The First World War
War Diary of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Transcription by Captain Michael O'Leary, The RCR.

AUGUST 1916

1/8/16 - Camp "B"

Day fine and very warm. Regiment had baths all day today (9-6). Working party 200 O.R. went to work on water supply. Regiment relieved 5TH C.N.R. Bn. in YPRES at 11.55 p.m. Bn. H.Q. Ramparts, H.Q. Co. "A" Co. at INFANTRY BARRACKS. "C" Co in HOSPITAL and "D" Co. in cellars in LOMBARD ST.

(See Appendix 1.)

2/8/16 - YPRES

Fine and very warm. Working parties numbering in all 540 sent out. 1 O.R. killed 3 O.R. wounded.

3/8/16 - YPRES

Fine and very warm. Working party 2 officers and 100 O.R. working on Infantry Barracks all afternoon. We relieved the 52ND Bn. tonight. Relief order No. 22 attached. Relief was very good being complete by 11.45 p.m. We immediately started work throughout our lines. There is lots to be done, especially on the right. We occupy exactly the same lines as last tour.

The band instruments have arrived and all the old bandsmen have been sent back to TPT lines.

(See Appendix 2.)

4/8/16 - Trenches

Fine, not quite so warm. Enemy are very quiet, and very little new work can be observed, The new "Living" trenches being built in the rear of our lines are extremely good, being from 8 to 15 feet deep. The Engineers are co-operating much more closely with us now than formerly, so much more work is accomplished.

Patrol went out on right under Lt. WOODS to 64S, GORDON RD., and CHARING CROSS to try and locate reported enemy L.P. This could not be located, so patrol proceeded up GOUROCK RD. They were lying observing a working party when enemy put over a barrage of about 50 bombs. Patrol returned safely. On the left Lieut. BOLE dispersed enemy working party with rifle grenades and Lewis Guns.

5/8/16 - Trenches

Fine and warm. Everybody is working hard. Except for M.G. and rifle fire at might enemy is exceptionally quiet. Patrol left our Bombing post in GOPUROCK RD. and proceeding to 64S where they waited an hour for an enemy patrol on the route used by them. No patrol appeared so patrol proceeded to CHARING CROSS where large enemy working party was located. Word was sent back to Stokes Gun Crew in 63 who brought gun up GOUROCK RD. to their position. 18 rounds were fired into party with good effect. Another patrol on left visited our old Post 7 and found it unoccupied.

2 O.R. wounded, one accidentally.

Majors HEAD, MACCLAREN, and WILLIAMS, and Lieuts. LEWIS and MACCONNELL joined from overseas.

6/8/16 - Trenches

Fine and warm. Great amount of aerial activity on our part today. One flight (12 machines) raided some enemy points, and returning dropped bombs on enemy lines. There were seven enemy balloons up at intervals during the day. Enemy artillery appeared to be registering on various points. Otherwise quiet.

Patrol under Lieut. WOODS and Lieut. BOLE left advanced bombing post in GRAFTON ST. with 16 pounds of Gun Cotton and proceeded out to our old Post 7. This was unoccupied, but immediately north of it enemy had constructed a very heavily wired Bombing Post, which was found to be occupied. Lieut. WOODS sent all the patrol back except Lieut. BOLE, then proceeded to work around the Post. They found a small gap in the wire used by the enemy as an entrance, and proceeded to crawl through it. They set the charge of guncotton so as to blow the post in on the occupants and attached two fuses (each 2 minutes). On a given signal each officer lit a fuse and turned to get cover. In doing so Lieut. WOODS tripped and fell into the wire, where he hung suspended. Lieut. BOLE stayed to help him out. The German post apparently saw the flash of the fuses, for they put over a barrage of bombs all around the Post at a distance of about 40 yards. The bomb used appeared to be a new one, for all the smoke was black, and there was much more shrapnel in it than in the old stick bomb. On release of Lieut. WOODS the two officers jumped in a shell hole about 30 yards away and waited for the explosion. The charge went off exactly as planned, absolutely destroying the Post. A significant fact was, that although between the lighting the fuses an the explosion about 50 bombs were thrown, there was not a bomb after the explosion.

Lieut. BOULDEN returned from Canadian Corps Officers School.
Lieut. WURTELE on command to C.C.O.S.
Killed, 1 O.R. (accidentally).

Defence Scheme Left Sector Attached. (See appendix 2A.)

7.8.16 - Trenches

Fine and warm. Enemy very active with Machine Guns and Sniping. Apparently still re-registering from new positions with their Artillery. Brigadier General MACDONELL visited the CULVERT tonight and seemed quite pleased. Everybody is working as hard as possible all the time. The CULVERT was shelled by 5'9's today but no damage done. A patrol reconnoitred our old 64S and 65S and ground between there and GORDON ROAD but found no signs of any work being done in that locality by the enemy. He is apparently confining himself to the South of GOUROCK RD. Another patrol went out from the left Co. to investigate enemy's line North of MENIN RD. and found strong wire all along without any openings to be found. No enemy patrols were encountered.

1 O.R. wounded.

8.8.16 - Trenches

Fine and warm today. Enemy more active than usual with artillery, M.Gs., and sniping. Our snipers got a man at 900 yards today. He dropped on the parapet, and lay there for about five minutes before being pulled into the trench. There was a gas attack to the north of us tonight commenced between 9.30 and 10.00 p.m. from what we could hear. Infantry did not come across though.

1 O.R. wounded.

Lieut. SAPTE promoted to be Captain 13 May 1916.
Lieut. PAULINE promoted Captain 20 May, 1916.

9.8.16 - Trenches

Fine and warm Artillery more than usually active today. M.Gs. and snipers comparatively active at night. LEINSTER Trench was rather badly knocked about in the morning. R.C.R. were relieved by P.P.C.L.I. under Lieut-Col. PELLY, D.S.O., tonight. The relief was the best we have had for some time, being complete by 11.45 p.m. Headquarters proceeded to the RAMPARTS, YPRES, on relief. Bombers, Lewis Guns, and Scouts, "B" and "C" Cos to INFANTRY BARRACKS and "A" and "D" Cos. To ZILLEBEEKE BUND. Billet were comfortable, but were extremely dirty when taken over. 1 O.R. killed.

(See Appendix 3.)

10.8.16 - YPRES

Showery today, but later bright and very warm. 375 men out on working parties.

Lieut. CHURCHILL returned to duty to "D" Co.
Lieut. WALSH to be Signalling Officer.

11.8.16 - YPRES

Fine and quite warm. 375 men on working parties.

Lieut. DICKSON appointed Asst. Adjutant.

12.8.16. - Trenches

Fine and very warm. Slight showers about midnight. R.C.R. relieved the 42ND Battalion leaving the BUND and YPRES at 9.15 p.m. by Companies and Detachments. The relief was complete at 1.30 a.m. 13.8.16. Headquarters situated at DORMY HOUSE. Operation Order No. 24 Attached.

The front line is well protected by 4 B.P's in saps three of which are joined up by an advanced trench garrisoned at night by 25 O.R. and by day by 4 O.R. The trench is called STEWART after Captain Stewart, P.P.C.L.I. who organized and led the party which reclaimed that part of NO MANS LAND. The Artillery supporting us are Canadians. The 41ST Battery covering trenches 59 and 61 and the 29TH (How.) opposite 56 and 60.

Wounded 1 O.R.

Gas alert on.

13.8.16. - Trenches

Fine and very warm today. Enemy Artillery fairly active, appeared to be registering. One bay WARRINGTON AVE. East blown in by 5.9. M.G. fire very active at night, closely sweeping our parapet and covering areas in rear. One gun fires on DORMY HOUSE approaches very frequently. Enemy quiet but very alert at night.

Lieut. BOLE put out 2 patrols with rifles and cups for Mills Bombs at the end of the sap from the left of %*. About 40 bombs were thrown into enemy line with good effect. Enemy threw up a large number of flares and retaliated with about 100 cylindrical stick bombs, all of which fell short. Patrols returned without loss.

Lieut. SIMPSON rejoined from overseas.
Lieuts. HOME, HORTON, and LEWIS proceeded to 3RD Divisional BOMBING SCHOOL for a general course of one weeks duration.

Gas Alert Off. Wounded 4 O.R.

14.8.16. - Trenches

Fine not quite so warm. Enemy fairly quiet on our front but quite active on our right, vicinity MOUNT SORREL and HILL 60. M.G's not so active as usual although quite active enough. More activity than usual with snipers. Rifles may also have been fixed on several main parts.

Patrol under Lieut. CHURCHILL went out sap opposite TORR TOP and bombed a bombing post of the enemy. Their first bomb struck a pile of cylindrical sticks on the parapet of post, exploding four, then about 20 more were thrown into post. Enemy retaliated with about 100 bombs. Patrol returned safely.

Lieut. A.D. WILLIAMS joined from 7TH Bde. M.G. Co. for duty.
Killed 1 O.R.
Lieut. BREWSTER to Flying Corps.

15.8.16. - Trenches

Fine and cooler. Enemy Artillery, trench Mortars, Minenwerfers very active on whole front especially on right of "C" Co. Trench 56 had a breach 30 feet long made by 5.9's and St PETERS ST. was badly knocked about. About 200 5.9's and 150 "Sausages" and "Rum Jars" were put into front line, second line, and C.T's. The Right Co. suffered no casualties because deep living trenches and new dugouts were used during bombardment. Patrol of Bombers under Lieut. BOLE went out sap from TORR TOP and fired 125 Mills 5½" cups and 25 No. 20 Rifle grenades into enemy B.P. and front line. Enemy retaliated with Cylindrical sticks and Rifle and M.G. fire but patrol returned safely, having suffered no casualties. Bn. is standing to tonight on the strength of a report from 43Rd Bn. on our right that they are expecting an attack as their wire was cut and front line trench badly crumpled by bombardment in afternoon. Also enemy apparently suspects mining. Night up to midnight has been abnormally quiet as to Artillery, M.G. Fire and rifle fire.

Major A.J. WILLIAMS (attached) Killed. WARRINGTON AVENUE.
Major J.G. MacLAREN, wounded.
Wounded 2 O.R.

16.8.16. - Trenches

Mostly fine, not so warm. Enemy - YPRES Artillery extremely active on right Co. ("C") and support Co. ("A") mostly 5.9's and "rum jars". WARRING TON AVE. has been cleared of men excepting Bombers, Lewis Gunners and four sentries. It has almost been crumpled in. "C" Co. has a 40 foot gap in trench 56. M.G. fire not quite as active as usual. At about 3.30 a.m. our B.P. opposite TORR TOP consisting of Cpl. LAMB, Bombers BURNESS and PALMER saw a patrol of about twenty Germans advancing toward them. Our post immediately started to bomb the party which threw 8 cylindrical sticks, 5 of which landed in the post, seriously wounding PALMER and wounding BURNESS in the leg. The latter however propped himself up against the side of the post and continued throwing along with Cpl. LAMB, until the Bosche began to retire precipitately. In his retirement he passed in front of your Lewis Guns, which opened on them. Between then Bombers and the Lewis Guns Crew, it is thought that the whole patrol was accounted for. At dawn under cover of mist and smoke, the enemy sent out to recover the wounded and dead. We got several more with our Lewis Guns.

Wounded Lieut. C.E. BOULDEN, 6 O.R.

17.8.16. - Trenches

Rain during the day making the waking very difficult. Enemy Artillery kept up a heavy shelling of our front line all day today but stopped at dusk. Night was quite quiet.

Raiding party of Lieut. BOLE and 16 O.R. with support party under Lieut. CHURCHILL. See O.O. 25. Attached.

8 O.R. Killed, 23 O.R. Wounded.

(Appendix 5)

18.8.16. - Trenches

At 2.45 a.m. 3 O.R. under Sgt. POPE left our sap running from TORR TOP and placed an ammonal tube under the enemy wire 20 yards SOUTH of sap under cover of our bombardment of LOOP and of our M.G. fire. At 3. a.m. the tube was fired successfully and a raiding party of 16 O.R. under Lieut. BOLE left our sap and attempted to rush Enemy trench by means of the gap created in the wire. When the leading men got through the wire they were caught by enemy M.G. fire and bombs, and every member of the raiding party except Lieut. BOLE was either wounded or killed. It would appear that the enemy were standing to and awaiting our attack as the enemy trench was very strongly held and they happened to be waiting for us as immediately our party left our sap Enemy bombs began to fall and our men were wiped out almost as they came out of the sap. In spite of this however our men succeeded in throwing about 20 Mills bombs among the enemy. The orders being "Out of the trench, a volley, and rush." L/Cpl. REYNOLDS in spite of enemy fire succeeded in reaching their parapet, where he found three lines of trip wire. On realising the gravity of the situation he threw as many bombs as possible into the enemy's trench and retired wounded in several places. At this juncture Lieut. CHURCHILL and his support party proceeded to the assistance of the raiding party. Lieut. BOLE, seeing them coming, gave orders for them to stand fast, knowing what reception they would have met. Lieut. BOLE then proceeded to clear the wounded from the field of action assisted ably by Lieuts. CHURCHILL and MUNN, the latter being the Lewis Gun Officer, he having stationed himself with one of his guns in No Mans Land. Lieut. BOLE sent orders back by runner to 41ST Battery, Stokes Gun, and 2" Trench Mortars to open up as prearranged for our retirement. This barrage was most satisfactory, and must undoubtedly have been effective. Under cover of this these three officers evacuated all the casualties. At this point I may say that having cleared the first two wounded lieut. BOLE was of the opinion that a block in the sap was immediately necessary. He and Lieuts. MUNN and CHURCHILL proceeded to build the same. Lieut. MUNN had a Lewis Gun placed at this block to prevent any counter move of the enemy. The whole operation took about 60 minutes. Preliminary to the operation a patrol under Sgt. POPE carrying out a reconnaissance located 2 hostile patrols one North and one South of sap on our side of wire. One of these patrols was bombed by Sgt. POPE and seen to retire. It was after this that the second enemy patrol was seen further to the South than the first one this being about 45 yards away. Had not the enemy been standing to at the time of the raid we would undoubtedly have established identity and caused more casualties to the enemy than we did. The clearing of the casualties by the officers abovementioned was done under heavy M.G. and rifle fire. Our casualties were 1 Killed and 15 wounded two of which will probably die. A patrol under Cpl. MURPHY of the Scouts operated from 10.45 p.m. to 2.15 a.m. from T60 to LOOP to endeavour to ascertain damage to enemy trench by our bombardment of the afternoon. They saw a strong enemy wiring party working in front of LOOP and a working party NORTH of the LOOP. Patrol on discovering this returned as they were unable to get closer to actually ascertain what damage had been done.

Showery in morning but latterly fine. Enemy Artillery not quite so active nor M.G. fire except for odd bursts. M.G. fire mainly directed on ration dumps.

R.C.R. relieved by 42ND Bn. Relief completed by 1 a.m. 19.8.16. Order No. 26 Attached, marked 6.

"B" and "D" Co's proceeded to ZILLEBEKE BUND, "A" and "C" Co's to INFANTRY BARRACKS YPRES, H.Q. RAMPARTS YPRES.

Lieut. PHILLIPS wounded and at duty. 2 O.R. killed, 24 O.R. Wounded.
Total killed during tour - 1 Officer, 4 O.R.
Total Wounded - 3 Officers, 51 O.R.

(Appendix 6, Appendix 6A)

19.8.16. - YPRES

Showery but mostly fine. R.C.R. relieved by P.P.C.L.I. at 10.15 p.m. and proceeded to "F" Camp (MONTREAL) marching via main roads. Band played for first time since reformation for an hour after our arrival. It was excellent.

(Appendix 7)

20.8.16. - "F" Camp

Fine. Regiment all went to POPERINGHE for Baths. Refitting and general cleaning up. A Mess Dinner was held at night all Officers attending.

21.8.16. - "F" Camp

Fine. Church parade in morning in Y.M.C.A. hut. Afternoon bayonet fighting and Co. in attack practiced under Co. arrangements. Bn. marched to RENINGHELST to attend performance of "FOLLIES" put on for us by P.P.C.L.I. It was very good and thoroughly enjoyed by the men. Draft of 30 from 3RD Entrenching Bn. joined today. Lieut. CHURCHILL, STRIDE and MACCONNELL to Divisional School of Instruction.

22.8.16. - "F" Camp

Fine. Co. in attack. Bayonet fighting and P.T. under Co. arrangements carried on all day. Draft on square. Lieut NAYLOR and 5 O.R. returned to duty from Divisional Wirers.

R.C.R. relieved by 1St East Lancs. 8.15 p.m. Regiment marched as a Battalion to SCOTTISH LINES arriving at 9.15 p.m.

(Appendix 8)

23.8.16. - SCOTTISH LINES

Fine and quite warm. Bayonet fighting, P.T., musketry and Rifle exercises under Co. and detachment arrangements carried on all day. Draft and backward men on square under C.S.M. ROBERTS.

Lieut. J.S. WOODS awarded Military Cross.

24.8.16. - SCOTTISH LINES

Cloudy and fairly cool. Battalion marched from SCOTTISH LINES to Billets in CASSEL AREA. Headquarters at J.27.d.8.7. Sheet 27. Bn. paraded at 7. a.m. and marched via POPERINGHE, ABEELE, and STEENVOORDE. Arrived in Billets 12.30 p.m. on Route through ABEELE. Corps Commander inspected Regiment and was very pleased. Billets are very far apart.

(Appendix 9)

25.8.16. - CASSEL AREA

Fine and very warm. Companies started training today as per attached Syllabus.

Capt H.T. COCK to be Temporary Major from 22nd March 1916.
Lieut. HORTON accidentally wounded 20.8.16.

2 O.R. died of wounds. 20.8.16.

(Appendix 10)

26/8/16 - CASSEL AREA

Heavy showers during day. Very warm. Co. training as per syllabus. Army Commander paid visit and saw Companies at their work. Lieut. Col. HILL proceeded on a visit to SOMME front.

27/8/16 - CASSEL AREA

Showery but mostly fine. Church Service was held at our Headquarters. The P.P.C.L.I. and 7TH Bde. M.G. Co. attended. The G.O.C. and Col. HAYTER also attended. After the service the Brigadier spoke to the men for a few minutes on training, then had everybody march past on their way our of the field. Lieut. Col. HILL returned from the SOMME.

Lieuts. CHURCHILL, STRIDE, and MACCONNELL returned from 3RD DIV. BOMBING SCHOOL.

Sgt NICHOLLS received commission and taken on strength as an officer.

28/8/16 - CASSEL AREA

Mostly fine. Slight showers in morning. Regiment paraded by Companies and went to trenches TERDEGHEM for practice attack. Afternoon as per syllabus.

Major COCK rejoined from 7TH Bde. M.G. Co. Took over Command "D" Co.

40 O.R. received as draft, 10 posted to each Co. 3 O.R. rejoined from Command.

29/8/16 - CASSEL AREA

Rained nearly all day and most of night. Companies and Detachments adhered to Syllabus of Training as far as possible. When raining too heavily, lectures were given in billets, one lecture on History of the Regiment, attached.

30/8/16 - CASSEL AREA

Rained all day. So far as possible Companies and Detachments carried out syllabus. When raining too heavily lectures were given by Officers.

31/8/16 - CASSEL AREA

Fine and warm. According to Syllabus Bn. had a 2 hr route march this morning, and practices bombing and musketry in afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m. C.O. attended conference at Bde. H.Q. of all Bde. C.O's. We played the P.P.C.L.I. baseball and P.P's won 11 to 7. The score is not a good indication of the game for the playing was as fast as the field allowed. "B" Co. held a bonfire and concert in the evening.


Appendix 1. - R.C.R. O.O. 21 dated 31.7.16. R.C.R. will relieve 5TH Bn. CMR. Bn. on Night of 1ST/2ND August, 1916.

Appendix 2. - R.C.R. O.O. 22 dated 3.8.16. R.C.R. will relieve 52ND Cdn. Bn. on night 3RD/4TH August, 1916.

Appendix 2A - Defence Scheme of left Sector of 1ST, 2ND and 3RD lines.

Appendix 3 - R.C.R. O.O. 23 dated 8.8.16. R.C.R. will be relieved by P.P.C.L.I. on night 9TH/10Th August, 1916.

Appendix 4. - R.C.R. O.O. 24 dated 11.8.16. R.C.R. will relieve 42ND Canadian. Battalion on night 12TH/13TH August, 1916.

Appendix 5 - R.C.R. O.O. 25 dated 16.8.16. Instructions for R.C.R. for raid to be carried out for purpose of securing information.

Appendix 6 - R.C.R. O.O. 26 dated 17.8.16. R.C.R. will be relieved by 42ND Bn. on night 18TH/19Th August, 1916.

Appendix 6A - Letter dated 19.8.16. from G.O.C. 7TH C.I.B. congratulating members of R.C.R. upon splendid gallantry in the field.

Appendix 7 - R.C.R. O.O. 27 dated ? R.C.R. will be relieved by P.P.C.L.I. on night 19TH/20Th August, 1916.

Appendix 8 - R.C.R. O.O. 28 dated 22.8.16. Royal Can. Regt. will be relieved by 1ST East Lancs. On 22ND Inst.

Appendix 9 - R.C.R. O.O. 29 dated 23.8.16. R.C.R. will march to billets in CASSEL AREA on August 24TH, 1916.

Appendix 10. - Syllabus of training of R.C.R. for week ending 31ST August, 1916.

Appendix 11. - Notes on history of ROYAL CANADIAN REGIMENT

Appendix 11A - Intelligence report dated 11-8-16.

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