Remembering the men from the Kingsdown and Creekside Cluster
who gave their lives in the First World War
On the centenary of their death, we remember
Stephen Rogers (of Oare)
b. 5th April 1898
d. 3rd September 1917. Aged 19
Canadian Infantry (1st Central Ontario Regiment)
Remembered with Honour
Noeux-Les-Mines Communal Cemetery Extension
Plot 2 - Row A - Grave 18
Died of Wounds
Stephen was born on 5 April 1898 in Oare, the third child of Stephen (senior) and Lucy May (née Arnold) Rogers. He had eight siblings, Winifred, Alice, Frank, Jesse, John, Dora, Bertha, and Edna. His father, a brickfield worker, sought a new life for his family by emigrating to Canada in 1907 to become a factory-worker. He then arranged a "prepaid" ticket to bring his whole family aboard the "Corsican" from Liverpool to Canada, arriving in Nova Scotia on 30th March 1911. Lucy and all her children rejoined her husband to live at 24 Uxbridge Avenue, West Toronto, Ontario. By this date, Stephen's father was a Railway Labourer. Only Stephen's youngest sister, Edna, was born in Ontario in 1914.
From enlistment documents, Stephen is described as a labourer who stood at 5 feet 3 inches, chest measured at 33 inches (3 inch expansion). His complexion was fair, eyes blue, with dark brown hair. No distinguishing features.
His father, also a labourer, is described as a more imposing 5 feet 10½ inches tall with a chest measurement of 39" (4 inch expansion). His complexion is light, eyes blue and grey hair. He exhibited 4 vaccination marks on his left arm.
Stephen's brother, Jesse, is described as a "piano worker", who stood at 5 feet 4 inches, chest measurement of 33½ inches (3 inches expansion). His complexion was medium, eyes blue, and hair dark brown. No distinguishing features.
With the outbreak of the First World War, Stephen, his father and his brother, Jesse, enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. On 6th April, 1915, his father joined the Canadian Overseas Railway Construction Corps (survived). On 1st May 1916, Stephen and his brother, Jesse, joined the 234th Overseas "Peel" Battalion. Stephen as Private 1024057, Jesse as Private 1024055 (survived).
Stephen's Obituary was carried in the Faversham and North East Kent News of 27th October 1917:- "PRIVATE S ROGERS, CANADIAN E.F. – Casualties among men of the Canadian Forces at the front include the death from wounds of Private Stephen Rogers, who was a native of Oare. He went out some six years ago to Canada where he had been employed in a pianoforte factory. He was 19 years of age. His brother Jesse is also at the front with the same Toronto Battalion, and his father, Stephen Rogers, senior (who used to be a member of the church choir at Oare) is also on active service with a construction battalion."
The 234th "Peel" Battalion began recruiting in Toronto during the Spring of 1916. There followed a period of training before Stephen and his comrades arrived in England during April 1917 and were absorbed into the 12th Reserve Battalion. From the Reserve Battalion, Stephen saw action after joining the 75th Battalion, 4th Canadian Division, 11th Infantry Brigade.
"The 11th Canadian Infantry Brigade, organised in May, 1916, lost two of its original battalions in the following month, owing to the great and immediate need of reinforcements at the front in consequence of the bitter fighting of June in the Ypres Salient. These units were replaced by others; and when it commenced its actual war-service it consisted of the 54th from Kootenay, the 75th from Toronto, the 87th of Montreal, and 102nd of Northern British Columbia.
The 4th Canadian Division went to France in August, 1916, the 10th Infantry Brigade arriving on the 11th, the 11th Brigade on the 14th, and the 12th Brigade on the 15th. On the 17th they assembled, and within the week were moved into positions on the war-torn front of the Ypres Salient. They remained until the first week in October, when they joined the Canadian Corps on the Somme. During their occupation of the Ypres salient each of the three Brigades was withdrawn in turn for a course of tactical training." [The Official Story of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, Volume 3]
Against this timetable, Stephen and his brother arrive in England at a time when Canadian numbers were depleted by the costly Battle of Vimy Ridge (9 April 1917) that was delivered by the whole Canadian Corps, supported by other Allied troops who were placed under Canadian Corps command. The Germans had considered the Ridge impregnable. Ahead of this Battle, there had been a number of small Canadian raids to obtain intelligence.
During the attack on Vimy Ridge, the Canadian 4th Division captured Hill 145 (10 April), and the combined forces captured The Pimple (12 April). Total Canadian Casualties for the three operation added up to 266 Officers and 9,700 Other Ranks.
We do not know the exact date when Stephen and his brother went to the Front, but fresh troops were sorely needed after Vimy Ridge. To give a sense of the actions faced by the 1st Battalion on Hill 145, we can turn to the War Diary:
“In the Line: 9 April 1917: Midnight 8/9th. Everything in position, for the attack. Battalion Headquarters in TOTTENHAM TUNNEL.
5.30 a.m. ZERO Hour. Attack commenced: barrage good.
6 p.m. First wounded commence to come in Dressing Station in TOTTENHAM TUNNEL.
A Strong Point, immediately in front of TOTTENHAM trench and OLD BOOT sap was not mopped up. And caused considerable loss by sniping. At 1 p.m., after a stokes gun barrage Lieut. BRODIE, with a party of 12 men started from a point immediately in front of TOTTENHAM trench to bomb down the enemy front line to the right.
At about 3 p.m. Lieut BRODIE reported capture forty prisoner, and the enemy front line clear of Germans.
A considerable party of the enemy still in trenches, in close support of front line, at this point. At 6.55 [9.30 struck out] the 85th Battalion, under Lieut Colonel BORDEN after forming up in the old jumping-off trenches, attacked the strong point from the front. They took about 100 prisoners and going through commenced to consolidate the BASSO line with a few outposts as far forward as the BEER line.
10th April 17: At 3 a.m. Brigadier-General V.D. Odlum called for Lieut Col. C.B. Worsnop, at Battalion H.Q. and went forward to make a personal reconnaissance of the position taken. At 8.30 a.m. they returned, having established the outpost line in BEER Trench, all men were pushed forward to consolidate the BEER trench.
Battalion Headquarters had been, by this time established at 15.d.8.3.
At 1 p.m. the 50th Battalion and two companies of the 44th Battalion advanced in artillery formation from the ARRAS-BETHUNE road to 50 yards in front of BEER, and formed up in waves ready for the attack.
At about 4.p.m., with a good barrage, they attacked, taking BANFF, BEANO, and BASIN trenches, and commenced consolidating on the right final objective.
At 5.30 p.m. the 50th Battalion were relieved by two companies of the 47th Battalion, who moved up to the relief, in artillery formation.
At 11 p.m. orders were received to have all men rejoin their units, and the 75th Battalion to move back to BERTHONVAL WOODS.
In the Line: 11 April 1917: At 5.45 a.m. 75th Advanced Battalion Headquarters withdrew, leaving the 35th, 47th, and 44th Battalions, holding the line.
Move back to BERTHONVAL WOOD, for rest and re-organisation was completed at 9.30 a.m.
Lieut. HUGH WILLIAM BETHUNE, “C” Company, was the only officer to come through this operations, unwounded, after having gained his objective.
Officers: Killed - 7; Missing – 4; Wounded – 7
Other Ranks: Killed 97; Wounded – 159; Missing 59."
Canadian Records tell us, Stephen "Died of Wounds, (Gunshot wounds, sycoma) No.7 Casualty Clearing Station" on 3rd September 1917. On that day, there was only one death in Casualty Clearing Station No.7 (CCS7) at Braquemont, Nœux-les-Mines. August was a cruel month for the 75th Battalion and there are several candidate battles/raids that may have delivered the mortal injuries to Stephen. The 15th August saw the stiffest fighting that month. War Diary transcription.
It is certain that he would have experienced some or all of what befell the 75th Battalion - consequently, we have transcribed the War Diary for the latter part of August and three days of September. There appears to have been some controversy surrounding the role of the 75th Battalion at LENS in early/mid August - we have transcribed (below) a vocal "correction" by their commanding officer to "set the record straight".
The 75th Battalion was "In the Line" for most of August, which included an early raid that was described in the War Diary as one of the "most successful" for the Battalion. After a short break in dugouts close to Vimy Ridge, the troops returned to the Line for heavy and costly fighting in LENS.
"Casualties as below were sustained during the month.
Lieut O’Brien, A McK. - Killed in Action
Lieut Morris H.W. – Killed in Action
Lieut Munro F – Missing
Killed – 51
Wounded – 156
Missing - 21"
This brings us to the period between mid August and the 3rd September during which Stephen Rogers received his mortal gunshot wounds only to die on 3rd September in No.7, Casualty Clearing Station. He was buried at Noeux-les-Mines Cemetery Extension, which was begun in August 1917 and used until December 1918, chiefly by the 6th and 7th Casualty Clearing Stations. It contains 304 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 12 German war graves. We have transcribed the War Diary for these weeks - see below.
Now living at No.3, Mason Avenue, York Township, Canada, Stephen's father paid for an additional grave inscription on his son's headstone that is drawn from Psalm 100:
"ENTER INTO HIS GATES
AND INTO HIS COURTS
Medal Records shows that Stephen Rogers was posthumously awarded the British War and Victory Medals:-
British War Medal
Click on image for larger version
- Stephen (senior) served in the Railway Construction Battalion and survived to return to his family responsibilities in Canada. He had already worked on the railways before the War broke out.
- Jesse (brother of Stephen, junior) (Reg No: 1024055) enlisted and served with his brother at the same time but he survived and was able to return to Canada.
It is not certain to which casualty report Stephen Rogers' injuries belong (casualty references marked in red, below). We only know his injury was sustained at the Lens Front (see map above).
Casualty Clearing Stations (CCS) were where casualties were either patched-up enough to return to duty or, in most cases, to enable them to be evacuated to a Base Hospital. The CCS was not a place for a long-term stay.
No.7, Casualty Clearing Station sat about 10/12 kilometres behind the Front where Stephen would have been passed through Aid Posts and/or Field Ambulances. CCS No.7 was located just south of Nœux-les-Mines, where he was buried. The small town of Braquement no longer exists, having once been largely a mining community (Corons), it has been absorbed by the expansion of Nœux-les-Mines in every direction.
This might suggest that Stephen was wounded on 2nd September (or not much earlier). Nevertheless, to set the scene, we have transcribed the active engagements following a period of training and preparation in mid-August as follows:
In the Line: 15th August: A.M. Relief completed. Two Companies, A. and B. relieved by 11 p.m. no word from other two companies or fighting patrols until 3.45 a.m. Then word came in that everything was O.K. Everything in good shape before 4 a.m. A few casualties in “A” Company, so Major Nicholson of 54th, (relieved by “A” Company), reports.
Battalion H.Q. moved to forward H.Q. at 3.30 a.m. Battalion B.O. reported there at 4.15 a.m. that all men were properly equipped. At 4.25 barrage opened for Northern Show. Sounded very poor from Advanced Battalion H.Q., scarcely any shelling around here at all.
Wires very bad. Keep going out at intervals. Corporal Hall, Private Hall and Lt. Scammell very busy mending lines.
At 8.25 a.m. – Zero Hour – barrage opened. Barrage seemed very weak – no smoke barrage on CRASSIER as was presumed. At 8.50 a.m. message from Major BULL saying “All had gotten off well”. Enemy retaliation practically nil near advanced Battalion H.Q. Heavy bombardment up the line.
About 6.00 a.m. a message was received from Brigade saying that Northern Operation was great success. All objectives taken and very slight casualties. Officer prisoner states that LENS was being evacuated. This was at once relayed on to the men going over. Also message stated that Brigade operation Order No. 71 would be carried out in all details.
At 4.00 a.m. message from 54th Battalion that part of No.2 outpost and the whole of No.3 post were missing. They do not think they knew anything about the operation the following day, but think it is just possible they did. No.2 post was found by our scouts on the night of the 16th and relieved. They had not moved their position or anything. They were afraid to move. No.3 post returned to our lines on the night of the 17th. They had been afraid to move before this. They had had no water or rations for three days so had returned from their post for this reason
At about 9 a.m. Major POPHAM phones in that Lt. Wilson’s party had only advanced a short distance and had returned. They state the machine gun fire was too intense, and they had suffered some casualties, and been forced to retire. At 9.15 a.m. Major Popham reported Lieut. Bethune and Lieut. Reid’s parties had retired to our own lines. Lieut. Bethune’s party were surprised by enemy party which had occupied ARRAS Road Crater during the night. His leading patrol No.7 was surprised and made prisoners by the Germans.
At 9.30 a.m. reported Lieut. Morris; party all back in our own lines and Lieut Morris, M.C., killed – a fine officer of great courage.
At 9.45 a.m. reported Lieut. Munro missing, and his party all back in our own lines. So that by 9.45 a.m. all our parties had been forced back in our own lines. Lieut. Munro still missing, but it is hoped he is a prisoner.
At this time Brigade reported the 87th Battalion had captured ACCONITE trench, and their outposts were passing forward to the final objective.
At 11.45 a.m. The O.C. ordered Major Bull to capture and occupy Mill Hill Crater and Lovats Lane Crater, and Major Popham to capture and occupy the Arras Road Crater.
At 10.15 a.m. the enemy counter-attacked and drove the 87th Battalion back to their own lines. Orders were immediately given to man and defend our original line.
At 11.45 a.m. Orders were issued to Majors Bull and Popham to capture and hold the craters by stealth if possible, if not to advance under their own rifle grenades and Lewis gun barrage.
At 12.20 p.m. Message from Captain Lindsay stating that Mill hill Road Crater was still being held by fighting patrol, No.13 under Corporal Cattell, and that a Vickers machine gun had been captured there by that patrol. He has no reports from the other “A” Company patrols.
From zero hour onward front line area was shelled very heavily, especially around B Company Headquarters, about 12 noon, causing two wounded.
At 10.15 C.O. sent for Brigade Machine Gun Company officer to fire on ALPACA and GREEN CRASSIER where a lot of movement was seen. Artillery also was ordered to be turned on these targets and a lot of heavy counter battery work was put in to try and release our front line from his bombardment. This was partially successful but enemy bombardment is still very heavy.
Cpl Cattell, “A” Company reported to Advanced Battalion H.Q. at 1.30 p.m. He was in charge of the party which went into Mill Hill Crater.
At 12.30 p.m. Lieut. Creswicke, A-O.O “D” Company went up to look over the line with his C.S.M.
At 3.30 p.m. reports from Major Bull that he was making preparations to take Mill Hill Crater and Lovat’s Lane Crater. “A” Company report that they were forced to evacuate Mill Hill Crater, owing to all the garrison but two being casualties. They brought in all their wounded but were forced to leave captured Vickers Machine Gun in Crater.
Message from Brigade stating that four platoons 102nd Battalion were coming up on the left of the 87 Battalion to co-operate with the 4th Brigade in squeezing out enemy salient, Amulet, Colza, and Alool. 87th Battalion will attempt to retake and consolidate Aconite trench. 3.50 p.m. Message from Major BULL, reporting progress of plans. Stokes gun has arrived but man is not able to run it. Am sending Corporal Watkins (Scouts) to operate it.
4.05 p.m. Message from Brigade, all orders received up to now are cancelled. C.O. goes to a conference at 87th Battalion H.Q. Company fighting patrols were ordered to return to their company in the cellars in RIAUMONT. They rejoined their company about 7.15 p.m.
At 5.00 p.m. C.O. returned from Conference. Orders had not been changed. C.O. obtained permission from Brigade to call off operations for the night. We were only to hold original outpost line.
5.15 p.m. Message came in from Lt. Reid saying he had attempted an attack on ARRAS Road Crater but had only proceeded fifty yards when he was forced to retire by a barrage of Whiz-bangs and machine gun fire. He said he was all in. major Popham also complained of being all in.
Before 7.00 p.m. we had reports from Major Bull that Lt. Brunton and a party had made three unsuccessful attempts to capture Lovats Lane Crater. Each time they were stopped and forced to retire by M.G. Fire and snipers from snipers from the houses, and Whizz-bangs barrage.
Also before 7.00 p.m. messages from Major Bull stated that Lt. Bradfield and a party had made two unsuccessful attempts to take Mill Hill Crater. They had attempted to advance under their own barrage of rifle grenades supported by Lewis gun fire. They had both times been stopped and forced to retire in the same manner as Lieut. Brunton’s party.
At 5.45 p.m. relief order was published. “C” Company distributed in depth to occupy frontage from left boundary to Lovats Lane inclusive.
“B” Company to relieve “B” and be distributed in depth on frontage Lovats Lane to the right boundary D. Company to leave in their Lewis guns with B. Company.
A. Company to move back to cellars in RIAUMONT, Co. H.Q. at M.30.a.75.35.
B. Company to move back to D. Company’s quarters in RIAUMONT, Co. H.Q. at M.30.a.10.50.
These orders were sent to A., B. and C. Companies by runners. Lieut. Creswicks A-O.C D. Company and Lt. Stewart D. Company were called to advanced Battalion H.Q. and personally received their instructions there from the C.O. Lieut. Sheppard, D. Company at 7.30 p.m. went forward to reconnoitre the front D. Company was taking over.
The four Lewis guns and crew at Brigade School were ordered up the line owing to 7 Lewis gunners being put out of action. They came up with the rations at 3.30 a.m. 2 going to D. Co., 1 to C. Co., and 1 to A. Co.
Brigade Battlefield Clearing Company worked all afternoon and up to 9 p.m. clearing wounded to Dressing Station. Captain Steele, son of Major-General Sam Steele had a supervising eye over them.
At 10 p.m. a message came in that we must clear out of the cellars at M.30.c.80.95 and M.30.c.65.95 before 11 p.m. without fail.
This was the RAP and the cellar immediately in front of it.
Scout Corporal Moffatt and two scouts were immediately sent out. Located new R.A.B. at M.29.d.30.20 in old gun pits near Battalion H.Q. Move was accomplished by 11 p.m.
Artillery moved into these positions the same night.
At 11 p.m. message came in from Brigade that contact aeroplane had seen our men in trench in N.20.c. from 10.99 to 10.70 and that the Hun had entirely abandoned ACONITE trench. We were ordered to push forward strong patrols to discover the situation and follow the Hun in his retirement. Scout Corporal Moffatt and two extra Scouts, Privates Borland and Greer were sent up to Major Bull with instructions to send out two patrols to discover the situation. This was done and it was found that the Hun was not retiring and was occupying the trench in N.20.c. where our men were supposed to be. Scouts returned at 3.30 a.m. 16th.
16th August: 12 Mid-night. Operation Order No.73 received from Brigade 102nd Battalion relieving the 87th Battalion on our left. We were again ordered to establish small posts at Lovat’s Lane Crater, N.19.d.70.53 – 95.32 Lens Arras Road Crater – N.25.b.91.99 with other small posts in close support.
The order was sent forward. C. Company to establish the two left posts and D. Company the right post. At 8.30 a.m. message from C. Company saying that Lt. Bradfield has established post at Lovat’s Land Crater, and small post immediately in rear in close support. Lieut. Creswicke complaining, etc.
11 a.m. C.O. came to advanced Battalion H.Q. and then went up the line. Lieut Creswicks asked to be relieved of command of “D” Company. At 3.30 this was done and Lieut. J.F. Stewart put temporarily in command of “D” Company. Captain Gray came up the line reporting at Advanced H.Q. at 9.05 p.m. and assumed command of “D” Company.
At 7 p.m. Sergt. McArthur, Corporal McCullough, Corporal Moffatt, Corporal Watkins, and Private Jacques reported to Advanced Battalion H.Q. A raid was ordered on the Arras Road crater and the house immediately to its left, with a party of 16 men (6 scouts under Corporal Moffatt and Private Jacques and ten men from “D” Company) under Lieut. Tilley, “D” Company. The other scouts reported to “C” Company to help them in the relief of their outposts. Orders were sent up to Lt. Stewart “D” Company and he reported at 11.30 that all arrangements had been completed.
17th August: At 1 a.m. L-Cpl. Harrington, “A” Company in charge of No. 14 platoon returned to our lines wounded. He reported that he had been hit about 200 yards out, and the last he had seen of his party they were still advancing. They had sustained several casualties in his party up to this time.
The last he had seen of Lieut. Munro, he was still advancing.
At 3.30 a.m. Sergt. McArthur with two scouts reported in Advanced Battalion H.Q. They had been with S Company. They reported just having found one 54th Battalion post and relieving it at 11 p.m. tonight. They also located and had the “A” Company post relieved which was unable to be found last night.
At 11 a.m. report from Capt. Fray stating that the raiding party had returned.
They were unable to reach ARRAS Road Crate owing to it being heavily manned and protected by M.G.s from immediate rear and left. They, however, investigated two houses and found nothing.
They stated out at 11.30 p.m. and returned to our lines about 2 a.m. After reaching our lines the following casualties were sustained by shell fire. Private Jacques, Scouts, killed Corporal Moffatt, Scouts, seriously wounded, and Private F.Greer, Scouts slightly wounded.
Wires in better shape tonight. We have had connection both back and forward practically all night principally 4.1’s extremely heavy, especially on the right, 12 men being killed in Moulin Trench on the right company sector. This trench practically knocked out.
10 a.m. to 12 noon barrage again came down, again very heavy on the right. Post in ALMANAC trench last night shoved forward to M.81.c.1.1. Advanced about 100 yards at this point.
18 August: Night of 17/18th. 1 officer and 4 O.R. of 47th Battalion came up the line and stayed overnight without corresponding companies in order to learn the Sector. Very good idea. N.C.O.s out most of the night learning outpost positions. Facilitated relief.
Operation order from Brigade at 1 p.m. 18th. That we would be relieved by 47th Battalion Signal, Scout and Details officer came up in daylight making us very angry. Major L.E. Mills, Acting C.O. arrived at Battalion H.Q. at 6 p.m. Companies commenced to arrive at 9.30 p.m. They had all passed Battalion Headquarters at 11 p.m. Two rear companies relieved and commenced to move out at 11.30 p.m. Two rear companies relieved and commenced to move out at 11.30 p.m. Hun commenced a strafe in front sector, thus delaying the relief. Right Company “D” relieved at 12.05 a.m. Straffe mostly on left company Sector. They were not relieved until 11 a.m. The Divisional train brought 19 wagons up to the Lens Junction and all the men were given a ride back to Vancouver Camp, Chateau-de-la-Haie. One of our men was left in each outpost for fourteen hours after the relief with the 47th Battalion men in order to accustom them to the situation.
Our men were still arriving in camp at 9 a.m. 19th. They slept most of the day. A few had baths in the afternoon.
19th to 24th August: Vancouver Camp.
25th August: In the Line: Operation order No. 61. Two officers per company and all specialist officers up the line during day. O.C. and 2nd-in-Command went also. Platoons all away by 8.30 p.m. All passed Advanced Battalion Headquarters by 11.30 a.m. 47th relief completed at 12.15 a.m. 26th. A and C Companies 44th relief complete, B and D Companies at 1.35 a.m. – 26th.
Very quiet night. A little shelling on ARRAS ROAD CRATER. One direct hit about 3 a.m. caused 6 wounded casualties to “B” Company and 2 wounded to 44th Battalion. Very bad weather – heavy rain and wind.
26th August: Aeroplane work impossible. Occasional shelling by enemy.
Report that Lieut Munro had escaped from enemy to our lines, but turned out to be officer of similar name belonging to the 87th Battalion.
27th August: Raining all day. Mud everywhere. Much disappointment at early departure of summer rumoured that it has gone to the Stockholm Peace Conference but rumour not confirmed.
Heavy enemy shelling of ALMANAC trench, causing us quite a few casualties.
28th August: Showery with bright but windy intervals.
Everything unusually quiet. Enemy less than 200 yards away, but allows us to come and go unmolested, wonder why – suggested that he deliberately permits this to keep abreast of our plans for attack and strengthens the sector where he sees most movement. Excellent idea on his part.
29th August: Fine morning but rained doubly hard in afternoon, presumably to make up for neglect to do so in morning.
30th August: Still raining. Battalion expects to be relieved in the Front Line tonight, but relief deferred for a few days.
Fairly heavy shelling by enemy today – 6 O.R. killed and 12 O.R. wounded.
Lieut. Sainsbury and Battalion Scouts did a valuable reconnaissance work, and posts were afterward established at N.20.b.2.2 – N.25.c.35.20, N.20.c.25.20 – N.20.c.25.85, N.20.a.2.1 – N.20.a.12.25 and N.20.a.22.40.
Gas was discharged by us last night with good results.
31st August: Showery day. Date of relief not yet known. Very busy at Transport Lines erecting huts for stores and barns for horses and mules and generally establishing winter quarters.
Preparations being made to extend the scope of mens canteen. These intentions are very popular, as they supply many little comforts the men would not otherwise obtain.
Desultory shelling and both sides, but lack of observation keeps activity down.
New area Defence Scheme issued by O.C.
1st September: In the Line: Fine and sunny, but very windy.
Operations ordered last night were cancelled owing to the enemy forestalling us and concentrating his troops in the area we had intended to raid by stealth. Fortunately we were able to withdraw our advance posts without suffering any casualties. Artillery fired on enemy and caused casualties. Everyone disgusted at giving ground to the Bosche, even temporarily. No doubt we shall get even with the enemy before many days.
Battalion relieved from front line by 54th Battalion. Operation Order No. 64. Relief completed at 12.30 p.m., in bright moonlight which gave the ruined buildings a weird appearance.
Someone has said the war was to end this date, but he had evidently omitted to inform the enemy as the war is still very much on.
2nd September: Lieven: Quite a nice fine day. Battalion in Brigade Reserve, LIEVEN.
Captain THAIN, Works Officer, and 280 O.R. on working party in front line trench. Heavily shelled about 12 midnight. 3 killed and 10 wounded – beastly affair.
Some unfair criticism of our last tour in line, and O.C. went on the warpath, and soon cleared up matters. Artillery officers and N.C.O.s of the 5th Canadian Division visited the area, so it looks as though the whole Division may be coming over soon. Plenty of fighting left for even a few more Divisions.
Artillery on both sides very active today owing to good aeroplane observation. We are quartered in the cellars of what were once very fine houses, but the guns of both sides have badly battered them. Such is war! What a game for civilized beings!! Information received that officers and men in limited numbers will be granted leave to PARIS and other places in France; announcement very popular.
3rd September: Glorious weather.
Battalion still in Brigade Reserve. Just received word that the Brigade will be relieved in the forward area by a Brigade of the First Division, and we go back for a time to ZOUAVE VALLEY, at the foot of VIMY RIDGE. Not sorry for this as the Battalion has had a rather trying time this last month, and has suffered heavy casualties. A German aeroplane flew over our quarters today for quite fifteen minutes at a height of about 150 yards only. Great commotion with anti-aircraft guns and machine guns, but no sign of our aeroplane. The German flew off when he had gratified his curiosity and no doubt we shall hear from his guns pretty soon. All talk of the Bosche evacuating LENS without a big fight now dropped and indications point to a stubborn struggle.”