Batt in support line, Transport at Agny, weather dull. Orders were again issued for relief this evening, but there was a delay in sending out Advance Parties owing to uncertainty of events in the 3rd Brigade area. At 5 p.m. Guides took the parties forward and arrangements were made for relief. The Brigade moved to their area South of the Scarpe at 6.30p.m. Great delay was experienced owing to traffic congestion and relief of the 8th Battalion by the 38th Battalion proved a very unsatisfactory on owing to misunderstanding regarding guides, who were not sent to meet imposing Companies.
August 31st was devoted to re-organization and refitting. In the morning the following officers reported as reinforcements and were posted to “D”, “A’, “C” and “B” Companies respectively- Lieutenants J.H.Northey, W.F.Ferrier, M.M., J.G.O’Keefe, and I.R. McKenzie. The above officers, with Lieutenant Waters, were formerly N.C.O’s in the Battalion. Signed Lieutenant-Colonol H.E. Pense, Commanding, 21st Canadian Battalion.
The Battalion “Stood to” at day break, all ranks eager and alert, determined to break the expected counter-attack which, however, did not materialize. During the day under protection of barrage the work of consolidation was continued and by night a continuous line established with flanking units. During the afternoon orders were received that the 2nd Brigade would pass through our present Brigade frontage and would continue the advance until they come in contact with the enemy. Later the 8th Can.Bn. Passed through our line in extended order, and pursuant to orders from Brigade, the Battalion moved back to Reserve taking up the same quarters in the Wancour area vacated two days earlier. Weather: Fair. Lieut.P.B.d’Esterre granted leave to U.K. from 31st. Lieut.WF.Bynum joined as reinforcement 27/8/18. Lieut.R.N.Broad and 47 O.Rs. joined 28th and Liet.G.Hunter taken on strength 30/8/18.
Batt in support line, Transport moved Agny. The battalion was located in trenches and shelters on the South end of the Scarpe River, East of Fruchy. A Commanding Officers’ conference was held at brigade headquarters and orders were issued that the brigade would relieve the 3rd brigade in the trenches South of Vis-En-Artois this evening. This order, however, was cancelled later in the afternoon on the 3rd Brigade was putting on a minor operation.
In the morning of August 30th, Lieutenant W.T.Bredin proceeded to England on leave of absence and Lieutenant E.B.Smythe, M.C. reported back from leave of absence. At 1.15p.m. the Battalion moved to St.Quentin where it was located in hutments. (See Operation Order no.212 attached) Lieutenent A.T.Waters reported to the Battalion and was post to “D” Company.
Battalion arrived at Assembly Area at about 1.00a.m. and were in position by 2.30a.m. Heavy enemy whizz-bang barrage was concentrated in close proximity to Battalion H.Q. causing a few casualties. A small amount of gas shelling was carried out by the enemy but was not effective, there being no casualties reported. At 4.40 a.m., ZERO HOUR, the attack commenced supported by a heavy and very effective barrage from our guns. The attack was successful and by 6:00am all our objects were taken and work of consolidation commenced. This was very difficult owing to the harassing fire carried out by enemy machine gunners on skillfully concealed positions. In spite of several determined counter-attacks all our newly captured positions were maintained. In this operation heavy casualties were inflicted upon the enemy and an estimate of 225 unwounded prisoners were taken besides a number of machine guns and 3 enemy 4.1s. [Follow the link for the full entry]
At 5.00pm in the afternoon of August 29th the Battalion moved from bivouac area, west of Wancourt to Southern Arras and occupied billets on Rue de Beaufort, with Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Sections in a Convent on Rue de Promenade. On account of casualties which the battalion sustained on August 26th, 27th and 28th Lieutenant F. G. Robinson was appointed to temporarily command “B” Company. Rear headquarters and details left out of the line were stationed at Bagenville until the afternoon of August 26th, when they moved to Agnicourt. At 5.00pm August 29th the rear details, including a draft of fifty five other ranks which had arrived on August 27th, moved to Arras and rejoined the Battalion.
Morning chiefly spent in making final preparations for the pending attack by 1st Can.Inf.Bde. Of the enemy’s positions in the vicinity of Upton Wood. About 10.00am a Warning Order was received from Brigade ordering units of the Brigade to be prepared to move forward and go into action by 2.00pm. O.O. No.46 issued to Companies and the plan of assault altered. New plans were formed wherein the Brigade would continue to have the same objective but that it would be taken by a flanking movement instead of a frontal attack. Once the flanks of the enemy’s position were pushed in sufficiently the battalions were to making a Right Wheel movement, thus bringing them into the same position as called for in the original plan of attack. Battalion fell in and marched forward to Assembly Area at 11.30 p.m. Weather: Unsettled, occasional showers.
Battalion cleaning up and weather hot. Moved in support line in afternoon.
About 8.30p.m., in accordance with orders receive from Brigade, the Bn. Moved forward and relieved on battalion of the 6th Brigade. Transport and rear Details moving to a position East of Neuville Vitasse about 1 kilometre. Orders were received to the effect that the attack by the 1st Can.Division would be postponed indefinitely. About 10.00p.m. the Battalion had settled down in the area allotted. Very poor accommodation was to be had owing to few shell-holes and scarcity of suitable salvage. Weather: Unsettled turning cold towards evening.