence to our national life. 
And how splendid a structure they built; what an 
influence for good it has carried throughout the 
world ! 

Standing thus on what seems to us hallowed 
ground, we of the Overseas Dominions meditate per 
haps more than you do on the wonderful memories 
of the past, and the great events to which the life of 
our Empire has moved. Let us never for one 
moment forget that of all the mighty events in our 
history, none are greater than those through which 
we are passing to-day. Is an Empire like ours 
worth living for? Yes, and worth dying for, too. 
And it is something greater than it was a year ago. 
Indeed, it can never be quite the same again. The 
old order has in some measure passed away. Once 



* - 

for all it has been borne in upon the minds and souls 
of all of us that the great policies, which touch and 
control the issues of peace and war, concern more 
than the peoples of these islands. 

And more than that, we shall so bear ourselves 
in this war, and in the mighty events to which it 
must lead, that whether in these islands or in the 
Overseas Dominions, citizenship of this Empire 
shall be a still greater and more noble possession 
in the years to come than it has been even in the 
glorious past. I have spoken to you frankly on some 
matters of great moment. If I had not done so I 
should have been unworthy of my position. And 
now, before I close, let me bring to you this latest 
message from Canada :- 

For those who have fallen in this struggle we 
shall not cease to mourn; for the cause which they 
have consecrated their lives we shall not cease to 
strive. We are supremely confident that that cause 
will assuredly triumph and for that great purpose 
we are inspired with an inflexible determination to 
do our part. 


At the Canada Club, August 6tk, 1915. 

The fall of Warsaw has been foreshadowed for 
some time, and it is useless for us to deny the 
Germans have achieved a success which they in 
tended to achieve six or nine months ago. 

This fall will mean that all will put forth greater 
efforts and determination. In the early months of 
the war we failed to estimate the enormous military 


power of a nation highly disciplined and thoroughly 
organised for war as well as for peace. The idea 
of the people of these islands was to send across 
the Channel an expeditionary force not exceeding 
160,000 men. 

Do any of you, who have not had the respon 
sibilities of office, realise what it means to provide 
guns, rifles, ammunition, and equipment for a force 
ten times as great with, perhaps, another force in 
reserve of equal number? I know something of 
those responsibilities. We in Canada have our 
difficulties, not in finding men ready to fight for the 
cause, but because we find it difficult to provide the 
guns, rifles, ammunition, and equipment. 

When you increase your proposed expeditionary 
force by ten or twenty times, you must realise that 
for that purpose it is necessary that the whole power 
of the nation shall be concentrated on the task. 

I hold this profound conviction that, regiment 
for regiment and man for man, our forces can hold 
their own, and more than hold their own, with the 
best and most efficient troops of the enemy. 

If we speak of the disappointments we had at the 
start of the war, let us never forget to realise that 
the disappointments of the enemy must be ten 
times greater. And if we are discouraged from time 
to time, let us remember we have accomplished one 
great work which outweighs a thousandfold that, 
and that is the clearness and security of the pathways 
of the seas. The clearance of the seas means as 
much to the Allies as to ourselves. 

Q 2 



The following is the text of the speech made to 
the Canadian troops under his command after twelve 
strenuous days and nights of fighting, from April 
23rd to May 4th, 1915. 

I tell you truly, that my heart is so full that 
I hardly know how to speak to you. It is full 
of two feelings the first being sorrow for the 
loss of those comrades of ours who have gone; 
and the second, pride in what the ist Canadian 
Division has done. 

As regards our comrades who have lost their 
lives- -let us speak of them with our caps off 
-my faith in the Almighty is such that I am 
perfectly sure that when men die, as they have 
died, doing their duty and fighting for their 
country, for the Empire, and to save the situa 
tion for others in fact, have died for their 
friends no matter what their past lives have 
been, no matter what they have done that they 
ought not to have done (as all of us do), I am 
perfectly sure that the Almighty takes them 
and looks after them at once. Lads, we cannot 

leave them better than like that. 



Now I feel that we may, without any false 
pride, think a little of what the Division has 
done during the past few days. 

I would first of all tell you that I have never 
been so proud of anything in my life as I am 
of my armlet with Canada on it. I thank 
you, and congratulate you from the bottom of 
my heart, for the part each one of you has 
taken in giving me this feeling of pride. 

I think it is possible that all of you do not 
quite realise that, if we had retired on the 
evening of April 22nd when our Allies fell 
back before the gas and left our left flank 
quite open the whole of the 27th and 28th 
Divisions would probably have been cut off. 
Certainly they would not have got away a gun 
or a vehicle of any sort, and probably not more 
than half the Infantry would have escaped. 

This is what our Commander-in-Chief meant 
when he telegraphed, as he did, that * the 
Canadians saved the situation. 53 My lads, if 
ever men had a right to be proud in this world, 
you have. 

I know my military history pretty well, and 
I cannot think of an instance, especially when 
the cleverness and determination of the enemy 
is taken into account, in which troops were 
placed in such a difficult position; nor can I 
think of an instance in which so much depended 
on the standing fast of one Division. 

You will remember that the last time I spoke 
to you, just before you went into the trenches 
at Sailly, now over two months ago, I told you 
about my old Regiment the Royal West 


Kents having gained a reputation for never 
budging from their trenches, no matter how 
they were attacked. I said then I was quite 
sure that, in a short time, the Army out here 
would be saying the same of you. 

I little thought none of us thought how 
soon those words would come true. But now, 
to-day, not only the Army out here, but all 
Canada, all England, and all the Empire are 
saying that you, too, stand fast. 

There is one more word I would say to you 
before I stop. You have made a reputation 
second to none in this war; but, remember, no 
man can live on his reputation. He must keep 
on adding to it. And I feel just as sure that 
you will do so as I did two months ago when 
I told you that I knew you would make a 
reputation when the opportunity came. 

I am now going to shake hands with your 
officers, and as I do so, I want you to feel that 
I am shaking hands with each one of you, as I 
would actually do if time permitted. 


The following is the text of the Special Order 
issued by Lieut.-General Alderson on transferring 
the ist Canadian Division to the new Commander, 
General Currie, C.B. :- 

On handing over the command of the ist 
Canadian Division to General Currie, C.B., I 
wish to give my heartfelt thanks to all ranks 


of the Division, and especially to the Brigadiers 
and the Divisional and Brigade Staffs, for the 
loyal and efficient help they have given me 
during the eleven months that I have com 
manded the Division. It is this help that, in 
spite of the difficulties of organisation, or the 
trying climatic and other unpleasant conditions 
of Salisbury Plain, has made my period of 
command so pleasant. 

I have already expressed personally, to all 
ranks, my appreciation of the conduct of the 
Division in action at all times, and especially 
during the trying twelve days April 22nd to 
May 4th at Ypres. I will not, therefore, say 
any more about this conduct, except that I 
shall never forget it. 

I am consoled in my great regret at leaving 
the Division by the thought that, as Corps 
Commander, I shall still be in close touch 
with it. 

In handing over to General Currie I feel, 
as I have told him, that I hand over an efficient 
fighting unit, which, I am sure, will, under him, 
add to the reputation it has made, and also 
give him the same loyal support that it has 
always given to me. 

I feel that I cannot conclude better than by 
asking all ranks of the ist Division always to 
remember the words which I am adopting as 
the motto of the Canadian Army Corps :- 

1 Those in agreement seize victory by force. 






MajorChisholm, H. A. 

(D.A.D.M.S.) ... i st Divisional Headquarters D.S.O. Mention. 
Col. Foster, G. La F. 

(A.D.M.S.) ,, C.B. Mention. 

Lt.-Col. Wood, T. B. 

(A.A. & Q.M.G.)... Bt.-Col. M ention. 

Lt.-Col. Hamilton, 

G. T. (D.A.A.G.) ... General Headquarters, 3rd 

Echelon Mention. 


(D.A.A. & Q.M.G.) ist Divisional Headquarters 

Staff D.S.O. Mention. 

Col. Romer, C. F. 

(G.S.O.) ... ... rstDivisional Headquarters Mention. 

Major Beatty, C. H. L. 

D.S.O. (A.D.C.) ... Mention. 

Lt.-Col. Gordon-Hall, 

G. C. W. (G.S.O.)... Mention. 

Capt. Clifford, E. S. 

D.S.O. (A.P.M.) ... Mention. 

Lt. - Gen. Alderson, 

E.A.H.C.B.(G.O.C.) Mention. 




Lt.-Col. Hayter, R. 


Capt. Ware, F. D. 

(Staff Captain) ... 
Br.-Gen. Mercer, M. S. 
Lt. Sprinks, W. D. ... 
Major Kimmins, A. E. 
Capt. Parks, J. H. ... 
Lt. Campbell, F. W.. 
Lt. Culling, E. C. ... 

Temp. Capt. 

Lt.-Col. Watson, D.... 
Capt. Turner, A. G.... 
Capt. Lyne-Evans, 

I ii 

Capt. Haywood, A. K. 

Lt.-Col. Birchall, A. P. 

C. O. 
Capt. Glover, J. D., 

Major Ballantyne, J. 

Lt.-Col. H. Kemmis 

Capt. Clark, R. P. ... 
Br.-Gen. Currie, A.W. 

Lt.-Col. Tuxford, G. S. 
Major Pragnell, G. S. T. 
Lt. Currie, J. M. 
Capt. Anderson, S. .J 

Lt.-Col. Armstrong, 
C 1 

\~s I 

Capt. Macphail, A. 
Temp. Maj. 21/5/15. 

Lt.Hertzberg, H.F.H. 
Major Wright, G. B. 
Capt. Kilburn, F. C. 
Major Lister, F. A. ... 
Lt.-Col. Simson, W. A. 
Lt. Webb, R. H. 


H.Q., ist Can. Inf. Bde. 

4th Can. Inf. Bde. ... 
ist Can. Inf. Bn. ... 


a a 

2nd Can. Inf. Bn. ... 

3rd Can. Inf. Bn. ... 

M.O. 3rd Bn. 

4th Can. Inf. Bn. ... 

2nd Can. Inf. Bde. H.Q. 

G.O.C. ist Can. Div. 

5th Can. Inf. Bn. ... 

H.Q. Can. Divl. Engrs. ... 

ist F.C., Can. Engrs. 
2nd F.C., Can. Engrs. 
3rd F.C., Can. Engrs. 
Can. Divl. Sig. Co. 

a a 

H.Q. Can. Divl. Train ... 
No. i Co. Can. Divl. Train 




D.S.O. Mention. 


C.B. Mention. 



D.S.O. Mention. 



M.C. Mention. 

M.C. Mention. 
M.C. Mention. 

D.S.O. Mention. 

D.S.O. Mention. 
C.B. Also award 
ed Legion of Hon 
our, Croix de 
D.S.O. Mention. 


D.S.O. Mention. 
M.C. Mention. 
D.S.O. Mention. 
D.S.O. Mention. 
M.C. Mention. 





Major Duval, J. L. ... No. I Can. Fid. Ambulance Mention. 

Capt. Stone, E. L. ... ,, ,, Mention. 

Capt. McGibbon, R. H. ,, ,, Mention. 

Lt.-Col. Ross, A. E. ... ,, Mention. 

Capt. McKillip, T. H. No. 2 Can. Fid. Ambulance D.S.O. Mention. 
Lt.-Col. McPherson, 

D. W. ... ... ,, ,, Mention. 

Major Hardy, E. B.... ,, ,, Mention. 

Capt. Fraser, J. J.... ,, ,, Mention. 

Capt. Brown, P. G.... ,, ,, Mention. 

Lt.-Col. Watt, W. L. No. 3 Can. Fid. Ambulance Mention. 

Capt. Bell, F. C. ... ,, ,, Mention. 

Capt. McQueen, J. D. ,, ,, Mention. 

Capt. Donaldson, A. S. ,, ,, Mention. 

Capt. Smith, S. A. ... ,, D.S.O. 

Lt.-Col. Ford, F. S. L. C.A.M.C. No. i. Cas. Clg. 

Stn. C.M.G. Mention. 

Lt.-Col. Shillington, 

A. T. ... ... C.A.M.C. No. 2 Stat. Hosp. Mention. 

Brig.-Gen. Burstall, 

H. E. (G.O.C.) ... H.Q. Can. Divl. Arty. ... C.B. Mention. 

Capt. Cosgrave, L. M. ist Can. Arty. Bde. ... Mention. 

Capt. White, D. A. 

(2nd Bty.) ... ,, ,, ... Mention. 

o/c 2nd Battery. 

Lt. Craig, C. S. 

(4th Bty.) ist Can. Arty. Bde. ... M.C. 26/7/15. 

Lt.-Col. Creelman, J. J. 

(Bde. Staff). ... 2nd Can. Arty. Bde. ... Mention. 
Major Hanson, E. G. 

(5th Bty.) 2nd Can. Arty. Bde. ... Mention. 

Lt. Geary, H. F. 

(6th Bty.) ... Mention. 

Lt. Savage, H. M. 

(yth Bty.) ,, ,, ... Mention. 

Lt.-Col. Mitchell, J.H. 3rd Can. Arty. Bde. ... Mention. Also 
(Bde. Staff). awarded Leg 

ion of Honour, 
Croix d Officier 

Lt. Greene, E. A. 

(gth Bty.)... ... 3rd Can. Arty. Bde. ... Mention. 

Major King, W. B. M. 

(loth Bty.) ... ... D.S.O. Mention. 

o/c 8th How. Bde. 




MajorCarscallen, H. G. 


Capt. Nash, J.F. P.... 
Lt. Anderson, J. G.... 
Lt.-Col. Hart-McHarg, 

W. F. R. 
Major Odium, V. W. 

Temp. Lt.-Col. 


Lt.-Col. Lipsett, L. J. 
Major Matthews, H. H. 

Lt. McLeod, N. G. M. 

Temp. Capt. 


Lt. Scott, J. N. 
Lt.-Col. Boyle, R. L. . 
Major McLaren, J. ... 
Capt. Arthur, C. G.... 
Major Ormond, D. M. 

Lt.-Col. Hughes, G. B. 


Capt. Pope, E. W 
Br.-Gen. Turner, R. 

E. W.,V.C.,D.S.O. 
Lt.-Col. Loomis, 

F. O. W 

Major Norsworthy, 

E. C. 

Major McCuaig, D. R. 
Lt.-Col. Meighen, F. S. 
Lt.-Col. Burland, W. W, 
Gapt. Scrimger, F.A. C. 
Major Marshall, W. R. 

Temp. Lt.-Col. 

9/5/ I 5 

Capt. Alexander, G. M. 

Lt.-Col. Leckie.R. G.E. 
Maj. Godson-Godson, 

\J* * 

Capt. Merritt, C. Mack. 
Lt. McLean, V. A. ... 

Capt. Morison, F., 
Temp. Maj .14/6/15, 


3rd Can. Arty. Bde. 
5th Can. Arty.-Bde. 

7th Can. Inf. Bn. ... 

8th Can. Inf. Bn. 

loth Can. Inf. Bn.... 

loth Can. Inf. Bn.... 
H.Q. 3rd Can. Inf. Bde. 

I3th Can. Inf. Bn.... 

1 4th Can. Inf. Bn.... 

o/c 1 5th Can. Inf. Bn. 

1 6th Can. Inf. Bn. ... 

i6th Can. Inf. Bn. , 





D.S.O. Mention. 

C.M.G. Mention. 
D.S.O. Mention. 

M.C. Mention. 
M.C. Mention. 
D.S.O. Mention. 
Order of St. Stan 
islas, 3rd Class. 

D.S.O. Mention. 


C.B. Mention. 

D.S.O. Mention. 

D.S.O. Mention. 
D.S.O. Mention. 

D.S.O. Mention. 
M.C. Mention. 
C.M.G. Mention. 

D.S.O. Mention. 


Order of St. Anne, 

4th Class. 





Lt. Dennistoun, J. R. Can. Divl. Mtd. Tps. 

(Cyclist Coy.) Mention. 

Lt. Scandrett, J. H. 

(i2th Bty.) ... 3rd Can. Arty. Bde M.C. Mention 

Lt. Ryerson, A. C. 

(Ammn. Col.) ... 3rd C.F.A Mention. 

Maj. Lambarde, F. F. n8th How. Bde., R.F.A.... D.S.O. Mention. 
( 45 8th Bty.) 

Lt. Harbord, G. M. 

(459th Bty.) 

Capt. 24/5/15. ... ,, ... D.S.O. Mention. 

Lt. Ramsden, A. G. F., 

(Ammn. Col.) ... ,, ... Mention. 

Lt. McDonald, D. J. 

(L.S.H.) Can. Cav. Bde M.C. 

Major Hesketh, J. A. 

^1-** o . il . J j , 99 * . . JL/ o.v_/ 





Other Ranks. 


48009 S.M. 













Clifton, A.E. ... Divl. Hd.-Qrs. 
(Hon. Lieut. R.0. 1932 C.T.D. C.O. 397 
Cook, G. S. ... Divl. Hd.-Qrs. 
Butt, H. G. B. ... ,, ,, 

McDonald, W , ,, 

Barrass, Wm. E. ist Can. Inf. Bn. ., 

L/Cpl. Rouse, Chas. E.... 
Pte. ... McGrimmon, H. W. 

Sgt. ... 
Sgt. ... 
Pte. ... 
Pte. ... 
Pte. ... 
Sgt. ... 

Whitla, W. 
Wakelin, F. 
Aiken, M. J. 
Jones, W. E. 
Moore, G. 
Owen, C.... 
Gledhill, V. 
Vincent, H. 
Gardiner, E. 

. D.C.M. 


. Mention. 

. Mention. 

. Mention. 

. St. George s 
Cross, 4th 

. Medal of St. 
George, 4th 

. Medal of St. 
George, 4th 

. D.C.M. 

. D.C.M. 

. Mention. 

. Mention. 

. Mention. 

. D.C.M. 
... D.C.M. 

,, ... D.C.M. 

2nd Can. Inf. Bn. ... St. George s 

Cross, 3rd 


2 3 8 


22900 L/Cpl. Marchant, J. S 2nd Can. Inf. Bn. 

7980 Pte. ... Highstone, A. S. ,, 

22844 Cpl. Batchelor, C. W. ,, 

22846 Sgt. ... Birdseye, R. W.... ,, ,, 

8603 Sgt. ... Bussell, E. W. ... ,, , 

8569 Pte. ... McGuire, T. 

9062 L/Cpl. Graveley, W. K. 3rd Can. Inf. Bn. 

9101 Cpl. ... Percy, Andrew ... 

9862 Sgt. .. 

9067 Sgt. .. 

9342 L/Cpl. 

9389 Sgt. .. 
63983 Sgt. .. 
11317 A/Sgt. 

Ives, P. ... 
Adamson, S. L 
Minns, E. H. 
Mote, G. A. 
Hobday, S. G. ... 
Elliott, T. 

4th Can. Inf. Bn. 

19103 Pte. ... Broomfield, D. J. 

10865 Pte. Sheppard, A. 

10857 Sgt. - 
10940 Pte. .. 
11187. Pte. 
10538 L/Sgt. 

13821 Sgt. .. 

Kay, A. W. ... ., 

Shipman, E. ... ,, ,, 

Wright, F. L. ... ,, ,, 

Hart, W. E. 

(Lieut, promoted 14/10/15.) 
Johnson, J. ... 5th Can. Inf. Bn. 

21584 Cpl. ... Crawford, W. M. 

Co well, J. D. 
Joslyn, R. W. 
Maguire, T. 
White, G. A. 
Mclvor, N. 
Hester, E. 
McKue, J. M. 
Weeks, H. H. 

13357 . 
21855 Pte. 

13022 Pte. 
13204 Cpl. 
13760 Pte. 
12605 Pte. 

12877 Sgt. 
16241 Sgt. 

7th Can. Inf. Bn. 



St. George s 

Cross, 4th 

St. George s 

Cross, 4th 

Medal of St. 

George, 3rd 

St. George s 

Cross, 4th 

Medal of St. 

George, 3rd 

Medal of St. 

George, 4th 


Medal of St. 

George, 2nd 

Medal of St. 

George, 3rd 

St. George s 

Cross, 4th 






16425 Pte. ... Farmer, J. 


7th Can. Inf. Bn. 

16420 Sgt. .. 
16246 Sgt. .. 
16576 L/Cpl. 
16608 Cpl. .. 
729 Pte. .. 

Dryden, W. H. 
Fearless, H. N. 
Mullins, T. M. 
Odium, J. W. 
Nuttall, E. 

8th Can. Inf. Bn. 

1616 Sig/Sgt. Thornton, J. 

1058 R.S.M. Robertson, Wm. 
1539 C.S.M. Hall, F. W. 
478 L/Cpl. Payne, J. A. K.. 

508 Pte. 
601 C.S.M. 
6545 S.M. .. 

19616 L/Cpl. 
11910 Cpl. .. 
19637 Sgt. .. 
19491 Pte. .. 

19617 L/Sgt. 
19589 L/Cpl. 
20743 Cpl. .. 

Walters, H. 
Hay, J. ... 
Good, R. G. 
(Temp. Capt. 


loth Can. Inf. Bn.. 



Medal of St. 

George, 4th 

St. George s 

Cross, 4th 

Medal of St. 

George, 4th 


Medal of St. 

George, rst 


(Struck off 9/8/15 permanently unfit, Med. Board). 
Allan, G. W. .. loth Can. Inf. Bn.... D.C.M. 
Ross, T. O. 
Schultz, S. 
Bloxham, G. H. 
Palmer, J. E. 
King, H. W. 
Baker, W. H. 

" Croix 


29900 Q.M.S. Birch, G. R. 

24583 Cpl. ... Campbell, J. J, 

24789 Sgt. ... Key, R. 

46799 Pte. .. 
24001 R.S.M. 

Danson, H. 
Jeffery, J. 


2nd Div. Hd.-Qrs.... St. George s 

Cross, 4th 

I3th Can. Inf. Bn.... Medal of St. 

George, ist 

,, ... Medal of St. 

George, 2nd 

Div. Sig. Coy. 
I3th Can. Inf. Bn.... 

(Officer i3th Bn. Temp. Capt. 24/4/15.) 
24061 C.S.M. Trainor, J. ... i3th Can. Inf. Bn... 
24291 Cpl. ... Reid, F. J. 

24066 L/Cpl. Fisher, F. 


Medal of St. 

George, 4th 






25669 Sgt. ... Worrall, R. 


I4th Can. Inf. Bn.. 

(Temp. Lieut. 9/5/15.) 
26284 Pte. ... Barrette, A. ... I4th Can. Inf. Bn.. 

26648 C.S.M. 

25908 C.S.M. 
25790 Sgt. . 
28776 Pte. . 

Price, C. B. ... ,, ,, 

(Temp. Lieut. 9/5 /i 5.) 
Handcock.. A. ... I4th Can. Inf. Bn.. 
Hawkins, A. E. ... ,, ,, 

MacAtair, A. ... Can. Divl. Sigl. Co. 
(H.Q., 3rd Can. 
Inf. Bde.). 

23262 Pte. ... Duncan, W. ... ,, 

(H.Q. 3rd Can. 
Inf. Bde.). 
Casstles, E. 

5646 Cpl. 
5696 Cpl. 
5753 Pte. 

30115 Dr. 
30183 Dr. 

32758 Sgt. 
32922 Pte. 
36210 Pte. 
33191 Pte. 

32979 Sgt. 

33214 Pte. 

33099 Pte. 

33047 Pte. 

28722 Pte. 

33060 Pte. 

33470 Pte. 




St. George s 
Cross, 3rd 

Medal of St. 
George, 3rd 




Kennedy, B. E., 
Stewart, H. R. 

30004 Sgt. ... MacDonald, J. 

Pate, S. A. 
Barton, Geo. 

32713 Sgt. ... Brown, T. M. 

ist Can. Field Amb. 

Smith, W. B. 
Trotter, E. 
Sharman, J. D. 
Turner, F. 


,, Medal of St. 

George, 4th 
Hd.-Qrs. Co. Can. Divl. 

Train D.C.M. 

No. 2 Co. Can. Divl. Medal of St. 

George, 4th 

St. George s 
Cross, 4th 

,, ,, Mention. 

., ,, Mention. 

,, ,, Mention. 

2nd Can. Field Amb. Medal of St. 

George, 3rd 

,, ,, Mention. 

,, ,, Mention. 

,, ,, Mention. 

,, ,, Mention. 


McKay, J. W. ... ,, 

Youldon, J. G. ... ,, ,, 

Leishman, W. M. ,, ,, 

Dalton, J. ... ,, ,, 

Chester, R. M. ... ,, ,, 

(Temp. Lieut. 7/11/15.) 

Farr, C. J. E. ... 2nd Can. Field Amb. Mention. 
Tomkins, C. B. ... 3rd Can. Field Amb. Medal of St. 

George, 4th 






32773 Sgt. ... Kinsell, J. G. ... 3rd Can. Field Amb. 
(C.A.S.C. Attached- 

33259 S/Sgt. Milborne, A. J. B. 
33461 Cpl. ... Stewart, H. G. ... ,, 

33280 L/Cpl. Bartley, A. 

33470 Pte. ... Tompkins, C. B. ,, ,, 

3335 8 Cpl. ... Head, R. L. 
33408 Pte. ... Millen, A. ... ,, 

33365 Pte. ... Holloway, W. J. 3rd Can. Field Amb. 
26354 pte - Mallette, J. R. ... i4th Can. Inf. Bn.... 
25540 R.S.M. 

Mallette, J. R. 
Stephenson, J. M. 





Sgt. ., 
Pte. ., 
Sgt. ., 
Sgt. ., 
Sgt. ., 
Cpl. ., 
Pte. ., 

1 6th Can. Inf 


5154 L/Cpl. 

Calder, J. M. ... i5th Can. Inf. Bn... 

Kerr, M. K. 

Flood, W. J. 

Keith, Jas. 

Dougall, J. 

Lunn, B. C. 

Heath, G. C. ... ,, ,, 

Bizley, J. W. 

Minchin, A. W. ... ,, ,, 

Ridgwell, S. A. ... Hd.-Qrs. Can. Divl. 


Mclntyre, H. P.... ist Fid. Co. Can. 



5077 L/Cpl. Casement, R. J.... ,, 

5087 2nd Cpl. Evans, A. J. L 

(Lieut. 24/7/15.) 
5209 Sgt. ... Smith-Rewse, 

M. B. W. ... ist Fid. Co. Can. 


J *-* >-s mt9t 

(Temp. Lieut. 9/5/15.) 
(Killed in Action 22/5/15.) 

5301 C.S.M. Chetwynd, G. R. 2nd Fid. Co. Can. 


(Lieut. 25/10/15.) 
5310 Sgt. ... Ferris, C. B. ... 2nd Fid. Co. Can. 


45049 L/Cpl. Borrie, W. J. ... 3rd Fid. Co. Can. 


45006 Sgt, ,.. Turner, G. R. ... ,, 

(Temp. Lieut. 13/9/15.) 













St. George s 
Cross, 4th 





Croix de 

Medal of St. 

George, 3rd 






22046 Pte. . 



5679 Cpl. ... 
5601 Coy.S.M 
5674 Sgt. ... 
21190 Pte. ... 

5615 Pte. ... 

33387 Pte. ... 
33442 Q.M.S. 
33303 L/Cpl. 
1047 Sgt. ... 

1517 S.S.M. 

221 Cpl. ... 

640085 Bdr. ... 
40106 Cpl. ... 
40440 S.M. ... 
^40870 Cpl. ... 
42001 B.S.M. 

40217 Sgt. ... 
41055 A/Sgt. 
41434 Q-M.S. 
41314 Cpl. ... 




Dunham, A. W.... istCan. Div. Mtd.TpsMedal of St. 

(Cyclist Co.). George, 3rd 


Aitken, G. T. ... ist Can. Divl.Mtd.Tps. Medal of St 

George, 4th 

Hudson, H. ... Can. Divl. Sigl. Co. St. George s 

(H.Q., 2nd Can. 

Inf. Bde.). 
May, H.T. 

Gale, T. ... 

Cross, 3rd 

St. George s 

Cross, 4th 

Medal of St. 

George, 2nd 


Quigley, H. S. ... 

(Hd.-Qrs. 2nd Can. Inf. Bde.). 

(Temp. Lieut. 19/9/15.) 

Adams, H. M. ... Can. Divl. Sigl. Co. D.C.M. 
(Hd.-Qrs. 3rd Can. Inf. Bde.). 
Lisney, F. J. ... 3rd Can. Fid. Amb. Mention. 
Rotsey, A. E. ... ,, ,, Mention. 

Cameron, H. T.... ,, ,, D.C.M. 

Morris, D. ... Can. Cav. Brigade... D.C.M. 

(K.E.H. Imperial 

Forces) . 
Collins, G. S. ... ... D.C.M. 

Pym, J. S. ... ,, ... D.C.M. 

Wilkinson, H. E. ist Can. Fid. A. Bde. D.C.M. 

(Bde. Staff). 
Lamplough, L. A. ,, ,, Mention. 

(ist Battery). 
Donaldson, J.W. A. D.C.M. 

(2nd Battery). 
Ritchie, A. B. ... D.C.M. 

(Ammn. Col.). 
Kerry, H.G. 

(4th Battery). 
Maclnnes, W. . 

Olsen, O. C. 

(5th Battery). 
Milburn, A. R. . 

(6th Battery). 
Shirley, J. 

(7th Battery). 

Medal of St. 
George, 2nd 

"Croix de 

2nd Can. Fid. A. Bde. D.C.M. 






641445 Sgt. . 
041034 Bdr. . 


Hicks, A. S. 

(8th Battery). 
Cotton, D. P. 

(5th Battery). 

4 OI 95 





... Jacobs, M. 

(Bde. Staff). 
... Wildgoose, R. ., 

(gth Battery). 
... Baker, R. F. " ., 

(loth Battery). 
... James, A. W. 

(i2th Battery) 
B.Q.Sgt. Barnacal, Wm. .. 

(nth Battery). 






12835 B.S.M. 



Cpl. , 


Hay ward, J. 

(Ammn. Col.). 
Armitage, J. 

(458th Battery). 
Marks, F. T. 

(459th Battery). 
Pobjoy, H. 

(Ammn. Col.). 
Gurr, A. ... 



2nd Can. Fid. A. Bde. Mention. 

,, St. George s 

Cross, 4th 
3rd Can. Fid. A. Bde. Mention. 

,, ,, Mention. 


,, Mention. 

Medal of St. 
George, 2nd 
, f Mention. 

n8th How. Bde. 

R.F.A. D.C.M. 
,, ,, Mention. 

,, Mention. 






2/11/15 Lieut. A. W. North- 
over 28th Battalion ... Military 


73741 29/10/15 Pte .H .B. Compton 28th Battalion ... D.C.M. 
69805 29/10/15 Sgt W .C Ryer... 26th Battalion ... D.C.M. 








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