The First World War
War Diary of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Transcription by Captain Michael O'Leary, The RCR.

OCTOBER 1917

1-10-17. - MERICOURT FRONT.

The thick ground mist of early morning cleared at 08.00 a.m. and gave place to a bright clear day. Nothing unusual to report. Two platoons were on day working parties and six on night parties. Each of the three front line companies had a patrol out but saw or heard nothing unusual. The 14TH Yorks and Lancs are now on our right with the 42ND Battalion on the left.

Two other ranks evacuated to C.C.S.

(Appendix 1.)

2-10-17. - MERICOURT FRONT.

Day quiet except for shelling on our right front in late afternoon. Enemy appeared to be registering on our wire, about 100 heavy shells being discharged. Usual patrolling at night with nothing unusual to report. Fine with fresh wind from S.W. Light rain during night.

Lieut. H. SYKES on general Course, PERNES.

3-10-17. - MERICOURT FRONT.

Fine warm day. Quiet until 4.00 p.m. when enemy heavily shelled junction QUEBEC, TOPER AND 12TH. AVENUE Trenches with 5.9s. The men in this sector were moved right and left along QUEBEC Trench. Later it was found that many direct hits had been made in a trench occupied by many of our men. Numerous casualties were undoubtedly avoided by moving the men. At 9.00 p.m. the Brigade on our right discharged Gas. This led to enemy retaliation. Our right Co. received a slight shelling but no casualties.

Patrols report a very quiet night.

1 O.R. from C.C.R.C.
24 O.R. from C.C.S.
Major C.R.E. WILLETS retd from Aldershot, England.

4-10-17. - MERICOURT FRONT.

Fine in the early morning. Later became cold with low clouds and light wind. Enemy artillery active on front and support lines during the afternoon. Several gaps in the wire were made. These were repaired immediately after dark. At 8.45 p.m. an intense barrage was put on on the front line for 20 minutes when it was lifted to support lines. Enemy raiding parties appeared in front of wire on "A" and "C" Companies frontage. They evidently were looking for the gaps made in the afternoon. Parties repulsed by Machine Gun fire. Heavy barrage remained on support line, light shells and T.M's shifted to front line until 10.00 p.m. when fire slackened. Many direct hits were made. Ours casualties were two killed, 12 wounded, and shell shock. Patrols later went out but found no enemy dead.

Lieut F.L. FOSTER returned from PARIS leave.
1 O.R. evac to C.C.S.
1 O.R. reported from C.C.S.
1 O.R. from C.C.R.C.
1 O.R. from C.B.D.

(Appendix 2.)

5-10-17. - MERICOURT FRONT.

Day fine but cold and cloudy. Considerable activity of enemy aircraft. We were relieved by the 25TH Canadian Inf. Battalion. The relief worked very smoothly. The Lewis Gun Sections came in during the afternoon. This is an excellent idea. It not only enables the Transport to get away early with our own guns but the relieving Battalion take up their positions in daylight, and are fully prepared to best meet a night attack. Relief complete at 10.35 p.m. Move to bivouac at ECUIRE complete at 12.20 p.m.

6-10-17. - ECUIRE.

Transport moved off ay 7.00 a.m. for BAILLEUL-AUX CORNEILLES. The morning was cold and rainy. Time spent in cleaning up. Battalion entrained at ECUIRE at 3.15 p.m. arriving at LaBELLE EPINE at 7.10 p.m. A short march was made to BAILLEUL where fairly comfortable billets were found.

Capt. M. RYAN returned from command, Divisional Concert Party.
2 other ranks wounded.

7-10-17. - BAILLEUL.

Rainy day with high wind. No parades. Men resting and cleaning up.

Lieut. L.A. NAYLOR on command with the Royal Flying Corps.
1 Other rank evacuated C.C.S.

8-10-17. - BAILLEUL.

Companies paraded 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. under their own arrangements. Reorganisation of platoons, saluting drill and route marching was the syllabus of training.

Capt. D.D. FREEZE permanently attached.
Lieut. T.S. ALLAN returned from English leave.
Lieut. G. HOPKINS on command 8TH Brigade Headquarters.

9-10-17. - BAILLEUL.

Parades 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. "A" Company at baths at MAGNICOURT in the afternoon.

10-10-17. - BAILLEUL.

Ranges were allotted to us all day. Owing to rain only "C" and "D" Companies were able to shoot. Band concert in the afternoon.

Lieut. J. BALLANTYNE returned from Lewis Gun Course.
1 other rank from C.C.S.

11-10-17. - BAILLEUL.

The First Army Commander inspected the Brigade at 11.30 a.m. No comments were made. In the afternoon companies paraded for baths as MAGNICOURT.

Lieut. W.G. WURTELE on Lewis Gun Course.

1 other rank evac. C.C.S.
7 other ranks joined from C.C.S.

12-10-17. - BAILLEUL.

A very full days programme was carried out. Two companies threw live grenades. Three companies were paid. H.Q. Co., "B" Co. and remaining men in companies without a bath went to MAGNICOURT for same. All men have now been issued with Winter clothing.

3 other ranks trans. To C.C.R.C.
2 other ranks evac. To C.C.S.

(Appendix 5.)

13-10-17. - BAILLEUL.

Parades as usual 8.30 a.m. to 12.20 p.m. raining in the afternoon.

60 other ranks as reinforcements from C.C.R.C.
2 other ranks evac. C.C.S.
4 other ranks trans. to A.P.M.
24 other ranks trans. to C.C.R.C.

14-10-17. - BAILLEUL.

Church parades in the morning. Day beautifully fine. Sports were held in the afternoon. They were well organized and each event was run off with a go. "A" Company went to TINQUES as a working party loading Transport.

15-10-17. - BAILLEUL.

After an hours Specialist Training Companies went for a three hours route march. Preparations for the move have occupied the afternoon.

Major M.M.L. GARON on command D.A.D.L. (Authy:- A.Q. 4-20, dated 4-10-17.)

(Appendix 6.)

16-10-17. - BAILLEUL.

Fine and warm day. The Battalion paraded at 5.30 a.m. and marched to TINCQUES. Entrained at 8.10 a.m., detrained CODA WAERS WELDE 4.40 p.m. After a ten kilometre march billets were takenover at PREDELLES.

Lieut. A.G. STRIDE granted 10 days leave to ENGLAND.
3 other ranks evac. to C.C.S.
17 other ranks joined fron C.C.R.C.
36 other ranks joined from C.D.B.

17-10-17. - PREDELLES.

Fine and warm with occasional showers. The day spent in cleaning up. "A" Company arrived 5.00 a.m. The billets are widely scattered but are very comfortable.

Capt. M. RYAN returned from English leave.
Capt. W.J. HOME and Lieut. L.C. LINTON granted 10 days leave to NICE.
5 other ranks evac. C.C.S.
2 other ranks from C.C.S.
1 other rank rejoined from C.B.D.

18-10-17. - PREDELLES.

Warm sunny day. Parades 8.30 a.m. to 12.20 p.m.

1 other ranks sent to C.B.D. for discharge.
1 other rank evac. to C.C.S.

19-10-17. - PREDELLES.

Day changeable. Parades as usual. The band gave a concert in the village square during the afternoon.

(Appendix 7.)

20-10-17. - PREDELLES.

Nil.

Lieut-Col. C.H. HILL transferred to England as instructor at Senior Officers Course School.
1 other rank joined from C.B.D.

21-10-17. - PREDELLES.

Parades as usual from 8.30 a.m. to 12.20 p.m. The bombers and Lewis Gunners were all grouped together for Specialist Training under Specialist Officers.

Lieut. W.G. WURTELE returned from Lewis Gun Course.
8 other ranks evac. C.C.S.

22-10-17. - PREDELLES.

T.R.H. the Duke of CONNAUGHT and Prince Arthur of CONNAUGHT inspected the Brigade at 11.25 a.m. The Battalion paraded at 10.00 a.m. and marched to BORRE near which the inspection took place. After the inspection the Brigade marched past the Duke in the Village Square. Preparations for moving were completed in the afternoon. Day fine and warm.

(Appendix 8.)

23-10-17. - PREDELLES.

The Battalion moved off at 2.15 a.m. and entrained at CAESTRE arrived YPRES 6.30 a.m. Raining Heavily. Marched to St JEAN AREA where men got under cover until early afternoon when the Battalion moved forward to WIELTJE C. CAMP. (Sheet 28C.29.a.) into bivouacs vacated by the 58TH battalion. Sandbags were drawn from the R.E. and before night everyone was fairly comfortable in bivouacs or tents. The place is very muddy and the rain almost continual.

1 other rank killed in action.

24-10-17. - ST JEAN AREA.

The day was fine with good visibility. Enemy aeroplanes bombed our camp at 10.00 a.m. killing Sergt. DUNCAN a man whom the Regiment can ill afford to lose. Three other raids followed in the course of the day but no more bombs fell in our lines. 300 all ranks on carrying parties to the support lines.

25-10-17. - ST JEAN AREA.

Fine day after a rainy night. We moved again to camp X taking over from 116TH Battn. The camp is very muddy and billets not so dry or numerous as in the last camp. 300 all ranks on working parties carrying ammunition and hauling guns for the H.A.G's. Bombs were dropped in the vicinity during the day and night.

26-10-17. - ST JEAN AREA.

Day fine at first later rainy. 150 all ranks on stretcher party 6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. Carrying woyunded for 8TH and 9TH Brigades. 100 others on carrying party - bath mats to yesterday's front line. Bombing raids at night and enemy shelling by H.V. gun.

1 other ranks rejoined from C.C.S.

27-10-17. - ST JEAN AREA.

250 all ranks on carrying parties from BILGE DUMP. All preparations for moving into the line complete. Day fine but little effect made on mud.

5 other ranks evac. to C.C.S.
3 other ranks wounded in action.

(Appendix 9.)

28-10-17. - ST JEAN AREA.

Fine day with cool Westerly winds. 381 all ranks on working and carrying parties. Bombing planes passed over the camp at 11.00 a.m.

1 other rank died of wounds.
2 other ranks reported missing.
21 other ranks wounded in action.

(Appendix 10.)

29-10-17. - ST JEAN AREA.

Fine clear day with drying wind. A working party of 25 other ranks was furnished the Engineers in the morning. Advance parties went forward early in the day to take over from the P.P.C.L.I. in support. The Regiment moved off - "A", "B", "D" Cos. at 3.30 p.m., 3.45 p.m., and 4.00 p.m. "C" Company following at 9.00 p.m. Battalions HQs, at OTTO FARM, Sheet 28D.15a.10.05. "A", "B", "D" Cos. in shelters on ABRAHAM HEIGHTS. "C" Co. sent two platoons each to P.P.C.L.I. and 49TH Battalion as a reserve. "A", "B", and "D" Cos. were heavily shelled during the night with H.E. and Gas Shells.

4 other ranks wounded in action.
1 other ranks evac. to C.C.S.

(Appendix 11.)

30-10-17. - ST JEAN AREA.

After a cool moonlight night the morning broke clear with a tinge of frost in the air. A strong West wind during the night continued throughout the day and dries up the mud. The Brigade attacked at 5.50 a.m. At 9.00 a.m. all objectives were reported taken. Two platoons "A" Co. reinforces the 49TH at 11.20 a.m. Remaining two reinforces P.P.C.L.I. at 11.30 a.m. At 1.00 p.m. "D" Co. sent one platoon to carry rifle grenades to the 49TH. The two platoons of "A" Co. sent to reinforce the 49TH were returned at 2.30 p.m. At 8.30 p.m. "D" Company went forward to reinforce 49TH and to aid in consolidation of line. At 8.45 p.m. "A" Company supplied two platoons top carry rations to P.P.C.L.I. and "C" Company, The R.C.R., at 10.00 p.m. At 10.00 p.m. "B" Company reinforced P.P.C.L.I. Night passed quietly with usual harassing fire. 42ND established their HQs. At OTTO FARM at 5.00 p.m. on moving forward to ABRAHAM HEIGHTS.

Lieut. J. BALLANTYNE granted 10 days leave to ENGLAND.
3 O.R. wounded in action.

31-10-17. - ST JEAN AREA.

Day fine and fairly quiet. The following moves and reliefs were carried out. Battalion headquarters moved to WATERLOO Pill Box D.9.d.70.85. 1 / 2 "A" company and "C" Company moved from reserve to POMMERN CASTLE AREA taking over from the 116TH Battalion. "B" Company moved from the front line to old jumping off trench.

Lieut. H. SYKES wounded in action (Gassed).
2 other ranks killed in action.
2 other ranks evacuated C.C.S.
19 other ranks wounded in action.

(signed)
C.R.E. Willetts
Major,
Commanding The Royal Canadian Regiment.

2-11-17.


Appendix 1. - R.C.R. Defence scheme of 7TH C.I.B. right subsector.

Appendix 2. - R.C.R. O.O. 71 dated 4.10.17. R.C.R. will be relieved by 25TH Cdn. Bn. on night 5th/6th October 1917.

Appendix 3. - R.C.R. O.O. 72 dated 8.10.17. R.C.R. will proceed to BAILLEUL AUX CORNELLES tomorrow.

Appendix 4. - Syllabus of training of R.C.R. on 8th Oct., 1917.

Appendix 5. - R.C.R. O.O. 73 dated 12.10.17. Instructions to R.C.R. for entraining at TINCQUES early on 14th instant.

Appendix 6. - R.C.R. O.O. 74 dated 15.10.17. R.C.R. will entrain at TINCQUES on the 16th instant and will move by train to CAESTRE tomorrow.

Appendix 7. - Syllabus of training of R.C.R. from Oct. 19th to Oct. 22nd, 1917.

Appendix 8. - R.C.R. O.O. 75 dated 22.10.17. R.C.R. will entrain at CAESTRE on October 23rd, 1917. and will move by train to YPRES.

Appendix 9. - R.C.R. O.O. 76 dated 27.10.17. Instructions to R.C.R. for moving into the line tonight.

Appendix 10. - R.C.R. O.O. 76 dated 28.10.17. R.C.R. will relieve P.P.C.L.I. in support tomorrow night.

Appendix 11. - Summary of Operations of R.C.R. YPRES Oct. 29th to Nov. 4th, 1917.

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