War Diary of 9th Canadian Artillery Brigade November 1918

CONFIDENTIAL

WAR DIARY of 9th CANADIAN ARTILLERY BRIGADE

 

NOVEMBER 1st – To NOVEMBER 30th. 1918

 

ETOLIE

DE CERENAY

1-11-18               8th C.I.B. still in line with 1st C.M.R. on right and 2nd C.M.R. on left.  Enemy alert and somewhat nervous due to our attack South of Malenciennes.  Forward sections engaged MGs and TMs and did night Harassing fire.  In view of the shelling it was decided to move Brigade Headquarters to house at FONTAINE BOUILLON at P.30.a.60.60. and the move was made at 1600 hours.  C.R.A. inspected the wagon lines all except 45th Battery being very satisfactory.  Captain J.H. McLaren of 31st. Battery took command of 45th Battery.

FOUNTAINE

BOUILLON

2-11-18              The day passed very quietly with very little enemy fire.

Orders were received in the evening that the 8th Imperial Division would sideslip South and take over the northern part of our front between R.15.a.2.8. and Q.5.d.7.5 and that out S.O.S. line would be shifted accordingly.

Valenciennes was reported to be entirely in our hands at 1000 hours.

 

3-11-18                8th Imperial Division took over the 2nd C.M.R. front on the left as described above.  0600 hours and the Brigade S.O.S. line now ran from R.31.c.50.00. along canal to R.20.d.20.80. thence R.14.b.80.60. at 1200 hours was extended south to an E. and W. line through W.6.d.00.50 at 1600 hours our patrols were reported working forward and across the canal in W.12 & X.1. and S.O.S. was lifted from these squares.

C.O. and Lieutenant McAdams of 7th C.I.B. visited Valenciennes reconnoitring routed forward as it was believed bridges north of the city would not be built by the time the Brigade would have to cross the canal.

4-11-18                Major L.V.M. Cosgrave proceeded on 14 days leave to Paris and Major D.A. McKinnon of the 36th Battery took command of the Brigade, Capt. A.L. Anderson taking the Battery.

Our Infantry (4th C.M.R. Battalion) worked North East in the early morning to road X.8.d. & a. and to railway in X.1.A. & b. & X.2. central but were held up by Machine Guns on Railway in X.3.c & X.9.a and the 45th forward fired on them but did not dispose of all of them as machine gun fire still came from this vicinity.  At noon the C.R.A. phoned and orders Batteries to move forward to the vicinity of ESCAUTPONT.  By 1800 hours Bde. H.Q. had moved to Q.29.b.50.65.  31st Battery to Q.29.c.20.80.  33rd. Battery to Q.29.c.20.00.  45th Battery to Q.23.d.60.30. and 4 Hows. of 36th to Q.29.b.45.85. with a detached section of this Battery still at Q.24.a.05.20.  1st C.M.R. had crossed canal at PONT DES ARAIS but were held up by stray M.G. Posts at R.25.d.70.10 in Ry. Embankment which 45th engaged but did not put out of action.

At 2200 hours our line ran from X.15.b.7.7 to X.2. Central along Railway to R.31.b.0.0. thence as before and S.O.S. line was laid accordingly from right boundary between X.2. & X.8. to left divisional boundary at R.14.b.9.6. Enemy artillery inactive on Bde front.

Lieutenant CHRISTOPHERSON reported to Brigade and was posted to 33rd Battery.

 

ESCAYTPONT         5-11-18              At 0530 hours the 33rd Battery fired a barrage of 68 minutes duration rolling from X.11.b & X12.a.  At 0800 hours the Brigade O.P. was established in W.6.b. and Lieut. Knight had reported as L.O. with the 4th C.M.Rs at their H.Qrs. at W.19.b. and shortly after had wire through to Brigade.  At 1100 hours he reported 4th C.M.R. patrols on Ry. to north of VICQ and opposition not heavy.  36th Battery established O.P. at Q.30.d.9.9. and Lieutenant A.B. Manning fired 80 rounds during the day on M.G. post at R.25.d.7.1. effectually putting it out of action it was captured by 1st C.M.R. in the evening.  Orders received in the afternoon that Brigade would take up position in vicinity of ONNAING on the 6th and C.O. & Battery Commanders reconnoitered roads and bridges.  At 2200 hours our line ran QUAROUBLE inclusive to Railway in X.5.a. along Ry. to canal at R.25.d.7.1. thence no change to north boundary & the Brigade S.O.S. line extended from R.35.c.5.2. along this line to the Mons Conde Canal.

 

QUAROUBLE    6-11-18                 Operation order 209 & 209-1 received at 0500 hours ordering three Batteries of Brigade to take up positions within 6000 yards of road in M.22-23-29-36 sheet 45.  C.O. & O.Cs 31st, 33rd & 36th Batteries started forward at 0800 and Headquarters and Batteries followed 0830 & 0900.  The 45th Battery remained in the ESCAYTPONT areas attached to the 1st C.M.R. Battalion which was ordered to take the enemy bridgehead south of CONDE in R.14. and the Railway in R.26. & 21.  The three batteries moved via BRUAY, ST SAULVE, QUAROUBLE and were in position at 1630 at following locations: – Headquarters in QUAROUBLE Sheet 44 X.17.a.1.5. 31st X.11.d.2.8. 33rd X.16.b.3.8. and by 1730 headquarters were in communication with the 8th C.I.B. 3rd C.D.A. and with Batteries.  Wagon lines were in ONNAING.  The batteries dumped at the guns 250 rounds per 18 Pdr. & 200 Rounds per 4.5” How.  The 1st Section 3rd C.D.A.C. came under orders of this Headquarters and moved to ONNAING and dumped ammunition for Batteries there. At 0700 hours 4th C.M.R. had reached QUIEVRAIN, east of Grand Konelle river which it had been thought the enemy would strongly defend.

QUIEVRAIN

  • Orders for the barrage were received by phone at 0500 hours. Zero hour 0850. The Brigade fired in enfilade opening on the line, sheet 45 M.35.b.20.70 – M.30.c.60.10. and advancing in 100 yard lifts northwards to the final line M.22.b.60.80. – M.17.d.00.20.  Harris of the 31st Battery laid a wire and reported to 4th C.M.R. at S.8.b.8.8. in the early morning.  Lieut Manning of the 36th Battery went as F.O.O. with the same Battalion.  Both these Officers got back useful information during the day regarding the advance of the Infantry but in the morning owing to distance, communications were difficult to maintain.  At 1000 hours orders were received for C.O. & B.Cs to go forward to reconnoitre and that Batteries would move on their return.  Positions were selected as follows in Quievrain Sheet 45 H.Qrs S.5.c.3.6. 31st S.5.O.9.7. 33rd S.5.b.8.2. 36th S.5.c.8.9.  Batteries moved between 1200 & 1400 along MONS Road but owing to crowded traffic and mine craters on road, batteries were not in position until 1630 hours.  The 33rd Battery had sent forward a section under Lieut Mason & Christopherson at 1000 hours.  It took up a position in S.6.b but had to withdraw to S.5.b when the mist cleared in the afternoon.  Observation was difficult and they were unable to do much shooting.  Our Infantry had gone forward with the barrage and exploited beyond it and in the evening held a line north of HENSIES & MONTROEUL-SUR-HAINE and east of the latter place & St. CROIX.  The Brigade S.O.S. was laid from N.21.d.0.0. to N.19.b.8.0. to N.14.d.5.3.

Lieutenant DePencier reported to Brigade and was posted to 36th Battery.

O.O. No 211 was received at 2300 hours ordering brigade to fire a barrage at 0700 beginning on N.26.d.1.9. – N.26.a.2.7. & finishing on N.22.d.3.5. – N.22.a.0.5.

 

THULIN

8-11-18               O.O. 211 was cancelled at 0200 as our patrols had gone through THULIN and well beyond it without meeting any opposition.  The 7 C.I.B. had relieved the 8th C.I.B. during the night and the 33rd Battery went forward with the P.P.C.L.I.   The forward section took up a position in N.27.c from which they were able to do good shooting on two nests of enemy M.Gs in N.24.c. killing some men and forcing the remainder to evacuate the position.  The main battery took a position in N.26.d.  The C.O. & B.Cs reconnoitered positions in morning and between 1100 & 1300 the Brigade moved and 1500 were in action with Hqrs at N.27.a.4.5. the 33rd moved later to N.26.b.9.5. all in the village of THULIN.  This village had never been shelled and except for two or three mine craters in the road was undamaged and the inhabitants still had many of their cattle & horses and were very nervous of gun fire.  It was reported by Lieut Stearns L.O. with P.P.C.L.I. at 2100 that their patrols were through BOUSSU and our S.O.S. line was laid on N. & S. line through O.9.c.0.0. from MONS road to CONDE canal.

 

  • Enemy fell back during the night and at 08.00 our patrols were on outskirts of JEMAPPE and meeting with no opposition.  At 09.00 C.O. and B.Cs went forward to reconnoitre positions in P.7. & 13.  The 49th Battalion had pushed across the canal in N.8. & N.9. during the night and C.E. were repairing bridge in N.8.a. and a section of the 31st Battery was ordered to go with them.  At 11.30 the complete 31st Battery received orders to proceed with the 49th  At 12.00 hours Brigade were ordered to move forward to P.15 & P.9.  All were on the road by 13.00 B.Cs going ahead.  By 17.00 hours brigade was in position as follows: – Hqrs P.9.c.7.3., 33rd P.14.b.9.6., 45th P.14.d.9.6., 36th P.15.a.4.4. just south of JEMAPPES.  Our line ran from Q.13.d. to the canal in P.9.b. along the canal to the west.  At 22.00 a shoot by three guns each of 33rd & 36th Btys was put on M.G. Posts on road in P.12.c. and lasted for 15 minutes.  No reports of the result of the following attack was received.  This village is not damaged at all and the difference in the treatment of places in France and in Belgium is very noticeable, factories are working here and many horses and cattle are still on the farms.

Major E.V. Thompson reported back from hospital and Lieut Harrison & Lieut O’Grady from Leave.

45th Bty reported back to Brigade to-day.

Lieut A.B. Manning established O.P. by D Coy R.C.R. hqrs at 22.00 hrs in P.9. and later moved up to J.34.d.5.5.

 

 

 

GHILIN

10-11-18          The infantry have succeeded in pushing forward somewhat during the night and at 09.00 held points in GHLIN J.28.a. & d. 8.2 & 3.4 which the 49th battalion was holding.  The R.C.R. were in the centre in P.18 & Q.13.  Enemy M.Gs and field Guns were very active on forward areas and a good deal of firing was done by the Brigade on M.G. nests.  Beginning at 09.45 three guns from 33rd and 3 Hows from 36th fired for 10 minutes on P.12.d. & b. and at 12.10 for 10 minutes on P.12.d & P.6.d.  At 13.25 the 45th & 36th fired for 15 minutes on Q.14.a. and at 15.30 the brigade fired for 20 minutes, on canal from Q.13.a.4.6. to Q.13.b.4.4.  Lieut Manning reported M.G. on slag heap in J.24.d. holding up our advance and he got a line in and observed shooting on it. At 19.10 & 19.45 the 33rd & 45th put bursts of fire on railway in K.31.b. & d. & at 20.30 orders came back for no more firing into K.19. or 25. at 22.00 hours our line was reported on road in K.19., K.26.a. & c. K.32.a. & c and Q.2 central and apparently the infantry had not had very heavy opposition.  Lieut Neville relieved Lieut Manning at O.P. J.34.d.5.5. in the afternoon.

At 15.40 a shell burst on the 36th Battery position wounding Lieut F.J. Longworth very badly and he died a short while later at the dressing station.  Three men were also wounded but not dangerously.

Lieut Christopherson went to D.A.C. in exchange for Lieut De Pencier.

CUESMES

11-11-18          At 09.00 Brigade moved forward to positions reconnoitered on the 10th Nov and went into action in the vicinity of the village of CUESMES at the following locations H.Qrs P.17.c.80.35., 33rd P.17.d.30.50. 45th P.17.c.70.00. 36th P.17.c.70.30.  The 31st Bty rejoined the brigade and at 12.00 hours took up a position of observation at Q.13.d.10.90.

Rumours of an armistice were heard in the early morning and at 09.00 orders were received that hostilities would cease at 11.00 hours to-day.  At 11.30 Brig. General Clark reviewed detachments of the 7th C.I.B. battalions, some Engineers and a section from 10th Brigade C.F.A. & 8th Army Brigade C.F.A.  At 15.30 Lieut. General Currie reviewed detachments from all 3rd Div. troops at the same place in MONS.   Amidst great enthusiasm of the civilians.  At 15.00 orders were received for Bde to reconnoitre positions in K.26. & K.32. to cover the left half of the divisional front which extended from K.20.c.2.2. along road through L.19. K.18, K.12., to K.11.a.8.8. and officers were sent forward at once.  Orders to move however were received at 23.00.  Brigade was ordered to cover the resistance line canal du centre from K.22.d.0.0. to K.19.d.7.8. and S.O.S. line was placed in advance of this.  The 9th C.I.B. had in the early morning relieved the 7th C.I.B. in the line.  The 58th Bn taking over from the P.P.C.L.I. on the right and the 116th from the R.C.R. on left.

 

NIMY

12-11-18        At 08.00 the brigade moved through MONS to NIMY about a mile north of the city & batteries took up positions of observation at the following locations: Hqrs K.32.a.7.8., 31st Bty K.26.d.3.7., 33rd Bty K.26.d.2.9., 45th Bty K.26.d.1.5., 36th Bty K.26.a.3.2. to cover the divisional front which ran from L.20.c.2.2. along road to K.11.a.8.8. thence south westerly along road to K.19.d.8.8. and the Brigade covered from K.18.d.5.6. to K.11.a.8.8. S.O.S. lines were laid out for this front and Lieutenant Harrison of the 33rd Bty established an O.P. at K.15.c.5.3. C.R.A. visited Brigade and reported that Corps was to march to Germany in easy stages after five days to rest & clean up and refit.  No signs of any enemy on the front.

 

13-11-18         C.O. & B.Cs attended a conference at 3rd Division regarding preparations for the march to Germany.  All surplus and unnecessary equipment is to be turned in and smartness and discipline are insisted upon.  Divisional front was modified somewhat and now runs L20.d.2.1., L.20.b.2.2., L.13.a.1.1., K.1.1.a.8.8., K.15. central where it joins up with 8th division front which now runs to K.8.central.  Brigade zone runs from L.13.a.1.1. to K.11.a.8.8.  SOS lines were altered accordingly.  There is no evidence of any enemy force in the country in front of us.  Capt R. MacDougall joined the brigade as Paymaster.

Lieutenant Jones 31st Battery manned brigade O.P.

 

14-11-18       Battery busy cleaning and painting.  The “DUMBELLS” the divisional concert party played an excellent performance of Pinafore in the theatre at MONS, proceeded by a Divisional tea.

Lieutenant Case at O.P.

 

  • A composite Battery made up of guns and wagons from 33rd Battery and teams from 31st & 45th Batteries under command of Major A.C. Ryerson took part in the review by Lieutenant General Horne in MONS at 10.30 hours.

 

  • A party of 90 O.Rs under Lieutenant Mason of 33rd Battery attended thanksgiving service in MONS theatre at 11.00 hours. 3rdD.T.M.B. was disbanded and 57 O.R. posted to this Bde.  A/Capt Loy was posted to this Headquarters.   Lieut Pepler to 45th Lieut P. Sandhurst to 36th Battery Lieut P.B. Griey to 33rd Battery.

Lieutenant Inch 31st Battery at O.P.

 

17-11-18         Corps church parade at 10.30 hours attended by Capt Loy & 10 O.Rs from Bde. H.Qrs. Div. Artillery church parade attended by 100 men per Battery and all Officers, was held at 14.30 hrs. in MONS theatre. Major McKinnon in charge of parade.

Lieut Mason 33rd Battery at O.P.

 

NIMY

18-11-18          Lieutenant Pepler manned Brigade O.P. for the last time.

14.00 hours C.R.A. and A.D.V.S. visited Brigade Headquarters and spoke to a meeting of the brigade Officers regarding march to the RHINE.

17.00 hours received orders from 3rd C.D.A. H.Qrs to withdraw our F.O.O. and cease to be in action.

17.30 hours Brigade party of 350 O.Rs in charge of Captain Scott attended ”DUMBELLS” concert in MONS theatre.

 

19-11-18                      Batteries busy painting vehicles, grooming , exercising horses and harness cleaning.  Lieutenant Sharp relieved Lieutenant Pryde as Brigade Signalling Officer owing to latter proceeding on leave.

 

20-11-18          Major L.V.M. Cosgrave D.S.O. returned from PARIS leave and resumed duties as C.O.

15.00 hours to 17.00 hours Brigade H.Q. mess intertained their Belgian lady friends to Tea.  C.R.A. attended and a very pleasant time was had by all.  Conversation was in our best table-manner French, assisted by forty year old Burgundy and Scottish wine of the 1918 vintage.

 

  • Major D.A. McKinnon D.S.O. proceeded to Canada.

Lieutenant H. Pryde proceeded to England on Leave.

15.00 hours the C.O. and one Officer and 2 O.Rs per Battery reconnoitered route for assembling for prospective Divisional march past in MONS.

 

  • 30 hours Major A.C. Ryerson 31st Battery proceeded to BRUSSELS to represent 9th Bde C.F.A. in an official entry to the City.

Lieutenant Harrison 33rd Battery suffering from arthritis, was evacuated to 9th Canadian Field Ambulance.

NIMY

23-11-18         Brigade H.Q. and Batteries busy harness cleaning polishing, grooming and exercising horses.

Capt. J.A. Loy M.C. posted to 36th Battery.

 

24-11-18            0900 hours Church Parade of Battery Officers and 300 O.Rs marched to MONS theatre, but the service was cancelled.  R.C. Parade at 1000 hours and NIMY Parish Church.  1400 hours Anti-typhoid parade held by Capt. Adams.

 

25-11-18            1130 hours, a conference of Brigade and Battery Commanders was held at Bde H.Q. 10th Bde C.F.A. for the purpose of discussing Athletic and other arrangements for the welfare of the men during this period of the Armistice.

 

26-11-18            0700 hours, 7 Officers and 7 N.C.Os from Brigade proceeded to BRUSSELS by bus to see the city returning at 2200 hours.  1730 hours a conference was held at 3rd C.D.A. Hqrs to discuss Educational schemes for the men while awaiting demobilization. Major L.V.M. Cosgrave DSO attended.

 

27-11-18            A detail of 35 O.Rs under Command of Lieut Neville 45th Battery was furnished by the Brigade at 1000 hours and 1400 hours to line streets of MONS for reception of King Albert of BELGIUM.

 

28-11-18            0700 hours 7 Officers and 21 O.Rs from Brigade proceeded to BRUSSELS returning at 2200 hours.  0830 hours 9th  Brigade proceeded to Drill Ground N.E. of ASIERES where Battery and Brigade manoeuvres were to be carried out during the morning.  1730 hours 10 Officers of the 9th Bde entertained 10 officers of the 4th C.F.A. Bde 4th Canadian Division at a Theatre party, followed by dinner at the Brigade and Battery Mess.

 

29-11-18            0700 hours 7 N.C.Os from Brigade proceeded to BRUSSELS returning 2200 hours.  0830 to 1200 hours, Brigade and Battery manoeuvres were held at drill grounds MASIERES.  1600 hours, a conference of Brigade and Battery Commanders was held at Brigade H.Q. to discuss the Educational scheme.

 

30-11-18            Batteries busy polishing harness and cleaning vehicles in preparation for review by G.O.C. on December 2nd.

 

 

L.V.M. Cosgrave

Major.

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