The First World War
War Diary of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Transcription by Captain Michael O'Leary, The RCR.

FEBRUARY 1917

1.2.17. - TRENCHES

Fair & Cold. - Enemy T.M's active also Snipers. At 7.15 A.M., our Artillery, T.M's, Stokes and Battn. Bombers with Rifle Grenades put down a barrage on the enemy line in rear of WATLING CRATER. There was practically no retaliation. The Brigade has instituted a policy of continually worrying the enemy, and this morning was its inauguration.

Mysterious lights which appear to be signals were seen in the direction of MONT ST. ELOY. They were answered from the enemy side by various flares and by uneven M.G. bursts. Lieut. BARKER is investigating them and taking bearings.

1 O.R. Died of Wounds.
2 O.R. Evac. To C.C.S.

2.2.17. - TRENCHES

Fine & Cool. - We put on another simulated attack this morning, this time in rear of B.4 and B.5. This morning, contrary to his usual slowlness, the enemy very quickly came back. In three minutes he had a barrage of T.M's and Rifle Grenades and in ten quite a heavy Artillery barrage. When our barrage was pout down he fired a red flare, which was apparently the Signal. He shelled the rear areas also. Snipers still active. About 5. A.M. a patrol of four of the enemy came toward our lines on "C" Co. front. They were discovered as they were just about to enter a disused Sap. They were driven out with Bombs and Rifle grenades. Relieved by 49TH Battn., proceeded to usual billets in Brigade Reserve.

1 O.R. Killed in Action.
1 O.R. Evac. To C.C.S.

3.2.17. - BRIGADE RESERVE

Fine & Cold. - 234 O.R. sent out on working parties. Trench strength 486. 39 O.R. from Tg. Bn.

Lieut. ROSS - Acc. Wounded.

4.2.17. - BRIGADE RESERVE

Fine & Cold. One slight snow flurry. - Two of our observing airplanes were brought down within twenty minutes of each other by a very fast enemy plane. The last one brought down was in flames. The first fell just to the south rear of our "D" Co. billets. Both occupants were wounded, one severely. We placed a guard on it and removed all instruments, etc. Later O.C. Squadron to which plane belonged brought some men and after removing engine destroyed the plane. Usual working parties.

3 O.R. Evac. to C.C.S.

5.2.17. - BRIGADE RESERVE

Fine, not quite so cold. - Usual working parties sent out.

Another air fight took place today, three enemy machines against one of our observation planes. Our plane had a remarkable escape. He was over enemy lines, when the enemy planes cut him off and started firing at him. They were at least twice as speedy as our one. By a long nose dive, our machine eluded the enemy, who were turned back by Machine Guns. The anti-aircraft batteries both yesterday and today were most conspicuous by their complete absence.

6.2.17. - BRIGADE RESERVE

Clear & Cold. Strong N.E. wind blowing. - Usual working parties sent out.

2 O.R. to Base, under age.
1 O.R. Wounded.

7.2.17. - BRIGADE RESERVE

Clear & Cold. - Morning working parties worked til 11.00 A.M.

Relieved 49TH Battn. as usual this afternoon. Relief complete 4.30 P.M.

Contrary to their usual custom, enemy were quite active with aerial torpedoes during night. We retaliated with Rifle Grenades. The enemy are noticeably active in the air. They appear to have three very fast machines covering this front. Trenches are in good condition.

2 O.R. Evac. to C.C.S.

8.2.17. - TRENCHES

Cold & Clear. - Enemy much more active than heretofore, probably due to our own increased activity along whole front. Josephine was particularly active,- 6" and 9.2's were turned on several times to silence her.

Night very bright, so patrols were only out for about an hour. Our snipers claim 3 hits.

9.2.17. - TRENCHES

Continued Cold & Clear. - Enemy still quite active, mostly T.M's and Rifle grenades, some 77 M.M. and a few 5.9's - the first on the front line since we came into this sector. Very little sickness, except colds. Trenches in good condition. M.G's active at night.

1 O.R. Wounded. 4 O.R. Evac.

10.2.17. - TRENCHES

Cold, partly Cloudy, Very heavy Mist for about an hour and a half after sunset. - Enemy Artillery and T.M's continue active but we are more so.

Enemy blew a mine under CHASSERY CRATER about 7.30 P.M. Our lip was shifted back about 10 feet, and our post buried. Without opposition we seized and consolidated our new lip, excellent work being done by all ranks. At about the same time, under cover of a heavy barrage, and the mist about 25 of the enemy attempted to raid "A" Co. front, trying to enter in two parties, one by disused Sap to south of B.4., and one overland against our post. The raiding party was seen and bombed. They retired immediately. A patrol was at once sent out to try and obtain identification, but enemy had removed all casualties.

During the remainder of the night everything was very quiet. Our patrols were active.

Some officers (including the C.O.) of the 24th V.R.C. went over our lines today.

11.2.17. - TRENCHES

Cloudy, still Cold. - About 9.30 A.M. about 50 of the enemy attempted to raid our line opposite CHASSERY CRATER. They were seen dividing into two parties in their Saps. Artillery (18 pdrs. And 4.5's) were immediately turned on them and they dispersed. Horns and whistles were heard blowing in enemy lines for some time afterwards. It is thought heavy casualties were inflicted. The remainder of the day was, comparatively speaking, quiet.

Advance parties from 24th Bn. V.R.C. reported tonight.

4 O.R. Wounded.

12.2.17. - TRENCHES

Cloudy, some showers. - Very little activity on either side. Advance billeting party sent to BRUAY. Relieved by 24th Bn. V.R.C. Relief completed 10.45 P.M. Proceeded to Divl. Reserve huts at MT. ST. ELOY.

2 O.R. Wounded.

(Appendix 1.)

13.2.17. - BRUAY

Partly cloudy, Cold, with strong N. wind. - Battn. marched to BRUAY, arriving about 5.30 P.M. Billets are all within 15 minutes walk, and quite good, though scarcely sufficient accommodation.

3 O.R. Evac. to C.C.S.

(Appendix 2.)

14.2.17. - BRUAY

Cold and Cloudy. - Reveille was at 4.00 A.M. and Cos. Immediately began to clean up for inspection by Field Marshall Sir. D. HAIG, C-in-C. Inspection was held on main BRUAY-DIVION road at 1.00 A.M. The Battn. lined the road about J.14.d.2.0. Sheet 36.B. He remarked on the excellent turn-out after having just come out of the trenches. Remainder of the day spent in cleaning up.

15.2.17. - BRUAY

Cold and Cloudy, a few showers. - Practice parade on main BRUAY-DIVION road for inspection by General Nivelle, C-in-C. French Armies of the North and North West. We lined the road in the same place as for inspection by General Haig.

Pay parades all afternoon. When not being paid, Cos. Continued cleaning up and refitting (clothes, equipment, etc.)

1 O.R. Evac.

16.2.17. - BRUAY

Partly Clear, Cold. - Inspected by General Nivelle, and marched past him at about 11.00 A.M. The Regiment made a very good showing. Remainder of Battn. paid in afternoon. When not being paid, cleaning up and refitting was carried on.

3 O.R. Evac.

17.2.17. - BRUAY

Cloudy, Cold. - Model Platoon was sent down to give an exhibition and demonstration of the new organization. All morning occupied with this.

Afternoon was a half holiday.

18.2.17. - BRUAY

Cloudy and Cold. - C. of E. Church parade held in Theatre BRUAY ay 10.30 A.M. Excellent service. R.C. Church parade in Parish Church, Rue de l'Administration.

Afternoon half holiday.

112 O.R. joined from Training Battn.

19.2.17. - BRUAY

Cold and Cloudy. - Some Showers. Training in new organization commenced as per Syllabus. (Appendix 3)

Recruits on square. Regtl. And Co. Scouts and Runners carried out special syllabus. (Appendix 3)

2 O.R. Ev.

Lt. Col. C.H. HILL D.S.O. assumes command 7TH C.I.B.
Major M.M.L. GARON assumes command of Regt.

20.2.17. - BRUAY

Cool and still cloudy. - Training carried out as per syllabus. Recruits on the square.

Scouts and runners as per Syllabus.

1 O.R. Evac. to C.C.S.

21.2.17. - BRUAY

Still cool and cloudy, slight showers. Syllabus carried out in morning. Half holiday for football. (1st game of Divisional Series) on 7TH C.C.E (?) grounds, and in a closely contested game won 1 - 0. Team. Thompson, gilmour, Williams, Symons, Battle, Wright, Cooper, Riley, Rowbotham, Nash. Symons had to be dropped owing to his knee going again, which materially weakened the team. Brigade preliminaries in Divisional Boxing were held in the Threatre BRUAY at 6.00 P.M. Our entries were.

Sgt Symons won in the first round, then founght again and won again. McMullen also won easily but received a bad bump in side from head of his opponent. Through lack of experience and condition Green lost his bout to Heller of the 49TH. McIntyre put up a very clever exhibition, but Fox of the 3RD. Train 3rd D.S.C. won easily.

7 O.R. Reinforcements.
2 O.R. Evac. to C.C.S.

22.2.17. - BRUAY

Cool and Cloudy. Ground everywhere is thawing rapidly. In morning Syllabus of Training carried out. Recruits on square. Baths for 350 men in afternoon. They were very disappointing, there being no clean underclothes nor towels, and not sufficient time allowed for a decent bath.

Preliminary Tug of war pulled this afternoon, our team pulled seven times, winning first from the 7TH Field Co. in two straight pulls, then from the 42ND in the same number, then from the 49TH. With the 49TH. We won the first and third pull, they won the second.

23.2.17. - BRUAY

Still Cool and Dull. - Syllabus adhered to in morning. Recruits on square.

Baths for 350 men in afternoon, same complaints today as yesterday. A report was rendered to brigade and we are promised another allotment. Our men have not had a bath for over a month.

We played the 42ND Football in afternoon, losing 4-0. Our team was greatly weakened by loss of Symons and battle. No score in first half, but 42ND showed superiority in second.

Team, Gilmour, Williams, Beswick, Wright, Rowbotham, Riley, Cooper, Tapp.

Brigade finals in Boxing were held in the Theatre at 6.00 P.M. Symons fought Barry of T.M. Batty. And won handily. He then fought Whorton of the 49TH and won in an extra round. It was a good fight, but general opinion was that Symons had better of 1st 3 rounds also McMullen fought McMann P.P.C.L.I. and won after a hot fight. Owing to a broken thumb, however, he defaulted the next bout to Houle 49TH.

24.2.17. - BRUAY

Cool and Cloudy. - Syllabus adhered to in morning. Co. sports held on Co. grounds in afternoon.

Inspection of Brigade transport by Major General Lipsett, C.M.G. It was an excellent showing.

4 O.R. to C.C.S.

25.2.17. - BRUAY

Cool and Cloudy. - Brigade parade for presentation of medal ribbons at 11.00 A.M.

Brigade marched past Corps Commander after presentation. Half Holiday in afternoon.

26.2.17. - BRUAY

Cool and Cloudy. - Syllabus carried out in morning. Recruits all returned to Cos.

Battn. marched by Cos. To MARLED-LES-MINES for finale in Divisional Sports. We lost the tug-of-war to the 3RD Pioneers in 2 pulls. Team captained and coached by C.S.M. O'Connor.

27.2.17. - BRUAY

Cool and Cloudy. - Syllabus adhered to all day, Battn. marched to training area (No. 16 Squadron R.F.C. aerodrome) and worked from 9.00 A.M. to 12.00 Noon and 1.00 P.M. to 3.00 P.M., kitchens were taken up and troops had noon meal on grounds.

Bombing and Bayonet Fighting competitions at MARLES-LES-MINES. Our bombing team did not do well, but our bayonet fighting team were third in the Division.

Finals of the Divisional Boxing at 6.00 P.M. Sergt. Symons was knocked out in second round. On points he was winning easily, but he unfortunately walked into a wild punch on the point of his jaw.

28.2.17. - BRUAY

Cool, Cloudy. - Syllabus carried out on Brigade Training area. Kitchens again taken up.

Divisional transport show at MARLES-LES-MINES in the afternoon. We were acknowledged to be the best in the Division, but because our team was not clipped were disqualified after everybody excepting the P.P.C.L.I. had been eliminated.

(signed)
E.C. Snider
Lieut.
for Major.
Commanding The Royal Canadian Regt.


Appendix 1 - R.C.R O.O.5 dated 10.2.17. R.C.R. will be relieved in the line by the 24TH Bn. in 12th February, 1917.

Appendix 2 - R.C.R O.O.4 dated 10.2.17. instructions to R.C.R. for march to BRUAY, on 13th Feb., 1917.

Appendix 3 - Syllabus of training of R.C.R. from 19th to 28th February, 1917.

Appendix 3A - Syllabus of training for scouts and runners of R.C.R. from 21st to 25th February, 1917.

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