War Diaries – 21st Bn. CEF

21st Bn. CEF- Thursday, August 8, 1918

Zero Hour having been set at 4.20a.m., The Battalion was reported in position at 5.20a.m. The enemy apparently noticed unusual activity in our forward areas, and opened a heavy bombardment on our lines with 4.1’s and 5.9’s. We sustained no casualties. Without any preliminary bombardment our attack opened at 4.20a.m. On account of barrage and heavy mist it was found necessary for all officers to retain their direction of the attack by compass. On our Battalion advancing, the only signal flare used by the enemy was a single red, which evidently was his S.O.S. and his Artillery did not respond until 4.32a.m. In accordance with instructions issued in Operation Order 199 and Final Instructions, Tanks should have been in line with the attacking waves at zero hour, but on account of the heavy mist they lost their direction and did not cooperate with Battalion as soon as expected, but advanced later in the attack. Enemy resistance to our advance very strong and some Machine Gun posts were passed by the attacking waves. All such were effectively dealt with by troops following in the rear of the attacking waves. The Battalion Headquarters left the Assembly Positions at Zero plus 75 and while moving forward to take up new positions in Cave Copen were subjected to Machine Gun Fire from isolated posts on the right flank, which as previously stated had been missed. The Headquarters immediately took cover in a small trench and on a tank arriving near them the direction of the machine gun post was indicated, to which the tank immediately advanced, supported by elements of Infantry organized at the moment. Machin gun post was capture. Battalion Headquarters then proceeded forward and when moving along road toward Cave Copen, another Machine Gun, about 1000 yards distance fire on the party. In seeking cover, Lieut-Colonol K.W. Jones, D.S.O. was fatally wounded and R.S.M. T.F. Jordan, M.C. wounded. Immediate attention was given to these casualties and Lieutenant Gardiner, who was being carried, wounded at the time, volunteered his stretcher for the use of the Commanding Officer. This offer was reluctantly accepted by the officer in attendance. Battalion Headquarters having to press forward the Commanding Officer was left in charge of the Chaplain, Captain R.J. Remison, to be taken to the nearest dressing station. On the establishment of a new Battalion Headquarters at Cave Copen, the Battalion was reported as passing through Harrol Cave at 7.15 a.m. Captain F. D. Raymond, M.C. the Adjutant, who had assumed command, immediately reported to Advance Brigade Headquarters and notified the Brigade Commander of Commanding Officers’ condition. After the Battalion had arrived at their object (Green Line) officers Commanding Companies, supervised by Capt K.S.Sewell, M.C., commenced consolidation of the new positions and organized these positions for defence. During consolidation, the 25th Canadian Battalion passed through our ranks and pressed forward the attack. The 4.1cm guns capture were immediately reversed by our advance artillery and all available enemy ammunition fired to the amusement of the Battalion. It must be particularly notice that operation was very difficult owing to the heavy mist and it was only through exceptionally good supervision by Officers and N.C.O’s that the Battalion were able to make this their most successful Operation.

Image: Amiens Front – Marcelcave, Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada.

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