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Title: Canada in Flanders, Volume I

Author: Baron Max Aitken Beaverbrook

Release date: June 27, 2014 [eBook #46114]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Al Haines







By Sir Max Aitken, M.P.

M.P., LL.D.,

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



FIRST EDITION . . Printed January, 1916.
SECOND EDITION . . Printed January, 1916.
THIRD EDITION . . Printed January, 1916.
FOURTH EDITION . . Printed February, 1916.
FIFTH EDITION . . Printed February, 1916.
SIXTH EDITION . . Printed February, 1916.
SEVENTH EDITION . . Printed February, 1916.
EIGHTH EDITION . . Printed February, 1916.
NINTH EDITION . . Printed February, 1916.
TENTH EDITION . . Printed February, 1916.




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 alone.

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 household 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 ours.

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 throughout 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."

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.


    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 outbreak 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 reinforcements amounting to 10,000 men, was ready to proceed 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, addressed their officers, and bade them all God-speed. The Armada which left the shores of Gaspé 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 experience 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 Provinces 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 unknown and terrible means of warfare, which temporarily 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, the 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 whom memories along 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 1st 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 Motherland, what their comrades had dared and done.

No Canadian can ever look forth unmoved upon that valley where Ypres lies shattered in the distance, 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 civilisation.


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:
But I—I am first in the battle,'
    Said our Lady of the Snows."


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 subjects 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 fortunes of the 1st 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 records.

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."





War without warning—Canada's loyalty—Improvising an Army—Efforts of the Minister of Militia—Camp at Valcartier—Canadian Armada sails—Arrival at Plymouth—Lord Roberts's interest—King's visit to Canadian Camp—Training completed—Sailing for France



"Plug Street"—British Army in being—At General Headquarters—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



Canadians' valuable help—A ride in the dark—Pictures on the road—Towards the enemy—At the cross-roads—"Six kilometres 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



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—Terrible casualties—Col. Birchall's death—Magnificent artillery work—Canadian left saved—Canadians relieved—Story of 3rd Brigade—Gas attack on Canadians—Canadian recovery—Major Norsworthy killed—Major McCuaig's stand—Disaster averted—Col. Hart-McHarg killed—Major Odlum—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 Canadians—Canadians relieved—Heroism of men—Col. Watson's dangerous mission—The Ghurkas' dead—Record of all units—Our graveyard in Flanders



Individual heroism—Canadian tenacity—Before the battle—The civilian element—A wave of battle—New meaning of "Canada"—"Northern Lights"—The fighting paymaster—Major serves as lieutenant—Misfortunes of Hercule Barré—"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. Richardson's good sense—"No surrender!"—Corpl. Baker's heroism—Bombs from the dead—Holding a position single-handed—The brothers McIvor—Daring of Sergt.-Major Hall—Sergt. Ferris, Roadmender—Heroism of the sappers—Sergt. Ferris, Pathfinder—A sergeant in command—Brave deeds of Pte. Irving—He vanishes—Absurdities in tragedy—Germans murder wounded—Doctors under fire—The professional manner—Red hours—Plight of refugees—Canadian colony in London—Unofficial inquiries—Canada's destiny



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



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



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 Armentières—Regiment at full strength again—Moved to the south—Back in billets—Princess Patricias instruct new troops—Rejoin Canadians—A glorious record



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



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—Inspection 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















War without warning—Canada's loyalty—Improvising an Army—Efforts of the Minister of Militia—Camp at Valcartier—Canadian Armada sails—Arrival at Plymouth—Lord Roberts's interest—King's visit to Canadian Camp—Training 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!
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."
                                            —WILLIAM WATSON.

War came upon us without warning, like a thunderbolt from a clear sky. Our people were essentially non-military, fearing no aggression from a peace-loving neighbour, and ignorant of the imminence 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 Langemarck. As a demonstration of practical loyalty the exertions of Canada were only equalled by Australia and New Zealand. As an example of administration rising to an emergency, the effort has never been surpassed in military history.

When the British ultimatum to Germany demanding 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 summoned 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 voluntary 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, provided 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 contingent.

Thus did Canada answer the call. From the workshops 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 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 Right.

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." 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 gathering 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 military purposes was enormous, and the transformation, 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 incinerators 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 3-½ 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 trenches.

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 1st, 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 unnecessary 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 Montreal began to hum with the manufacture of khaki, which the needles of a great army of tailors converted 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 adjusted.

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 Division. 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 exception of the Princess Patricia's Light Infantry, the overwhelming majority of the men who volunteered 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 Gaspé 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 Gaspé 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 Gaspé Bay.

The voyage was uneventful if rather long, the fleet entering Plymouth Sound on the evening of October 14th. So strict had been the censorship that the arrival of the Canadian Armada was quite unexpected by the people of Plymouth and Devonport; 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 again.

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 Roberts.

Lieut.-General Alderson[1] had been appointed to the command of the contingent, and visited the commanding officers before the work of disembarkation began.

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

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 appearance 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 involved in this war, a war not of our own seeking; but one which those who have studied Germany'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 resolve has been quickened into action in a marvellously short space of time, under the excellent organising and driving power of your Minister of Militia—my friend, Major-General Hughes.


"We are fighting a nation which looks upon the British Empire as a barrier to her development, and has, in consequence, long contemplated our overthrow and humiliation. To attain that end she has manufactured a magnificent fighting machine, and is straining every nerve to gain victory.


"It is only by the most determined efforts that we can defeat her."[2]

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,[3] 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 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 1st Infantry Brigade, which was composed of the 1st 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 10th, 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) commanding respectively the 13th Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), the 14th Battalion (Royal Montreal Regiment), the 15th Battalion (48th Highlanders of Canada), and the 16th Battalion (Canadian 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 commanding artillery brigades. The Officer Commanding 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, 11th, 12th, and 17th 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 answer.

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

[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 Transvaal 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 September 13th. 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 Carrington. In October, 1899, he was given the command of the mounted infantry of the 1st 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, 1st 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 14th, 1914. General Alderson has received the honour of K.C.B. since this book was in the press.

[2] From Canada of October 31st, 1914.

[3] When 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 experience, and it would be difficult to over-estimate the services he has already rendered to the Imperial Government and the Government of Canada.



"Plug Street"—British Army in being—At General Headquarters—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 contained 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 battalions headquarters to the firing line.

Close at hand is the office of the intelligence branch, which collects and communicates information 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 lines.

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 Britain.

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 positions, 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 astonishing.

For instance, the evening that I reached the billeting area, I saw several battalions of the Expeditionary Force marching from their billets towards 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 companies 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 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," 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 afternoon 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 football one day, in the course of a motor run behind the lines, as one would see on a Saturday afternoon in England.

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 outflank the Germans, and in fact, by immense exertions, defeating a far more formidable outflanking movement by the enemy. Here they have maintained 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 trenches.

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" 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 occasional bullet overhead reminds you that death is searching for its prey. "Plug Street" 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" 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 history.

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

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 approaches the more completely does all that is spectacular disappear, until, finally, the flower of the youth of Europe vanishes and is swallowed up by immense but barely visible lines of field fortifications.

And now the Canadian Division, too, has reached the front. The long, the tedious winter discomfort of Salisbury Plain, never resented but always disliked, already seems far away. No one in the Canadian 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 preparation. 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 fighting 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 mischievous 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 identification has so often to be postponed, so that the records of our men's heroism only appear when, in the maelstrom of fresh splendid deeds, they are already half forgotten.

This volume, and those which it is hoped will follow it, must always be read in the light of these most necessary restrictions. Nevertheless it is possible, 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 battlefields 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 Europe.

Before the Canadians took up their allotted positions in the trenches they marched past the Commander-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, judging 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 happened to them. It was not their fortune, at the outset, 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 experiences of the Canadians were not eventful, as one judges incidents in this war. This period of immunity, 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 certain 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 château (not a grand one) for the Headquarters, a modest office for the Staff, and you have a fair conception 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," 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."

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 football, 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 distracting 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 acquaintance 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 unwholesome 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 longing 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 much.

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 employ as snipers shoot straight, and, screened from observation behind the lines, they are always watching. 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 admiration 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 exhibited 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 kilometres 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 10th, 1915.

It was night when I left the Canadian 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 pavé in the light of our lamps. Their ranked figures, dim one moment in the darkness, 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, marching 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," 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, towards 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 Bassée, a few kilometres further on, strongly held by the Germans.

"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 "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 kilometres 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" 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 comparative peace of morning was awfully shattered 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 a little further north than Neuve Chapelle, waited in its trenches, hoping always for the order to advance.

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 progress of the bombardment. The news was good. The General awaited the moment when the cannonade 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." 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."

While the bombardment continued, British aeroplanes sailed overhead and crossed over to the German 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 progress.

Map--Line occupied by British in March 1915
Map—Line occupied by British in March 1915

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 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, "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 instantly 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 ambulances. 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 Frankfort 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," 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."

Some of the prisoners were brought along by the Indian troops who had captured them. They complained 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 distance.

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

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 confidence, and in a few weeks the "victory" was described as a failure. The truth lies between these extremes.

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 German occupation of this part of France. In any case it must have had a marked effect upon the whole progress of the war.[1]

That was what we hoped to do. What we actually 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 fundamental 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" 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 been called on to repulse heavy, massed German attacks. The casualties sustained in repulsing these attacks first revealed our shortage of machine-guns. What they lacked in machine-guns, however, 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 discovered 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 commanding the 1st Army been more carefully observed."

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 impatiently and expectantly for the order to advance, but the activity of the Canadian artillery was considerable and important. The Canadian guns took their full share in the "preparation" for the subsequent 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 Germans 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," 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 themselves 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.

[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 1st 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 prevent his massing reinforcements to meet the main attack, two other supplementary attacks were also to be made—one attack by the 1st Corps from Givenchy, and the other by the 3rd Corps—detailed from the 2nd Army for that purpose—to the south of Armentières.



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—Terrible casualties—Col. Birchall's death—Magnificent artillery work—Canadian left saved—Canadians relieved—Story of 3rd Brigade—Gas attack on Canadians—Canadian recovery—Major Norsworthy killed—Major McCuaig's stand—Disaster averted—Col. Hart-McHarg killed—Major Odlum—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 Canadians—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 narrative both lucid and exact of much which is confused and blurred.[1]

Map of Ypres and area
Map of Ypres and area

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, without being replaced, by some brilliant British staff officers. But in its higher and regimental commands were to be found lawyers, college professors, business 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 exclusive pursuit of laborious lives. With what devotion, with a valour how desperate, with resourcefulness 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 connecting at its terminus with the French troops.[2] 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 further bombardment of the stricken town of Ypres,[3] everything seemed quiet in front of the Canadian line. At five o'clock in the afternoon a plan, carefully 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 extended area those who fell under their effects. The result was that the French were compelled to give ground for a considerable distance.[4] 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 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." The following rough diagrams may make the position clear.


Contrast this with the diagram on the following page.


It became imperatively necessary greatly to extend the Canadian lines to the left rear. It was not, of course, practicable to move the 1st 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 French formed the apex, ran, quite roughly, as follows:—


As shown above, it became necessary for Brigadier-general Turner (now Major-General), commanding 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 trenches.

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 artillery—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 immediately 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 Commanding 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 1st Brigade. The 7th Battalion (British Columbia Regiment), from the 2nd Brigade, had by this time occupied entrenchments in support of the 3rd Brigade. The 10th 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 10th Battalion and 16th (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 "like a watering pot." He added quite simply, "I wrote my own life off." But the line never wavered.

When one man fell another took his place, and, with a final shout, the survivors of the two Battalions flung themselves into the wood. The German garrison was completely demoralised, and the impetuous 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 disappointment 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.

Map--St. Julien and area
Map—St. Julien and area

Within a few hours of this attack, the 10th Canadian Battalion was again ordered to advance by Lieut.-Colonel Boyle, late a rancher 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 afterwards without regaining consciousness.

Major MacLaren, already wounded, was killed by a shell while on his way to the hospital. The command of the 10th 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 positions 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 Northumberland Fusiliers, numbering two officers and 120 men, who were on their way to rejoin their division after eight days of trench-fighting at Hill 60, encountered Colonel Geddes' force and joined it.[5]

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 outflank 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 1st (Ontario) Battalion and the 4th Battalion of the 1st Brigade, under Brigadier-General Mercer, acting with Geddes' Detachment. The 4th Battalion was in advance and the 1st in support, under the covering fire of the 1st 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 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 Battalion. With a hoarse cry of anger they sprang forward (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.

Map--1st Canadian Division situation at 7 a.m. April 23rd, 1915
Map—1st Canadian Division situation at 7 a.m. April 23rd, 1915

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 thereafter 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 1st 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 Division with the rank of Brigadier-General, the battery of four 18-pounders was strengthened, in the afternoon, 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.[6]

Although the fumes were extremely poisonous, 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 (90th Winnipeg Rifles), 8th Battalion, perished in the fumes, and it was noticed that their faces became blue immediately after dissolution. The Royal Highlanders of Montreal, 13th Battalion, and the 48th Highlanders, 15th 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 poisonous 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 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 excessive, 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 overwhelm 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 unsupported 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 appearance, and indeed for the moment the reality, of isolation 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, 13th 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 fell in attempting to rally French troops. This was on the afternoon of the 22nd, and the whole responsibility 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 experienced 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) Greenshields. 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 Odlum (who is now Lieut.-Colonel commanding the Battalion), and Lieut. Mathewson, of the Canadian Engineers, 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 without 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 rapid fire the moment they cleared the shelter of the ruins. They instantly threw themselves flat on the ground. Colonel Hart-McHarg and Major Odlum rolled into a shell-hole near by, and Lieut. Mathewson took cover in a ditch close at hand. It was then that Major Odlum learned that his Commanding Officer was seriously wounded. Major Odlum 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 remained 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.[7] But his regiment endured, and, indeed, throughout the second battle of Ypres fought greatly and suffered greatly. Major Odlum succeeded Colonel Hart-McHarg. At one time the Battalion 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, strengthened by the remnants of the 10th Battalion, the 7th was again sent in to hold a gap in our line, which duty it performed until, again surrounded by the enemy, it withdrew under cover of a dense mist.[8][9]

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 1st Royal West Kents, of the 13th 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.

Map--1st Canadian Division situation at 9 a.m. April 24th 1915
Map—1st Canadian Division situation at 9 a.m. April 24th 1915

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, stubbornly, 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.[10]

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, 13th Battalion, and of the Royal Montreal Regiment, 14th 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 persistent 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 remembered, 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 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 necessary to the story to point out that Lieut.-Colonel Lipsett, commanding the 8th Battalion (90th Winnipeg Rifles) of the 2nd Brigade, held the extreme left of the Brigade position at the most critical moment.

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 abandoned, 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 1st Hampshires, filled up the gap on Saturday night.

At daybreak on Sunday, April 25th, two companies of the 8th Battalion (90th 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.

Map--1st Canadian Division situation at noon, April 25th 1915
Map—1st Canadian Division situation at noon, April 25th 1915

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 command of the reinforcements, accordingly directed that an advance should be made by two British brigades (the 10th Brigade under Brigadier-General Hull,[11] 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.[12]

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 reinforcements which by this time filled the gap between the two Brigades, were gradually driven, fighting every yard, upon a line running roughly 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.[13]

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 resourcefully. 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 difficult 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 shrapnel, 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 compelled 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 artillery duel which had been in progress since the Battalion 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 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 continued until the Battalion arrived behind the first line trench held by a battalion of the King's Own Scottish 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 distressing in the extreme. Officers and men, alike worn out, slept on the march oblivious of route and destination.

During the night of May 3rd[14] and the morning of the 4th, the 1st 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 Commanding the 4th Division, and removed his headquarters 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.[15]

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 historian 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 constantly cut, and many belonging to this service rendered 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 message, 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 struggle in which so much depended upon its exertions. 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 about and fire on the enemy in positions almost diametrically opposite.

The members of the Canadian Engineers, and of the Canadian Army Medical Corps, rivalled in coolness, endurance and valour the men of the battalions who were their comrades. On more than one occasion 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 constructive 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 necessity.

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 fortunes 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!" 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 still to arms! In Great Britain, in Canada, in Australia, there is need, and there is need now, of a community organised alike in military and industrial co-operation.

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."

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

[2] The 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigades took over the line from the French 11th Division on April 17th. 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.

[3] The great bombardment of Ypres began on April 20th, 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.

[4] 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 1st 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 wildly in all directions. When order had been to some extent restored, Staff Officers learned from fugitives who were in a condition to speak that the Algerians had left thousands of their comrades dead and dying along the four-mile gap in our Ally's lines through which the Germans were pouring behind their gas.

[5] 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.

[6] 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 withstanding 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 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.

[7] 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.

[8] The losses of the 7th 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.

[9] 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.

[10] The remarkable services rendered at St. Julien by the Commandant, Lt.-Col. Loomis, of the 13th 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.

[11] Brig.-General Hull rendered distinguished services throughout this trying time. In addition to his own Brigade—the 10th—General Hull commanded for a considerable period the York and Durham Brigade, the 2nd King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, the 9th Queen Victoria Rifles, the 1st Suffolk Regiment, the 12th London Regiment, and the 4th Canadian Battalion.

[12] 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 surrounded.

[13] 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 Headquarters 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.

[14] At 5 o'clock on the afternoon of May 2nd the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade moved up in support of the 10th and 12th 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 10th Infantry Brigade held fast, but the 12th 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 1st 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 12th Infantry Brigade was thrown into the battle. In the meantime the General Officer commanding the 10th Infantry Brigade, observing the troops on his left retreating, very judiciously sent up the 7th 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 12th 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 excellently directed fire, which raked the German lines. General Alderson says, "I subsequently wrote to General Joppé thanking him for this help, and I received a grateful acknowledgment of my letter."

[15] On General Alderson and the Staff of the 1st Canadian Division 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 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.



Individual heroism—Canadian tenacity—Before the battle—The civilian element—A wave of battle—New meaning of "Canada"—"Northern Lights"—The fighting paymaster—Major serves as lieutenant—Misfortunes of Hercule Barré—"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. Whitehead's endurance—Major King saves his guns—Corpl. Fisher, V.C.—The real Canadian officer—Some delusions in England—German tricks—Sergt. Richardson's good sense—"No surrender!"—Corpl. Baker's heroism—Bombs from the dead—Holding a position single-handed—The brothers McIvor—Daring of Sergt.-Major Hall—Sergt. Ferris, Roadmender—Heroism of the sappers—Sergt. Ferris, Pathfinder—A sergeant in command—Brave deeds of Pte. Irving—He vanishes—Absurdities in tragedy—Germans murder wounded—Doctors under fire—The professional manner—Red hours—Plight of refugees—Canadian colony in London—Unofficial inquiries—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 without 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 baptised 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, decently remote from the firing line. Then came the attack that proved Canada; and the German flares advanced, and advanced, till they no longer resembled flickering auroras, but the sizzling electric arc-lights of a great city. Captain Costigan locked up his paychest and abolished his office with the words: "There is no paymaster." Next, sinking his rank as honorary captain, he applied for work in the trenches, and went off, a second lieutenant of the 10th 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 paymastership. 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. Honorary Captain McGregor, of British Columbia, for example, had been paymaster in the Canadian Scottish, 16th 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 12th 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 commission in the sorely tried 10th. There was some hesitation, since Guthrie as a major might quite possibly find himself in command of what was left of the 10th if, and when, he found it. "I'll go as a lieutenant, of course," said he; and as a lieutenant he went.[2]

The grim practical joking of Fate is illustrated by the adventures of Major Hercule Barré—a young French Canadian who fought well and spoke English 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 done. Once again he reached Headquarters; once more the officer, who had identified him before, guaranteed his good faith; and for the third time Barré 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, Barré!" he cried. "What, you, Barré? What do you want this time?" It was the officer who had twice identified him within the last hour. "Stretcher-bearers," said Barré. His friend in need summoned a stretcher-bearer, and Barré 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, 15th 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 hospital. It ran: "My dear Colonel Currie,—I am so sorry that you will be annoyed with me for not bringing 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.[3] Two of the staff, Brig.-General Hughes (then Brigade Major of the 3rd Infantry Brigade) and Lieut. Thompson (then Assistant Adjutant, Royal Montreal Regiment) reswam the moat and, waiting for a lull in the shell 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 front line, 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 companies 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 command of the Battalion, watched the retirement of the three companies, together with details of the 14th 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 scythe.

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 rush.

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 endeavour 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 drew 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 opportunity 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 telephones 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 14th (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 astonishing 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 assistance 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 13th Battalion, won his V.C., but lost his life. Being in charge of a machine gun, he took it forward to cover the extrication 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 14th Battalion, and continued to work his gun until the battery was clear.

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 earns, 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 opportunity 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 Expeditionary 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-commissioned 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 surpassed.

Take, for instance, the story of Sergeant J. Richardson, of the and 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," 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 10th Battalion. After the attack on the Wood and the occupation of a part of the German trench by the 10th 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 Germans 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 remaining 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 grenades.

And now we come to the story of two brothers, Privates N. and J. McIvor, 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 Gravenstafel 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 McIvors 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. McIvor was severely wounded.

Nor can one dwell without pride on the case of Company Sergeant-Major F. W. Hall, V.C. During the night of April 23rd-24th the 8th Battalion took over a line of trenches from the 15th 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 daylight. 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 Winnipeg. 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 importance 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 Engineers 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 open.

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 tire, 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 entanglements 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 difficulty, 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 nearing the place of which he was in search, left it, an 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 company 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 conspicuous gallantry at Langemarck on April 23rd while in command of a platoon on the left flank of the Battalion. This position was under exceptionally 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 depôt 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 Captain 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 continuous enemy rifle and shell fire, and the repairs had to be made under other adverse conditions.

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 15th, he refused to leave his guns even when he was wounded, and pluckily remained until the action was over.

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 unmistakable German-American accents, "Have a heart!" 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 attendance continued unbroken and unconcerned through all the phases of the Ypres engagement. The ammunition 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 employed 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 professional 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 electric torch to show him where his patient lies. It would be inadequate to call such men heroic.

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 villages; 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 supposed 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 reserves coming up, and pressed aside from the pavés 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 procession. 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 information 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 identifies 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."

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.

[1] Captain Costigan has now combative rank in the 10th Battalion, and is acting as Brigade Bombing Officer.

[2] During the progress of the battle Major Guthrie was, after all, compelled to take command of the 10th after two commanding officers had been killed and a third had been wounded. He led his Battalion with wisdom and great gallantry.

[3] For this action Captain Scrimger was awarded the V.C.



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.

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

To many minds the battle of Festubert, sometimes 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.

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 important, not only from the military point of view (although in this respect Festubert must be counted a failure), but from the political changes they produced 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 offensive 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 opportunity for gaining the Aubers Ridge, from which Lille and La Bassée 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 goal.

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 redoubled fury on May 16th. On May 19th, the 2nd and 7th Divisions, which had suffered very severely, were withdrawn, and their places taken by the Canadian Division and the 51st Highland Division (Territorial). With the share of the battle which fell to the lot of the Canadians I will deal in detail directly.

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 necessary 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 fortins. 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 artillery 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 artillery 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."

The military correspondent of The Times, who had just returned from the front, affirmed in his journal on May 14th that the first part of the battle of Festubert had failed through lack of "high explosives."

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 artillery 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" 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 understanding 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 Canadians. 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 interpolated 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 14th, when the Headquarters moved to the southern section of the British line in readiness for new operations. During that time reinforcements 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 Defence.

On May 17th the remade infantry brigades advanced towards the firing line once more.

It must be understood that on the afternoon of May 18th, the 3rd Brigade occupied reserve trenches, two companies of the 14th (Royal Montreal) Battalion, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Meighen,[2] and two companies of the 16th (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 16th Canadian Scottish was to make a flanking movement on the enemy's position in the Orchard by way of an old German communicating 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 16th Battalion reached its allotted position, but after the advance of the remaining company of that regiment, and the 14th, 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 Coldstream Guards on their left. They had then gained 500 yards. Lieut.-Colonel Leckie sent up the other two companies of the 16th to assist in the digging and to relieve the original two companies at daybreak. During the night the companies of the 14th 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 16th Canadian Scottish on the other.[3]

On the morning of the 20th orders were issued for an attack on the Orchard that night. A reconnaissance 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 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 15th 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 increasing in severity up to the delivery of the attack. Promptly to the minute, the guns ceased, and the two companies of the 16th 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 left.

Map--The Orchard and surroundings
Map—The Orchard and surroundings

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 support trenches in the rear. A few had been left 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 position, 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 complete.

One company did not enter the Orchard, but pushed forward and occupied an abandoned German trench running in a south-westerly direction, to prevent any flank counter-attack being made by the enemy. They then found themselves in a very exposed 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 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 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) included detachments from the 72nd Seaforths of Vancouver, the 79th Camerons of Winnipeg, the 50th Gordons of Victoria, and the 91st 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 1st 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 German 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 Germans, 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 whatever. 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 20th the 13th 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 16th Battalion Canadian Scottish.

The attack on the Orchard having succeeded, three companies of the 13th Battalion (Royal Highlanders) immediately marched forward. As four officers of one company, including the officer commanding, 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 16th 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 1st Brigade, which relieved the Royal Highlanders on Saturday.

On the night of May 19th, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade took over some trenches which had recently been captured by the 21st Brigade (British), and also a section of trenches from the 47th Division. The 8th and 10th 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 20th, at 745 p.m., the 10th Canadian Battalion, under Major Guthrie, who joined the Battalion 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 bombardment 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 10th Battalion retired.[4]

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 21st an artillery bombardment opened under direction of Brigadier-General Burstall, and went on intermittently until 8.30, when our attack was launched. The attacking force consisted of the grenade company of the 1st Canadian Brigade and two companies of the 10th 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," 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 counterattack, but was successfully repulsed.[5]

In our attack, which was only partially successful, 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 10th Battalion snipers, went out from our trench under heavy fire and brought in two men of the 47th Camerons who had been lying wounded in the open for three days.

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.[6] After very heavy casualties the southern end of the captured trench was abandoned, and a second barricade was erected across the portion that remained in our hands.

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 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade, and by 2nd 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.

The 2nd King Edward's Horse took over the trench held up to that time by the 8th[7] 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 2nd King Edward's Horse, but broke back in the face of a heavy artillery fire searchingly directed by the Canadian artillery brigades.[8]

At 11 p.m. on the night of May 23rd the 5th Canadian Battalion received orders from the General 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 communication trench leading to the redoubt. Extremely 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.

"Bexhill" proper, however, had still to be taken, and to that end the two companies of the 5th Battalion, 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.[9] With this reinforcement the attack was immediately 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 reinforcements 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 Odlum, 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 terrible. 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 artillery 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.

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 1st Brigade arrived, and took them over.

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 unshakenly.

On the night of May 24th, at 11.30 p.m., while the troops which had taken "Bexhill" were still hanging on to what they had won, the 3rd Battalion, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel (now Brigadier-General) Rennie, attacked a machine-gun redoubt known as "The Well," 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 repulsed 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 confidence 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, 2nd 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 particular 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 2nd 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 enabled his regiment to silence it with converging fire.

It was on May 25th, too, that Sergeant Morris, of 2nd 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 that day.

Morris led the attack down the German communication 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 unable 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 it.

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,[10] 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 certain death, but he seemed to consider that rather an inducement than a deterrent. After perilous adventures 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 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.

Hickey'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 uninterrupted 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 recommended. On May 30th 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 joy.

On May 31st the Canadian Division was withdrawn 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.[11]

[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 Armentières. The 1st 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-Bancs, to the north-west of Fromelles. The 1st Corps and the Indian Corps were first to occupy the plain between Neuve Chapelle and Givenchy, and afterwards take the Aubers Ridge.

[2] Lt.-Colonel Meighen led his troops with capacity and judgment. 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 Meighen has been sent to Canada, and given charge of the instructional scheme of the Canadian Forces from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with the temporary rank of Brigadier-General.

[3] Our men were very anxious to get to grips with the enemy on this day (May 18th), 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?"

[4] The casualties of the 10th Battalion during the fighting in April and May were 809. The casualties at Ypres alone were 600 of all ranks.

[5] Coy. Sergt.-Major G. R. Turner (now Lieutenant), of the 3rd Field Company, Canadian Engineers, who served with courage and coolness throughout the second battle of Ypres, and particularly 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 18th to 22nd he was in command 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.

[6] 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 particularly 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.

[7] 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.

[8] This was an attack made by the 7th 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.

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

[10] The 4th Canadian Battalion was under continuous fire at Festubert through ten days and eleven nights. On the morning of May 27th 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 volunteered 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.

[11] The following is Sir John French's official reason for bringing the battle of Festubert to a close:—"I had now reasons to consider that the battle which was commenced by the 1st Army on May 9th and renewed on the 16th, 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 "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.

"Of fifteen hundred Englishmen,
    Went home but fifty-three;
The rest were slain in Chevy-Chace,
    Under the greenwood tree."
                                        OLD SCOTCH BALLAD.

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 them.

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 7th 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 1st Canadian (Ontario) Battalion, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Hill, of the 1st 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." Working parties from the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Battalions were detailed to secure the lines of trenches taken by the 1st 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 1st Canadian Battalion (Ontario Regiment) moved up, and at three o'clock on the afternoon of June 15th, 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 Battalion was held by the 2nd and 4th Canadian Battalions as far as the La Bassée 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 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 18-pounder guns, which had been placed in the infantry trenches under the cover of darkness on the instructions of Brigadier-General Burstall, 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]

Just before six o'clock a mine, previously prepared by the sappers, was exploded. Owing to the discovery 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 depôt of bombs was buried under the débris. Another bomb-depôt 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 themselves.

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 irresistible, and almost immediately the company was in possession of the German front trench and "Dorchester"; but those who were opposite to "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 1st 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 die 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 forward 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 machine-gun and rifle fire from "Stony Mountain" itself.

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 consolidate 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 Captain 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 command, and led the company with bravery and good sense.

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 difficult, 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. Afterwards, 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 glory."

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 "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 trench.

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 Business College. History relates he was singing the trench version of "I wonder how the old folks are at home," when the mine exploded and he was buried. By the time he had dug himself out he discovered 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 increased 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.[2] 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 Strathroy. 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 bringing 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 "Stony Mountain," and the German line north of that fort. The Canadians held their ground, however, hoping for the ultimate success of the attack on the left, in the face of heavy pressure 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 withdrawal 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 lbs., 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 necessary 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 entanglements 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 Maclaren, also of New Brunswick, who watched over him with tender care in a hospital under canvas, of 1,080 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 1st Canadian Battalion (Ontario Regiment) were brilliantly directed by General Mercer, who commanded the Brigade. He is a man of mature years, a philosopher by nature and a lawyer by profession, always calm and even-tempered, and not given to too many words.

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 Commanding 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 daylight under heavy shell and rifle fire and brought the wounded man in.

Two days later, on the 18th, 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 Englishman, 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 celebrated 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.

[1] On June 12th the 4th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, commanded by Major Geo. H. Ralston, received orders to place two guns in our front-line trench, at "Duck's Bill," and to have them dug in and protected by sandbags by the morning of the 15th. 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 14th, 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 Stockwell 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. 1, and the Left Section gun by Lieut. L. S. Kelly, with Sergeant E. G. MacDougall as No. 1.

On the afternoon of the 15th, the batteries of the Division commenced 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 instantly 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. 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 Brunswick, and is a graduate of McGill University in Electrical Engineering, again did valuable work on the following night in removing the two guns from the trench back to safety.

[2] 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.



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 Armentières—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 presenting the Colours to Colonel Farquhar, the Commanding 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 distinguished 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."

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 mediæval days, that he would justify the belief in its future so proudly expressed 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 circumstance 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 80th 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 valuable 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 Battalion 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 detachment 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 occupied long enough to complete the work of demolishing 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 damp.

On March 1st the enemy made a vigorous attack on the Princess Patricias with bombs and shell fire. Between the 1st 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 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 improvement in 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 13th, while the Princess Patricias were in billets, the Germans, perhaps in reply to our 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 counterattack to arrest any further development.

The Battalion was billeted in Westoutre, where, at 5.30 on March 14th, 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 towards the eastern end of Voormezeele. The Battalion Commander, therefore, as a precaution against surprise, detailed Number 4 Company of the Battalion 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:—

Map--the Voormezeele-St. Eloi area
Map—the Voormezeele-St. Eloi area

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 proceed 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 progress 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 without 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 Battalion 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 daylight, 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 resolution, 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 steadiness throughout a trying and unsuccessful night, and at daylight withdrew over open ground without Voormezeele, reaching Dickebush about 8 a.m.

On March 20th the Battalion sustained a severe loss in the death, by a stray bullet, of its Commanding Officer, Colonel Farquhar. He had been Military Secretary to the Duke of Connaught. This distinguished officer had done more for the Battalion than it would be possible in a short chapter to record. The Regiment, in fact, was his creation. 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 Regiment.

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 9th 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 20th, 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 trenches.

From April 21st and through the following days of the second battle of Ypres the Regiment remained 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 subsidiary 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 rearguard 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 unhealthy 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 command. 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. Throughout 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 movement 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 servants 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 sweeping the parapets of both the fire and support trenches. An orderly took a note to Brigade Headquarters 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 impossible 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.[2]

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 resolution. A storm of machine-gun and rifle fire checked the assailants, who were forced, after a few indecisive 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 contact 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 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 completely buried in the débris. Conscious or unconscious, 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 communicating 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 communication 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 detachment of the 4th Rifle Brigade was sent up in reinforcement 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, protected by trees and hedges. They also sent a machine-gun and section, which rendered invaluable service.

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 accompanied him both coming and going were hit by high explosive shells.

At 3 p.m. a detachment of the 2nd King's Shropshire 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 battalions 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 preceded 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-bearers.

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 Regiment 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 proceed 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 10th 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 13th 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 successfully made the last exertion which was asked of them at this period of the war.

On May 15th Major Pelly arrived from England, where he had been invalided on March 15th, 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 Armentières 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 returning after wounds, and reinforcements from Canada, brought the Battalion up to full strength again.

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 27th 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 27th, 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 Regiment 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.

[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 delightful of comrades, and bravest of men."

[2] 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.



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 commencement 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 steadfast 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 disarmament 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 personality which was likely to make a swift or facile appeal to that collective Imperial opinion whose conclusions matter so much more than the conclusions of any individual part of the Empire. Modest, unassuming, superior to the arts of advertisement, 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 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 convulsion.

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 deliberations 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 contribution to the British Fleet. The passage is worth recalling:—

"The next ten or twenty years will be pregnant 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 sustaining 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 determination 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."

This gift of wise and spacious speech has been used more than once with extreme impressiveness—notably at the Guildhall—during the Prime Minister'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 penetrate humanity, are in the balance to-day. Therefore we cannot, because we must not, fail in this war."

It was my duty to accompany Sir Robert Borden on the visit which 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 16th, he motored to Shorncliffe, accompanied by Sir George Parley and Mr. R. B. Bennett, M.P. There he met General Hughes. At nine o'clock on the morning of the 17th 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 1st 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 1st 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 20th. 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, commanded 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 suffering.

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 Captain Muntz, of the 3rd Battalion Toronto Regiment, Major Ward, of the Princess Patricias, whose fruit farm in the Okanagan Valley lies fallow, and Lieutenant Campbell, of the 1st Battalion Ontario Regiment, 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 Hospital, 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. Everywhere 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 MacLaren, Colonel Finlay, Colonel Cameron, and many others, if they ever reflect upon the immense private sacrifices they have made, would draw rich compensation 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 rendering 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 Campaign.

At noon Sir Robert reached the Canadian Divisional 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 personality 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." General Wood spent some years at the Royal Military College at Kingston, Ontario, and there acquired a great knowledge of, and sympathy with, the Canadian 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 1st Division, and the 1st 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 Burstall, and after a visit to the Army Service Corps, under Colonel Simpson, he parted from General Alderson and his fine command.[2]

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-command 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 sunshine. Overhead two enemy aeroplanes flew, and there followed them persistently through the sky bursting shells of shrapnel.

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

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 Government—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 position and the prospects of the Allied forces in the field.

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 conversation 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, Montcalm, 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 ever 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 Government in Paris and in discussion with the French President and the Minister of War. Here again Sir Robert met with the most distinguished kindness. 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 Canadian 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 unaffected 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 organisation 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 hospital 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 1st Ontario Regiment who attacked on June 15th.

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 him.

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 recollect 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 humanity.

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 statesmen of Europe.

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

[2] Before returning to England, Sir Robert Borden sent the following message to General Alderson, which was circulated in Orders of July 30th:—"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 conveying 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."



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—Inspection 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.

    "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 confronted 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, therefore, the quality, of the men whose trenches it was our lot to watch by night and by day.

Knowing, however, that their reconnaissance parties 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 27th. 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 successful. 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 fighting left the field entirely free for the sharpshooter in July.

It was during the fighting at Givenchy in June, 1915, that four snipers of the 8th Canadian Battalion (Winnipeg Rifles) agreed to record their professional 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 me 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 90th Winnipeg 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 particular 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 positions 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 mention 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 grenade. He was told to be a bomber; so he became a bomber, and everything he threw exploded with precision. His Colonel made a Corporal of him. As Corporal he added to his duties of throwing 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. Finding 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 expatiates 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 break.

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 inarticulate, 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 organisation, 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 traditions 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 thoroughness and swiftness which gives them a superb confidence, 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 popularly 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."

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]

War makes men's minds simple and sentimental. Without sentiment, armies could never, in free communities, 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 Expeditionary 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 succumbed.

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 employed 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 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 representative 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 Canada.

The next day, accompanied by Prince Alexander, the Minister met General Alderson and his Staff near Armentières. 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 undergone.

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 2nd 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 Headquarters, 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 1st 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 Panet.

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 impressed.

On Tuesday he went to Rheims, where he was met by General D'Espéré, of the French 1st Army, in whose company he witnessed the terrible traces of recent heavy fighting—shattered caissons, splintered gun carriages, and ruined buildings, and, above all, that towering monument to German "frightfulness"—the shattered mass of the great cathedral.

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 destroyer.

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.[2] The enemy sometimes 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 requirements 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 brilliantly led the 1st Division in the terrible and hard-fought battles in Flanders, was appointed to command the Corps.

General Alderson is a soldier with great experience 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 leadership, 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,[3] 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 be 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 capable.

Professor Goldwin Smith wrote of the Canadians:—"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." And he joyfully quoted Cobden. "Loyalty is an ironical term to apply to people who neither obey our orders nor hold themselves liable to fight our battles."

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 resourceful, 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 stubbornly 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.

[1] The classic example of this form of eloquence is contained in Napoleon's address to the Army of Italy, made on April 26th, 1796.

"Soldiers! 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 everything, you have accomplished everything. You have won battles without cannon, crossed rivers without bridges, made forced marches without boots, bivouacked without brandy, and often 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.'"

[2] It was on August 1st 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 shell. In spite of the fact that the position was still under persistent shell fire, that the small-arms ammunition was exploding 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.

[3] Prior to its departure for France the 2nd Division was commanded 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.



To the First Division.

On February 4th, 1915, His Majesty the King inspected the 1st 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 Men:

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 overcoming 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 gratitude 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 Division 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 1st 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 appearance at this inspection testifies to the thoroughness and devotion to duty with which your work has been performed. You are going to meet hardships and dangers, but the steadiness 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 victory.



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 excellent 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. 1 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 élan, 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 20th. His loss will be deeply felt.

Sir John French's Despatch, April 5th, 1915.

MARCH 14th, 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 1st Leinster Regiment, the 4th Rifle Brigade, and the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

Sir John French's Despatch, April 5th, 1915.


On February 15th 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 20th.

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 1st 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 5th, 1915.


It was at the commencement of the second battle of Ypres, on the evening of April 22nd, referred to in Paragraph 1 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 Division.

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 Division had one battalion in divisional reserve, and the 1st 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 attacked the French Division about 5 p.m., using asphyxiating gases for the first time. Aircraft reported 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 position had to be abandoned, together with about fifty guns.

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 conviction 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 behind 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 1st Army to be held in readiness to meet eventualities.

In the confusion of the gas and smoke the Germans succeeded in capturing the bridge at Steenstraate 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 apprehensive of his succeeding in driving a wedge between the French and Belgian troops at this point.

I directed, therefore, that some of the reinforcements sent north should be used to support and assist General Putz, should he find difficulty in preventing 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 maintain 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 artillery 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 neighbourhood 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 Canadian Division from the point where it had originally joined the French line.

During the night 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 uninterruptedly 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 15th I moved the Canadian Division into the 1st Corps area and placed them at the disposal of Sir Douglas Haig.


On May 19th 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 Division by the 51st (Highland) Division.

Sir Douglas Haig placed the Canadian and 51st Divisions, together with the artillery of the 2nd and 7th Divisions, under the command of Lieut.-General Alderson, whom he directed to conduct the operations which had hitherto been carried on by the General Officer Commanding 1st Corps; and he directed the 7th Division to remain in Army Reserve.

During the night of the 19th-20th a small post of the enemy in front of La Quinque Rue was captured.

During the night of the 20th-21st 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 51st (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 1st Army were engaged in several minor operations. By an attack delivered on the evening of June 15th, after a prolonged bombardment, the 1st 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 15th.



Speeches of the Right Hon. Sir Robert Laird
Borden, G.C.M.G., M.P.


At the Canadian Club, Winnipeg, on December 29th, 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 conscious of the complexity of the problem thus presented, 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 consideration of statesmen.


At a meeting of the United Kingdom Branch of
the Empire Parliamentary Association, House
of Commons, July 13th, 1915.

I appreciate very sincerely, and very warmly as well, what Mr. Bonar 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 unprepared 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—artillery, 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 organisation 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, unprepared 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 comprehend 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 accomplish 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 perhaps 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 continue 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 preservation 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 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 Kingdom and the Overseas Dominions. It is not desirable, nor perhaps becoming, that I should dwell upon these considerations to-day. I said what I had to say on the subject with considerable frankness 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 reception 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 15th, 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 ancestors.


At the Guildhall, on being presented with the
Freedom of the City of London, July 19th, 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 civilisation across the centuries, the progress and development 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 permitted 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 themselves would drive the far-flung nations of our Empire asunder, have found that that very circumstance, 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 appreciation 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 pervade 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 overmastering impulse contributing to this wonderful result.

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 independence 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 world.

We must not forget that in this war we are confronting the power of a military autocracy more highly organised, and more formidable, perhaps than was ever nation before in history. 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 institutions. We have always cherished in these islands, and in the Oversea Dominions as well, the ideal of orderly government coupled with that of individual 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, because 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 Overseas 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 convalescents 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 4th, 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 decadent 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 necessary 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 accomplished 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 grateful, 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 well.

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 fortitude 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 forgotten 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 resources 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 21st. 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 munitions 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 concerns 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 civilisation 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 prosperity, 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 increased. 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 comforted 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-operation, 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 perhaps 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 6th, 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 intended 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 responsibilities 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.



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 1st 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 situation 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." 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 1st Canadian Division to the new Commander, General Currie, C.B.:—

On handing over the command of the 1st 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 commanded 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 1st 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.





                                                           HONOUR OR
  RANK AND NAME.                     UNIT.                 GRANTED.

  Major Chisholm, H. A.
    (D.A.D.M.S.)             1st 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.  Mention.
  Lt.-Col. Hamilton,
    G. T. (D.A.A.G.)         General Headquarters, 3rd
                               Echelon                     Mention.
  Lt.-Col. MacBrien, J. H.
    (D.A.A. & Q.M.G.)        1st Divisional Headquarters
                               Staff                       D.S.O.  Mention.
  Col. Romer, C. F.
    (G.S.O.)                 1st Divisional 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.
    J. F. H.Q.,              1st Can. Inf. Bde.            D.S.O.  Mention.
  Capt.  Ware, F. D.
    (Staff Captain)                "            "          Mention.
  Br.-Gen. Mercer, M. S.           "            "          C.B.  Mention.
  Lt. Sprinks, W. D.         4th Can. Inf. Bde.            M.C.
  Major Kimmins, A. E.       1st Can. Inf. Bn.             Mention.
  Capt. Parks, J. H.               "            " H.Q.     D.S.O.  Mention.
  Lt. Campbell, F. W..             "            "          V.C.
  Lt. Culling, E. C.         2nd Can. Inf. Bn.             Mention.
    Temp. Capt.
  Lt.-Col. Watson, D.              "            "          Mention.
  Capt. Turner, A. G.              "            "          M.C.  Mention.
  Capt. Lyne-Evans,
    J. H.                    3rd Can. Inf. Bn.             M.C.  Mention.
  Capt. Haywood, A. K.       M.O. 3rd Bn.                  M.C.  Mention.
  Lt.-Col. Birchall, A. P.   4th Can. Inf. Bn.             Mention.
    C. O.
  Capt. Glover, J. D., Adjt.                               Mention.
  Major Ballantyne, J.             "            "          D.S.O.  Mention.
  Lt.-Col. H. Kemmis
    Betty                   2nd Can. Inf. Bde. H.Q.        D.S.O.  Mention.
  Capt. Clark, R. P.               "            "          Mention.
  Br.-Gen. Currie, A. W.    G.O.C. 1st Can. Div.           C.B. Also awarded
                                                             Legion of Honour,
                                                             Croix de
  Lt.-Col. Tuxford, G. S.   5th Can. Inf. Bn               Mention.
  Major Pragnell, G. S. T.         "            "          D.S.O.  Mention.
  Lt. Currie, J. M.                "            "          Mention.
  Capt. Anderson, S. J.            "            "          D.S.O.
  Lt.-Col. Armstrong,
    C. J.                   H.Q. Can. Divl. Engrs.         Mention.
  Capt. Macphail,   A.
    Temp. Maj. 21/5/15.     1st F.C., Can. Engrs.          D.S.O.  Mention.
  Lt. Hertzberg, H. F. H.   2nd F.C., Can. Engrs.          M.C.  Mention.
  Major Wright, G. B.       3rd F.C., Can. Engrs.          D.S.O.  Mention.
  Capt. Kilburn, F. C.      Can. Divl. Sig. Co.            Mention.
  Major Lister, F. A.              "            "          D.S.O.  Mention.
  Lt.-Col. Simson, W. A.    H.Q. Can. Divl. Train          Mention.
  Lt. Webb, R. H.           No. 1 Co. Can. Divl. Train     M.C.  Mention.
  Major Duval, J. L.         No. 1 Can. Fld. 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. Fld. 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. Fld. 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. 1. 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.      1st Can. Arty. Bde.           Mention.
  Capt. White, D. A.
    (2nd Bty.)                     "               "       Mention.
                             o/c 2nd Battery.
  Lt. Craig, C. S.
    (4th Bty.)               1st 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.
    (7th Bty.)                     "               "       Mention.
  Lt.-Col. Mitchell, J. H.   3rd Can. Arty. Bde.           Mention.  Also
    (Bde. Staff).                                            awarded Legion
                                                             of Honour,
                                                             Croix d'Officier
  Lt. Greene, E. A.
    (9th Bty.)               3rd Can. Arty. Bde.           Mention.
  Major King, W. B. M.
    (10th Bty.)                    "              "        D.S.O.  Mention.
                             o/c 8th How. Bde.
  Major Carscallen, H. G.
    (11th Bty.)              3rd Can. Arty. Bde.           Mention.
  Capt. Nash, J. P. P.       5th Can. Arty.-Bde.           D.S.O.
  Lt. Anderson, J. G.              "            "          M.C.
  Lt.-Col. Hart-McHarg,      7th Can. Inf. Bn.             Mention.
    W. F. R.
  Major Odlum, V. W.                                       D.S.O.  Mention.
    Temp. Lt.-Col.
  Lt.-Col. Lipsett, L. J.    8th Can. Inf. Bn.             C.M.G.  Mention.
  Major Matthews, H. H.            "            "          D.S.O.  Mention.
  Lt. McLeod, N. G. M.
    Temp. Capt.
    24/4/15                        "            "          M.C.  Mention.
  Lt. Scott, J. N.                 "            "          M.C.  Mention.
  Lt.-Col. Boyle, R. L.      10th Can. Inf. Bn.            Mention.
  Major McLaren, J.                "            "          Mention.
  Capt. Arthur, C. G.              "            "          D.S.O.  Mention.
  Major Ormond, D. M.        10th Can. Inf. Bn.            Order of St. Stan-
                                                             islas, 3rd Class.
  Lt.-Col. Hughes, G. B.     H.Q. 3rd Can. Inf. Bde.       D.S.O.  Mention.
    G. S. O.
  Capt. Pope, E. W.                "            "          Mention.
  Br.-Gen. Turner, R.
    E. W., V.C., D.S.O.            "            "          C.B.  Mention.
  Lt.-Col. Loomis,
    F. O. W.                 13th Can. Inf. Bn.            D.S.O.  Mention.
  Major Norsworthy,                "            "          Mention.
    E. C.
  Major McCuaig, D. R.             "            "          D.S.O.  Mention.
  Lt.-Col. Meighen, F. S.    14th Can. Inf. Bn.            Mention.
  Lt.-Col. Burland, W. W.          "                       D.S.O.  Mention.
  Capt. Scrimger, F. A. C.         "            "          V.C.
  Major Marshall, W. R.
    Temp. Lt.-Col.
    9/5/15                   o/c 15th Can. Inf. Bn.        D.S.O.  Mention.
  Capt. Alexander, G. M.           "            "          M.C.  Mention.
  Lt.-Col. Leckie, R. G. E.  16th Can. Inf. Bn.            C.M.G.  Mention.
  Maj. Godson-Godson, G.     16th Can. Inf. Bn.            D.S.O.  Mention.
  Capt. Merritt, C. Mack.          "            "          Mention.
  Lt. McLean, V. A.                                        Order of St. Anne,
                                                             4th Class.
  Capt. Morison, F.,               "            "          D.S.O.
    Temp. Maj. 14/6/15/
  Lt. Dennistoun, J. R.      Can. Divl. Mtd. Tps.
                               (Cyclist Coy.)              Mention.
  Lt. Scandrett, J. H.
    (12th Bty.)              3rd Can. Arty. Bde.           M.C.  Mention.
  Lt. Ryerson, A. C.
    (Ammn. Col.)             3rd C.F.A                     Mention.
  Maj. Lambarde, F. F.       118th How. Bde., R.F.A        D.S.O.  Mention.
    (458th 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.
    (L.S.H.)                       "               "       D.S.O.





Other Ranks.

  REGTL. NO.                                                     OR REWARD
  AND RANK.        NAME                 UNIT                     GRANTED.

  48009 S.M.       Clifton, A. E.       Divl. Hd.-Qrs.           D.C.M.
                     (Hon. Lieut. R.O. 1932 C.T.D.C.O. 397 D.M.S. 16/8/15
   1822 Q.M.S.     Cook, G. S.          Divl. Hd.-Qrs.           Mention.
   1825 S.Sgt.     Butt, H. G. B.         "      "               Mention.
  33304 L/Cpl.     McDonald, W.           "      "               Mention.
   7117 Pte.       Barrass, Wm. E.      1st Can. Inf. Bn.        St. George's
                                                                   Cross, 4th
   6264 L/Cpl.     Rouse, Chas. E.        "      "               Medal of St.
                                                                   George, 4th
   6245 Pte.       McGrimmon, H. W.       "      "               Medal of St.
                                                                   George, 4th
   7097 L/Cpl.     Whitla, W.             "      "               D.C.M.
   6972 Sgt.       Wakelin, F.            "      "               D.C.M.
   6771 M.G.Sgt.   Aiken, M. J.           "      "               Mention.
   9517 Sgt.       Jones, W. E.           "      "               Mention.
   6712 Pte.       Moore, G.              "      "               Mention.
   6409 C.S.M.     Owen, C.               "      "               D.C.M.
   6920 Pte.       Gledhill V.            "      "               D.C.M.
   6861 Pte.       Vincent H.             "      "               D.C.M.
   8631 Sgt.       Gardiner, E.         2nd Can. Inf. Bn.        St. George's
                                                                   Cross, 3rd
  22900 L/Cpl.     Marchant, J. S.      2nd Can. Inf. Bn.        St. George's
                                                                   Cross, 4th
   7980 Pte.       Highstone, A. S.       "      "               D.C.M.
  22844 Cpl.       Batchelor, C. W.       "      "               D.C.M.
  22846 Sgt.       Birdseye, R. W         "      "               D.C.M.
   8603 Sgt.       Bussell, E. W.         "      "               Mention.
   8569 Pte.       McGuire, T.            "      "               D.C.M.
   9062 L/Cpl.     Graveley, W. K.      3rd Can. Inf. Bn.        St. George's
                                                                   Cross, 4th
   9101 Cpl.       Percy, Andrew          "      "               Medal of St.
                                                                   George, 3rd
   9862 Sgt.       Ives, P.               "      "              D.C.M.
   9067 Sgt.       Adamson, S. L.         "      "              D.C.M.
   9342 L/Cpl.     Minns, E. H.           "      "              Mention.
   9389 Sgt.       Mote, G. A.            "      "              D.C.M.
  63983 Sgt.       Hobday, S. G.          "      "              D.C.M.
  11317 A/Sgt.     Elliott, T.          4th Can. Inf. Bn.       St. George's
                                                                  Cross, 4th
  19103 Pte.       Broomfield, D. J.      "      "              Medal of St.
                                                                  George, 3rd
  10865 Pte.       Sheppard, A.           "      "              Medal of St.
                                                                  George, 4th
  10857 Sgt.       Kay, A. W.             "      "              D.C.M.
  10940 Pte.       Shipman, E.            "      "              Mention.
  11187 Pte.       Wright, F. L.          "      "              Mention.
  10538 L/Sgt.     Hart, W. E.            "      "              D.C.M.
                     (Lieut. promoted 14/10/15.)
  13821 Sgt.       Johnson, J.          5th Can. Inf. Bn.       Medal of St.
                                                                  George, 2nd
  21584 Cpl.       Crawford, W. M.        "      "              Medal of St.
                                                                  George, 3rd
  13357 Pte.       Cowell, J. D.          "      "              D.C.M.
  21855 Pte.       Joslyn, R. W.          "      "              D.C.M.
  13022 Pte.       Maguire, T.            "      "              D.C.M.
  13204 Cpl.       White, G. A            "      "              D.C.M.
  13760 Pte.       McIvor, N.             "      "              Mention.
  12605 Pte.       Hester, E.             "      "              D.C.M.
  12877 Sgt.       McKue, J. M.           "      "              D.C.M.
  16241 Sgt.       Weeks, H. H.         7th Can. Inf. Bn.       St. George's
                                                                  Cross, 4th
  16425 Pte.       Farmer, J.           7th Can. Inf. Bn.        Medal of St.
                                                                   George, 4th
  16420 Sgt.       Dryden, W. H           "      "               D.C.M.
  16246 Sgt.       Fearless, H. N.        "      "               D.C.M.
  16576 L/Cpl.     Mullins, T. M.         "      "               D.C.M.
  16608 Cpl.       Odlum, J. W.           "      "               Mention.
    729 Pte.       Nuttall, E.          8th Can. Inf. Bn.        St. George's
                                                                   Cross, 4th
   1616 Sig/Sgt.   Thornton, J.           "      "                 Medal of St.
                                                                 Cross, 4th
   1058 R.S.M.     Robertson, Wm.         "      "               Mention.
   1539 C.S.M.     Hall, F. W.            "      "               V.C.
    478 L/Cpl.     Payne, J. A. K.        "      "               Mention.
    508 Pte.       Walters, H.            "      "               D.C.M.
    601 C.S.M.     Hay, J.                "      "               D.C.M.
   6545 S.M.       Good, R. G.          10th Can. Inf. Bn.       Medal of St.
                   (Temp. Capt.                                    George, 1st
                   23/5/15).                                       Class.
                   (Struck off 9/8/15 permanently unfit, Med. Board).
  19616 L/Cpl.     Allan, G. W.         10th Can. Inf. Bn        D.C.M.
  11910 Cpl.       Ross, T. O.            "      "               D.C.M.
  19637 Sgt.       Schultz, S.            "      "               D.C.M.
  19491 Pte.       Bloxham, G. H.         "      "               D.C.M.
  19617 L/Sgt.     Palmer, J. E.          "      "               D.C.M.
  19589 L/Cpl.     King, H. W.            "      "               D.C.M.
  20743 Cpl.       Baker, W. H.           "      "               "Croix de
  29900 Q.M.S.     Birch, G. R.         2nd Div. Hd.-Qrs         St. George's
                                                                   Cross, 4th
  24583 Cpl.       Campbell, J. J.      13th Can. Inf. Bn.       Medal of St.
                                                                   George, 1st
  24789 Sgt.       Key, R.                "      "               Medal of St.
                                                                   George, 2nd
  46799 Pte.       Danson, H.           Div. Sig. Coy.             D.C.M.

  24001 R.S.M.     Jeffery, J.          13th Can. Inf. Bn.       M.C.  Mention.
                   (Officer 13th Bn. Temp. Capt. 24/4/15.)
  24061 C.S.M.     Trainor, J.          13th Can. Inf. Bn.       Mention.
  24201 Cpl.       Reid, F. J.            "      "               Medal of St.
                                                                   George, 4th
  24066 L/Cpl.     Fisher, F.             "      "               V.C.
  25669 Sgt.       Worrall, R.          4th Can. Inf. Bn.        St. George's
                                                                   Cross, 3rd
                     (Temp. Lieut. 9/5/15.)                        Class.
  26284 Pte.       Barrette, A.         14th Can. Inf. Bn.       Medal of St.
                                                                   George, 3rd
  26648 C.S.M.     Price, C. B            "      "               D.C.M.
                        (Temp. Lieut. 9/5/15.)
  25908 C.S.M.     Handcock. A.         14th Can. Inf. Bn.       Mention.
  25790 Sgt.       Hawkins, A. E          "      "               Mention.
  28776 Pte.       MacAtair, A.         Can. Divl. Sigl. Co.     D.C.M.
                      (H.Q., 3rd Can.
                      Inf. Bde.).
  23262 Pte.       Duncan, W.             "      "               D.C.M.
                      (H.Q. 3rd Can.
                      Inf. Bde.)
   5646 Cpl.       Casstles, E.           "      "               D.C.M.
   5696 Cpl.       Kennedy, B. E.         "      "               D.C.M.
   5753 Pte.       Stewart, H. R          "      "               Medal of St.
                                                                   George, 4th
  30004 Sgt.       MacDonald, J.        Hd.-Qrs. Co. Can. Divl.  D.C.M.
  30115 Dr.        Pate, S. A.            "      "               D.C.M.
  30183 Dr.        Barton, Geo.         No. 2 Co. Can. Divl.     Medal of St.
                                          Train                    George, 4th
  32713 Sgt.       Brown, T. M.         1st Can. Field Amb.      St. George's
                                                                   Cross, 4th
  32758 Sgt.       Smith, W. B.           "      "               Mention.
  32922 Pte.       Trotter, E.            "      "               Mention.
  36210 Pte.       Sharman, J. D.         "      "               Mention.
  33191 Pte.       Turner, F.           2nd Can. Field Amb.      Medal of St.
                                                                   George, 3rd
  32979 Sgt.       McKay, J. W.           "      "               Mention.
  33214 Pte.       Youldon, J. G.         "      "               Mention.
  33099 Pte.       Leishman, W. M.        "      "               Mention.
  33047 Pte.       Dalton, J.             "      "               Mention.
  28722 Pte.       Chester, R. M.         "      "               Mention.
                    (Temp. Lieut. 7/11/15.)
  33060 Pte.       Farr, C. J. E.       2nd Can. Field Amb.      Mention.
  33470 Pte.       Tomkins, C. B.       3rd Can. Field Amb.      Medal of St.
                                                                   George, 4th
  32773 Sgt.       Kinsell, J. G.       3rd Can. Field Amb.      Mention.
                   (C.A.S.C. Attached-
  33259 S/Sgt.     Milborne, A. J. B.     "      "               Mention.
  33461 Cpl.       Stewart, H. G.         "      "               Mention.
  33280 L/Cpl.     Bartley, A.            "      "               Mention.
  33470 Pte.       Tompkins, C. B.        "      "               Mention.
  33358 Cpl.       Head, R. L.            "      "               Mention.
  33408 Pte.       Millen, A.             "      "               Mention.
  33365 Pte.       Holloway, W. J.      3rd Can. Field Amb.      Mention.
  26354 Pte.       Mallette, J. R.      14th Can. Inf. Bn.       D.C.M.
  25540 R.S.M.     Stephenson, J. M.      "      "               "Medaille
  27155 Sgt.       Calder, J. M.        15th Can. Inf. Bn.       D.C.M.
  27210 Pte.       Kerr, M. K.            "      "               Mention.
  27892 Sgt.       Flood, W. J.           "      "               Mention.
  27001 R.M.S.     Keith, Jas.            "      "               Mention.
  28874 Sgt.       Dougall, J.          16th Can. Inf. Bn.       D.C.M.
  29519 Sgt.       Lunn, B. C.            "      "               D.C.M.
  29524 Cpl.       Heath, G. C.           "      "               Mention.
  29418 Pte.       Bizley, J. W.          "      "               Mention.
  29047 L/Cpl.     Minchin, A. W.         "      "               Mention.
   5591 S.M.       Ridgwell, S. A.      Hd.-Qrs. Can. Divl.
                                          Engrs.                 Mention.
   5154 L/Cpl.     McIntyre, H. P.      1st Fld. Co. Can.
                                                   Engrs.        St. George's
                                                                   Cross, 4th
   5077 L/Cpl.     Casement, R. J.        "      "               D.C.M.
   5087 2nd Cpl.   Evans, A. J. L.        "      "               Mention.
                     (Lieut. 24/7/15.)
   3209 Sgt.       Smith-Rewse,
                     M. B. W.           1st Fld. Co. Can.
                                            Engrs                Mention.
                         (Temp. Lieut. 9/5/15.)
                         (Killed in Action 22/5/15.)
   5301 C.S.M.     Chetwynd, G. R.      2nd Fld. Co. Can.
                                          Engrs.                 Mention.
                         (Lieut. 25/10/15.)
   5310 Sgt.       Ferris, C. B.        2nd Fld. Co. Can.        "Croix de
  45049 L/Cpl.     Borrie, W. J.        3rd Fld. Co. Can.
                                          Engrs.                 Medal of St.
                                                                   George, 3rd
  45006 Sgt.       Turner, G. R.          "      "               Mention.
                      (Temp. Lieut. 13/9/15.)
  22046 Pte.       Dunham, A. W.        1st Can. Div. Mtd. Tps.  Medal of St.
                                          (Cyclist Co.).           George, 3rd
   1944 Pte.       Aitken, G. T.        1st Can. Div. Mtd. Tps.  Medal of St.
                                                                   George, 4th
   5679 Cpl.       Hudson, H.           Can. Divl. Sigl. Co.     St. George's
                     (H.Q., 2nd Can.                               Cross, 3rd
                      Inf. Bde.).                                  Class.
   5601 Coy.S.M.   May, H. T.             "      "               St. George's
                                                                   Cross, 4th
   5674 Sgt.       Gale, T.               "      "               Medal of St.
                                                                   George, 2nd
  21190 Pte.       Quigley, H. S.         "      "               D.C.M.
                     (Hd.-Qrs. 2nd Can. Inf. Bde.).
                     (Temp. Lieut. 19/9/15.)
   5615 Pte.       Adams, H. M.         Can. Divl. Sigl. Co.     D.C.M.
                     (Hd.-Qrs. 3rd Can. Inf. Bde.).
  33387 Pte.       Lisney, F. J.        3rd Can. Fld. Amb.       Mention.
  33442 Q.M.S.     Rotsey, A. E.          "      "               Mention.
  33303 L/Cpl.     Cameron, H. T.         "      "               D.C.M.
   1047 Sgt.       Morris, D.           Can. Cav. Brigade        D.C.M.
                     (K.E.H. Imperial
   1517 S.S.M.     Collins, G. S.         "      "               D.C.M.
    221 Cpl.       Pym, T. S.             "      "               D.C.M.
  C40085 Bdr.      Wilkinson, H. E.     1st Can. Fld. A. Bde.    D.C.M.
                     (Bde. Staff).
  C40106 Cpl.      Lamplough, L. A.       "      "               Mention.
                     (1st Battery).
  C40440 S.M.      Donaldson, J. W. A.    "      "               D.C.M.
                     (2nd Battery).
  C40870 Cpl.      Ritchie, A. B.         "      "               D.C.M.
                     (Ammn. Col.).
  C42001 B.S.M.    Kerry, H. G.           "      "               Medal of St.
                     (4th Battery).                                George, 2nd
  C40217 Sgt.      MacInnes, W.           "      "                 "Croix de
  C41055 A/Sgt.    Olsen, O. C.         2nd Can. Fld. A. Bde.    D.C.M.
                     (5th Battery).
  C41434 Q-M.S.    Milburn, A. R.         "      "               D.C.M.
                     (6th Battery).
  C41314 Cpl.      Shirley, J.            "      "               Mention.
                     (7th Battery).
  C41445 Sgt.      Hicks, A. S.         2nd Can. Fld. A. Bde.    Mention.
                     (8th Battery).
  C41034 Bdr.      Cotton, D. P.          "      "               St. George's
                     (5th Battery).                                Cross, 4th
  40195 Sgt.       Jacobs, M.           3rd Can. Fld. A. Bde.    Mention.
                     (Bde. Staff).
  42423 S.M.       Wildgoose, R.          "      "               Mention.
                     (9th Battery).
  C42509 Cpl.      Baker, R. F.           "      "               D.C.M.
                     (10th Battery).
  C40665 Gr.       James, A. W.           "      "               D.C.M.
                     (12th Battery)
  C42244 B.Q.Sgt.  Barnacal, Wm.          "      "               Mention.
                     (11th Battery).                               Medal of St.
                                                                   George, 2nd
  42635 Sgt.       Hayward, J.            "      "               Mention.
                     (Ammn. Col.).
  12835 B.S.M.     Armitage, J.         118th How. Bde.
                     (458th Battery).                R.F.A.      D.C.M.
  15093 Drvr.      Marks, F. T.           "      "               Mention.
                     (459th Battery).
  24362 Cpl.       Pobjoy, H.             "      "               Mention.
                     (Ammn. Col.).
   3368 Gr.        Gurr, A.               "      "               D.C.M.


  REGTL. NO.                                                  OR REWARD
  AND RANK.      NAME.                   UNIT.                GRANTED

         2/11/15 Lieut. A. W. Northover  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.



                                                                 1ST DIVISION

                           Killed in       Died of      Died of                     Prisoners
                            Action.        Wounds.   Diseases, etc.   Wounded.       of War.      Missing.     Total.

                      Officers.  Ranks.   O.   O.R.    O.    O.R.     O.    O.R.    O.    O.R.    O.  O.R.   O.     O.R.

  H.Q. 1st Divn.         --       --      --    --     --      1      --      4     --     --     --   --    --       5
  H.Q. 1st In. Be.       --       --      --    --     --     --      --     --     --     --     --   --    --      --
  1st Battn.             14      184       3    42     --      3      17    636      1      2      1   74    36     941
  2nd   "                 5      102       1    38     --      9      13    350      3    122      3  141    25     762
  3rd   "                 7      109       3    38      1      3      24    427      6    245     --   74    41     896
  4th   "                 8      107       2    44     --      5      24    632     --     --      1   42    33     730
  H.Q. 2nd In. Be.       --       --      --    --     --     --       3     --     --     --     --   --     3      --
  5th Battn.              7      112       5    53     --      1      20    611     --     26      1   25    33     828
  7th   "                 8      112       2    51     --      5      24    642      7    209      1  114    42   1,033
  8th   "                 5      127      --    41     --      1      23    438      5    149      1   45    34     801
  10th  "                14      121       4    57     --      2      24    638      2     26      1  118    45     962
  H.Q. 3rd In. Be.       --       --      --    --     --     --       2      7     --     --     --    1     2       8
  13th Battn.             4      119      --    45     --      7      22    492      2    141      2   65    30     869
  14th  "                 4       84      --    39     --      3      16    402     --     53      2   33    22     614
  15th  "                 3       77       2    80     --     15      11    353     10    223      3  144    29     892
  16th  "                 7      117       9    51     --      3      16    402     --     53      2   33    27     659
  1st Div. Cavalry       --       --      --     4     --      2      --      8     --     --     --   --    --      14
  1st Div. Cyclist       --        5      --     3     --      4       1     --     --     --     --   --     1      12
  H.Q. Mtd. Bde.         --       --      --    --     --     --       1     --     --     --     --   --     1      --
  L.S.H. (R.C.)           1       23      --    12     --      1       7    161     --     --     --    2     8     199
  Roy. Can. Drag.        --       10      --     6     --      2       4    107     --     --     --   --     4     125
  H.Q. Div. Art'y.       --       --      --    --     --     --      --      1     --     --     --   --    --       1
  1st. Bde. C.F.A.        1        9      --     9     --      3      10     79     --     --     --   --    11     100
  2nd   "     "           3       22      --     9     --      4       5    100     --     --     --   --     8     135
  3rd   "     "          --        9      --    11     --      2       9    114     --     --     --   --     9     136
  lst. Div. Ammn. Col.   --       --      --    --     --      1      --     13     --     --     --   --    --      14
  1st Hvy. Battery       --       --      --    --     --     --      --      6     --     --     --   --    --       6
  R.C.H.A.               --       --      --    --     --      1       2      4     --     --     --   --     2       5
  A.M.G. Bde.            --        1      --    --     --      1      --      5     --     --     --   --    --       7
  1st Div. Engrs.         3       23      --    14     --      4       3    115     --     --     --    3     6     159
  1st  "   Sig. Co.      --        2      --     1     --      3      --     14     --     --     --    1    --      21
  C.A.S.C.               --       --       1     2     --      4      --     27     --     --     --    2     1      35
  C.A.M.C.               --       --      --    12      3      4       4     37     --      2     --    1     7      56
  C.A.V.C.               --       --      --    --     --      2      --      1     --     --     --   --    --       3
  C.O.C.                 --       --      --    --     --      1      --     --     --     --     --   --    --       1
  C. Postal C.           --       --      --    --     --     --      --     --     --     --     --   --    --      --
  C.A.P.C.               --       --      --    --     --     --      --     --     --     --     --   --    --      --
  P.P.C.L.I.              7      203       3    52     --      7      22    551      1     15      2   58    35     886
  N/Sisters              --       --      --    --     --     --      --     --     --     --     --   --    --      --

  Totals                 99    1,678      28   714      4    104     307  7,177     37  1,266     20  976   495  11,915

                                                          2ND DIVISION.

                           Killed in       Died of      Died of                     Prisoners
                            Action.        Wounds.   Diseases, etc.   Wounded.       of War.      Missing.     Total.

                      Officers.  Ranks.   O.   O.R.    O.    O.R.     O.    O.R.    O.    O.R.    O.  O.R.   O.     O.R.

  H.Q. 2nd Divn.         --       --      --    --     --     --      --      1     --     --     --   --    --       1
  H.Q. 4 Inf. Bde.       --       --      --    --     --      1      --     --     --     --     --   --    --       1
  18th Battn.             2       11      --     1     --      5      --     44     --     --     --   --     2      61
  19th   "               --       10      --     6     --      4      --     53     --     --     --   --    --      73
  20th   "               --        8      --     3     --      3      --     33     --     --     --   --    --      47
  21st   "                1        7      --     4     --      2      --     44     --     --     --   --     1      57
  H.Q. 5 Inf. Bde.       --       --      --    --     --     --       1     --     --     --     --   --     1      --
  22nd Battn.             1       12      --     3     --      4       1     74     --      1     --   --     2      94
  24th   "               --       13      --     9     --      2       4     65     --     --     --   --     4      89
  25th   "               --       18      --     7     --      1       3     99     --     --     --    6     3     131
  26th   "               --       28       1     8     --      4       6     90     --     --     --    1     7     131
  H.Q. 6 Inf. Bde.       --       --      --    --     --     --      --     --     --     --     --   --    --      --
  27th Battn.            --       15      --     9     --      1       1     57     --     --     --   --     1      82
  28th   "               --       26      --    10     --      5       2     54     --     --     --    9     2     104
  29th   "               --        8      --     4     --      2       6     27     --     --     --    1     6      42
  31st   "                1       14      --     1     --      4      --     46     --     --     --   --     1      65
  2nd Div. Cavalry       --       --      --    --     --      1      --     --     --     --     --   --    --       1
  2nd  "   Cyclists      --       --      --    --     --     --      --     --     --     --     --   --    --      --
  H.Q. 1st Bde. C.M.R.   --       --      --    --     --     --      --     --     --     --     --   --    --      --
  1st Regt. C.M.R.        1       --      --    --     --     --      --      2     --     --     --   --     1       2
  2nd   "     "          --        1      --     2     --     --      --      8     --     --     --   --    --      11
  3rd   "     "          --       --       1    --     --     --       1      6     --     --     --   --     2       6
  H.Q. 2nd Bde. C.M.R.   --       --      --    --     --     --      --     --     --     --     --   --    --      --
  4th Regt. C.M.R.       --       --      --    --     --     --      --      5     --     --     --   --    --       5
  5th  "      "          --       --      --    --     --     --      --      4     --     --     --   --    --       4
  6th  "      "          --       --      --    --     --     --      --      4     --     --     --   --    --       4
  H.Q. 2nd Div. Art.     --       --      --    --     --     --      --     --     --     --     --   --    --      --
  4th Bde. C.F.A.        --       --      --    --     --     --      --      2     --     --     --   --    --       2
  5th  "     "           --       --      --    --     --     13      --      6     --     --     --    1    --      20
  6th How.   "           --       --      --    --     --      2      --     --     --     --     --   --    --       2
  2nd Div. Amm. Col.     --       --      --    --     --     --      --      1     --     --     --   --    --       1
  2nd Hvy. Battery       --       --      --    --     --     --      --     --     --     --     --   --    --      --
  Eaton's M. G. Battery  --       --      --    --     --     --      --     --     --     --     --   --    --      --
  Bordon's  "      "     --       --      --    --     --      1      --      2     --     --     --   --    --       3
  2nd Div. Engrs.         1        2      --     2     --      1       3     24     --     --     --   --     4      29
  2nd  "   Sig. Co.      --       --      --    --     --      1      --     --     --     --     --   --    --       1
  C.A.S.C.               --       --      --    --     --      1      --     --     --     --     --   --    --       1
  C.A.M.C.               --       --      --    --     --     --       1     --     --     --     --   --     1      --
  42nd Battn.             1        2      --     2     --     --      --      7     --     --     --   --     1      11
  49th Battn.            --        2      --     1     --      2       3     16     --     --     --   --     3      21
  R.C.R.                 --       --      --    --     --     --      --     --     --     --     --   --    --      --
  N/Sisters              --       --      --    --      2     --      --     --     --     --     --   --     2      --

  Totals                  8      177       2    72      2     60      32    774     --      1     --   18    44   1,102

                                                      GRAND TOTALS CASUALTIES.

  1st Division           99    1,678      28   714      4    104     307  7,177     37  1,266     20  976   495  11,915
  2nd Division            8      177       2    72      2     60      32    774     --      1     --   18    44   1,102

  GRAND TOTALS          107    1,855      30   786      6    164     339  7,951     37  1,267     20  994   639  13,017








"I have no hesitation in saying that Sir Max Aitken is to be ranked with Sir William Napier in the power of describing a battle. The book should be in the hands of every reader in the Empire, for the inspiring quality of it, its nobility, its bravery. It is in his description of the part played by the Canadians in the Battle of Ypres that Sir Max Aitken touches his highest, and that is so high that hardly anyone has surpassed it. Even Napier has written nothing better than Sir Max Aitken's account of the second battle of Ypres—a battle which we won, surely, by the direct grace of God."—Sir W. Robertson Nicoll in the British Weekly.


"Excellently done.... With the aid of excellent sketch maps every phase can here be followed of the fight in which the Canadians, first alone, and then foremost among the reinforcements, improvised and maintained a living barrier against the flood of the German army which had poured through the great breach on the British flank, and thus averted, in Sir John French's significant words, a 'disaster which might have been attended with the most serious consequences.'"—The Times.


"The story of how the Canadians fought at Neuve Chapelle, Ypres, at Givenchy, at Festubert, as he tells it here, is as absorbing as ever, and our pride in the lavish bravery and sacrifice of the daughter nation is, if that were possible, strengthened by reading these pages.... It will be one of the books on the war which will live."—Daily Telegraph.


"A great book by a big man—Sir Max Aitken deserves not merely compliments and unstinted praise, but thanks as well."—Reynolds's Newspaper.


"The splendid work of the Canadians on the Western front makes a fine story in the pages of 'Canada in Flanders,' by Sir Max Aitken, M.P. He writes an easy style, and when describing a complicated battlefield can bring clear pictures of its events before the reader. The most important chapter is headed 'Ypres.' It gives the best and most lucid account we have yet seen of the battles which followed the German gas attack last April."—Manchester Guardian.


"A book to thrill and inspire ... to read the story told by Sir Max Aitken is to read one of the finest stories in the annals of the Empire."—Sunday Times.


"One of the clearest expositions and most effective pieces of writing we remember to have read.... His stories will thrill his readers not only in Canada ... but wherever the English language is read."—Standard.


"The heroic deeds of the Canadians at Ypres make one tingle with pride to be a kinsman to such soldiers. Farmers and fruit farmers, editors and ranchers all showed themselves to be of the finest fighting stuff in the world."—Evening Standard.


"Not only has Canada sent us splendid troops, but New Brunswick (there is a fine irony in the name) has strengthened our arm in sending us Mr. Bonar Law.... Another New Brunswicker, also a Scots minister's son, who has made good is Sir Max Aitken. His book of the Canadians in Flanders is now one of the liveliest (and truest) stories on the bookstalls."—Graphic.


"What Agincourt is to the English reader of Shakespeare Ypres will be to unborn Canadians.... We can wish for no better telling of the heart-grips in a great battle."—Observer.


"The Official Historian of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, whoever he may be ... cannot hope to match the vivid narrative, written, as one may say, within sound of the guns, in which Sir Max Aitken relates the deeds of the gallant men with whom he served in Flanders."—Daily Chronicle.


"Sir Max Aitken is a worthy chronicler of great deeds, and his introductory chapters alone add materially to our knowledge of the greatness of Canada's achievement. Most space is naturally given to the share of the Canadians in the battles of Neuve Chapelle and Ypres, which are vividly described from the military and human standpoint."—Daily Graphic.


"The deathless exploit of the Canadians in stemming the German onrush at Ypres and frustrating the expected gains of the gas trick will often be retold, but never, we think, to the displacement of the version here given, with its tense reality and unforced power. The author has succeeded in combining a clear impression of the engagement and its objective as a whole with a sufficiency of detail to let us understand something of the character of such warfare from the individual's point of view.... Canada has been fortunate in her Record Officer."—Pall Mall Gazette.


"What a fascinating book this is. It has some thrilling stories of the heroism of the gallant Canadian soldiers. Sir Max Aitken can write. It was he, you remember, who was responsible for the only official story of the heroic fighting at Ypres that really gave an adequate impression of the battle, and everyone was wondering for days after the publication of that account who the brilliant author could be. Well, his new book is better than that account and tells more not only of what the men did, but which men and which regiments took part in the now historic struggles round ruined Ypres."—"The Rambler" in the Daily Mirror.


"This is one of the many good books of the war which rank with those of 'Ian Hay,' 'Sapper,' and Mr. John Buchan. Such books are not likely to be affected by the 'slump' in war books of which we hear. They are indispensable.... A veritable epic of Canada's share in the war."—Clement Shorter in The Sphere.


"The Secretary of State for the Colonies is correct in his description of Sir Max Aitken's work as 'a model of lucid, picturesque, and sympathetic narrative.' ... A joyous shillingsworth—the best we have seen for a long time."—Morning Post.


"It is a thrilling record of the manner in which Canada has played her part in the great fight on the Western front, and hitherto unpublished stories of extraordinary feats of bravery and sacrifice for others are told. As a record of what the Canadians have accomplished for the Motherland it is one of the best books the war has produced, and it is written in such an interesting form that it can and should be read by all of the English-speaking race."—Star.


"Of the making of books on the war there is no end. But few have achieved, or will achieve, the popularity that is certainly destined for 'Canada in Flanders.' ... To English readers, of whom there will be many, the chapters which deal with the raising of the corps in Canada will, perhaps for the first time, bring realization of the flame of patriotism which spread like a prairie fire through the Dominion at the outbreak of the war."—Lloyd's Weekly.


"Sir Max points out, over and over again, that the Canadian Army is almost entirely an army of amateurs. Princess Patricia's Light Infantry was recruited from old soldiers, but the rest of the Canadian army was made up of men without military experience. This fact is of immense significance, particularly as it is equally true of the greater part of the British forces."—Daily Express.