McKay: My Diary in France 1917-1918

This diary written by Signaller Elmer G. McKay, was donated to the museum in March 2017. It covers the period of December 1917 to December 1918. Thanks to Corporal Michael McLean for his work in transcribing it for our website. [ ] are used when it is difficult or impossible to determine what was written.



December 21st
Ten stalwarts from CIB signal base left East Sandling Camp at 1130 Am to join 3rd Bn Sigs. They were Ed Sawyer, R.E. Brown, Griffin, T. Dickie, J.P Padget, B Leavens T Wearing, G McKay, G McGill.  Marched to Shorncliffe where we joined a few other sig drafts and met the conducting officer who trailed us to Folkestone to the tune of different brass bands, at 4 pm we boarded a French Transport ship, which was taking back leave men. Shortly afterwards, we [tooted] out to the fog on the channel. Passage was not rough but chilly. Took about 2 hours then we spotted the harbour lights and after much fooling around in harbor finally docked. [Tied] over two or three ships, and landed at Boulogne where we climbed the long hill to the rest camp. They dumped us in a shed and brought a pailful of grub for us to eat. Drew two blankets and made ourselves comfortable for the night. aaa

December 22nd
Arose and had the M.O. (Dr) look us over. Marched up town where 3 buses waited for us. We piled in and was transported the 18 miles to Etaples. The various scenes enroute gave me my first impression of France. They dumped us out, we drew our blankets and headed for tents. Some snow on the ground. Very cold. Attended 3d movie Loved in aaa

December 23rd
Drew rations, leather jerkins, breech covers, tin lizzies and bayonets. Paraded around all day doing this and that. Breakfast in morning was 6 o’clock so had to arise early. They feed [tues] jake. Had a bath – Extra cold one – aaa.

December 24th
Paraded us for gas to the Bull-ring. Had a long lecture, gas drill, – through gas, and a gas cloud. A whole day at gas. They were not liberal with grub. However we returned to base, and had a good feed. Attended concert at night where they served free beer aaa.

December 25th Xmas day
A most wonderful day. I think, for this country, will be too well remembered to even keep account of the only disadvantage it was mighty cold and frosty aaa

December 26th
Marched to Railway Station at Etaples, where we climbed into some cattle cars, and beat the G.T.R. for travelling to [Colonne Recourt] Stayed in barn overnight. Snow disappearing. Here we lined up at shed for grub and ditched useless kit such as sunshade etc aaa

December 27th
They told us our Battn was at Dieval, to go and find it. We crossed ploughed fields etc, and landed at Ourton, where we stopped, had coffee, and went on the 3 kilometres to Dieval. Met by R.S.M. and adjt. Turned over to Lieut. Coulthard I/C Sigs. Our billet being another old barn. Percy and I headed for the haymow and dug in. Slight snowfall To me this seems a punk town aaa

December 28th
On parade. It certainly is cold, can only shave and wash about once a week. Buzzer practice in Estiment Met James A. Miller who is in Sigs learning aaa

December 29th
Same old tune. Took a 3 mile run over slippery roads. Then froze doing Stn work after aaa

December 30th
Managed to parlez-francais with the French Mme, so successful that after lugging two pails of water from an old-fashioned-well I succeeded in getting a basin full of hot water and had my weekly clean up aaa

December 31st
Trying hard to accommodate my stomach to the rations. We have a YMCA, but it is almost too cold to go into. Thus closes the old year aaa


Sharp frost but otherwise a fairly fine day. Instead of celebrating in the usual way we had to content ourselves with two loaves of bread for ten men, for two days. However we missed a parade. As visibility was good, Fritz took a notion to come over and look down on us from above aaa

Jan. Wednesday 2nd
Weather fine, but rather cool. Shortage of rations quite noticeable. Went to Ourton in the forenoon, to test out our gas helmets (S.B.R. and P.H Helmet) in Lachrymatory gas. March very tiresome for route was iced and slippery. Distance covered seven kilometres (Eight kilos being equivalent to about 5 miles). In the afternoon had our colours sewn on. Red patch with green triangle. aaa

Jan. Thursday 3rd
Sun shining. Usual inspection and buzzer practice. Had our blue bands issued to us. They are worn on left arm above elbow distinction of sigs. Scouts wear green bands. Runners red. Gas men-Black and green. Sigs – white Div Sigs – Blue and white aaa

Jan Friday 4th
Same as per usual. Percy and I called up to confer with S.O. (Signal Officer) Lt. Coulthard M.M. over slight matters he had too carefully read and censored. So sick I feel like an old man of 102 aaa

Jan. Saturday 5th
Sultry weather, signed our indent for cap and collar badges Usual gas drill – sending and receiving messages over phone with SBRs on aaa

Jan. Sunday 6th
A little cooler. Awoke at 830 Am Fall in for church parade at 930 Am. no room in La Mairie (school house). Those who didn’t care to freeze could deu aller. Dress for this parade. P.H helmets under great coats Belts never worn aaa

Jan. Monday 7th
Rained during the night. Marched to Buray, and had a food bath at mines. Concert [Parais] came to town aaa

Jan. Tuesday 8th
Very heavy snowfall, in fact, nearly a blizzard. Issued with badges caps and collar. Usual gas drill, and helmets were frozen up, the only time I have known such to occur. I may state, we have a mess running when we can get supplies for it. aaa

Jan. Wednesday 9th
Milder, but still continues to snow. Feeling pretty blue, so wrote a few letters for consolation Attended concert by C/16 at 7 pm. Details being paraded, as schoolroom was small. aaa

Jan. Thursday 10th
Raining hard. I dropped into the schoolroom to amuse myself. One thing I did note, and that was each pupil was provided with a slate cloth attached to each desk. aaa

Jan. Friday 11th
Still it rains. Getting hardened to France, so feeling much better. Each man in our billet issued with another blanket. About time eh? March to the cinema at Division postponed on account of the miserable weather. aaa

Jan. Saturday 12th
Very fine day but a little cool nil return. aaa

Jan. Sunday 13th
Also a fine day. Awoke at 9 Am. On church parade by 945 Am. Had weekly wash and shave in Madame’s house. aaa

Jan. Monday 14th
Fine for a little while but rained later. Accidentally I didn’t turn up for gas drill. Had the old lady in Estiment make me up a hot drink, for my cold. A mixture of vin blanc, vin rouge, champagne etc aaa

Jan. Tuesday 15th
Rained steady all day long. Thunder and lightning. Flailed some wheat. Parades called off. aaa

Jan. Wednesday 16th
Rained most of the day which was a blessing for us, for Lt-Gen Currie I/C Canucks, was to inspect Battn. Again parade called off. In the afternoon we were doing phone duty practice with our gas masks on. Rations are improving slightly, today we have four on a loaf aaa

Jan. Thursday 17th
Raining – (yet). Parades as per usual. Started souvenir craze by sending some French paper money home. Rumour has it we are soon going up the line. Belief prevalent – War is in last throes – aaa

Jan. Friday 18th
Fine dull day. Marched to Bruay and had a bath. Good change new underclothes. The baths of mines in Bruay are excellent aaa

Jan. Saturday 19th
Fine day. Battn inspection Major Mason D.H.C Dso had us parading around in a foot of mud. Oh, it was a lovely parade ground. Cpl Barron was presented with Victoria Cross ribbon. He won his V.C at Passchendale. Afterwards we had a route march to Perennes. Corp did manoeuvres whilst sigs and band lay on side of road aaa

Jan. Sunday 20th
Very fine day. Preparing to move up the line. Church parade. aaa

Jan. Monday 21st
Fine day. Rained a little. Left Dieval and marched full pack 22 kilometres to Hersin Cuipigny, where we bunked in an old attic for the night. On the way, I saw several fellows at Barlin I knew aaa

Jan. Tuesday 22nd
Fairly fine, left at 130 pm and marched 9 kilos to Les Brebis, where we encamped in movable huts. In Bde Reserve, A Coy, of our Bn in the line (Village St Pierre) In the evening, attended movie show. Guns pounding heavily all night long aaa

Jan. Wednesday 23rd
Dull day. No excuse for keeping clean now for there are pools of warm water at coal mine, near our door. Nothing to do but watch the movies. Lt. Coulthard, Sgt. Jessop and Bill Robinson went up line to look it over. Situation quiet by no means aaa

Jan. Thursday 24th
Dull in forenoon. Sunny afternoon p.t. parade and squad drill. Marched past Duffie Mason. Eyes right did not suit him. Hence repeated. Fritz trying hard to get our planes aaa

Jan. Friday 25th
We are now having fine weather better than Indian Summer. Had kit inspection, also C.O’s inspection. This being conducted by Major Mason He being the small type of British bull-dog, it was necessary, that we be seated on the ground. So that he could look our shoes over, also our pats, and see if we needed a hair-cut. Our planes and Fritzies very busy. Great day for observation and noise aaa

Saturday Jan. 26th
Fine day. Very much like summer weather. On orderly room phone. Hence off parade Played football. In the evening, attended cinema where scratch 3rd Bn Concert party held their first show. Sigs mascot BUZZER on the stage aaa

Jan. Sunday 27th
In the morning attended church parade in the cinema. Some of our old chums up to visit us. In the evening went to sing-song to hear Captain Armitage, late Chaplain of 234 Bn and 12th Res. speak. Kaiser’s Birthday aaa

Jan. Monday 28th
Fine day. On parade, we changed from our simple code to Simple Playfair cipher. They trailed us out for gas drill at 9 o’clock at night, and had us stumbling over railway tracks and ditches, teaching us to grope about in the dark. It was great fun Saw “Prisoner of Zenda” at cinema About ten at night when in bed. Fritz came over bombing. Kru-uu-uu-p-pp a shell landed. The fourth landed. It was my first experience under shell-fire. I got out. A house or two nap-[ho?], but most everyone was lauding in a slag heap. However, when a piece of shrapnel came whizzing by me, I moved further into the field. Finally, I thought it all over, and went back to bed again, but no sooner got started than he started up again. I determined to stick it, but shrapnel started hitting the shack, so I deemed it unhealthy and moved aaa

Jan Tuesday 29th
Very fine day. On phone all forenoon Nine point two’s coming over. Had a bath near Church Army hut. Preparing to go up the line for the first time aaa

Jan Wednesday 30th
Very fine day. Nothing much doing. In the afternoon, Charles, Jackson, Percy, Ed, Tommie and I wheeled up the line. Hadn’t gone far before being confronted with a mass of barbed wire and trenches. Of course there was a good 2nd class road thru’ this maze. But to that extent only, did good wheeling go, for when going down the main drag through Cite St. Pierre, the frost was just coming out of the ground, and the wheels clogged up. To crown all Fritz had good observation, and had roads down pat with whizz-bangs. So here we were. May I never experience such a ride again. For a man to trail himself along this road was all that could be expected of him, but to carry the wheel, equipment, road and all, really it was discouraging. But thank goodness, we at last came to an R.A.P. in the village, cleaned our wheels and left them by the water tanks. Walked up the trench to the front line. Looking up disposition of coys. Front comparatively quiet. A few gas shells sent over. But it was here, I expereinced my first real ducking. I heard a whistle. Some guy yells there is a pineapple. -duck- However being new I had not ducked, but later when I heard that whistle I ducked and when minnies, and machine-gun bullets whistled by. I became expert in the ducking business aaa

Jan. Thursday 31st
Fairly fine day, misty. I made several trips around front, and to Bde. Had tea four times. Fritz did some awful strafing and sent over a goodly number of gas shells. Area St Pierre, St Auguste. St Edward aaa


Feb. Friday 1st
Very misty, quiet. Had a very good sleep. I took the C.O. and S.O. for an intelligence trip all around outposts and observation posts. During the evening we strafed Fritz pretty good and he did not retaliate even with gas shells. Had very little to do. Ration one loaf per three. aaa

Feb. Saturday 2nd
The mist has cleared. Visib. very good. Sun shining. Fritz sending over a few pineapples, minnies, freight cars, whizz-bangs and guns. But we retaliated and made him suck-hole. Our planes up. I notice there was a white frost during the night. I took Major Kipper to Bde at Cite St Pierre. At night Fritz sent over some tear gas in minnie shells. Otherwise everything fairly quiet but machine-guns aaa

Feb. Sunday 3rd
Very bright in forenoon and dark in afternoon. Squadron of German planes up and let go unmolested. Took Major Kipper adjt. for a stroll around front. Fritz sent over gas and gassed several men. Had a killing day. So got two shots of rum. Trenches are in a very poor state aaa

Feb. Monday 4th
Fairly fine day. Strafed quite a bit with heavies. At night we tried to pull off a raid which was conducted by Major Cooper. This proved an absolute wash-out. Several casualties. Lieut. Ramsden, missing Lieut Bailey wounded. Report Fritz in numbers. First Prussian Guards. We put a good barrage. Later in evening quiet. aaa

Feb. Tuesday 5th
Fine forenoon. Afternoon dull. Not very busy. Fritz strafing a bit. Enemy squadron of 7 planes up unhindered. also his observation balloons. At 730 pm we gave Fritz a TM (trench mortar) barrage. He retaliated at 9 pm on our right with heavies and gas and put a barrage on us at 315 Am. Also attempted a raid on No.2 post but was repulsed with heavy losses. Fritzie dead hanging on wire. aaa

Feb. Wednesday 6th
Fine day.Lt. Ramsden who was missing from our raid lay in no man’s land for eighteen hours, severely wounded then crawled back to our lines rather than be taken a prisoner. Fritz planes up. Made one trip to Bde. YMCA in Counter Trench. Graham Syme and W.W. Brown joined Battn. Evening quiet. Plenty to eat. Three on a loaf. Bully etc aaa

Feb. Thursday 7th
Misty. Raining some. Fairly quiet. Nothing much doing. Sat in dugout most of the day. A little strafing at night. Our pigs doing good work (The pig gun is an exaggerated TM) You can see shell travelling in the air like a big minnie, it bores deep before eploding. Enemy arty, so active we had to turn our heavies on him. aaa

Feb. Friday 8th
Raining a little but clear visibility. Strafing heavy on both sides. During night we were relieved, and marched out to fosse Ten. where packs were up and a good billet. In second story house of Guiellemant. aaa

Feb. Saturday 9th
Fine day. Slept til morn. Had goulash for dinner, and bummed around for rest of day aaa

Feb. Sunday 10th
Fairly fine day. Resting Having coffee, eggs and chips from Madame in billet aaa

Feb. Monday 11th
Fine. Inspection 820 Am Went around via Petit Sains to Les Brebis and had a bath Early – straf up line. Night dark – About 2 am Fritz plane up. Evening quiet. Limbers could be heard on roads. aaa

Feb. Tuesday 12th
Fine day, P.T. Inspection, gas drill. One hour given for general clean up. 3rd Bn Band concert at YMCA Petit Sains. Capt Pidgeon Toronto spoke. Buzzer slept at our feet and kicked up a rumpus. aaa

Feb. Wednesday 13th
Misty. Rain. Inspection. Buzzer and coding practice Free cocoa and orangeade at “Y” played checkers with Ed sawyer aaa

Feb. Thursday 14th
Misty. Parade as usual. Went to Sains-en-Gohelle for to go through gas and also have a bath. Living high on eggs and chips aaa

Feb. Friday 15th
Fine – a little cool. Inspection As usual eggs and chips. Packed and sorted our signals stores in pampers. Purchased biscuits for the line and went to bed early aaa

Feb. Saturday 16th
Fairly fine day. P.T. and inspection. Moved up to Loos 8 Kinks On A coy as sig this time. Smith, Braverman, Brown, Hilyer and I. Our fullerphone on the birk. Also lines. In brewery in village lines. Fritzie putting gas over, also heavies. aaa

Feb. Sunday 17th
Exceptionally fine day. Fritz threw over a no. of gas shell salvos. 5 sigs on a Coy Stn 3 of us had to go on working party each night, which left 2 sigs to operate a 24 hour stretch. Digging the trench deeper in front line. Six hours real hard work with pick and shovel. Return to find good rations. Fullerphone and line on [burn] This is a fine Coy Hqrs in an old brewery. Ration limbers come right to the door aaa

Feb. Monday 18th
Fine day. Front quiet except for some overhead shrapnel and the odd few gas shells. I went through the village and met my old friend Cpl Harold Campbell. Heine started lobbing a no. of 4-1’s our way and we had to seek cover aaa

Feb. Tuesday 19th
Fine sunny day quiet as usual. Doing double phone duty Loos, known to be full of gas, no wonder, he does nothing but gas us. and it is believed has his yellow cross mixed in high explosive, and overhead shrapnel. Met young Cole 4th Bn. heard Chas Barclay had died. aaa

Feb. Wednesday 20th
Dark and cloudy, raining quite a bit. Out on a W.P again [F??ing] parade. Machine gun sweeping my spot. Very little shell-fire. About 50 of C-Coy men gassed. When sun came out mustard, gas, mixed with blue or yellow cross evaporated. Several other fellows could not speak from the effects of it. C-Coy sigs were so bad they could not speak. Harold C. and I having a chat, then we went to the YMCA and partook of coffee, biscuits and chocolate. aaa

Feb. Thursday 21st
Very fine day but cloudy on phone duty. We had several visitors. Hulluch wood to the left in front of us. Saps 50′ deep in support here. Regular homes, electric lights etc. When Fritz held the place before August 1917, he had installed dynamo and engine. He left it after the battle of Loos. Hill 70 Ration du pain 4 on a loaf. Night rough and windy aaa

Feb. Friday 22nd
Fine day. Fairly quiet. Each day we have a new pass word, and a new code word. Every man in Bn rec’d an [out] box aaa

Feb. Saturday 23rd
A Coy relieves a coy of the 2nd Bn in front line. Every relief night, when relief is complete there is a code word denoting same such as BALD.

Feb. Sunday 24th
Very fine day. Doing occasional gas sentry. Which is not called gas sentry but sentry on a fine night it is great fun taking the war all in aaa

Feb. Monday 25th
Fine day but for the rain Went for a walk to C Coy. Most of them could hardly speak yet. Situation quiet. Fine moonlight aaa

Feb. Tuesday 26th
Fine day. Situation quiet on our front, active on the left Pineapples were continually coming over breaking our line aaa

Feb. Wednesday 27th
Fine day. A little cloudy Fritz shelled Loos all day long. Our Machine-guns brought down a german plane. Our Bn snipers sniped a number of Fritzies aaa

Feb. Thursday 28th
Getting cooler and cloudy, a little snow. Our snipers lauded a few more Fritzies. “If you want to see your dad or your ma, keep your head down, Allemand” Moon shining exceptionally clear aaa

MARCH 1918

Mar Friday 1st
Very cloudy and extremely cold. Nice little straf in the morning. Lieuts Bailey and Ramsden awarded awarded military Cross. aaa

Mar. Saturday 2nd
Fine day, a little cool and cloudy. Some snow. Very quiet until the evening when a few came over aaa

Mar. Sunday 3rd
Fine day. Quiet until 5 P.M. just as stand-to Fritzie put over whizz-bang enfilade fire on our trench and we had a no. of casualties. My first experience with wounded and carrying stretchers. Carrying a stretcher through a narrow trench is some experience too. Lines out several times, and it kept us busy repairing same. Added to this I took a message which could not be transmitted by wire to Batt. HQ. I counted this, a good day’s work on 3 on a petit loaf.

Mar. Monday 4th
Fairly fine, a little warmer. Nothing much doing. But the odd salvo of gas shells aaa

Mar. Tuesday 5th
Fairly fine. Quiet. 1st Bde relieved by 3rd Bde. 7th Battn relieving us. Code word for relief complete ETHEL. Wandered all over Hell’s half acre, finding way out, through Maroc Fosse Eleven and Bully Grenay to Fosse Ten again. Where we landed at 3 am (Fosse means shaft, that is a village with a coal mine, which is called the Fosse, therefore Fosse Ten was a village, a part of Sains. aaa

Mar. Wednesday 6th
Fine day. Cleaned up for inspection. Had a bath. Clean underclothes. Pay parade 530 Pm Yankee Engineers in town. Fair straf going on up front. Pleased I’m not their aaa

Mar. Thursday 7th
Fine day. Inspection, lamp Stn work. Stn work none too good. A concert at YMCA Tried to get our pictures taken at Studio but photographer disinclined Real live town this aaa

Mar. Friday 8th
Fine as usual, but a wee bit cool. Stn work with lamp and helio, worked fine. Climatic conditions exceptionally fine for month of March. aaa

Mar. Saturday 9th
Very fine day. Went on a route march, full pack, over 15 kilos via Bouffeles, Servino (petit & Grande) Hersin and Sains-en-Gohelle. Saw Thurguland at Boyelles. Harry Hind near Hersin where 15th Bn were quartered. Heard James Milling went down the line with trench feet, and although he was in same Bn with me, I did not know that a month ago, he was evacuated from a hospital in blighty. I hadn’t seen him for sometime, so knew right well he had disappeared somehow. aaa

Mar. Sunday 10th
Fine day. Church Parade. Admired beautiful surrounding country aaa

Mar. Monday 11th
Fine day. Went for a march to Aix Noulette where we had a demonstration and practice going over tapes with tanks. In the evening attended Concert given by members of 16th Bn, in Church Army Hut aaa

Mar. Tuesday 12th
Fine day. Cleaned repaired phones, lamps, helios etc Attended 16th Bn Concert pparty again. En passant Situation extremely noisy aaa

Mar. Wednesday 13th
Another fine day. Went to gas school Sains-en-Gohelle, and through yellow cross gas. Moved to our home in Bully Grenay 3 kilos closer to line Situation Quite Quiet aaa

Mar. Thursday 14th
Fine day. Met Garby Snelling 1st Bn runner we attended cinema aaa

Mar. Friday 15th
Fine day. Parade at 730 Am to Les Brebis for bath. Les Brebis and Bully Grenay are so close, they may as well be called one town. Met Cpl harvey Noble of 1st Bde T.M Battery. Some wise guy took a notion that so many signallers on each coy, should know how to handle a Lewis gun to defend Hqrs. So in the afternoon, we started on a M.G. course aaa

Mar. Saturday 16th
Fine day. In this town, we are in Reserve for line and have to do WP’s. About this time comes the letter from LT. Gen. Currie, A.W. that each man must do extra work. Toute De Suite 35 Sigs are called and we march around Old Crucifiz Dump in Loos, aand dig trenches. Whilst up their a spray of lights go up, and Fritz started a straf along whole front. It was some show. Some fire-works. I thought he was coming over. We beat it home aaa

Mar. Sunday 17th
Slept in aaa

Mar. Monday 18th
Sweltering hot. In evening went up on a tunneling party in front of Maroc. This land is full of tunnels. Digging through chalk by candle-light for 8 hours. Some Sport aaa

Mar. Tuesday 19th
Rained a little. On M.G. course. Slept in. Attended cinema aaa

Mar. Wednesday 20th
Fine day. Bn went into support Village lines Loos. Butcher Sawyer and I went to Raft Rear (Raft our code name before it was Adopt, before that Lane) in Les Brebis. He shelled this town with gas during night. At Fosse ten the 198 Bn Buffs drafts joined us. One was hit last night. I watched these guys leave Toronto. I saw them join the Bn. The Bluffs aaa

Mar. Thursday 21st
Fine day. Making good living and home at Transport Spending some time in Library of Vimy Ridge University. Put in line from Raft Rear to Racer Rear (Bn to Bde) Attended geological illustrated lecture given by Prof X Edinburgh. Fritz got funny so we put a rolling barrage on him for 2 1/2 hours aaa

Mar. Friday 22nd
Lovely day. Attended sing-song at YMCA. Rumour of Fritz drive on Cambrai aaa

Mar. Saturday 23rd
Fine day. Battalion suddenly pulled out of line, and we went to Frossard Huts near Hersin Big scrap on German Offensive. Evidently two fake bombardments one near Lens, other in Ypres Sector aaa

Mar. Sunday 24th
Fine day. Had funeral louse up playing football and baseball Officers vs team Sigs vs Band aaa

Mar. Monday 25th
Fine day but rather dull and cool. Several games of ball played. Had a little wander about country. Heard Fritz had started shelling Paris with a 75 mile gun. Also that he had asked for an armistice to bury his dead (Bull) Our men that went on leave could not get away. Every railroad bombed. Leave cancelled until further notice aaa

Mar. Tuesday 26th
Reveille at 3 Am. Fairly fine. Marchedin full pack from Frossard Huts to Ottawa Huts otherside of Villes Au Bois, near Mt. St Eloi landed their at 10 am. Met Cpl Harold Campbell We made a camp fire and cooked sphagetti. aaa

Mar. Wednesday 27th
Left on motor buses, from here at 11 o’clock at night. Band playing. Packed in the buses like sardines. Going all night long. It certainly was tough. The 1st Divn in Mobile Reserve. We are out on the Flying Column stunt aaa

Mar. Thursday 28th
Bussed all forenoon. About 1 pm the bus I was on broke down. So it was up to 13 Sigs to hoof it. We walked, carrying packs all over France, it seemed. Don’t know where our Bn is going. Landed in Doullens and heard Battn was headed for PAS. Found our transport at Montecourt. Our Bn was in a field eating, slight drizzle. We grabbed a passing R.F.C. cab, and caught our Bn at a bussing point. Where I know not, anyway the column was just moving off. They took us about 17 kilometres back again to Simencourt. Got off buses and slouched along in rain to half built huts. Put in windows, doors, and a floor, so settled aaa

Mar. Friday 29th
Had two hours sleep. At 1 Am piled into buses again, and on we go to Dainville. Fritz patrols had entered this place, and so the civilians evacuated. We took advantage of this and lived high. Wild rumour floated, that Navy landed at Ostend. We were marching around making fools of ourselves. Expecting to be walking up the Wilhelmstrasse tomorrow at night moved up line in front of [Burians] Telegraph Hill – Arras Sector aaa

Mar. Saturday 30th
Found ourselves in grassy trenches, 2′ deep. Had to make our own funk hole. Shelled awfully. No communication, although we had phones, lamps and flags. Only one gun to back us up. Fritz had stopped, if he was to keep on pushing, he could get Arras easily. In evening moved up closer. We had no front line in particular. Just picking up disposition aaa

March Sunday 31st EASTER
Front line, who could call this a front line, no trench in particular. A series of shell-holes and all kinds of mud and rain. We were on one hill, Fritz on other Neither side seems to know where the others front line is. No Man’s land must be easily on kink wide Capt Armitage, held communion Easter Service, in a shell-hole. Two Heines walk in with their goulash. We run lines and have good communication. This is the greatest place in the world to get lost in. Everybody lost. mud, mud, mud, memorable day aaa


Apr. Monday 1st
Moved our Coy Hqrs taking up a new defensive position. Also switched over our line. Lost all night long. Up until now we have only had one gun behind us. But the 1st Divn has came in, and put up a good old time barrage. Fritz believing we were coming over sent up his star shells. Thats what our fellows wanted we traced his front line aaa

Apr. Tuesday 2nd
Fritz has his guns up too, and he has a come back with whizzbangs, heavies, gas etc. Took up another defensive position changing Coy Hqrs again. Having some awful weather. When tracing the line I fell into Fritzies old barbed wire, and lacerated myself terribly. But applied zam-buk. OK again. aaa

Apr. Wednesday 3rd
Raining away. Weather still very miserable, and mud getting worse. Changed A Coy HQ again taking up still another defensive position. Extending our front a little more, as scare is over. So you can see, how carefully we had to consolidate, and decide upon a better position each day. Fritz put up a good straf. And it was rather unpleasant suck-holing. Getting plenty to eat. But water is very
scarce. aaa

Apr. Thursday 4th
Changed quarters again. For we moved back to Bde. Support on the Ficheux. We also had communication by wire from here. Metallic circuit. No sap. Now I make special mention of this, for up until now, we have always found a sap, be it good or bad. This was a shack, in the ground. A two by twice; with a trap door entrance. When we got inside we had to sit on the ground with phones in mud. And conduction, induction etc burn After our shifts, we had to walk through two feet of water and mud, about a mile to a bridge under Neville Vitasse Road. Where we slept aaa

Apr. Friday 5th
15th Bn looking over line, to relieve us. Raining most of the time. Sensation a thing of the past. Code word for relief Bosche. 3 am lauded back at Dainville. Good billets. Drew blankets, fell in a French fish pond, crawled out and went to sleep for 4 hours or so. aaa

Apr. Saturday 6th
The mud hogs got up about 10 am and had a general cleanup. Turned in packs and blankets, and was on the road in battle order by 2 pm. Fine day. Surrounding country looking very beautiful. Marched for a goodly no. of kilos to Villers Au Bois where we were dumped in an old shed. It rained shortly afterwards. We had to wash our feet and puttees. Foot wash exceptionally warm. aaa

Apr. Sunday 7th
Still raining away. Bought some tomato sauce and had a good spread seated high on the old bunks. Attended Church service in Cinema aaa

Apr. Monday 8th
Fine cool day. Usual parade inspections, and gas drill. C.O. looked us over. This time pulled up for a dirty rifle. As punishment, seven of us had to tune up fullerphones and fix up lamps etc aaa

Apr. Tuesday 9th
Fine but cool. Usual dope. Attended Cinema. Fritz shelling day and night. They are dropping fairly close. A Heine plane came down near here, and the airmen have gone to Bde as prisoners. aaa

Apr. Wednesday 10th
Not so fine. Marched in full pack to St. Aubin. Put up in a hut near Scarpe River. Nothing to eat but bully beef and biscuits. aaa

Apr. Thursday 11th
Real fine day. A bread ration came up 3 on a loaf. Walked to Moreuil to get some eats. Fritz shelling road from St. Aubin to Moreuil with overhead shrapnel aaa

Apr. Friday 12th
Very fine day usual parades, and games. Fritz keeps pounding away. Beaucoup bombard Went for some eats to Ymca at Anzin Red McDonagh went down the line. aaa

Apr. Saturday 13th
Rather a dull day. Packed up ready to move up the line. Percy stayed at Transport I went into line with A Coy. Left of Arras. Fampoux Front aaa

Apr. Sunday 14th
Fairly fine day, but somewhat chilly. Have a regular home, cooked steak. Have a cafe au lait and cake Have advanced Coy line, out so fixed it. A few horses killed on Fampoux road. Did two hours sentry go. Near a pond. Some fellows attempted swimming. Fritz saw them and whizz-banged the pond for the fun of it. aaa

Apr. Monday 15th
Fine cool day. Not so quiet. We moved up to our Adv. Coy Hq. in Dingwall trench. Accomodation in sap rather stunted. I was on Fullerphone. Cliff Hilyer saw a VEREY light pistol hanging on the wall. He took it down and for fun says, “Hands up Mac” I saw the cartridge in it and ducked. BANG. Off it went. Bulging out my ear, and side of my head. I thought the world had come to an end. However I took it as a joke and carried on. When R.E. Brown relieved me, he got fooling with a stick of cordite, pressed his finger on it, and off it went. Capt. H.H. Coombs says “Is that another one” We had him frightened of our little war down in the sap. aaa

Apr. Tuesday 16th
Drizzle. 3 of us on the Stn doing 6 hour shifts. My head very sore after yesterday. Situation very quiet. Rations good. Rum issue good. Observation poor. Relieved C. Coy at night in the town of Farnpoux, on the river Scarpe. Scarpe river was no man’s land. Left a poor place for a regular home We have a fine signal station, a house at top of sap all to ourself. Lines changed somewhat. aaa

Apr. Wednesday 17th
Fairly fine day but cool and dull as usual. Situation very quiet. Fritzies everywhere, but scarcity of men and guns noticed. Padget Ed Sawyer and Joe Swinton, had to come up from transport for to fill in our advanced coy stn. aaa

Apr. Thursday 18th
Somewhat cool. Ken had the guys at Bn HQ working on amplifier and power buzzer. This they had working pretty fair. Were picking up Eiffel Tower Wireless. The World News sent from Paris every day 4-5 pm, and 11 pm etc aaa

Apr. Friday 19th
Fairly cool. A little sciff of snow during night. In the morning, I was looking through field glasses at Fritz in quarry. Some Fritzie balloons up. also a couple squadrons of his planes. Situation quiet. aaa

Apr. Saturday 20th
Fine day. Very good for observation. Fritz tried to stick up his balloons but our planes kept ’em down. I thought I could fix lines in the day time here. But a sniper got on my trail, and I thought it best to keep out of the way. But however I got out again on another line, and although under mg fire, I fixed this line. Came in and sang at work. In the night we moved back to Bn support. At the better ‘ole in [Carre] Valley. 2nd Bn got wind up, sent up SOS and after about 14 mins delay, woodbines put up a barrage. aaa

Apr. Sunday 21st
Fairly fine day. The 3 sigs from Adv HQ came withus, and we had 6 sigs. But only 4 bunks in the better ‘ole. A real home. Warned for W.P. but our OC got us off aaa

Apr. Monday 22nd
A little cool. Took press news over phone I was out in the valley with a pair of sand-bags on my feet, cleaning up, Maj-Gen McDonnell Cmdg 1st Can Divn, came along at the time. “I says to myself you’re in for it” He stopped. I looked up at him, with a lather on my face, not venturing to speak. “Well my boy and have they condemned you to this,” “Oh no, sir, you see we are just taking advantage of a good chance to rest up.” He admired our home, then went on. One thing he did say that this front was called Orange Hill. It may have been Lemon Hill for all I cared. Anyway it was no sweeter after he left it aaa

Apr. Tuesday 23rd
Fine day. We went up on a hill and aligned our lamp. Stuck it for awhile. Presently he shelled us out. Note: – I consider it folly visual on a garrisoned front aaa

Apr. Wednesday 24th
Raining. We moved forward to Pudding Trench, and became attached to 1st Bn. No sooner got up their than Fritz tried to come over. A little hell for 2 or 3 hours aaa

Apr. Thursday 25th
Fairly fine day. Somewhat dull. Heavy shelling on both sides. The Bosche sent gas shells over which seem odorless. We took no chances anyway. For the Allemand had by this time invented a deadly odorless gas. Rations very good. Getting fresh meat every day aaa

Apr. Friday 26th
Raining some. Shelling continued. Couldn’t keep in lines. Cliff decided to lay a new line, but I finally convinced him it was no use and we dropped it aaa

Apr. Saturday 27th
A dull unsatisfactory day. Relief night. Code for us Katheleen for 1st Bn Salt. Took light rly from Stone dump beside Scarpe to Moreuil “The fast train thru Arkansas” Lauded in at 430 am. Rum issue. Padget had eggs ready for me. Couldn’t sleep aaa
They couldn’t give us a rest. Had us up early. cleaning up. In the evening went to the Ymca and heard Capt Harrison, the Irishman speak. aaa

Apr. Monday 29th
Straggled on to parade. Took all our signal stores, and fixed them up a fair. Aligned helios, lamps etc Anything to fool away time aaa

Apr. Tuesday 30th
Raining. On parade and off again. First time known had a patch put in my army trousers Such a thing never occurs unless clothes are scarce. Have slight Rheumatism, effects of a years “noc” wearing off. No sleep 0′ nights. When one has the germs of inoculation working in the system, it helps ward off a good many ills aaa

MAY 1918

May Wednesday 1st
Fine day. On phone. Had muster parade, and tested out gas mask. We have good billets in Moreuil. Attended lecture at Ymca given by Capt Harrison on “St Patric and the Irish” aaa

May Thursday 2nd
Lovely day, but warm. On parade fake as usual Attended concert given by 169th Labour Coy (Imperials) fair show aaa

May Friday 3rd
Very fine day. Parades. Fritz planes brought down. We formed up as a Bn and marched past movie man. Motion pictures taken of troops going into line I guess. Pay and bath parade. Good full day’s work. Aerial activity noted aaa

May Saturday 4th
Very fine day. On parade for a couple of hours. Saw a French funeral. Coffin is bore high on shoulders. Priest following behind, bearing a cross, repeating litany Civil mourners straggling along in two’s, three’s four’s. On phones 12 noon-4 pm. Marched in full pack to huts in field by woods. Le Pendu aaa

May Sunday 5th
Fine day, raining in morning sunny at noon. Our moving day. Marched light order to Izel-les-Hameau via Acq. Hautes Avernes and Hermaville. Attended voluntary church service. seated on straw in an old barn. 4th Battn band playing Capt Armitage and Capt Hamilton spoke aaa

May Monday 6th
Sultry weather, but fairly fine day. Parade and inspections as usual. At Hameau was a big aerodrome. In afternoon watched planes manoeuvre. Our fellows played football against 64th Sqdn R.A.F. Heard Harold C. in blighty aaa

May Tuesday 7th
Raining. Lectures in afternoon In evening attended pictures at aerodrome. They were very good lauded home about 1 Am aaa

May Wednesday 8th
Fine. Put in a good days work. Played baseball in afternoon Spent quiet evening aaa

May Thursday 9th
Fine day. Parades. Doing Stn work. The Ymca put up a marquee in a garden in town. Attended evening good night service. Order to stand to on four hour’s notice. For Fritz is liable to try offensive stuff. aaa

May Friday 10th
Same old story. Sports at Givenchy Evening attended Cinema at Marquee 6 Fox Film 2 Keystone Komedies aaa

May Saturday 11th
Rather dull day. Changed style of wearing equipment. Haversack down low. We sigs practiced our duty going over tapes It was at this point I came near being beaten up by Frenchwomen, for going through her grain field (of course Army duty Sky limit) She had a pitch fork and she picked on me because I comprey’d a little of her tune, and spoke back. I almost had to draw a bayonet, to keep her from doing me bodily harm. Bde sports in the afternoon aaa

May Sunday 12th
Fairly fine day. GOC attended church service. Mother’s Day, so wrote a special letter home. Went to “Y” marquee to hear Capt Hamilton of 4th Bn speak aaa

May Monday 13th
Raining. Had a bath at 830 Am attended Cinema aaa

May Tuesday 14th
Not too bad a day. Did Stn work with Camp. Coding by side of woods. 3rd Sigs played Bde sigs baseball and won. To bed early. Manoeuvre demain reveille 530 am instead of 630 am aaa

May Wednesday 15th
Lovely day. My turn for hut orderly, so I missed Bde manoeuvres Pitched horseshoes to pass the time away aaa

May Thursday 16th
Very warm. Repeated tactics for G.O.C. I was out on this great success. Able to buy fresh milk for 4D a mess tin = qt aaa

May Friday 17th
Fine day. Very hot. Way out in country reading test lamp. All tests [RD] Polished brass and ammunition, adjusted equipment, and marked same. Boxing tournament. aaa

May Saturday 18th
Fine day. Lay around most of the day. Played baseball. Stanley Campbell 4th Bn Harold’s brother looked me up. Pleased to meet him. aaa

May Sunday 19th
Fine day. Got up at 430 am Marched 12 kilos to St Aubin. aaa

May Monday 20th
Fine, lamp reading, coding. Lt Sheppard joined Batt again. Came 2nd in command sigs aaa

May Tuesday 21st
Prepared for Co’s inspection. Cancelled. Fitted our equipment and marked it review order for Brigadier Kit inspection. In afternoon went up on 24 hrs stay visual stn to bde. aaa

May Wednesday 22nd
Using telescope, flag, lamp and helio. Fritz lobbing a good many shells round this joint. Lads on parade changed equipment again. Brasso’d everything. Peacetime soldier at war aaa

May Thursday 23rd
Fine day, but cool towards evening. Inspection by Brig.-Gen Griesbach Bde Maj. Staff Capt Q. QMS, and all the red capped mucky-mucks. Fours hours. Going through this torture. Brig – made special remark, that Signal Section was extra clean aaa

May Friday 24th
Raining. Coding. Good night service at Church Army hut. They sell camoflaged water in such a place for 1 D a bowl aaa

May Saturday 25th
Fairly fine. Did flag drill for a change. Changed our equipment back to old battle order. Took a fancy to a handkerchief apron, so sent it home to mother. Bought in a store in Louez St Aubin aaa

May Sunday 26th
Fine day. Church parade. Active artillery fire all day long aaa

May Monday 27th
I was inoculated. They tried to make me parade but I fooled ’em. We had one blanket left so we turned it in. This only leaves a great coat to sleep in. aaa

May Tuesday 28th
Fine day. Bn parade. I was supposed to attend but reported sick with a sore arm. Cheerio gave duty but I was not to be beaten, when sloping arms. I refused and thus dawdled off. Gas masks tested at Auzin aaa

May Wednesday 29th
Fine day. wee bit chilly. On visual stn all day long. Nothing available to eat. aaa

May Thursday 30th
Fine day. Bn parade. No inspection for us Did Stn work earth circuit aaa

May Friday 31st
Fine day. Same as yesterday Capt Armitage got a truck up from Mt St Cloé, on side track, and used it as a stage. 3rd Bn Concert party played for us. It was moonlight, in the evening. Fritz was up and he dropped 3 bombs close to our billet. They were big ones and on our parade ground too. In morning ten feet of water in them. The ground around here being swampy and low anyway. He evidently tried for the railway track, but, beside it was Bunty, the big gun that could fire 12 miles and was always troubling him aaa

JUNE 1918

June Saturday 1st
Fine day, usual dope aaa

June Sunday 2nd
Sunday. Always moving day cleaned up billet and moved from Louez St Aubin via Mount St Eloi. Camblain L’Abbe, Cambligneul to Cancourt where Percy and I made our billet in an old wagon. Milked a cow for old French dame aaa

June Monday 3rd
Battn parade at 730 am. Fritzie bombed the bakery at Etaples, and we have to live on hardtack. However we are cheerful, and have a real orchestra, flute, mandolin, mouth-organ etc aaa

June Tuesday 4th
Fine day. Bn parade at 730 Am. Have had no Canadian mail for about one month now. Attended concert given by C/13 R.H.C. good show. Fritzie up in the evening aaa

June Wednesday 5th
Fine day. On phone duty. Have magneto working. Bn were out on manoeuvres. During night, Fritzie dropped a bomb in Mayors field, just over hedge close to our billet The shock nearly threw us out of the wagon aaa

June Thursday 6th
Fine day. Long distance Stn work aaa

June Friday 7th
Fine day. Bn parade. Helio station work. Getting milk from Froggies for 1/2 franc a mess tin aaa

June Saturday 8th
Fine. Reveille 4 am. Out on manoeuvres at 6 am. 3rd and 4th Battns on Defensive. 1st and 2nd on Offensive Practicing open warfare around Frevillers Way. aaa

June Sunday 9th
Fine. Reveille 7am. Rained slightly in evening, and I noticed first rainbow for a good long while. Capt W.R.R. Armitage spoke at service. Increased arty activity Sgt Jessop back off course aaa

June Monday 10th
Fine. Parade. Planning for Bn Sports Day tomorrow aaa

June Tuesday 11th
Fine day. Battalion Sports all day. Great success. Free beer. Free tea aaa

June Wednesday 12th
Fine. Parade as usual. Doing Stn scheme like up line. Arty still going strong up forward aaa

June Thursday 13th
Fine day. Bn attended Bde sports at Tinques aaa

June Friday 14th
Fine. Bn parade. Stn work metallic circuit aaa

June Saturday 15th
Fine. Out on manoeuvres again around Tinques. Our Bn on offensive this time. I was on bde way back near Frevillers 3rd Bn Concert Party gave their first play. “The murder of Mr. Caesar” written by Capt Norman Cliff aaa

June Sunday 16th
Fine day. Church parade Attended lecture given by Mr Skee of Toronto aaa

June Monday 17th
Attended Divisional Sports at Tinques. Met Sid, Pond, and Sgt Harvey Noble. 1st Bde won
championship. 3rd Bn most honours aaa

June Tuesday 18th
Dull weather, parades, and kit inspection aaa

June Wednesday 19th
Rain did buzzer practice aaa

June Thursday 20th
Reveille 5 Am. Enroute by 7. Heading for Monchy Breton, but only got as far as Magnicourt, for it was raining so heavily, we had to about turn and march home aaa

June Friday 21st
Dull day. Marched about 24 kilos to Chelers to go through gas. aaa

June Saturday 22nd
Fine day. On parade. Stn work. Ration four on a loaf of punk. aaa

June Sunday 23rd
Fine. Church parade in morning Bath parade 4 pm. Mr A.K. Coulthard went away for a week’s rest to Aubigny aaa

June Monday 24th
Fine. On parade. Stn work an intense bombardment going on up line all day long. Moved our bed from wagon to lean-to under shed aaa

June Tuesday 25th
Fairly fine. Out onmanoeuvres 3 Battns – 1st 2nd 3rd against unseen enemy 4th Bn Advanced way past Monchy Breton – Chelers Rd In all did around 30 kilos Battle order aaa

June Wednesday 26th
Fine. Bn parade, reading buzzer and lamp. Doing flag drill. In the evening milked 3 cows for the old lady. Situation quiet. aaa

June Thursday 27th
Fine. Parade 840 am. Practicing airplane contact. Laid [pophain] T panel out in Mayor’s field and got into row. He didn’t mind the shell-hole caused by bomb in some field. But such is the case with some rich froggies around that section of the country. Night manoeuvres at Bethonsart aaa

June Friday 28th
Fine. Reveille at 730 Am Did one hours march in the evening with gas masks on. For practice we read lamp and sent it with ours on. Cpl Bert Forrest called to see me he is billeted in Hermin aaa

June Saturday 29th
Fine day. Did contact practice with aeroplane. On phones. In the evening Lt-Col Canon Scott DSO spoke on his visit to Rome. aaa

June Sunday 30th
Fine day. Moved again from Cancourt via Villers Chattel Aubigny. Haute Avesnes to Agnez-Les-Duisains arriving at 1130 am attended church service at Scotch Marquee. aaa

JULY 1918

July Monday 1st
Fine day. Left at 8 am for Moreuil, where I caught the Standard gauge train, which went via Mont St Eloi, Aubigny Savy Brulette to Tinques where the Corps Sports were held. The 3rd Cdn Divn are in line Neville Vitasse sector, so hence only their representatives are present. Met several lads I knew. Duke of Connaught, Marshall Foch, Sir D. Haig. Gen Petain Sir R.L. Borden, N.W. Rowell, Hearst and Lt-Gen Currie present. Maj. Bishop came along in his plane and did the odd stunt. A fine days outing. Returned in evening to go on four hours phone duty aaa

July Tuesday 2nd
Fine day. In evening had photos taken 1/2 doz. group of three 1/2 doz single 9 frs dozen 5 frs 1/2 dozen aaa

July Wednesday 3rd
Fine day. On parade. Practice aeroplane contact. Wrote essay on “Peasant life in Rural France” aaa

July Thursday 4th
Fine. On parade. Kenneth returned. Situation rather noisy aaa

July Friday 5th
Fine. Route march for 2 1/2 hours Duggie in charge. Got my pictures at studio aaa

July Saturday 6th
Some day. Nothing much doing Did buzzer work. Attended Cinema at Scotch Marquee. Fox Film “The Beast aaa

July Sunday 7th
Fine day. Phones again Lay around all day. Then attended Service in Scotch Marquee at 630 pm aaa

July Monday 8th
Fine day. Parade. Heard a rumour, going in line again aaa

July Tuesday 9th
Rained. Reading buzzer. Movie Film “Saving The Family name” aaa

July Wednesday 10th
Fine. Read lamp test RD aaa

July Thursday 11th
Fine day. On parade. Read buzzer tests in blocks RD. aaa

July Friday 12th
Rain, Rain, and more rain. Attended Band concert given by our band. Clearing up later in evening. And Fritz came over bombing in three successive waves after this railhead aaa

July Saturday 13th
Dull. The Battn relieved Imperials. Up in same old front Fampoux. I was left out of the line at Agnez. aaa

July Sunday 14th
Fair day. On church parade. Situation quiet. Nothing doing aaa

July Monday 15th
Fine day. Parade 845-11am Artillery dual as if big battle raging. Attended concert given by C/13 in Church Army Hut aaa

July Tuesday 16th
Electrical storm. Inspection of rifles and gas masks at 1 Am Afternoon very hot aaa

July Wednesday 17th
Fine day. Played indoor baseball all forenoon. Artillery still pounding away. Rained in evening aaa

July Thursday 18th
Fine. Doing specialists training. Arty very active aaa

July Friday 19th
Real fine day. Went washing limber at Couves. Came back at noon packed up and marched full kit 3 Kinks to Y Hutments on Arras St Pol road. Prepared billets for lads coming out of line. aaa

July Saturday 20th
Fairly fine day. Lads came out of line last night. Some rode in buses others in staff cars. Nothing doing aaa

July Sunday 21st
Fine Nothing doing. Got my papers for R.A.F played baseball. Attended Y Service aaa

July Monday 22nd
Fine day. Parade to gas hut at Etrun, and for a bath to Agnez attended concert at “Y” given by C/16 “A little bunch of Shamrocks” Some barrage going on up line about 1 Am. aaa

July Tuesday 23rd
Rained. Heine prisoners go by in it. In evening we moved up line. Going from Moreuil by light railway and relieved 52 Bn Cdns in front of Marble Arch, Neville Vitasse front aaa

July Wednesday 24th
Very fine day. I was attached to HQ on lines. Moved my quarters up to D Coy front line, and looked everything over. Kent lane was some trench. Intermediate communication trench Planes up on both sides. Otherwise all quiet. No sleep. Out on lines 9pm-530am. And the line to Batt. HQ went through about nineteen waves of different barbed wire system aaa

July Thursday 25th
Fine until it rained. Had to wear gas mask for three hours. Incessant gas shelling. Went out on line in valley near Cambrai road. Some gas still lay around and when I came back, I found I was gassed just enough to make me vomit steady for about two hours. However I didn’t report sick, and came around jake aaa

July Friday 26th
Rained. Usual straf. Changed our lines around. Orders came around, anyone seen exposed would be shot at. 2nd Bde made a raid capturing 57 prisoners aaa

July Saturday 27th
Rain. Trenches in a terrible condition. George Greenfield and I had slopped enough through them so we hit it over the top from front line in broad day light. Our own Lewis Gun from intermediate trench fired on us. In the evening we put on a raid. Also a bombardment and a gas attack aaa

July Sunday 28th
More rain and mud. Lines fairly good. From information gained from prisoners in recent raids. Fritz has eight divns in Reserve, awaiting our coming over. Therefore we tried a bluff. Started all kinds of movement and preparations for an attack, just to hold his reserve divisions there aaa

July Monday 29th
Very misty. Working party kept cutting our lines. Fuller out a good deal. Laid new line to CA advanced post aaa

July Tuesday 30th
Last night Charles Tether and Rastus came to help us out. Fair day aaa

July Wednesday 31st
Misty in the morning. Fritz made a surprise raid on us, at 7.30 Am. Did no damage. Only two wounded from one potato masher. Relieved by 7th and 6th Middlesex. Marched out to Agnez and took buses to Berneville. Where we stayed over night. Shelled enroute so had to go round by a different way aaa


Aug. Thursday 1st
Fine day, Slept in until 4pm. Marched to Wailly and took buses for Beaufort aaa

Aug. Friday 2nd
Rained. Fairly good rest up Indent. Muster parade. Press news good aaa

Aug. Saturday 3rd
Rained. Parade P.T. etc at 9.30 pm fell in, and marched from Beaufort 21 kinks to Petit Houvin where we entrained at 3.30 am. Pulled out at 5.30 am aaa

Aug. Sunday 4th
Fine day. Travelling by train packed like sardines. Route via Etaples, Abbeville, [En], to Abaucourt where we detrained To here was a six hours run. Marched full pack up a never-to-be forgotten hill. It was a gradual slope uphill, it seemed miles. We had to rest every now and then going up it. After wading through some mud, we came to a town Rambures. Where we billeted this town This town is all of 40 kilos behind lines I believe aaa

Aug. Monday 5th
Raining. Travelling full kit and signalling equipment. Marched one mile to bussing point. This was before dark. We bussed all night a matter of 35 miles to a point South of  Amiens. The odd bus, ran into a ditch enroute, owing to travelling with only one head-light and slippery conditions of the roads The light was on the left and looking back, for miles you could see lights like the outline of a peer in peacetime aaa

Aug. Tuesday 6th
Rained. About 8.30 Am we got off the buses and marched to Boves wood, where we stuck up rubber sheet for a shelter. It rained very heavy. We drew rations here. Turned in packs. Looked over map, and for first time new what we were here for. To goover on 8th in front of Amiens Of course we had a good idea, we had to go over somewhere, but expected to go to Soissons aaa

Aug. Wednesday 7th
Last night we moved up to a reserve line. A system of trenches dry in a wheat field. Wheat was ready to be cut. It was fine during the day. And I noticed great aerial activity on our part We were near Cachy, away to the right of Villers Bretonneux for the Aussies were their. From all appearances Fritz is going to be surprised. The traffic on all roads behind us certainly was concentrated It was almost impossible to move along the roads. Tanks were concealed in Gentelles Wood, and behind us was all kinds of a gun. For The greatest known artillery barrage was to be put up in the morning. Our Battn prepared a hot meal for us. About 11 pm we packed up, and moved into the assembly position.
Camouflaged ourselves in a wheat field. All quiet. But for some heavy shelling from Fritz aaa

Aug. Thursday 8th
4.20 Am zero hour. Off went two big guns then Hell opened up. Look ahead, and up go red lights, for a full half hour. The Fritzies must have been caught shooting up their S.O.S. For a long time, there was no-response. Then some overhead shrapnel. Look behind the sky was ablaze with light from our guns. We dragged an extra big shot of rum, and I felt although it was my first time over. I felt it was going to be a walk away. A coy moved off at 5.15 Am. A thick mist began to fall. The 3rd Bde had kicked off. It was this morning that Cleve Denhow was killed and from what information I can gain it was at Hangard Wood. We were to pass through 3rd Bde, when they had gone about 3600 yds. We passed
through Hangard Wood alright, and then through the 3rd Bde. We were now chasing the Hun, it was still misty and we had missed the odd MG. The tanks were doing good work for us. But soon we ran into stiff opposition at Cantelot Wood – Corbeau trench. There was a woods and behind it a strong trench with T’s running out mg posts The tanks did good work here. At this point the mist cleared and came into very close contact with Heine. And I made good use of my rifle. We went on until we came to a sunken road. Here we got into more trouble. Casualties all from MG fire. We captured many Batteries. Fritzie dead, wounded and prisoners many. Our objective railway near Caix 2nd Bde went through us to Rosieres-en-Santerre aaa

Aug. Friday 9th
Went over again, a little to our right. Kicking off at 10 am Bumping into Prussian Reserve Guards. Went through to Beaufort to left of Les Quesnel to right of Warvillers to Rouvroy. 8 o’clock at night Browne and Cam wounded on Rouvroy-Warvillers road, near a tank by whizz-bang. I was knocked, out, They took me to Batt HQ aaa

Aug. Saturday 10th
Settled at our objective. Fritz put a barrage on Rouvroy. Our arty too had 808 line on this village. So we were in between two fires. Wind up in general. They began seeing things. Fritzies coming over with tanks and cavalry. We were all prepared to fight to the death. But instead of Fritz coming over our arty lengthened range and the 42nd Woodbines went through us. This outfit lost itself. However we should worry we didn’t have to go forward aaa

Aug. Sunday 11th
Still in Reserve. Direct hit on A Coy HQ. Ed Sawyer and Joe Swinton hit. My hearing improving. Began operating at HQ. Salvaged big map. Fine weather. Came out to Beaufort about 2 kinks back. Bivouaced in an orchard. Took 34 sigs in line. Had 17 casualties. Bn casualties around 300. aaa

Aug. Monday 12th
Fritzie planes up bombing right along. Big straf on. Parade at 4 pm and Roll Call. Rather cool aaa

Aug. Tuesday 13th
Fine day. Big air scrap. 3 Heine planes brought down and 2 of ours. Packs up and we searched those of casuals. Big drafts joined Bn. aaa

Aug. Wednesday 14th
Fine. Parade and pay. Fritz planes busy aaa

Aug. Thursday 15th
Fine. Air scrap. Parade and indents. New draft of sigs. Some C/19 C/3 C/4 good news in the
paper. aaa

Aug. Friday 16th
Fine day. Parade at 9.30 am. In evening marched full pack to Folies where we put up in a barn for the night aaa

Aug. Saturday 17th
Fine day. Parade 9.30 2nd Bde relieved 3rd Div in line. We are in Div. Res. 58th Bn marched by. I saw D Coy which first came into village. But never got a chance to see A.B.C Coys. For I was on parade. Fritz shelling us with HEs incessantly aaa

Aug. Sunday 18th
Scotch mist. Church parade. 9.2’s from around our barn pounding away aaa

Aug. Monday 19th
Fairly fine day. Organized our signal section again. In the evening made a forced march full pack to a woods on the side of the hill near Cayeux. Distance 10 kilos. We had our little tot of rum and went to sleep like babes in the woods, under the silvery moon aaa

Aug. Tuesday 20th
Had four hours sleep. Did phone duty. Made cocoa. Then Percy and I made a half kind of bivouac in the bushes aaa

Aug. Wednesday 21st
Fine day. Very restless night. Rations here 10 on a loaf, 5 on a biscuit. Cleaned up for G.O.C. inspection, after all he just gave us a lecture, and a very good one. At 4 pm Harry Patterson came to see me. He was with C/8. I went back with him to field behind Caix and saw Roy Crawford aaa

Aug. Thursday 22nd
Fine. Parade 9.20 am Kit inspection, indent, Wilfrid Smith came to see me. He was driving a Ford car around. In evening moved 14 kilos to Gentelles Wood where we bivouaced for the few remaining hours aaa

Aug. Friday 23rd
Fine – lounged around, rations still poor. In the evening moved fours march to Dury. It was early morning so we out and garnered in some spuds and vegetables from neighbouring gardens aaa

Aug. Saturday 24th
Fine day. Breakfast 10 am. This is a fine camp. Restless night. Fritz over bombing Amiens aaa

Aug. Sunday 25th
Fine. Church parade 9.35 Am Lovely dinner. Interpreter around for 60 frs. Damage claimed for vegetable crop. No proof. They couldn’t see inside. In the evening marched 6 kilos to Bacquel where we entrained aaa

Aug. Monday 26th
On the train. Early morning found us at Doullens. We detrained at Tinques. Had dinner between track and road. Then hopped onto buses which were lined up on road, and very soon we were heading for Dainville. Debussed and went to billet in an old barn. “Y” followed us up and about ten at night we mangeed chocolate for a change. Fritz kept shelling Dainville considerably with H.E’s Several of the band hit, and orderly room Cpl killed aaa

Aug. Saturday 27th
Cleaned up. Marched to a position on Telegraph Hill where we bivouaced for the night Turned in packs. Some shelling. Mist and rain. aaa

Aug. Sunday 28th
Rain sunshine rain etc. Silent lizzies dropping close. Towards evening moved further up line in front of Wancourt to the right of Monchy le-preux, where we remained in a sap head. Visual to Bde. To look around at night and watch star shells. I could easily see, we were in the centre of a fine horseshoe salient aaa

Aug. Thursday 29th
Fairly fine. Lay around. 2nd Divn being held up. Much strafing at night. Moved up line to jumping off position. For the first time, I noticed Heine has gas in all his high explosive, but just sneezing gas. However it was a pleasure juggling a reel of wire on one shoulder, a rifle on the other, and trying to keep a gas mask on, climbing up a hill in an out of shell-holes through a sleight drizzle aaa

Aug. Friday 30th
At 4.45 am whistle blown To advance 1500 yds and take strong points. Our bde attacked enemy in rear. All hand to hand fighting. Ox trench. A real trench scrap, which was a sacrifice. But we broke the Wotau switch of the Hindenburg line. We turned the Key to Cambrai. Our enemy [111] Wurtembergers. Bn HQ had a sap, and so we never moved. Fritz turned all kinds of Arty on us, and had the range of everything. Gas all the time aaa

Aug. Saturday 31st
Took up a position, stayed over night. At 7.30 pm Funeral service of 33. Padget wounded in head, thigh, and leg. – shrapnel Laid a number of lines -9- but it was impossible to keep them in. Relieved at night by 72nd Bn Canadians (Kilted) moved back to trench line, in front of Wancourt where we were on the 28th inst aaa


Sept. Sunday 1st
Position improved. First clean up for awhile aaa

Sept. Monday 2nd
Raining and rather cool. Bn left at 5 Am. Day of supposed big push. Kicked off at ten. Majors Mason and Kippen wounded Capt Crawford in command of Bn. I was left out this trip. We wandered all around the country Fritz shelled transport. And came over about 100 planes strong. Played hell with us with mg fire. Cold laying out at night. We were supposed to go on a ration party up line. No one warned us. So ration party left without us aaa

Sept. Tuesday 3rd
Raining in spells. 8 sigs put under open arrest for last nights ration party. The Bn about 230 strong at Cagnicourt. Bn go over top again and chase Fritz who is retiring and burning villages. Fritz had numberless planes up and bombed awfully. He brought down eight of our observation balloons. aaa

Sept. Wednesday 4th
Fine. Up at 5 am and moved forward. Hun retired to a position behind Canal Du Nord. Bn came out of line. We got dugouts for them somewhere around Drocourt-Queant line. Jess played a mouth organ to the dead Fritzies we left at bottom of the sap. aaa

Sept. Thursday 5th
Fine day. We took motor-buses from Cherisy to Wailly, where we got our packs and a billet aaa

Sept. Friday 6th
Fine. Kit inspection. Harold and Stanley Campbell called to see me. Saw Garby Snelling. Was examined for R.A.F. for test by Capt McDonald M.O. aaa

Sept. Saturday 7th
Fine day. Billet rather cold. Rations two on a loaf. aaa

Sept. Sunday 8th
Raining. Moved via Berneville, Warlus, Agnez-les-Duisains 12 kinks to Haute Avesnes where we billeted in huts formerly occupied by the Guards. aaa

Sept. Monday 9th
Raining. Inspection. P.T. muster aaaa

Sept. Tuesday 10th
Rained. Did Buzzer practice aaa

Sept. Wednesday 11th
Raining. I walked 5 kilos to Couves. To go through eye test at 1st Cdn F.A. Major McMillan eye specialist on leave in blighty. aaa

Sept. Thursday 12th
Still raining. I thought to save time I would try CCSS. Tried 1st and 4th nothing doing. Tried 23rd imperials and was successful in passing eye test aaa

Sept. Friday 13th
Fairly fine day. On parade. Stn work aaa

Sept. Saturday 14th
Fairly fine day. Did considerable phone duty Attended 3rd Bn Concert. Latest in vaudeville aaa

Sept. Sunday 15th
First real fine day in a long time. Marched full pack to Acq where we entrained, and took a three hour journey to Croiselles where we detrained and billeted in a sap in Drocourt-Queant line. Fritz came over and dropped bombs all round us. He wounded some of the band. Sgt and Clerk of orderly room staff. Cpl of police and killed the provost Sgt. (This last act of his, saved 8 sigs from a court martial for he had charge of ration party night of 2nd, and had put us under open arrest) aaa

Sept. Monday 16th
Fine day. Some shelling. Fritz over bombing a good deal at nigt aaa

Sept. Tuesday 17th
Extra rain, Period of equinoxes

Sept. Wednesday 18th
Fine day. Dried out on top. Fritz shelling with HE-gas. Had to leave sap. So Knowles and I looked up a funk-hole and made a real home of it aaa

Sept. Thursday 19th
Changeable. Moved 4 1/2 kilos to position back of Hendecourt. Where we bivouaced in an open field [Ingarfield]. Nelson and I sent to man Transport Stn, which was in old German horse-lines away from Batt. HQ. aaa

Sept. Friday 20th
Rained intermittently. Transferred from sigs ration state, so we eat with Transport. C. Patkin and T Wearing two sigs wounded Aug. 8th rejoined us Bn. drew about 200 trench shelters from Bde (Trench shelters are canvas covers aaa

Sept. Saturday 21st
Mist. Big line up at 1st Bde “Y” Imperial blokes gobbled up everything Doing big business. Straf up line. aaa

Sept. Sunday 22nd
Fairly fine day. Good news in Press regarding eastern theatre of war aaa

Sept. Monday 23rd
Raining away. Had a bath and went through gas, although still on duty at Transport Stn. Saw Harold Campbell on way to baths at Hendecourt aaa

Sept. Tuesday 24th
Fairly fine day. Canteen got supplies in which we entertained having a fair good feed. Light railway past our shack. It is busily engaged running up munitions and field gear aaa

Sept. Wednesday 25th
Left Transport Stn. Turned in packs, and moved closer up line in front of Cagnicourt where we found funk-holes. Plenty of gas shelling during evening aaa

Sept. Thursday 26th
Fooled the day away. At night moved forward to assembly area around Inchy. Near Canal Du Nord Shelled considerably. It rained all night. So I stayed on Fullerphone for about seven hours. Preparing to resume offensive in the morning $th Bn break the ice, we go through them. aaa

Sept. Friday 27th
Fine and fair. 2.25 am. She blows and off we go. Cross Canal Du Nord. Here Harold Campbell. All went jake. Held up by MG fire from Cambrai road for awhile. But we worked our way around it, and came in from behind. Captured 28 Heavy and field guns. Reached our objective the Blue Line alright. Found a deep sap Some trouble with lines. Artillery up. aaa

Sept. Saturday 28th
Consolidated position. It was this date, that some guy salvaged my safety razor etc Even half a loaf of punk, which left me in hunger for a day. At 6 am, we put on a creeping barrage and 4th Bn went through us. aaa

Sept. Sunday 29th
Raining. Fritz does cons-iderable bombing and shelling. In the evening we moved forward and put a coy to each of 1st and 4th Bns, to help them out, as they were held up. 2nd Bn in Reserve Bn HQ Haynecourt village a little to left and forward of Cambrai aaa

Sept. Monday 30th
Considerable gas shelling. Made almost a direct hit at entrance. In evening moved Bn HQ to a better place a Chateau further up town an old Fernsprecher (German Army HQ Telegraph office) Rained aaa


Oct. Tuesday 1st
At 5 am. Lid off again for an advance of about 500 yds Some barrage. Beaucoup prisoners of 138 Division. Held up at Railway. We did not quite reach our objective as 11th Divn. Imperials on our left, did not pull up, as they should. Many Fritzie planes up. Took a look across at Cambrai. It only seems about twenty minutes walk, as the crow flies. YMCA moved into town Last time I saw Capt Virgo. He afterwards joined Siberian Expeditionary force. aaa

Oct. Wednesday 2nd
Plans laid for going over again, but they did not materialize. Instead we were relieved by 7th Bn and came out to our old quarters on the Arras-Cambrai road. I feel very sick. Was slightly gassed up in Haynecourt. The 24 hour system railroad time in vogue. And used for our code time in signalling aaa

Oct. Thursday 3rd
Fine day, finally getting over the effects of gas. At 7.30 pm we moved about 15 kilos back to the Drocourt-Queant line Made a bivouac in a trench aaa

Oct. Friday 4th
Dull. Went for a bath to Hendecourt. Underclothing issued and not before time. For sleeping in open is becoming rather trying aaa

Oct. Saturday 5th
Rather a dull day. Rations extra good. Bn has been issuing Ruby Queens and Red Hussars every day. aaa

Oct. Sunday 6th
Cool and dull. Fritz over bombing. Church parade. aaa

Oct. Monday 7th
Have our breakfast at 0800 hrs each morning. Fall in 0900. Went to Cagnicourt for gas. Did not care for my helmet so had it changed. My luck – drew an old one. In afternoon moved about an hours march to trench system on Arras-Cambrai rd, in front of Vis-en-Artois Found a big sap aaa

Oct. Tuesday 8th
Cloudy in morning. Parades as usual. Warning sent round that Fritz is apt to retire on our front anytime. We are in Divn Res. Situation Quiet. aaa

Oct. Wednesday 9th
Fine day. Parade. Walked to 1st Bn, and saw George Snelling. Learned from Stanley Campbell that Harold was killed at Canal bank 3rd Divn Cdns take Cambrai. Our front quiet. aaa

Oct. Thursday 10th
Scotch mist. Visited “Y” at Vis-en-Artois. Fritz shelling town with HE’s. Killed one horse. Warning order, to be ready to move forward on short notice. aaa

Oct. Friday 11th
Fairly fine day. Had a bath at an old brewery on Arras Cambrai Road. 2 kilos past Vis-en-Artois. In afternoon packed up, and moved forward to a support line behind marsh to right of Dury. Fritz retreating in direction Douai aaa

Oct. Saturday 12th
Rather dull. In afternoon, we moved forward over marsh, which had only pontoon bridges across it. And Fritzie shelling the marsh. Had tea behind a hill. At dusk moved forward and relieved 15th Bn in front line, on this side Canal de la Sensee. The chateau we occupied up here was just like pre-war until we chased Fritz out of it. Then he destroyed everything, and flooded cellars. Two chateaus in woods between towns of Faubourg and Ferin. aaa

Oct. Sunday 13th
Still dull, considerable shelling On phone duty. Lines into Coys and Bde. Marshy land, but some very fine towns around Brebieries Faubourg, Ferin etc. But Fritz is burning away and shelling Many a booby trap. In the evening went over canal on cork bridge to look for Fritz. Found him and came back (real adventure) aaa

Oct. Monday 14th
Some shelling and gas. Went for a walk round front line. Rumour floated Fritz had accepted Pres. Wilson’s 14 terms. aaa

Oct. Tuesday 15th
Rain in morning better afterwards. Found out Fritz was using listening sets. So put on Fullerphones. Only four of us, so had to do double shifts. Fritz fired off all his ammunition in a big bluff. No rum aaa

Oct. Wednesday 16th
Fairly fine. Visibility poor. He shelled us out for awhile almost made a direct hit on Bn HQ We are getting rather anxious regarding Hun evacuation So tried a straf. Good news from fifth Army. Watching front closely. Positive Jerry is still present. aaa

Oct. Thursday 17th
Odd shell and MG fire. News of Lille evacuated. Sure Hun will have to pull out from here. Soon we found out he had left us In the afternoon we started out after him. I took a man and lamps and went forward with the Scouts. Crossed Canal and River Sensee. Went on to Le Raquet, about 2 kilos from Douai, on Douai Cambrai road The, we scouts, went forward and by dark had patrolled Sin-Le-Noble and Douai. Douai was not on our front, but we knew the Woodbines would not be up. So we took a good look round. Found British flag 3’x2′ flying from Hotel De Ville. Town deserted. Odd fire burning. In evening went back to ST. ELOI and did phone duty. B Coy found 90 machine gunners and killed all but 7. These they took prisoner. These towns have never been shelled, and remain in good condition (3rd Cdn Bn Toronto Regiment sent in a claim, capture of Douai) aaa

Oct. Friday 18th
Started to pursue the enemy at 0900. Our Bn in Reserve. 2nd Bn support 1st and 4th Bn front line. Five prisoners. Brought our transport along with us, and marched column of route Band playing. Report that Kaiser had abdicated Bruges Tourcoing and Roubaix falled. Moved to Dechy, stopped and had dinner at range in Kitchen. Rue Carnot 1520 hours proceeded to Montigny. Bn HQ in Loffre Front of Lewarde. 2 coys in Montigny. Had big vegetable supper. Fritz has mined all cross-roads and bridges. Transport along main roads rather difficult. aaa

Oct. Saturday 19th
Kicked off at 0730. Advanced 11 miles through Pecquencourt Verde. Rieulay. Marchiennes to O.U. Wandignies (O.U. – this is) where we established Bn HQ beside burning forage. Fine town. Good billets. Liberated a few thousand civilians. They were so glad the gave us almost everything they had. Kept us full of coffee. I had a swell dinner in a farmhouse S18[b] 20.30 Telephone communication established all the way. We had some difficulty crossing marshes etc. Band came up and played “La Marsellaise” Haven’t bumped into Fritz yet. aaa

Oct. Sunday 20th
Left this morning at 0730. Raining and extra misty Muddy. Mines blown all night long. We could not pass certain roads. Held up and shelled. One feature of all this advance. Visibility has been poor. Lay for hours behind Cantin in open field. Obtained information as to M.G. and guns in next village from old Frenchman, brought down from Hasnon by scouts It happens we have caught up to Heine, and chasing him 2400 before his calculation We were in support behind Hasnon. Heavy rain in evening. M.G. bullets bouncing on door step of our billet aaa

Oct. Monday 21st
Jumped off early in morning Our Bn in front line. Poor Visib. Shelling Hasnon. One big shell killed 19 civilians in a cellar. almost under our nose. Kept working our way along and by evening Fritz had it all over us. He occupied high ground behind St Amand We are in marshy land Raisones Foret He had his Arty up and made us get out and get under. As of old. One lone minnenwafer man left behind gave himself up. I was on R.C. again, and was very pleased when I went back to my billet at Bn HQ Les Corbets. For life up forward was only worth about two cents with all that Arty, M.G. and sniper fire. Heine burning villages and destroying as he goes. In evening our Bn patrol entered St
Amand aaa

Oct. Tuesday 22nd
Remained in Les Corbets. It rained. 42nd Bn went through us, and I believe met with very little opposition. Only found the rear guard dressed in civilian clothes. Order issued to shoot same. In evening I went to Hasnon. People were so merry there. It was like Gay Paree. At 1100 hours Rolling Barrage. Push started down South. aaa

Oct. Wednesday 23rd
Moved from Les Corbets, hike over 20 kilos via Hasnon. Wandignies Verde. Pecquencourt to Montigny where we struck a fine cottage for a billet. Named it Toronto Villa. Cleaned out the house. Got bed to sleep in. Table to eat at, with full dinner set. Vase of flowers. Stove with plenty of coal for fire. Made a real Comfy Home Sweet Home. This is a jake old war. Almost every night since start from Canal De La Sensee, we have found a bed to sleep in aaa

Oct. Thursday 24th
Fairly fine day. Cleaned up rubbish around billet and town Civilians were all evacuated from Montigny, and so the gardens are still full of vegetables. And in a big cellar at Lambrech Chateau There are thousands of bushels of potatoes. Fritz floods the cellar. But we got to work and rescued the murphies. This Chateau is a fine one. Bn HQ Ludendorff spent some time here. It is owned by Lambrech (minister living in Paris) He also owns the big Sanitorium out in field. Hindenburg stayed here awhile. This sanitorium avant Le Guerre was a Tuberculois hospital. Prince of Wales who is attached to Cdn staff paid us a visit. Bombardment up the line never ceases aaa

Oct. Friday 25th
Fine. Went to Pecquencourt in morning for gas. I disposed of my old respirator, pulling a new one this time. So amsatisfied. Enjoying fine big salvaged meals. aaa

Oct. Saturday 26th
Fine. On parade. Co’s inspection of billets. Says ours is best in town. Even have a clock on mantle shelf. Indent. Playing baseball in afternoon aaa

Oct. Sunday 27th
Fine. But rather dull in afternoon. Church parade 1030. First for a long while back. Living high these days. aaa

Oct. Monday 28th
Fairly fine. Buzzer practice. “Y” came to town but could get nothing up. Issued with sweater coats. Leather jerkin and blanket. Packs brought up from Vis-en-Artois aaa

Oct. Tuesday 29th
Fine day. Parade 0900 GeneralHorne Cmdg First Army visited Bn HQ. Rumour floated to expect armistice in four days on or before Sunday. Bombard-ment up line continued. Civilians returning to town aaa

Oct. Wednesday 30th
Fairly fine. On parade. Working out visual schemes. Our Divn looking for billets by railway etc. Preparing for demobilization. Streets of Montigny named Rogers Square Minns Boulevard. Chisholm St. Crawford St. McMaster Ave Griesbach Terrace aaa

Oct. Thursday 31st
Dull, very much like snow. At Concert given by Punk Players a get up from Bn by padre. Two C.C.S’s moved into Sanitorium 6th C.C.S Imperials 4th C.C.S Canadian a lovely place for a hospital aaa


Nov. Friday 1st
Fairly fine day. Continued Schemes. Morning opened up with splendid barrage. XVII Corps took Valenciennes. Fritz counter-attacked on Imperials and drove them back 3 miles 4th Cdn Divn cut Heine off and advanced double. All objective taken with few casualties. Reported Austria and Turkey are out of the war. And that our terms for an armistice has been sent to Germany. aaa

Nov. Saturday 2nd
Raining. On parade but afterward did buzzer practice in the house. Attended the show given by our own concert party The Gentlemen invited the nurses over from Sanitorium and had a dance in chateau. Betting high on an armistice. And that we will not go in the line again. Montigny made a railhead. Transportation so rushed and difficult owing to push. That Canteen supplies cannot be got up. aaa

Nov. Sunday 3rd
Dull and light rain. Church Parade at Coliseum. Capt Scarlett 4th C.C.S spoke at evening service Division officers war will be over in 30 hours Outlook good. Austria to get Armistice soon. aaa

Nov. Monday 4th
Raining, connected billets up with metallic circuit. Austria gets Armistics at 0300 hours. Fritz reported to be retreating again. Our patrols up as far as Mons. 4th C.C.S contemplate moving forward as far as Valenciennes. We received warning order to move forward 6th inst. aaa

Nov. Tuesday 5th
Raining. Practicing reading sounder. Had a bath. Our officers had another big night for the nurses. aaa

Nov. Wednesday 6th
Raining. Just laying around waiting for good news. Not much noise on front except 0400 hrs when our armies started advancing. Report broke through. aaa

Nov. Thursday 7th
Fine. On parade for inspection and P.T. Did buzzer practice. Canteen and Ymca got some supplies in for first time. The Brigadiers and Colonels Cmdg Bns, away on furlough to blighty discussing demobil-ization. Major Chisholm M.C. Cmdg Battn. aaa

Nov. Friday 8th
Rained. 4th C.C.S moved forward to Valenciennes. Attended movies at Coliseum. Did sounder practice. Guns still pounding away. Reported Bavaria declares herself an independent state. aaa

Nov. Saturday 9th
Fine. Parade. During afternoon Frenchmen going around “La guerre fini”. All goes well until evening. Then official message came in regarding Kaisers Abdication Our officers started to celebrate. Dragged out circus band and played all over town. Gathered a mob. went to Bde and to V.A.D. hospital, now in possesion of Sanitorium. Bon fires. Star shells. Pianos playing. Booze. Real alive all night celebration aaa

Nov. Sunday 10th
Fine. Church parade. Steel hickeys painted Froggy grey. Cleaned up equipment for Lt-Gen Currie’s inspection on the morrow. Attended Service in Coliseum. aaa

Nov. Monday 11th
Fair in forenoon. Dull in afternoon. In morning marched to Pecquencourt. Where 1st CIB was inspected by Gen. Currie. Summary of his short talk. “It is now 24 mins since the order cease fire was given. I hope the guns may never start again. For four years you have been in this work of destruction. You are about to begin the work of Construction. And I think the greatest tribute today may be paid to the Almighty. Let us bow our heads in prayer. My heart is too full to say anymore men. At 1100 hours, 11 month, 11th day guns ceased fire. aaa

Nov. Tuesday 12th
Fine day. Batnn parade and inspection by Major Chisholm. aaa

Nov. Wednesday 13th
Fine day. Left Montigny at 0800 hrs. Marched full pack to Wallers via Masny Viellons Erre. Bruille Somain. Ferain Helesmes. Billeted in a house. Slight strain left ankle. Cobble roads all the way made it a good deal worse. We have started our march to Germany. Cdn Corps going forward with Armies of occupation to occupy bridgeheads on the Rhine. We believe we are heading to Cologne. aaa

Nov. Thursday 14th
White frost. Humidity. Took a most inhumane hike but stuck it. Within 1/2 kilo Belgium border. 23 kilos from Wallers via Bellaing, Orsy, Herin, Valenciennes. Hornaing Quarouble to Quievrain About 4 kilometres out of Valenciennes a number of Fritzie staff officers passed on their way to Paris. Also some evacuated Heine prisoners aaa

Nov. Friday 15th
Frosty. Left at 0845 hours. Crossed Belgium border at 0930 via St. Homme. Boussie to St. Ghislain distance 13 kilos where we settled down in good billets. Every foot of way slippery cobbles. Full pack and hard on feet. Saw a munition plant one of our bombs had dropped on some reck. Fritz staff car passed us in Boussie flying white flag. aaa

Nov. Saturday 16th
Fine. Breakfast at 0800 hrs. Cleaned up. Began This war Dairy, decoding it from notes. In a French store a lady recited this example. “Here a cake of Lifebuoy Soap, given me by your comrade, price demi franc. Here a savon Belgique. About 1/3 the size price five francs aaa

Nov. Sunday 17th
Fine. Church service Pay parade, bath. Harvey Noble joined Bn. aaa

Nov. Monday 18th
Frosty, extra cool Scotch-mist turning to snow. Marched 25 kilos from St. Ghislain via Jemappes, Mons, Niny Obourq. St. Denis to Thieusies. 58th Bn quartered in St. Denis holding outpost of our front line on a hill. Inspected on march by Maj-Gen MacDonell aaa

Nov. Tuesday 19th
Fairly fine. Parade. Thieusies dull town. The people where we stay pro-German. Indent Guard of 40 men started in Battn aaa

Nov. Wednesday 20th
Cool, Battn parade, Inspection by Major Mason and Burgomaster of village. Heard 2nd Divn kicked over traces on square-pushing Can’t blame them aaa

Nov. Thursday 21st
Cool. Marched full pack 20 kilos from Thieusies via Naast, Ecaussinnes, D’Inghen, Marche Feling to Arquennes, where a civie band and populace came to greet us. And our path was of flowers. Fine reception “Honor to our Liberators” Rough time in old town tonight Capt Coulthard undertook to give his section a good time. aaa

Nov. Friday 22nd
Fine Parade 0845 square-pushing continued my war Dairy. Band playing on square. Civilians dancing. Concert in Town Hall aaa

Nov. Saturday 23rd
Last night the civilians of Arquennes and the soldiers decided to have a dance in the hall. The town having gave a hearty welcome, we took the moselles and went to the dance. At 2000 hours the officers came in and demanded us to get out, hoping to keep our partners for themselves. The Canadian Army has stood enough bull-dozing, the time is ripe for revolution. And now being a chance. We soldiers made fair a way impressing ourselves, and showing the civilians that we were in a war too. The result the dance was broken up for the officers, and the whole civil population, were so impressed by the Prussianism that they hated them worse than the Prussians themselves. Just what is wanted. Up with the Bolosheviks!!! Very fine day. Started at 0900 hours from Arquennes, and marched 12 kilos over a third-class road to Frasnes. aaa

Nov. Sunday 24th
Ideal day. Marched 12 kilos over 3rd class roads from Frasnes via Chassart to Sombreffe. In the afternoon the civilians had a big procession. I was in it for over three hours. Challenged and carried standard. Pleased that I put one over Major Chisholm. Had two families French refugees clinging to me The Coys are split-up doing outposts, as we advance being our turn, in the brigade. Rations two men on a bun. Civils can’t seem to do enough for us. aaa

Nov. Monday 25th
Raining. Marched 28 kilos from Sombreffe to Villers Les Heest Climbed two mountains enroute. This town is not so lively. It is about 6 kilos north of Namur. aaa

Nov. Tuesday 26th
Dull, resting in Villers Les Heest. In forenoon, rifle inspection. Armourer and shoemaker allotment. At noon today, the last of the Heines evacuated Belgium, and crossed frontier. Fritz guard at aerodrome relieved. This aerodrome had in it 250 planes, turned over in accordance with armistice aaa

Nov. Wednesday 27th
Heavy drizzle – started at 0730 and marched full pack via Marchovellette, Vezin Scraignaleux. 25 kilos to Seilles. At Scraignaleux came down hill to Scenic route. Centre Meuse River, a road on each side and Rocks. Barges plying to and fro upon entering villages, the bells peal out their joy. aaa

Nov. Thursday 28th
Raining. Arose at 0500. {Previously an O.O. came out stating that packs would not be carried by the men. Our Bravo. D.H.C. Mason, acknowledged O.O. and did not comply – which was unknown until near our destination; the Brigadier came along, and bawled tiny out). We moved off at 0630 hours via Ardennes, Gives, Huy, Marchin Modave, Clavier to Les Avin. A real march, distance 36 kilos approx 22 1/2 mile. Followed the endless chain of the Ardennes all the way. aaa

Nov. Friday 29th
Still raining. Prepared to move but could not go. Yesterdays rations did not come up until afternoon They were transported on lorries from Sourain. Today’s ration bully and biscuits aaa

Nov. Saturday 30th
Fairly fine. Marched 28 kilos From Les Avins via Tohogne Bornal to Izier. Our packs were taken from us and transported by lorry, for the first time. Inspected on the march by Gen’s Currie, McDonell and Griesbach Route zig zag by mountain and valley. aaa


Dec. Sunday 1st
Very fine day. Enforced stay at Izier, for yesterdays rations did not come up until 2200 hrs. aaa

Dec. Monday 2nd
Drizzle. Moved off at 1030 Marched 6 Kinks and dumped our packs at [Boivneont]. Total distance march 23 kilos to Basse-Badeux 12 kilos from frontier aaa

Dec. Tuesday 3rd
Dull marched light order via Lierneux to Abrefontaine. 17 kilos from frontier. Very good level road fenced in by pine forests aaa

Dec. Wdnesday 4th
Very dull with slight drizzle. Proceeded on way in Battle order at 0730 hrs. Had dinner 1100-1200 100 yards from Prussienne frontier Poteau At 12(noon) made the triumphal victors entry into Germany. Escorted by cavalry. Led in by Lt-Gen A.W. Currie, Maj-Gen McDonell, Prince Arthur of Connaught (Major) Bayonets fixed to the tune of The Maple Leaf Forever. After Tipperary and Long, long trail. Movie man on the job. Band played O Canada entering first German town Eiffel Hof left of St. Vith. Alors, we entered the region of pine forests with towns far and few between, and real bad mud roads, So to help it along, we were abundantly graced with showers of blessing. Our destination Amel (Eiffel), distance of march 33 kilometres aaa

Dec. Thursday 5th
Fine. Supposed to rest a day but such was not the case. Railhead well forward. Rations good. At 1600 hours left Amel and marched 5 kilos to Moderscheidt. Road extra bad. In the evening went 3 kink to Schoppen to take over a Offentliche Ferusprechenstelle aaa

Dec. Friday 6th
Bright sunny day. In the morning left Schoppen and went to Moderscheidt marched with Bn HQ 32 kilos to Hellenthal 3 kilos of the road the worst I have ever seen villages very scattered. So far in Germany scenery has been only Pine forests. One outstanding feature. The landscape seems one Brown cluster. Every village being Black or brown in appearance, is not entirely unlike its background. The civils in this town treat us decent. Supper is prepared. Musicians play God Save The King aaa

Dec. Saturday 7th
Rather dull. Moved off at 0900 hrs and marched 23 kilos to Raggendorf. Villages small and many. Fewer pine growths. On the main drag Cöln. Bonn. Have entered the industrial part of Germany. aaa

Dec. Sunday 8th
Fine. Supposed to lay off a day, but later 00285 we moved off at 0930 hours and marched 15 kilos to Euskirchen. Big railway centre After getting away from the hills 6 kilos from Euskirchen presented to our view the Rhine Valley. Enumerous towns no undulation Except in the distance by the horizon we could plainly see the hills on opposite bank of Rhine. Swell billets. Biggest telephone exchange yet. 13 lady operators. Civilians rather a wee bit hostile aaa

Dec. Monday 9th
Dull. Left Euskirchen at 0830 hours. But instead of continuing on the main road to Bonn, we switched off at the “Y” to Cöln road. Marched 20 kilos to Pingsdorf. Rather a poor burg. aaa

Dec. Tuesday 10th
Fine. Marched 9 kilos to Wesseling, a village on the Rhine. Rather a decent burg Billeted with Norton and Pike. Stone grinder Alundum M.f.g 5 Americans with plant also at New York, Mass, Niagara Falls and Chippewa. Lovely mess room. Tried to go by electric railway to Cöln but was stopped by Major Mason. Have hopes of staging here a few days aaa

Dec. Wednesday 11th
Fine. Inspection of brass and equipment. On civie exchange aaa

Dec. Thursday 12th
Fine. Passes to Köln stopped because Sir D. Haig was present aaa

Dec. Friday 13th
Raining. Marched full pack 18 kilos to Westhoven-Ensen Ceremonial crossing of Rhine Bridge in Cöln at 1300 hours. Reviewed by General Plummer. “The man with the monocle”. Two hours march through Cöln with fixed bayonets. The first Canadian Division guarding Cöln bridge-head. aaa

Dec. Saturday 14th
Fair. Marched light 5 kilos to Pont [Zunedorf] on Rheine. It was almost direct across from Wesseling And we intend stopping a few days. aaa

Dec. Sunday 15th
Dull. Church parade in [Ki????nia] at 0830 hours. In the afternoon took car to Porz for Köln, where we had a real live time aaa

Dec. Monday 16th (my birthday)
Twenty years of old age. Dull. Marched battle order 5 kilos to Lind, just past Wahn to Dynamitfabrik Wahn where our billet turned out to be a regulation barracks on phone duty at the exchange I have
seen in our travels, with electric light indicators aaa

Dec. Tuesday 17th
Raining. Scrubbed our equipment. Xmas parcels pouring in aaa

Dec. Wednesday 18th
Dull. Parade at 0910 hours review order. Fitted equipment. Scrubbed pack. In the afternoon there was an educational lecture at Köln aaa

Dec. Thursday 19th
Raining-sleet. Parade to Wahn, to attend lecture given by Maj-Gen McDonell G.O.C 1st Can. Divn. Issue of new Cap Badge aaa

Dec. Friday 20th
Dull. Parade and inspection at 0915 hrs. Parade to tailor for overseas service chevrons. Order to
have polished bayonet and scabbard aaa

Dec. Saturday 21st
Dull. Nothing to report aaa

Dec. Sunday 22nd
Rain and sleet, Church parade at 0815 hours. 7 sigs put on guard. Robert Trewin and I ring in on educational scheme, as teachers of elementary work. aaa

Dec. Monday 23rd
Dull. Trew and I went to Köln on a business trip. aaa

Dec. Tuesday 24th
Dull. At 1000 hours started our school. Decorating our billet for Xmas Day Celebrating Xmas Eve

Dec. Wednesday 25th Xmas Day
Snow on the ground. A Xmas the best we could make it. My leave warrant came in. aaa

Dec. Thursday 26th
Dull. Boarded the 3.53 train at Cologne – Boulogne. Going on C.C. Leave. aaa

Dec. Friday 27th
Raining. Travelling slow. Morning found us at Huy aaa

Dec. Saturday 28th
Raining. Average speed 14 kilos in 3 hours. Morning found us at Arras aaa

Dec. Sunday 29th
(After staying in Rest Camp overnight, upon arriving from a 51 hour journey) Dull. At 0830 hours embarked on first boat for England, on train Folkestone 1120. In Victoria Stn 1430. aaa

Dec. Monday 30th
Fair. Home goes this book. aaa

Dec. Tuesday 31st
There’s a good time coming. Good-bye-ee-e


“Good friend as you read this diary Don’t expect too much knowledge to accrue. I’ve pictured this
war one-sided and truly and hope it gives pleasure to you, To know that a buck private moves on his
stomach – He lives, dies, hates, and he loves –

He remembers the pleasant in story and forgets for the present the gory.”

The Gol Darn Signallers
When a working party’s wanted
For to help build up the line
When the Platoon men are hiding
Oh! Hell! but it sounds fine
For to hear the Sgt Major
In a voice that booms and burrs
Come shouting down the trenches
“Where’s them Gol Darn Signallers?”

When you’re strafed like old blue blazes
Oh yes! It sure is fine
To dangle round the trenches
Patching up the broken line,
And the sentry as you pass him
Has to throw his little shers
Halt! Who goes there?
All right, pass on
You Gol Darn Signallers

When the run ration is issued
And there’s battle in each eye,
When the Sgt shakes the bottle
And finds it’s rum clean dry
It’s the same time worn story
How often it occurs.
Somebody has to go short
It’s them Gol Darn Signallers.

Oh, it’s a joke to have a dugout
Where it’s nice and dry and fine.
But when one lands hard and heavy
And you take an up incline
When the smoke has kind of lifted
One naturally infers
By the Casual way its mentioned
Its them Gol Darn Signallers

But never mind, for some day
We will follow up a line,
In a place where all is roses
And the rations superfine,
But when W.P’s are called on
To sweep those Golden Stairs
I know who will have to do it
Those Gol Darn Signallers.

Lieut. E.G McKay

See “Better Ole” last page

To you, who come from front line saps
Which are 30′ deep, and where perhaps,
You never see, the light of day
From where you go in, ’til you come away.
We leave a trust to your tender care,
A place with which none can compare.
The Better ‘Ole

It may be only a humble shack,
And the wind blows in thru’ many a crack.
But when you are here a day or two
’twill be like a little home to you.
For the shells may whistle, but ne’er a one
Comes near, and you go, and watch the fun
From the Better ‘Ole

The stove, it smokes, when you light a fire
But don’t get mad, and say things dire
For it will give you many a cup
Of tea or coffee, to buck you up
It’s only one of the many charms
That takes you away from War’s alarms
In the Better ‘Ole

So here’s luck to you, and may your line
Ne’er go out, while we will pine
In a front line sap, for a little spot
Where the shells never bother a jot.
The Better ‘Ole

April 1918
EGM “Sigs”

Cam Valley

"In Pace Paratus – In Peace Prepared"

%d bloggers like this: