Report of Operation: 26 – 28 May 1915

Monday, May 31, 1915

Reserve trenches, Rue de l’Epinette

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day:  “Quiet except for occasional German shells.  Left at midnight for Rest billets at Oblinghem, north of Bethune.”[1]


THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: The Battalion history adds:  “Here, a few days later, commissions were granted to Sergt. John Howe and Private Philippe Chevalier.”   [2]

Report of Operation – May 26, 27 & 28th 1915
“Reference
Illes Violaines, Festubert Sheet

On the afternoon of May 26th the 14th Bn. left billets at Le Hamel and marched to trenches at Festubert. Arrived there about 9 p.m. and occupied lines of trenches from Willow Road to the left for about 300 yards together with the 3 front lines of fire trenches.

Relief was completed about midnight, the 14th Bn. taking over from Seely’s detachment.

On the following day an examination of our front line showed that while we were supposed to be occupying a point K5 in reality this point was still in front of our line and on more or less disputed ground.

It was then decided to reconnoiter and afterwards occupy this position. The reconnoitering party reported favourably and a party with bombers were detailed to attack. When this party advanced, the enemy retired and the position was occupied without any serious opposition.

There then existed a line of trenches extending from K5 north to a point L8.

A reconnoitering party with bombers was then detailed to examine this trench. As the party advanced up the trench the enemy retired and were finally cleared out altogether leaving two wounded behind who were taken as prisoners by us.

A barricade was then built at the end of trench and another barricade about 150 yards nearer K5, during the night, we occupied to first barricade only owing to bad condition of remainder of trench. While this period of occupation was being completed the enemy re-occupied the balance of trench from barricade to L8 and when morning came were still in possession.

A platoon from No. 2 Coy. was detailed to attack the position when, as they approached, the enemy retired to a position on our left front. This move left us in full possession of the whole position.

A double barricade was then built at L8 and the whole position put in a good state of defense.

On the night of the 28th the enemy attacked on our left with bombs but owing to the nature of the barricade the attack was easily repulsed and the attackers disbursed with bombs from our trench together with rifle fire.

Later on the same evening we were relieved by the 13th Battalion.
Companies occupying fire trenches
No. 2 Coy. Capt. A.S. English
No. 3 Coy. “ W. D. Adams
Whole operation under direction of
Lt.-Col. W.W. Burland

After being relieved we retired to reserve trenches and remained there until May 31st.

A. P. Holt
Capt. a. Adjt.
for Lt.-Col.Comdg.
14th Can. Bn.
Rl. Montreal Regt.” [3]

[1]  War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, May 31, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089734.jpg
[2]  R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette Printing Co., Ltd., 1927, pg. 60.
 [3]  Operation-Report May 26, 26 & 28, 1915; War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, May, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa;    http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089740.jpg

 

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