The First World War
War Diary of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Transcription by Captain Michael O'Leary, The RCR.

JANUARY, 1917

1.1.17. - TRENCHES

Cloudy, few showers. Enemy quiet, no attempt to fraternize as on Christmas day. Out M.T.M. is fairly active, as well as Rifle Grenadiers. No retaliation. Snipers claim a hit opposite Chassery.

Lieut. C.C. DAVIES joined as reinforcements.
Lieut. ALLAN & KINTON and 2 O.R. proceeded to 3RD. Cdn. Divl. Training School. 7 O.R. to F.A.

2.1.17. - TRENCHES

Cloudy with scattered showers. All dugouts excepting large one on "C" Co. front are leaking badly. B.H.Q. dugout has half an inch of mud and water on the floor. The trenches are in as bad condition as they have been up to the present. Some of the Crater Posts cannot be reached in day time, as the only route is overland. Overland routes are generally in use on the whole front. The German trenches seem to be quite as bad, for they also are going overland. Our Snipers claim two hits today. Enemy Artillery and T.M's more active. Our Lewis Gun dugout had direct hit from 4.7, killing three and wounding two, destroying the dugout. We retaliated with heavies, T.M's, Stokes and Rifle grenades. M.G's more active than usual at night. Usual patrols out on all fronts.

Killed 3 O.R. Wounded 2 O.R.

Lieut. MUNRO, G.W. joined as reinforcements.
Lieut. LEWIS, F.I. evacuated to C.C.S.
2 O.R. to Pigeon Course. 5 O.R. granted leave. 4 O.R. to F.A.

3.1.17. - TRENCHES

Mostly clear and bright. Everything quite normal all day. Regiment relieved by 49TH. Battn. from Brigade Reserve. Relief complete 6.30 p.m. Regiment proceeded to Divisional Reserve at Mont. St. Eloy.

Lieut. Foster and 1 O.R. proceeded on Aircraft Course.

4.1.17. - DIVISIONAL RESERVE

Partly fine, some clouds. Day spent in cleaning up parades and baths. H.Q. and Cos. Were paid in afternoon. P.P.C.L.I. Concert Party assisted by our band put on a performance exclusively for our men. It was enjoyed and greatly appreciated.

The Hon. Mr. McCurdy M.P. spoke to a number of the men from the American legion in the afternoon. He also spoke to all the Officers.

3 O.R. from F.A.

5.1.17. - DIVISIONAL RESERVE

Cloudy but not showery. The men had their Christmas dinner today, Pork and Veal with Apple Sauce, Potatoes, Onions and Carrots, 1/2 pound of Plum Pudding per man, assorted Nuts and Fruit, with a little over a quart of beer per man was the menu. The Band and Drums gave a concert in the Camp from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Lieut. Col. HILL, D.S.O. and Major WILLETS attended the Divisional Training School in the morning for a demonstration of the new platoon organization.

In the afternoon, Lord Northcliffe visited the Regiment and spoke to the men of the American Legion.

At night the P.P.C.L.I. Concert party gave another performance for the men.

1 O.R. from F.A.

6.1.17. - DIVISIONAL RESERVE

Cloudy, strong wind blowing. Regiment went on an eight mile route march in the morning. Afternoon, Co. and Detachment parades for inspection and drill.

The 9TH Field Ambulance concert party assisted by our Band played for the men tonight. The programme was excellent, quite out of the ordinary class of Comedy party.

Majors STERLING and JONES returned to England today. 2 O.R. granted leave.

7.1.17. - DIVISIONAL RESERVE

Cloudy. Church parades in the morning, C.O's conference at 2 p.m.; lectures to Cos. And Dets. In the afternoon. Officers had their Christmas dinner (eight courses). It was a great success.

Lieut. GOUGH to Musketry Course. 2 O.R. Map Reading Course. 20 O.R. to Divisional School.

8.1.17. - TRENCHES

Showery, slight sleet and snow.

Regiment relieved 49TH. Battn. Left Mont St. Eloi at 3.30 p.m. - played out by Band and Drums. Relief complete by 8.20 p.m. Enemy activity normal. Old system of Company patrolling under supervision of Battn. Scouts again brought into effect.

9.1.17. - TRENCHES

Cloudy - some showers. Trenches in the same condition, no improvement in front line. C.T's around B.H.Q. somewhat improved though. We received a large supply of socks from private sources in Canada, so that we are better off in that respect. The issue is not nearly sufficient for this front. Enemy T.M. activity increased, Josephine fired on Ross Street and "A" Co. front. We retaliated with T.M's, Stokes and Artillery. It is thought one of the 6" obtained a direct hit, for she didn't fire again.

1 O.R. Wounded, 5 O.R. granted leave.

10.1.17. - TRENCHES

Cloudy. The difference between T.M. and Artillery activity at present is most marked. Lieut. GRAY and Sergt. ROSS "B" Co. went out by Watling Crater this morning and entered the enemy sap opposite South End of Watling. They heard two Germans talking down the sap and five more coming up the sap, but nothing happened, so they returned with some bombs, a Shrapnel helmet and revolver they found in the post. Defensive patrols were out on all Co. fronts.

Major WILLOUGHBY and Captain THOMPSON proceeded on three days special course in new platoon organization at D.T.S.
3 O.R. to F.A.
Lieut. LEWIS from C.C.S.

11.1.17. - TRENCHES

Still Cloudy. T.M's and artillery fairly active on both sides. Josephine has not fired since the 9th. Usual defensive patrols were out on all Co. fronts. A great amount of work is being put on entrances to dugouts which come out of the parados or in advance of the parapet. Every dugout is to have at least two entrances.

1 O.R. Wounded.
1 O.R. to Lewis Gun Course.

12.1.17. - TRENCHES

Still cloudy and cold. Enemy Artillery was inactive during the day and night. Slight amount of Trench Mortaring during the late morning and afternoon. We retaliated.

There were three Officers' Patrols out on the front from 5. p.m. to 8.p.m.

Patrols. Two men on patrol were seen to work along SAP from Enemy Bombing Post on WATLING to the left of our post, at about 7. a.m. They were dispersed with Hand grenades, from Crater Post.

An enemy patrol entered out line between Post 9 and Post 11 on B.5 and under continuous fire from Machine Gun they approached without being heard. Next thing that happened was that all of a sudden the Post found themselves held up at half a yard off. One man threw up his hands, the other fought with his enemy and succeeded in holding him down when he was shot at by the other German. He let his man go and ran down the sap to the Lewis Gunners Post. The Bomber took cover under the shelter but did not throw bomb as the space was so confined that he would have got friend and fore alike. Two of the enemy went across our wire with their prisoner. The other three went the way they came. Then they were fired on and one was seen to fall. The Bomber then got out of the shelter and fired upon the party that had the prisoner. Later an Officer patrol going along the left arm of the "Y" Sap observed the feet of a German sticking out from the shelter. He was brought back to headquarters.

13.1.17. - TRENCHES

Cloudy and cold. Very sight Artillery and T.M. activity. Relieved by 49TH Battalion. Proceeded to Brigade Reserve.

1 other rank wounded, three other ranks granted leave.
Lieut. PICKFORD and 1 O.R. L.T.M. course, 1 O.R. Gas course.

14.1.17. - BRIGADE RESERVE

Cloudy. Sent out working parties amounting to 276 which we expect will be increased daily.

Casualties:- Nil.

2 O.R. Map Reading course.

15.1.17. - BRIGADE RESERVE

Heavy snow fell most of the day. Usual working parties sent out, with three more added totalling 279. We sent in a working party strength of 300. The men are getting bathed in driblets.

The Red Cross has forwarded to the Regiment 30. from Port Arthur for which we are very grateful. From private sources we are now able to furnish sufficient extra socks to keep "trench feet" warded.

21 O.R. proceeded for attachment to 172ND Tunnelling Coy.
45 O.R. proceed to Training Battalion for instruction in new organization of platoons.
Lieut. McPHERSON proceeded on Artillery Course.
Lieuts. STRIDE, FOSTER, LEWIS, BECK and 4 O.R. to Divisional Training School.
Lieut. McNEILL to Sanitary Course.

16.1.17. - BRIGADE RESERVE

Still some snow flurries. The ground is now covered about three inches deep with the real thing. Trenches are now almost dry, although very slippery. Usual working parties sent out.

One other rank wounded, accidental.

17.1.17. - BRIGADE RESERVE

Clear and colder. Ground frozen hard, Walking is dry, though slippery. Usual working parties out.

Lieut. LITTLEWOOD and 2 O.R. proceeded on Gas Course.
Major GARON and 4 O.R. proceeded on leave.
4 O.R. to F.A.

18.1.17. - BRIGADE RESERVE

Clear and cold. Working parties out till 10. a.m. Relieved 49TH Battalion in afternoon. Coys in usual position. Owing to the frost the trenches are quite dry.

Lieuts. ENGLAND, ALLENBACK, THOMPSON, and GRANT-SUTTIE to 3RD Divisional School.

19.1.17. - TRENCHES

Clear and cold. Enemy artillery and T.M. activity is greater than usual. 1/2 our artillery and T.M's are concentrated on cutting wire at different points on the front. The enemy tried to repair it three times tonight, but our Lewis Gunners saw them each time and effectually put a stop to it. Two patrols were out in front encountered no enemy. Our snipers were active, claiming three hits.

3 other ranks reinforcements from C.B.D.
3 other ranks granted leave.
1 other rank wounded accidentally.

20.1.17. - TRENCHES

Still cold, mostly clear. We continued wire cutting all day. Our snipers were very active all day, claiming five hits. Enemy T.M's quite active, mostly on 63 and 64 and De la Fourche. Usual patrols were out, encountering no enemy.

1 other rank to Lewis Gun Course.

21.1.17. - TRENCHES

Still Clear and cold. Plans were completed today for a small raid on enemy opposite Watling Crater tomorrow morning, raid to be put on by "B" Co. and bombers under Lieut. GRAY & ROOKS. Operation Order was submitted to Bde. For approval, but was returned for amendment, so raid had to be postponed. It is now slated for 23rd. inst. at 7.30 a.m.

Our artillery was quite active all day as were the T.M's etc. Lewis Guns were active at night. Ours snipers claim seven hits. Enemy snipers were also active, and as yet we have not been able to locate them.

Lieut. HOME to 1ST Army training School, Lieut. STRIDE to Corps Sig. School.
1 other rank killed, 1 other rank wounded.
4 other ranks to F.A.
25 other ranks from Tr. Bn.

22.1.17. - TRENCHES

Clear and cold. Final preparations for the raid have been made, for Operation Order see Appendix 1.

Our artillery maintained its activity as also our T.M's and Stokes. Enemy fairly active. Trenches in excellent condition, but everybody fears a thaw.

Lieut. NICHOLLS, DAVIES, MUNRO, HUNT and 4 other ranks to Divl. Training School.

23.1.17. - TRENCHES

Still clear and cold. Raid was a complete success, see appendices 2 and 2A for report. Enemy did not retaliate on our lines. Day quite quiet after the raid was over.

Relieved by 49TH Battn. Proceeded to Divisional Reserve at Mont St. Eloy.

1 other rank seriously wounded, 3 other ranks slightly wounded.
3 other ranks from F.A.

24.1.17. - DIVL. RESERVE.

Mostly clear, still cold. Huts are very cold, although we have bought extra fuel out of the Canteen fund. Day spent in bathing, pay and cleaning up parades.

25.1.17. - DIVL. RESERVE.

Still clear and Cold. Training according to syllabus carried out.

Major WILLETS, Lieuts. NAYLOR, WALLAR, ROOKS, GOUGH, and 4 other ranks to Divl. Training School.

(Appendix 3.)

26.1.17. - DIVL. RESERVE.

Mostly clear, still very cold. Training as per syllabus carried out. Working party of 20 detailed by Bde. To unload ammunition. There are a great number of troops in Mont St. Eloy now, many more than before.

27.1.17. - DIVL. RESERVE.

Mostly clear and cold. Training as per syllabus. All feet in the Battn. have been inspected by the M.O. and he reports that they are in good condition throughout.

28.1.17. - DIVL. RESERVE.

Clear and cold, Strong wind blowing. Relieved 49TH Battn. relief complete by 8.00 p.m. Cos. In usual positions excepting "C" Co. took over right Twin post from "A" Co.

Our trench strength is 496 this tour.

One other rank wounded. 2 other ranks to F.A.

29.1.17. - TRENCHES

Still clear and cold. Enemy very active with artillery and T.M's. We retaliated, eventually quieting them. Trenches are still in excellent condition.

1 other rank wounded.

30.1.17. - TRENCHES

Cloudy and cold. Some snow flurries. Enemy not quite so active. Josephine opened up twice today, but 4.5's and 6" soon shut her up. Two patrols were out, but owing to great brightness were not able to do much. M.G's were very active.

31.1.17. - TRENCHES

Cloudy and cold. Enemy fairly active with artillery, T.M's and aerial torpedoes. During the night enemy working party was dispersed by our Lewis Guns, at least one hit being made as cries were heard immediately after the firing.

Two other ranks joined from Hospital.

(signed)
A.E. Willoughby
Major
Commanding The Royal Canadian Regt.

Appendix 1 - R.C.R O.O. 1 dated 22.1.17. Instructions to R.C.R. for small raid to be carried out for purpose of obtaining identification and inflicting casualties.

Appendix 2 - Summary of the raid carried out in accordance with O.O.1 dated 22.1.17.

Appendix 2A - Letter dated 28.1.17. to R.C.R. congratulating them on successful raid carried out from Brig. Gen. A.C. MacDONNELL commanding 7TH C.I.B.

Appendix 3 - Syllabus of training of R.C.R. for period ending January 28th, 1917.

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