After The Battle Of Vimy Ridge 10th April 1917 To 30th April 1917
Including Events Leading To The Mortal Wounding Of Percy Henry Forsey
3rd Batt. Battlefield at Vimy Ridge 9th-30th April 1917
taken direct form the 3rd Canadian Infantry Batt. War Diary April 1917
Info taken direct form the 3rd Canadian Infantry Batt. War Diary April 1917
April 10th 1917
Commentary again from 3rd Batt. War
Message received from Brigade "B.M.33" and "G.554"
timed at 04.45 p.m. April 9th, ordering us to put 2 companies on Eastern Edge of
The 4th Gordons were to recommence their attack at 05.00 a.m. but it is
very quiet and there is no sign of them.
"C" and "D" Companies instructed to shove out 6
sentry groups of 5 men each to Eastern edge of Farbus Wood., the orders referred
to in Paragraph timed 04.45 a.m. being impracticable as the wood can be better
held from the trench running through the centre of the wood on the slope of the
hill, and also the enemy would have inflicted a great many casualties on 2
companies moving across this ground in broad daylight.
Spoke to Major Reid, no sign of attacking troops on our right, Enemy
shelling Farbus Wood very heavily.
Received orders to push out patrols to Willerval, organised parties of
scouts, but to me it seems very impracticable as I have reason to believe the
enemy are in large numbers in the railway cutting and about half
way between the wood and the cutting.
Major Ried phoned and asked that stretcher party be sent to his company
as he had a number of his own men and also some R.C.D., who were waiting to be
Captain McCormick reports his patrols active throughout the night but
says that there re still a number of Germans in Farbus Wood, hiding in dugouts.
Lieut. Patterson reported at battalion Headquarters he is taking out a
patrol and Sergeant Green is taking out another to endeavour to gain contact
with the enemy.
The Brigade Major called a Battalion Headquarters and says the Brigade
position is an excellent one but the whole operation is imperilled by the
Gordons not coming up on our flank.
Lieut. Patterson reported back from the patrol and his information
definitely fixes the German line at the Railway.
I called Colonel Rae up and we decided it was not possible to push any
further ahead as his patrols had also run into considerable resistance from the
D.Cotton, 1st Canadian Trench Mortar Battery reported.
Lieut. A Glassford reported to Battalion Headquarters he has cleared all
the wounded out of the Battalion area.
Word was received in the morning that the 4th Gordons had established a
post at B. 14. A. 9.3., so I sent Lieut. Patterson out to investigate, but he
reports that the enemy occupy this point.
Battery Commander, 117th battery called at battalion Headquarters and
major W.B.Crowther reports enemy digging in on his front in vicinity of
railway from B.M.772 south. Heavy barrage put on this line for 10 minutes.
Brigade Major informed us that we would be relieved tonight by 2nd
Canadian battalion and move back to Main Resistance Line and to the Blue
Objective. All units immediately informed as the men are very much tuckered out.
Ration pary under Lieut. Garrett arrived.
Major Reid reports that enemy are concentrating in Bailleul and moving up
Phoned Brigade Major giving him above information, he informed me that
4th Gordons will recommence their attack very shortly..
The 4th Gordons and the 7th Black Watch commenced to attack enemy's line.
Result not clear.
Enemy shelling vicinity of Commandants House very heavily.
April 11th 1917
O.C. 2nd Battalion arrived with his headquarters.
Brief complete reported.
All units in position in Brigade support area. "A" and
"B" Companies remained in the main resistance line, the only difference
being that "A" company took over 250 yards more trench on
account of brigade extending its front to Heroes Wood. "C" and
"D" companies moved back to Blue objective with Battalion Headquarters
at Loen Weg at Munchen Graben.
Colonel Rae called at our Headquarters and I went up with him to the Main
Line of Resistance to absolutely determine the boundary between our two
battalions, it was fixed at B.7.d.11/2.6.
Captain A.B.McCormick reported missing, he was last seen reconnoitring
over right flank about 07.00 a.m. April
10th. He was accompanied by no one, and it is possible he may have lost his
direction and walked into enemy trenches, this was very easy on account of our
right flank being in the air.
11.07 a.m. Our own artillery shooting short, shells dropping near “C” and “D” Companies, about 2000 yards from our front line.
02.50 p.m. Sergeant Green of Scouts reports that the Highlanders are at last advancing on our right and that they expect to be established in the brown objective shortly.
04.05 p.m. Very heavy artillery fire on our right.
04.20 p.m. Officers of 2nd Brigade called at Battalion Headquarters they expect to come in tomorrow night.
09.45 p.m. Lieut. Blackey is reported wounded still on duty.
12 midnight Night passed quietly.
April 12th 1917
06.00 a.m. Officers of 2nd Brigade forward on reconnaissance work.
12.45 p.m. The Brigadier called and had lunch with us, informing us that everyone is pleased at our achievements.
05.05 p.m. First platoon of 10th Battalion who are relieving us passed Battalion Headquarters.
05.40 p.m. 10th Battalion headquarters arrived.
08.50 p.m. Relief Complete.
10.55 p.m. All companies reported in position in Red Objective.
April 13th 1917
Divisional Support. In Swischen Stellung
Everyone had a good sleep. The Commanding Officer and Adjutant visited companies in the afternoon. The Brigade Major payed a visit to our Headquarters. Word received that the 2nd Brigade have advanced, captured Willervall and are digging in 80yards East of it. Lieut woods inspected Lewis Guns and reports then all in good shape. Major H.S.Cooper left for England on duty.
April 14th 1917
Divisional Reserve. In Old British Front Line.
Relieved in Swischen Stellung by 14th Canadian Battalion, moving back to the old British Front Line, arriving there at 10.15 a.m. Working party of 300 men and 6 officers supplied to work on roads, les Tilleuls. All men of Composite Company No.5 Company and Stretcher bearer party rejoined their respective Companies except a draft of 61 men which arrived on the 10th of April. General Currie called at Headquarters and expressed great pleasure at our achievements. Transport moved from Ecoivres to Brunehart farm.
April 15th 1917
Divisional Reserve. In Old British Front Line.
Commanding Officer to conference at Brigade Headquarters Bentata Tunnel. Men's picks brought up from the transport. Lieut Keys and Lieut. Airth reported for duty, being posted to "A" and "D" Companies respectively. Captain H. Hutchison assumed command of "A" Company. Brigade Major called at Battalion Headquarters. Battalion moved to Winnipeg Huts in Bois de Aleiur, 1/2 mile North of Mont St. Eloi, all units reporting in at Winnipeg Huts at 11.30 p.m.
April 16th 1917
Day spent by men in cleaning up and bathing, all the Battalion being bathed at the baths at Ecoivres which are very good. The huts (Winnipeg) are very comfortable, a little crowded but that is rather expected.
Weather very poor, very cold wind.
April 17th 1917
Weather still continued to be wretched, men finished cleaning up and completing equipment. Lieut. C.E. Stevenson appointed assistant Lewis Gun Officer. Commanding Officer and Adjutant attended conference at which forthcoming operation was discussed. Weather, fair.
April 18th 1917
The men given a complete rest, no parades. A very good concert held in Y.M.C.A. tent which was greatly appreciated by all ranks. The Commanding Officer held a Conference of Company and Unit Commanders at which forthcoming operation was explained.
April 19th 1917
Practised the attack on Brigade Training Area in the morning. Lieut. N.Y.Cliff and party of 20 O.R. proceeded to forward area for salvaging purposes. In the afternoon platoon commanders gave their platoons a one hour lecture explaining the forthcoming attack. Commanding Officer had conference of Company Unit Commanders. Lieut. G.V. Dolan reported for duty.
April 20th 1917
Battalion again practicing attack on Brigade Training Area, which is about 1000 yards South East of Mont St. Eloi, returning to camp about 2 p.m. One blanket per man turned into Ordnance. No parade in afternoon which was spent in inspections and turning in of packs.
April 21th 1917
Lieut. K.C. Brooke to 1st Canadian Divisional School as Adjutant. The Battalion moved off to the relief of elements of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade at about noon, resting in a field near 500 crater and having a hot meal. Companies moved off- headquarters, "C" Coy., "B" Coy., "D" Coy., "A" Coy., at 10 minutes interval, guides of the 3rd Brigade being picked up at the Nine Elms, whilst Battle Equipment was picked up at Battalion Dump at A.12.d.5.0 (Map reference is now Willerval 1/20000) Relief complete at 10.45 p.m. Disposition of the Battalion as follows:-
Headquarters Willerval B.3.d.5.4.
"A" Company Railway Track - B.8.d.
"B" Company Willerval - B.3.d.
"C" Company Front Line - B.4.c and B.10.a.
"D" Company Farbus Village -B.6.a.
April 22nd 1917
Right Front Line, Willerval.
Night passed fairly quietly except for intermittent shelling of Battalion Headquarters. Wire on our front seems to be still intact. Commanding officer had conference of Company Commanders at Battalion Headquarters at 3 p.m. Lieut. A.H. O'Sullivan, 41st Siege Battery called at Headquarters and was killed just as he was leaving the door, which is an extremely hot spot. Orders received at 4.40 p.m. to push out posts 500 yards in front of our present line, also to do a great deal of patrolling as enemy is reported to be sending out patrols of considerable strength. Word received that XIII Corps are going to attack Gaurelle at 04.45 a.m. April 23rd and that operations are also to be conducted further North. Rations arrived very late. "B" Company moved into the Front line on the left of "C" Company, relieving a company of the 4th Canadian battalion there. "A" Company were relieved by a company of the 16tg Canadian battalion and moved into Willerval. Disposition of the battalion now as follows:-
Left Front Line- "B" Company with the 4th Canadian battalion on their left.
Right Front line-"C" Company and 1 platoon of "D" Company with the 17th battalion Royal Fusiliers on their right.
Willerval- "A" Company.
Farbus- "D" Company (3 platoons).
Photo from the German side of Vimy Ridge looking towards Farbus Wood and Farbus. Divisional Boundary in Yellow.
Vimy Ridge appears flat as the photo was taken from a barrage balloon.
April 23rd 1917
Right Front Line, Willerval.
2 large patrols of 15 men each and Lewis Gun under Lieuts. E.D. Waldwin and J. Beaumont, clearing enemy off "No Mans" land and examining his wire in front of the Arleux Loop out from midnight to 3.30 a.m. they report enemy wire in very fair shape. By dawn "B" and "C" Companies had pushed out sentry groups, composed of 8 men and a Lewis Gun, to a line approximately through B.4.b. central and B.11.b.0.5. Attack by XIII Corps commenced at 04.45 a.m., enemy laid down a light barrage on our front line, but bombarded Willerval fairly heavily with large shells. casualties for 24 hours ending noon are 6 wounded. Brigadier-general Griesach called at our Headquarters early in the afternoon. major Towers, 4th Canadian Battalion and two 6" battery Commanders called at our headquarters to make arrangements with reference to cutting enemy wire. "D" Company (3 platoons) with 2 platoons of "A" Company attached to it, relieved "C" Company who moved back to Farbus Village, except the platoons of "D" Company which was attached to "C" Company which moved to Willerval under "A" Companies orders.
24th April 1917
Right Front Line, Willerval.
4 posts of 8 men each and 1 Lewes Gun placed along the Battalion front, within 300 yards of enemy wire. Night passed fairly quietly, intermittent shelling of Willerval. Casualty report for 24hrs ending noon today, 1 killed (460609 Private Sinclair, L., “A” Coy.) and 3 o.r. wounded. Officers of 1st and 4th Canadian Battalion up looking over area. Major D.H.C. Mason and the 4 Company Commanders, personally placed cord all along the Battalion frontage, to mark “jumping off” position in coming operation, this was completed at 10 p.m. and was a very good piece of work.
25th April 1917
Right Front Line, Willerval.
2 strong patrols out, consisting of 15 men, each clearing enemy from “No Mans” land and examining enemy wire from 12 midnight till 03.40 a.m. they report wire in fair shape. Lieut J.Beaumont’s party was fired on, suffering casualties to the extent of 3 O.R. Missing and 1 wounded. We were to have been relieved by the 2nd Canadian Battalion tonight but relief was cancelled at noon. Enemy shelled main resistance line very heavily about 5 p.m. Large working parties of the 1st and 2nd Canadian Battalions up digging a continuous trench, 100 yards in rear of the “C” Line, we supply guides to guide them to location of their work.
Map showing locations of Front Lines and No Mans Land 25th April 1917
26th April 1917
Right Front Line, Willerval.
Night passed fairly quietly. Major D.H.C. Mason left early in the morning with an advance party we being relieved tonight by the 7th Canadian Battalion, moving back to the Red Line, now occupied by the 15th Battalion. Casualties 24 hours ending noon today, 2 killed (787303 Pte. Jones, H.J., and 766495 Pte. Smith, A.E.) Orders received at 09.30 p.m. to furnish 2 companies as working parties, immediately, to complete new line which was dug last night. “A” and “C” Companies detailed for this work. Captain H.Hutchison being in charge of the party.
27th April 1917
Divisional Support in Swischen Stellung.
Relief complete at 01.02 a.m. Battalion moved back to Red Line, arriving there at 04.40 a.m. Orders received at 3 p.m. that Battalion would be moving up to positions in Farbus Wood and Railway, in support of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade attack on Arleux tomorrow morning. Parties sent forward to reconnoitre new position at 05.30 p.m. Lieut. D.F. Rogers arrived with 24 hours extra ration at 07.30 p.m., which was duly issued. Battalion commenced to move at 9 p.m., picking up bombs, etc., as they passed Battalion Dump, moving to position as follows:-
“A” Company – Farbus Wood, Left.
“B” Company –Railway Embankment, Left.
“C” Company –Farbus Wood, Right.
“D” Company –Railway Embankment, Right.
Battalion Headquarters –Farbus Wood, Right.
28th April 1917
Battalion reported in at 1.10 a.m., no accommodation for the men. Attack commenced at 04.25 a.m., wonderful view from the top of the ridge. Word received at 7.40 a.m., all objectives captured. The Battalion sent forward as stretcher parties to the assistance of the 2nd Brigade, 3 officers (Lieuts. J.H.Patton, E.H. Minns and A.G.W. Duncan) and 135 men, which greatly assisted them in clearing their wounded, these parties did not all report back till 3.30 p.m. Many enemy prisoners passed through 2 Brigade Headquarters and Field Ambulance, which are only a few yards from our Headquarters. Enemy did not bother our companies at all till about 4 p.m., when between that time and 07.30 p.m., he threw approximately 600 5.9” shells into “B” and “D” Companies at Railway Embankment, causing casualties to the extent of :-
Major C.E. Cooper – Killed
404210 Pte. Steer, T.A. – Killed
Lieut. W.C. Bush and 2 O.R. wounded.
Relieved by the 15th Canadian Battalion and moved back to Divisional reserve at Maison Blanche.
29th April 1917
The Battalion reported all in at 1 a.m. Battalion is billeted in tents, very comfortable. Major C.E. Cooper buried at Ecoivres Cemetery, all Officers (except 1 per company and Adjutant) and “B” Company attending the ceremony. Word received that Lieut. W.C. Bush died at No.30 Casualty Clearing Station, Aubigny, this morning.
30th April 1917
Indents taken in the morning and Battalion had baths in Ecoivers. In the afternoon moving to the relief of the 5th Canadian battalion in Swischen Stellung at 4 p.m.
3rd Canadian Bn.