ADDENDA FOR WAR DIARY
Covering Operations of 31st Battery C.F.A. while detached from 9th Brigade C.F.A. and attached to 49th Canadian Battalion, from November 8th to November 11th 1918.
THULIN 8-11-18 The Battery was in action at THULIN N.27.a.15.50. on evening of 8-11-18.
- At 07.00 hours Major Ryerson the Battery Commander was ordered forward to reconnoitre a position in BOUSSU and this was done with great difficulty owing to the civilian crowds, and the coffee, kissing and handshaking barrage which was encountered. The people insisted on marking up every house as a billet, and nothing pleased them more than to have 31st Battery C.F.A. chalked up on their doors.
In the meantime battery was ordered to support the 49th Canadian Battalion which was to cross the CONDE-MONS canal at N.8.b.30.30. and work up to GHLIN and JEMAPPES along the North side of the canal to protect the left flank of the Canadian Corps which was in the air.
The 49th Battalion pushed a company across the Conde Mons canal at N.8.b.30.30. with difficulty as bridge had been destroyed be enemy.
At 12.00 hours the right section under Lieut Inch came into action at SARDON N.14.b.10.20. and supported this company. When the company had crossed canal Lt. Inch brought sections across the HAINE River and came into action on south bank of canal at N.8.b.60.00.
At 15.00 hours the main battery came into action at N.8.b.60.00. Bridge across the CONDE MONS CANAL at N.8.b.30.30. was not at this time repaired but engineers were working on it. Major Ryerson went forward to VILLE POMMEROEUL and reported to the C.O. 49th Battalion receiving orders to cross the canal as soon as bridge was in suitable repair for artillery passage.
At 13.00 hours Lieut Jones as F.O.O. was reconnoitring the area East of VILLE POMMEROEUL H.33. and H.34. in search of the enemy and was received by the belgium people as the first British soldier they had seen since the retreat from MONS in 1914.
At 15.00 hours Lieut Jones was taken prisoner by a patrol of the H.L.I. of the 52nd Div. but after making satisfactory explanation was released.
At 17.30 hours bridge over Canal at N.8.b.30.30. was considered fit for passage and Battery proceeded to VILLE POMMEROEUL where they through out outposts and came into action for the night.
GHLIN 10-11-18. At 06.00 hours the battery with some 3rd Can Div M.Grs. as escorts formed the main guard and advanced to HAUTRAGE following the vanguard which consisted of one company of 49th Battalion and a troop of the 5th lancers.
The battery advanced through HAUTRAGE, TERTRE, BAUDOUR and approached GHLIN, and were welcomed by the civilians who bedecked the guns and horses with hundreds of flowers.
At 1030 hours when half a mile West of GHLIN the Battery was ambushed from the Woods on the North of the BAUDOUR-GHLIN ROAD by 2 machine guns, a battery of 4.77 c.m. guns and a section of 15 c.m. Hows, all firing from close range. As these guns could not be seen Major Ryerson decided to retire immediately and by fast manoeuvring succeeded in extricating the battery from a very dangerous situation. The enemy guns quickly obtained a bracket on the battery and went into Battery fire, but the B.C. manoeuvred from column of route into line and galloped the battery South through the fields keeping just ahead of the enemy shells. He then gave section control deploy, rendezvous at JEMAPPES, to the section commanders, Lts. Inch, Harris and Knight and they immediately wheeled their sections in different directions. This manoeuvre confused the enemy artillery and the shooting became erratic although direction had to be changed several times by the section commanders, before they passed out of observation. In these few minutes the enemy artillery fired 60 rounds 77 c.m. and 30 rounds 15 c.m.
At 10.40 hours when the Right Section were proceeding through the Southern outskirts of GHLIN a group of boys and girls gathered at a corner to welcome them, just as section came up a 15 c.m. shell pitched among them killing eight.
The Battery was assisted in escaping the M.G. fire by a troop of 5th Lancers who immediately charged the M.Gs but were driven back
The B.C. brought the battery into action as quickly as possible North of the CONDE-MONS canal at P.7.b.20.80 and successfully engaged these machine guns with a sweeping and searching fire compelling them to withdraw at 13.00 hours.
CUESMES 11-11-18 At 07.30 hours the battery was ordered to take up a position at CUESMES in P.23. This was done at 08.30 hours and at 09.30 hours battery was ordered to report to C.O. 49th Battalion in the Grand Place in MONS. The battery entered MONS at 10.30 hours but was unable to get to Grand Place owing to the crowds of civilians. The B.C. then brought the battery into action in the Rue de Bertiamont Q.13.d.10.40. at 10.45 hours.
All map locations from Sheet No 45 1/40,000 BELGIUM and Part of FRANCE