Congratulatory Messages

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CONGRATULATORY MESSAGES

The following message has been received from Sir Edward Kemp, Minister of Militia, by the Corps Commander:-

“The troops still in Canada awaiting their opportunity to join their comrades at the front; the young Canadians who are about to enlist and the officers and men who have been deprived of the previlege of participating in active operations at the front but who have devoted themselves to the task of raising and organizing the Canadian Expeditionary Force; on behalf of all these I extend to yourself and the officers and men under your command their warmest congratulations, in which I heartily concur, upon the splendid and inspiring victory of Canadians at VIMY RIDGE”.

To which reply has been sent:-

“Your inspiring message has been communicated to all ranks of the Canadian Corps . All have warmest appreciation of the patriotism of those Canadians not serving with the Corps, whose work have made the success of the Corps possible and hope for a continuance of that success in the future”.

(SIGNED) GENERAL BYNG.

The following message has been received from Sir William Hearst, Prime Minister of Ontario:-

“Government and people of Ontario heartily congratulate Canadians on their glorious achievement and thank them for their magnificent service to the Empire and to Civilization.  Ontario rejoices that her sons have again proved worthy of the best traditions of our race.  Our country is thrilled by story of great victory which will be an immortal inspiration to noble deeds and is assurance of final overthrow of tyranny”

The following reply has been despatched:-

“I thank you in the name of the Canadian Corps for your telegram of congratulation. Of the many received none is more appreciated.

(SIGNED)   GENERAL BYNG.

 

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CONGRATULATORY MESSAGES continued

The following received from HON. N. W. Rowell, Toronto:-

“Heartiest congratulations on magnificent success in capturing VIMY RIDGE.  We are all proud of splendid achievement of our Canadians under your Command.”

To which reply has been sent:-

“Our warmest thanks for your kind telegram.  All ranks appreciate your interest and encouragement.”

(SIGNED) GENERALM BYNG.

The following, from the Rt.Hon. W. H. Long. Colonial Office, LONDON:-

“My warmest congratulations to the Canadian Troops under your Command in their brilliant exploit in the capture of VIMY RIDGE”.
To which reply, as follows, has been despatched:-

“Your kind message much appreciated”

(SIGNED) GENERAL BYNG.

The following telegram has been received from F.M. H.R.H. The Duke of Coanaught.

“Warmest congratulations great success Canadian Corps”.
to which reply has been sent:-

“YOur Royal Highness’ message most gratefully received”.

(SIGNED) GENERAL BYNG.

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25th April 1917: Diary

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 Wed., Apr 25, 1917   S18 D8.2.

6 AM Weather fine – Bright.  Situation quiet. Wind North.
10 AM Companies engaged on General trench repair work.  No Hostile shelling.
2 PM Relief with 52nd Battalion commenced and companies moving back in accordance with instructions contained in Battalion Operation Order No. 47.
5 PM The Battalion marched into VILLERS AU BOIS reaching billets at 4.30 P.M.
6 PM Headquarter established in Suburban Huts – South East of Villers au Bois – Companies also billeted in huts this area.

23rd April 1917: Diary

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 Mon., Apr 23, 1917     S18 D 8.2.

6 AM Weather fine – cold.  Situation quiet. Wind North.
2 PM Working parties engaged all morning improving position and cleaning out dug-outs etc.
4 PM Slight hostile artillery activity during afternoon – No casualties.
Salvage parties at work.
8 PM Situation Normal.

20th April 1917: Diary

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Fri., Apr 20, 1917   S29 C 2.6.

6 AM Weather – Fair and cloudy. Wind North.
Burial parties and salvage parties working continuously throughout the day
2 PM Weather bright.  Marked aeroplance activity on both sides during the afternoon.
6 PM Hostile artillery shelling intermittently back of Vimy Ridge to old Crater line – no casualties
10 PM Situation Normal.

Officers on Duty

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LIST OF OFFICERS ON DUTY IN TRENCHES –
TOUR APRIL 18TH/24TH

MAJOR W. W. FOSTER 2nd In Command (Acting O.C.)
MAJOR L. W. MILLER – ADJUTANT.
CAPTN A. C. ARMSTRONG – M.O.
LIEUT C. F. DOUGLAS – BOMBING OFFICER

“A” COMPANY

LIEUT. J. FOORD
LIEUT. J. McKENZIE
LIEUT. J. RICHARDSON

“B” COMPANY
LIEUT. D. U. CAMERON
LIEUT. C. J. LEWIS
LIEUT. J. K. POTTER

“C” COMPANY
MAJOR T. GODFREY
LIEUT J. W. WILSON
LIEUT. C. H. HANNA

“D” COMPANY
MAJOR S. B. VAN KLEECK
MAJOR H. T. NATION
MAJOR W. SHORTREED
LIEUT. J. H. JACKSON

9th April 1917: Vimy Ridge

Mon., Apr 9, 1917      to     Thu., Apr 12, 1917    S28 C.1.3

SEE ATTACHED APPENDIX “B” – FULL REPORT ON OPERATIONS AGAINST VIMY RIDGE.

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APPENDIX “B”

OPERATIONS AGAINST VIMY RIDGE

The 2nd C.M.R.Battalion held orders for the attack and capture of VIMY RIDGE, the ZERO HOUR and time being notified as 5.30 A.M. Monday – April 9th, 1917.   Prior to that date all arrangements had been completed by the Battalion for its jumping off trenches, supply, communication and other essentials of thorough organization, whilst preparatory raids had given information as to the enemy’s disposition.
Operation Order No.44 by Lieut-Col. G.C. JOHNSTON in Command of the 2nd C.M.R.Battalion (copy attached hereto) gave the objectives of the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade, and detailed the duties of the personnel under his own command.
The attack of the 2nd C.M.R.Battalion being subdivided into four phases; 1st – the capture of the enemy’s front line system.  2nd – the capture of his main resistence line, known as the SWISCHEN STELLUNG. 3rd – the capture of the new subsidiary resistence trench, named the FICKLE together with LA FOLIE FARM. 4th – the FINAL OBJECTIVE, the RED LINE laid down in orders from S 29 B 7.0. to S 29 B 2.4. with the immediate establishment of a protective outpost system.
To “B” COMPANY under Lieutenant (Act/Major) D. U. CAMERON was allotted the first task, “C” COMPANY – Major T. Godfrey, “D” Company Lieut. J.P.HEINEKEY and “A” COMPANY Captain J.L.GRAY, being detailed to the SWISCHEN STELLUNG, FICKLE and LA FOLIE, and the RED LINE respectively.
It being further ordered that as soon as the first system of trenches was in its possession, “B” COMPANY, less one platoon, should move up to support “C” COMPANY, and that “D” COMPANY having achieved its objective should move forward to support “A” COMPANY, leaving the  O.C. of “C” COMPANY responsible for the FICKLE, SWISCHEN and LA FOLIE FARM objectives.
The defensive system of VIMY RIDGE naturally embraced an extensive use of Machine Guns – with protection for the personnel in the shape of deep dug-outs and tunnels – all ranks were therefore given complete information as to all dug-outs, and tunnel locations etc, and practiced persistently in the close following of our own curtain fire.
At 4.00 A.M., the personnel for the attack commenced to assemble. “B” COMPANY which had been holding our front line system, withdrawing its patrols and manning the first or “A” jumping off trench.  “C” COMPANY followed into “B” Trench, the existing front line or fire trench. “D” COMPANY filing out of CENOT CAVE via the GOODMAN TUNNEL occupied “C” a recently constructed trench, whilst “A” COMPANY moved into the old Support Line renamed “D” TRENCH.
By 5.10 A.M. all companies reporting they were in position.  ZERO had been set for 5.30 A.M., but being a dull misty morning it was scarcely dawn, when at that hour the attack commenced, with our curtain fire falling upon the enemy lines; thirty seconds later a “WOMBAT” laid on the South side of CHASSERY CRATER was exploded, and almost immediately the enemy barrage settled upon our lines and the glacis in front.Following our own curtain fire “B” Company crossed into the enemy lines, other companies moving up in succession as the company ahead vacated its jumping off trench.  “B” Company occupied the front line system and commenced assembling prisoners, as “C” Company passed through.
At 5.55 A.M., Major T. Godfrey reported the capture of the SWISCHEN STELLUNG, and that as the FICKLE TRENCH was absolutely obliterated, the SWISCHEN would be consolidated as a defensive trench.
At 6.50 A.M., LA FOLIE FARM was reported by Lieutenant HEINEKEY occupied, and an hour later, Captain J.L. GRAY reported the final objective captured.
In every case the advance being in accordance with the artillery curtain fire, and each objective being reached and captured in accordance with out artillery time table.  Owing to the rapid advance behind our curtain fire, enemy machine guns had no time to get into action, and of the two that made an attempt to do so, both were wiped out immediately by our infantry.
The advance was made with great determination by all ranks, and whilst the list of recommendations for honours specifies certain officers and men who were particularly conspicuous, and emphasises the leadership of Major T. GODFREY and Lieutenant HEINEKEY, the complete success of the operation was only made possible by the absolute co-operation of all concerned.
After attaining their objective, mopping up, evacuation of wounded, forwarding prisoners, bringing up supplies and consolidation of trenches was proceeded with vigour.
The SWISCHEN was converted into a main resistance trench, upon the RED LINE objective a front line trench was dug, and an outpost of one platoon put forward in a S. P. as far ahead as tactical conditions permitted.
From deep dug-outs and the West end of PRINZ ARNOLF GRABEN tunnel, a large number of prisoners were taken.
At 9.15 A.M., the Battalion Headquarters were moved to their new location in the SWISCHEN STELLUNG S 28. 13. 9 1/2.3. occupying a dug-out, formally occupied by the Germans as Headquarters, and a forward R.A.P. established by Captain A.C. ARMSTRONG. M.O., in the SWISCHEN near the Battalion Headquarters.
During the morning enemy aeroplanes were very active, at 10 o’clock several flying low over the SWISCHEN STELLUNG and LA FOLIE and an hour later hostile artillery became very active upon these, and continued throughout the day, causing many casualties.
The enemy infantry were observed moving near VIMY and afforded many targets to our guns; troops which were reported as assembling in VIMY for a counter-attack being heavily bombarded with gas shells.

APRIL 10TH, 1917.

(Stormy with snow) All night and in the morning of the 10th the work of consolidation proceeded steadily, and from time to time additional prisoners were taken out of dug-outs and sent back.
At 4.00 P.M., during a heavy snowstorm, strong patrols were sent out by Brigade instructions to work in conjunction with patrols from RIGHT and LEFT Battalions in order to definitely locate enemy positions.
Lieut’s HEINEKEY and SPINKS, taking charge of the patrol from this Battalion, which reconnoitred PETIT VIMY and the BLOATER trench system.  These defenses were heavily manned – severe casualties resulted from rifle and machine gun fire.
Lieutenant SPINKS who had already rendered splendid service as Scout and Sniping Officer being killed, and Lieutenant HENEKEY severely wounded; in spite of the heavy enemy fire, both killed and wounded were brought in.
Towards dusk the weather improved, and “C” and “B” Coy’s were brought up from the SWISCHEN STELLUNG to relieve “A” and “D” Coy’s and continued the work of front line consolidation.
At 11.00 P.M., a deserter and five other prisoners was brought in by the 1st C.M.R., and he confirmed the information obtained by patrols during the afternoon as to the BLOATER and PETIT VIMY defenses.
Throughout the night work continued, whilst our artillery kept up an unremitting fire upon different targets reported in front of our position.

APRIL 11TH, 1917.

Stormy weather still prevailing.  During the morning enemy movement was very pronounced upon the VIMY PLAIN in front of our position; parties of infantry being scattered and transport disposed of by VICKERS and COLT GUNS.
The enemy shelled our forward positions heavily, from 11.00 A.M., to 4.30 P.M.

At 10.30 P.M., the 2nd C.M.R. was relieved in the front line by the 60th Canadian Battalion and in the SWISCHEN STELLUNG (Support) by the 52nd Canadian Battalion.

 

OUR CASUALTIES.

The Battalion attacked with 23 Officers and 664 Other Ranks, and its strength upon relief was 14 officers and 353 Other ranks.During the advance casualties were chiefly sustained from enemy barage upon the CRATER LINE and his immediate front line system, and later on during the process of consolidation.

ENEMY LOSSES.

It is impossible to estimate the dead as so many are completely buried, and whole dug-outs have been obliterated by our Artillery fire – but 8 Officers and 183 unwounded prisoners were sent back to the cage.

OTHER TROPHIES TAKEN BEING:-

1 Field Gun .77
3 machine Guns
1 trench Howitzer
as well as large quantities of stores etc.

 

8th April 1917: Diary

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Sun., Apr 8, 1917 S28 C.1.3

6 AM Weather fine – Situation quiet – Wand North.
10 AM Hostile Artillery Active on our Support Lines since 8.00 A.M. – No casualties.
4 PM Working parties filling ammunition and bomb stores during the forenoon.
8 PM Our artillery very active on enemy lines and strong points in vicinity of LA FOLIE FARM.
10 PM Weather very cold and slight fall of snow – Wind North.

7th April 1917: Diary

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Sat., Apr 7, 1917   BOYAU POQUET S28 C.1.3

6 AM Weather very dull and rain at intervals.
8 AM Situation Normal – Wind North.
2 PM Our  artillery very active all day on enemy wire – strong points and trenches and our heavy Trench Mortars doing good work on wire in front of enemy position.
5 PM Hostile artillery activity on our Support Lines – No casualties. Wind still North.
8 PM “A” and “C” Companies left VILLERS AU BOIS for front line – Weather very stormy and continual heavy rain.
10 PM Battalion Operation Order by Lieut-Col. G. C. Johnston. M.C. Commanding, issued.

EXTRACT FROM BATTALION OPERATION ORDER NO: 44

MAP REFERENCE – VIMY SHEET 36 SW 3 1/10000 APRIL 7TH, 1917
FIRST ARMY – LA FOLIE FARM 1/5000
FIRST ARMY – PETIT VIMY 1/5000

(1) The Canadian Corps, will at time and date to be notified later, in conjunction with a larger operation by the THIRD ARMY on the RIGHT, attack and capture VIMY RIDGE.
The 3rd Canadian Division will attack with two Brigades in line and one in Reserve.

8th Can. Inf. Brigade on the RIGHT.

7th Can. Inf. Brigade on the LEFT.

9th Can. Inf. Brigade in RESERVE.

The 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade will attack on RIGHT of 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade.
the 2nd K.O.S.B., will be on the RIGHT of the 1st C.M.R. in the attack on BLUE OBJECTIVE.

OPERATION ORDER NO: 44 ATTACHED – APPENDIX “A”