The First World War
War Diary of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Transcription by Captain Michael O'Leary, The RCR.

MARCH 1918

1-3-1918. - SUBURBAN.

The Battalion less two companies "A" and "B" moved to-day to CELLARS Camp, NEUVILLE ST. VAAST. Battalion left Suburban camp at 10.00 a.m. and proceeded via Lependu and Mt. St. ELOY. "B" Co. left at 4.00 p.m. and went to Angus Rd 36c. S.18.c.1.2. by light railway. The Co. will be attached to the 7TH Field Co. C.E. for working parties. The C.O. went to FERFAY to judge in the "L" course competition.

15 O.R. from C.C.R.C.

(Appendix 1.)

2-3-1918. - CELLARS.

Cold and wintry day. Forty Officers and N.C.O's. attended a lecture at VILLERS-au-BOIS by Lt.-Col. Pigot, D.S.O., M.C., on employment of tanks. The tactics of this new method of warfare were very carefully explained. The Battalion paraded at 2.00 p.m. to the Y.M.C.A. NEUVILLE ST. VAAST to hear a lecture on "Economy" by Capt. Cameron of the Y.M.C.A. This very important subject was brought home to all ranks in an interesting manner. "D" Co. and 1 Platoon of "C" Co. on a working party wiring beyond the Ridge.

3 O.Rs. to C.C.S.

3-3-1918. - CELLARS.

No church parades on account of working parties. Five platoons wiring at night near PETIT VIMY.

Major G.R. BOUCHARD appointed Town major of LIERES.
2 O.Rs. to C.C.S.
1 O.R. admitted to Hospital while on leave in England.

4-3-1918. - CELLARS.

1 officer and 4 O.Rs from each Co. and several Officers from H.Q. Co. and runners went up the line to reconnoitre routes, etc. The C.O. and a number of Officers and other ranks attended a tank demonstration near BERTHONVAL Wood.

Lieut. W.S. FENTON on leave to Eng.
Lieut. I.E. SOULE returned from Paris leave.
Major A.E. WILLOUGHBY returned from Eng leave.
1 O.R. to C.C.S.
1 O.R. trans. to 1st Cdn. Tunnelling Co.

5-3-1918. - CELLARS.

Advance parties of 1 Officer and 5 O.Rs. Per Co. and 1 Officer and 6 from H.Q. Proceeded to the line. "A" Co. arrived back from FERFAY. Capt. McCREA reports that the Co. not only enjoyed but greatly benefited by the two weeks at FERFAY. A draft of 100 O.R. From England also arrived. All are from the 185th Battalion, and are a stalwart looking lot of men.

1 O.R. from 7th T.M. Battery.
1 O.R. from C.C.S.

6-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

The draft were posted to their companies today. All Russians, 7 in number, in the Battalion were sent to FERFAY. The Regiment relieved the 43rd Cameron Highlanders of Canada in the right sub-section AVION Sector tonight. Cos. moved over the ridge between 6.00 p.m. and 7.00 p.m. The relief was complete at 10.00 p.m. The dispositions are "A" Co. right Co. sector; "C" Co. centre Co. sector; "D" Co. left Co. sector.

Each of the above Cos. have two platoons in the front and outpost line and two in close support in AVION trench. "B" CO. are in support in SOURIS Road and ACTRESS Trench. The Battalion frontage extends from 36C. S.W. T.3.d.45.55 to the railway embankment at N.33.c.30.75. Bn. Hqrs. In AVION Road T.2.b.20.75. The 4th C.M.R. Are on the right, 42nd Bn. on the left and the P.P.C.L.I. and 49th Bn. in support. Trench strength is 24 Officers and 702 O.Rs.

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

(Appendix 2.)

7-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Very quiet last night and all day. Enemy fired about 30 rounds H.T.M. Into AVION Trench wounding one man. The A/Brigadier Lt. Col PALMER called during the morning and later on went over the line. The cellars in N.33.c are to be made into defended localities. "C" and "D" Co. started wiring around them night 7th/8th.

Lieut. J. BALLANTYNE admitted to Hospital in Eng.
2 O.Rs. wounded.

8-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Patrols of 1 N.C.O. And 5 men covered the Bn. front during the night. Nothing unusual was seen or heard. Considerable wiring was done by all three front line companies. The day was very quiet. Hostile trench mortars firing from N.33.c were silenced by our 4.5 howitzers.

9-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Two patrols of 1 Officer and 5 O.Rs. and one of 1 N.C.O. and 5 men covered the front during the night. Nothing unusual was seen or heard. Considerable enemy artillery activity during the night and T.M. activity during the day, especially near junction of AVION and BEAVER Trenches where several direct hits were made. The C.O. attended a conference at Brigade at 3.00 p.m. Considerable wiring was done by the three front line companies.

1 O.R. Killed in Action.
1 O.R. trans to Eng.
1 O.R. committed to prison.
1 O.R. to C.C.S.

10-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Night quiet. Sgt Woodford and two men Killed by T.M. at 7.00 a.m. Four others wounded 3 of whom died during the day. Enemy trench mortars were silenced during the day by our artillery fire. "A" Co. have put out a large quantity of wire on their front. "C" Co. have wired in posts. "D" Co. have wired in posts and heavily wired AVION trench.

Capt. W.J. HOME leave to NICE.
1 O.R. from C.C.S.

11-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

"C" Co. furnished patrol of 1 Officer and 10 O.Rs. "A" and "D" Cos. patrols of 1 N.C.O. And 5 men each. Nothing unusual was reported. "A", "C" & "D" Cos. erected about 250 yards of wire during the night. Situation normal during the day and evening.

1 O.R. gassed.
1 O.R. trans. to Eng.
2 O.Rs. to C.C.S.

12-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Preceeding night and day 12th normal. At 6.30 p.m. the enemy shelled our front. "A" Co. on the right getting the most of the shelling. The P.P.C.L.I. relieved the Regiment, relief being complete at 9.30 p.m. Communication trenches were shelled between 9.30 and 10.00 p.m. Four casualties were inflicted - two Killed and two Wounded. Total for the tour 9 O.R. Killed 8 O.R. Wounded. The Regiment moved to Brigade Reserve, Battalion Hqrs in ANXIOUS Trench 36C. S.6.c.10.8 D. "B", "C" and "D" Cos. in RED Trench astride the LENS-ARRAS Road. "A" Co. in dugouts at BETTY GAP, 36C T.8.a.50.65. All companies in deep dugouts and quite comfortable. During the tour patrols were unable to obtain touch with the enemy. A large amount of wiring was done, approximately four hundred reels being used. Work was done in deepening ACTRESS and SOURIS Trenches. Practically all dugouts were made gas proof by erecting new curtains and improving existing equipment.

Lieut. H.R. StC. JONES from Eng. Leave.
2 O.Rs. to C.C.S.
1 O.R. from C.C.S.

(Appendix 3.)
(Appendix 4.)
(Appendix 5.)
(Appendix 6.)

13-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

A total of 525 O.Rs. Were employed on various working parties during the day and night. Parties were supplied for Trench Warden, making dugouts, carrying H.T.M. Ammunition, wiring, building tramways, digging trenches, etc. A practice "STAND TO" made at 3.00 p.m. in RED Trench and BETTY GAP.

12 O.Rs. trans to Eng. for the purpose of obtaining leave to Canada.

14-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Quiet day. A total of 485 all ranks on various working parties during the night. The C.O. had a conference of Company Commanders at 10.00 a.m.

21 O.Rs. from C.C.R.C.
3 O.Rs. to C.C.S.

15-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Quite day. Very fine and warm. General Sir A.W. CURRIE called to see the C.O. A total of 412 all ranks on working parties during the night.

16-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Quiet day. Usual working parties, a total of 394 all ranks on working parties during the day and night.

1 O.R. a gas casualty.

Lieut-Col. W.G. GIBSONE of the 3rd Division and Lieut-Col. WESTON of the 17th Reserve Bn. spent the morning at Battalion Hdqrs.

Capt R.E. BALDERS rtd. from Eng. Leave.
6 O.Rs. from C.C.R.C.

17-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Very fine day with excellent visibility. The C.O. held a conference of Company Commanders at 3.30 p.m. Usual working parties out during the day and night. Exceptionally quiet during the evening.

Capt PHILLIPS H. on leave to Eng.
1 O.R. to C.C.S.
1 O.R. wounded (gassed).

18-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Another very fine day. The C.O. went to the PPCLI in the front line this morning. Working parties same as yesterday.

Major GARON M.M.L. rejoined today.
1 O.R. to C.C.S.
9 O.R. from C.C.R.C.

19-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Rainy day. Advance parties went into the line to take over from the P.P.C.L.I. The Regt. followed at intervals between 6.40 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. The relief was reported complete at 9.20 p.m. the frontage is the same as that taken over on Match the 6th. The old Observations and Outpost Line in MEASURE Trench has now been withdrawn to SULLIVAN Trench. MEASURE is patrolled by night. AVION SUPPORT has been cleaned out and accommodation in beehive shelters provided for two platoons, one from the centre and left company respectively. The dispositions are the same as last tour excepting that "C" Company is in support and "B" Company are in the Centre Company sector. The 5th C.M.R. And 42nd Bn. are on the right and left respectively.

Total Trench Strength 25 Officers, 714 O.Rs.

9 O.R. joined from 3rd Divisional Working Party.
Lieut. R.W. CHURCHILL joined from C.C.R.C.
1 O.R. trans to England.

(Appendix 7.)

20-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Rainy day. Enemy very quiet. A hostile plane flying low over our lines at 6.30 p.m. was heavily engaged by Lewis Gun and rifle fire. 3 patrols covered the Battalion frontage during the night. Nothing unusual to report.

2 O.R. Trans. to Eng.
1 O.R. to C.C.S.

21-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Normal during day and early evening. In retaliation for the gas projectors discharged north of the SOUCHEZ River a barrage was placed along AVION Trench from 11.15 p.m. to 12.00 midnight. This quieted down gradually to normal again.

22-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Quiet all day. "C" Company relieved "D" Co. 58th Bn. in BILLY BURKE Trench. Relief completed 6.10 p.m. Three platoons of "D" CO. in AVION and AVION SUPPORT Trenches were relieved by platoons from 42nd Bn. and moved into SOURIS Road Supports. Relief completed 8.30 p.m. at 10.30 p.m. one of our planes which had crashed in front of "A" Co's sector was blown up with ammonal tubes. Night quiet.

23-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Day fine and quiet. Bn. Hdqrs. moved from BEAVER Trench, T.2.b.20.80, to DORIS Trench, T.8.a.50.60. Move completed at 6.00 p.m. At 11.25 p.m. enemy laid down a box barrage on right Co. front. No infantry action on our front. Raiding party of 30 attempted to enter Trenches of 52nd Cdn. Bn. on our right, but was driven off, leaving 3 prisoners behind. Bombardment quieted down at 11.45 p.m.

24-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Heavy bombardment at 12.30 a.m. on the right and again at 3.15 on the left. At 4.55 a.m. A concentrated bombardment began on our front and lasted till 5.25 a.m. Our artillery retaliated on S.O.S. lines. Two patrols were out during the night but reported nothing special.

Lieut du DOMAINE E.L.L. on leave to Eng.
8 O.R. to C.C.S.
1 O.R. from C.C.S.
10 O.R. wounded.
16 O.R. from C.C.R.C.

25-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Battalion relieved by PPCLI in the front line and moved to Brigade Reserve leaving "A" tactically under PPCLI in support of DORIS Trench. Bn. Hdqrs. In ANXIOUS Trench. "B", "C" and "D" Cos. in RED Trench astride LENS-ARRAS Road. Relief completed without casualties at 9.46 p.m. Move completed at 11.15 p.m.

4 O.R. to C.C.S.
1 O.R. from C.B.D.

(Appendix 9.)

26-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Wire received at about 1.30 a.m. from 3rd Division to be ready to move at 1 hours notice after 5.30 a.m. this morning. This was canceled about 6.30. Working parties during the day and night, practically the same as that which obtained the last tour in supports. Very quiet day.

20 O.Rs. from C.C.R.C.

27-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Practice "Stand To" at 4.30 a.m. Besides working parties Headquarters Details wired in front of ANXIOUS Trench during the night. Working parties today the same as yesterday. "B" Co. moved from RED Trench on left ARRAS-LENS Road and took over from one company of the 116th Bn. in GESTIE Trench from VIMY AVION Railway to T.14.c.60.30. Relief completes at 1.30 a.m.

Capt. H.F.R. GRIFFITH attd. to 3rd Div. Sigs.
10 O.Rs. to C.C.S.

28-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

During the night hostile gas shells bombarded THELUS. At 2.00 a.m. gas projectors were fired by our troops in HILL 70. There was little artillery retaliation. At 7.45 a.m. Wire received from 7th C.I.B. to "Stand To" as a very heavy barrage had opened up on our right, apparently on the whole line from MERICOURT to ARRAS. Shelling continued heavily all day, both in Forward and Rear area. German aeroplane brought down on our front by rifle and L.G. Fire of P.P.C.L.I. Wounded Officer and unwounded N.C.O. Captured. "Stand Down" came in at 9.30 p.m. Night quiet.

1 O.R. wounded.
2 O.Rs. from Mil. Prison.

29-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

(No entry for 29 March.)

30-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Low flying enemy aeroplanes over area between VIMY RIDGE and the Front Line. 1 Officer, 2 Runners, and 2 Scouts per Company proceeded to reconnoitre Front Line as dispositions have been greatly changed. Working parties today as usual.

2 O.Rs. Wounded.

31-3-1918. - AVION SECTOR.

Very quiet day. Bn. relieved P.P.C.L.I. In the Front Line. Disposition again changed and more frontage taken over on the right.

Outpost line now runs:-
Beginning at junction CYRIL and AVION along AVION;
down BILLY BURKE,
along VESTA TILLY to TEDDY GERARD.

Front line runs:-
beginning junction SOURIS and AMBLE,
down SOURIS,
along ACTRESS, BETTY, KEANE and TEDDY GERARD.

Right flank MERICOURT Road inclusive.

Relief completed at 11.50 p.m. Searching enemy artillery fire during relief, causing a number of casualties.

(Appendix 13.)


Appendix 1. - R.C.R. O.O. 88 dated 28.2.18. R.C.R. less 2 companies will relieve P.P.C.L.I. in NEUVILLE ST. VAAST tomorrow March 1st.

Appendix 2. - R.C.R. O.O. 89 dated 5.3.18. R.C.R. will relieve 43RD Cdn. Bn. in front line on night 6th/7th March, 1918.

Appendix 3. - R.C.R. O.O. 90 dated 5.3.18. P.P.C.L.I. will relieve R.C.R. in the front line on night 12th/13th March, 1918.

Appendix 4. - Dispositions of R.C.R. on March 12th, 1918.

Appendix 5. - R.C.R. temporary defence scheme of AVION section on 11th March, 1918.

Appendix 6. - Work report of R.C.R. during tour in AVION right subsector from 6th to 12th March, 1918.

Appendix 7. - R.C.R. O.O. 91 dated 5.3.18. R.C.R. will relieve the P.P.C.L.I. in front line on night 19th/20th March, 1918.

Appendix 8. - Supplement to R.C.R. O.O. 93. dated 23.3.18. Instructions re headquarters.

Appendix 9. - R.C.R. O.O. 92 dated 24.3.18. P.P.C.L.I. will relieve R.C.R. in front line on night 25th/26th March, 1918.

Appendix 10. - R.C.R. temporary defence scheme of AVION section on 25th March, 1918.

Appendix 11. - R.C.R. O.O. 94 dated 27.3.18. "B" Coy. of R.C.R. will relieve 1 company of 116TH Bn. WILLERVAL CHAUDIERE line on night March 27th/28th, 1918.

Appendix 12. - Special order by Lt. General Sir. A.W. CURRIE, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., Commanding Canadian Corps.

Appendix 13. - R.C.R. O.O. 90 dated 20.3.18. R.C.R. will relieve the P.P.C.L.I. in the front line on night 31st March/1st April, 1918.

Table of officers and other ranks who have served with the R.C.R. in the field. Figures corrected to March 31st, 1918.

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