Preparing to move. Party of 160 O.R.’s and 4 N.C.O’s cleaning up obstacles in streets. Battalion moved off at 3.00p.m. full marching order via Frebain and Monchcourt. Arriching and Emerchicourt at 6.00p.m. BHQ in Chateau. Rained heavily all night.
The weather was fine and the day was quiet. The 21st Canadian Battalion moved to Waverchain-soux-Faux at 1215 hours. Battalion Headquarters location was the Chateau at Waverchain. The rear details moved to Estron.
Orders having been received during the night that the 2nd and 3rd Battalions would pass through the 1st and 4th Battalions, this Unit passed through the outpost line at 0900 hours and continued the advance. Touch was at once gained with the 3rd Battalion. Moving behind a screen of skirmishers and scouts, the Battalion followed closely the retiring enemy. A scout patrol captured one prisoner early in the morning. In the Vicinity of Reiulay and Villers enemy patrols were encountered with machine guns. They, however, retired on the advance of the skirmishing line. Not until nearly dusk, when the pursuit had been pushed to the Western firing of the Bois des Eclusetters, did anything occur to give colour to what was more or less of a route march. North East of the Bois St. Amand a German cavalry patrol advanced cautiously, ostensibly for the purpose of getting in touch with our outpost. They made no attempt to give battle and retired at the gallop when fired upon. A scout patrol under Lieut. G. Hunter, operating far in advance of our outposts came in contact with some enemy outposts on the road between the Bois des Eclusettes and the Foret de Vicoigne. A lively fire fight ensued in which three casualties were inflicted on the enemy, with no loss to ourselves. At the end of the day, two Companies held the outpost line, West of the Bois des Eclisettes, while the remaining Companies were in support and reserve. Battalion Hqrs. were established at the Chateau near L’Ermitage. From about 1400 hours on the 19th inst. we had no touch with the 3rd Brigade on our right, some difficulty having arisen with regard to the left boundary of this Brigade. This was rectified about 1900 hours by a slight extension of our outpost line to the right and by the 16th Battalion Extending their front further to the left. Transport and Rear Details left Dechy at 0710 hours arriving at Montigny at 0820 hours. Left Montigny at 1205 hours, arriving at Pecquencourt at 1300 hours. Weather: Showery.
Very misty weather set in and an inter-company relief was effected to allow the two forward companies to bathe. The enemy withdrew on our front so the relief of the 19th Canadian Battalion by the 21st Battalion was cancelled. Routine orders for this date announced the following promotions :- Temporary Captain (Acting Major) G.S.S. Bowerbank, M.C. to Temporary Major from 10-6-18. Temporary Lieut. H.T. Deane, M.C. to be Temporary Captain. Temporary Lieutenant (Acting Captain) L. Fraser to be Temporary Captain.
The 1st Battalion passed through the 2nd Battalion at 0900 hours, this Unit becoming the support Battalion and keeping in close touch with the 1st. The cross-roads at Dechy and the railway crossings to the North of the town had been mined and caused a great deal of trouble. Work was immediately started on repairing them and making the crossings passable for ammunition limbers. A halt of about 2 hours was made North of Dechy, while the advanced Battalion continued to deal with enemy machine gun patrols. A part of our scouts, acting under orders to maintain touch with the forward Battalions, got too far ahead and entered Montigny. On the North Eastern outskirts of the town they encountered an enemy patrol and capture one man. This prisoner, on interrogation, gave the information that civilians were in the village of Pecquencourt and in all the villages East of this. This was at once communicated to the artillery. A short time later the same patrol rounded up a party of the enemy in the vicinity of Montigny, taking 5 prisoners and a machine gun. The battalion resumed the advance at 1400 hours and marched to Montigny. Some difficulty was caused by the blowing up of road crossing, but this delay did not effect the pursuit to any considerable extent. At Montigny a reconnaissance was made to ascertain the position of our troops and it was established that they were on the Eastern outskirts of Precquencourt. The left flank was out of touch, therefore it was decided to place two companies in outpost on the left of the 4th Battalion and facing North. One company went into billets in Montigny, while the fourth Company, with Battalion Headquarters, were in the Bois de Montigny. Transport and Rear Details arrived at Ferin at 0130 hours and at 1205 hours move to Dechy, arriving at 1255 hours. Weather: Fair.
Battalion moved off at 10.00a.m. full marching order. Surplus baggage left in store at Sauchy Lestree. Halted for dinner. Moved into village at 2.30. Battalion Headquarters in Aubencheul-au-Bac. Weather Fine.
At Sauchy Lestree. Weather Cloudy. Divisional Reserve.
The weather continued fine and conditions were normal. The Commanding Officer visited the 19th Canadian Battalion to arrange for a relief. Bathing was carried out by “B” and “D” companies at the baths at Eswars. On this date Liet. D.McGoudy was slightly wounded by shell-fire. Lieut-Colonel H.E.Pense, D.S.O.,M.C. proceeded on leave to England from this date. During his absence Major G.S.S. Bowerbank M.C. assumed command of the 21st Canadian Battalion.
In the early hours of the morning observations by our patrols showed the enemy had commenced to withdraw. The two front line Companies immediately sent out patrols consisting of approximately on Platoon and proceeded to cross the Canal and Sensee River to explore Ferin. Reports showed little of the enemy left there and every arrangement was made to follow his retirement. Progress was made as far up as the Douai-Cantin Road but at this point explicit orders were received from the G.O.C. that the Brigade as to dig in for the day ad that the following up of the retirement of the enemy would be continued tomorrow. This was done and an outpost line was formed just East of the Douai-Cantin Road. Weather: Fair.
Everything abnormally quiet. Word was received from Bde. that in all probability the enemy would commence to withdraw and special efforts were made to keep in touch with him. As it turned out, however, it was during the early part of the morning of the next day that he really did abandon his positions East of the Canal de la Sensee. All arrangements were made that in case of his withdrawal, close touch could be maintained and patrols were sent to follow up his retirement. Very little shelling during the day, by enemy artillery. Our heavies carried out several destructive shoots on points East of the Canal de la Sensee. Owing to low hanging ground mists and the unsettled weather visibility was poor. Weather:-Unsettled.