One hundred years ago on 21 August 1917
31st Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, Canadian Expeditionary Force was a sub-unit of the 9th Canadian Field Artillery Brigade in the 3rd Canadian Division. The 9th Brigade war diary records:
Visibility fair in the morning but good in the afternoon. Enemy aeroplanes were exceptionally active during the day, many planes crossing our lines. Two enemy balloons were also observed during the day. A great deal of enemy movement was again observed around the BOIS DE QUATORES area and roads in rear. This was all fired on and several casualties inflicted. Operation Order No. 102 was issued today changing the zone boundary of the batteries to the right and establishing a Group O.P. in the front lines
3rd Canadian Divisional Artillery war diary records:
BRAQUEMONT - Visibility misty at first but good later. Great aerial activity was reported during the afternoon, enemy planes flying low over our lines. Our planes were active and three enemy balloons were up. O.O. 120 was carried out and the 3rd. C.D.A. carried out barrages in accordance, at 4.35 a.m. 21-8-17. Enemy artillery retaliation for barrage was light on our front, but later in the day he bombarded our batteries and rear positions. Ammunition expended A.3297. AX.631. HX.529. BSK.19. Guns in action 30 18-pdrs., 12 4.5" Hows.
5th Canadian Siege Battery, Canadian Artillery, Canadian Expeditionary Force was a sub-unit of 1st Canadian Heavy Artillery Group for administration and under command 2nd Canadian Heavy Artillery Group for Counter-Battery. Their war diary records:
ANGRES - During the month of August the Battery took part in the capture of Hill 70, also the taking of the Green Crasier and all the fighting on the Lens front. During this time the Battery was twice heavily shelled by 8” and on several occasions we were bombarded with Gas Shells.
1st Canadian Heavy Artillery Group war diary records:
Cabaret Rouge – At 4.35 a.m. today 2nd and 4th Canadian Divisions continued the offensives with objectives Aconite trench with successful results.
General Officer Commanding, Royal Artillery, Canadian Corps war diary records:
In the Field - WEATHER: Mainly fair and bright. 60th Bty. (6" Mk. 7) transferred to 26th HAG (Army Reserve) today.
At 4.35 am Canadian Corps attacked the German positions between CITE DU MOULIN (ACONITE Trench) and CITE STE. EMILE (NUN'S ALLEY) on a front of approximately 3000 yds. S.W., W. and N. of LENS. There was strong opposition on the whole front, but the attack was successful at most points. Summary of reports received during the operations as follows.
4.30 am To CBSO Enquiry to CBSO as to hostile shelling. Reports certain amount of crumping on 4th Canadian Division front. 10th Brigade do not want anything special started. Night more or less normal, certain amount of gas in LOOS.
4.50 am From 2nd CDA From 4.27 am Boche had light barrage along our front. At 4.32 am this became heavier, but was only light again at 4.35 am. Three minutes after our barrage opened at 4.35 am, German barrage came down, but was not intense. At 4.47 am very heavy barrage from HILL 65 Northwards, including CITE STE. EMILE, CITE STE. THEODORE and N.7.
5.07 am From 2nd CDA At 5.00 am German barrage still fairly heavy. At 5.04 am German barrage still fairly heavy. At 5.04 am Green Very lights seen from direction of CINNABAR Trench.
5.20 am From 4th CDA Moderately heavy fire before our barrage started. 5.02 am Boche reported to have shortened their fire to ground east of SCHOOL HOUSE. Our barrage reported effective, smoke screen on GREEN CRASSIER excellent. Boche shelling HILL 65, RIAUMONT WOOD, COULOTTE and AVION heavily with 5.9".
5.30 am From CCHA Boche reported to be shelling CINNABAR Trench.
5.47 am 2nd CDA FOO's report that they can see men going up to CINNABAR Trench and back again, apparently our wounded. German flares appear to be going up East of CINNABAR Trench. LO reports identification 55th R.I.R.
6.10 am From 2nd CDA At 5.58 am OP of Right Group reports that wounded passing OP state they had reached our objective. At 5.15 am Boche barrage slackened and at 5.40 am was practically nil. A few prisoners reported coming back.
6.13 am From 4th CDA No definite information. MGs on GREEN CRASSIER appear to be causing some trouble.
6.15 am To CCHA CCHA instructed to keep GREEN CRASSIER well covered and to search top of GREEN CRASSIER. CCHA state that from reports received from LO's 2nd Canadian Division appear to have gained their objectives on the Left and 4th Canadian Division on the Right. One company appear to have been hung up on left of 4th Canadian Division.
6.20 am From CBSO The Boche appears to have been more or less prepared, he had been putting down a fairly heavy barrage before Zero hour, although just before Zero for about 5 minutes he had quietened down. He was very quick in opening and very quick in shortening on to CINNABAR Trench.
6.32 am From 2nd CDA 6.25 am Enemy shelling COTTON Trench and putting smoke shell along whole front. 6.30 am LO reports that left battalion gained all their objectives with very few casualties.
6.45 am From CCHA Left of 45th Canadian Division reported as having had to come back owing to right of 2nd Canadian Division not being up.
7.00 am From CCHA 4th Canadian Division reported to be in their objectives from AMALGAM Trench South.
7.02 am From 2nd CDA Right of 2nd Canadian Division appears to have been hung up. They have asked for barrage on GREEN line N.14.b.35.35. to N.14.c.4.8. previous to another attack. Identifications obtained of 40th, 21st, 168th, 191st and 55th Regiments.
7 .10 am To CCHA CCHA instructed to get into touch with 2nd Canadian Division to assist in attack which they propose to carry out to clear situation on the right.
7.15 am To 4th CDA 4th CDA informed as to situation on 2nd Canadian Division front and asked for situation on 4th Canadian Division front. Apparently right and center battalions gained all their objectives. Left battalion hung up in vicinity of ALOOF Trench.
7.50 am From GS 6.30 am contact plane with 2nd Canadian Division reports flares as follows: N.14.b.4-9, 2-7, 0-6.N.14.a.67-30, 8-0. N.14.c.5-8. 4th CDA and CCHA advised.
8.05 am From 2nd CDA Have established block on COMMOTION Trench. Received SOS on left sector 7.55 am. Infantry reported in GREEN objective all along, bombing trench between the posts they have established. One post at N.14.c.4-8.
8.22 am From I.G. Cdn. Corps. No. 43 Squadron report NEWGATE Trench heavily manned. CCHA, 1st CDA and 2nd CDA informed. 63rd Group dealing with these trenches.
8.30 am From CCHA CCHA report 2nd and 4th Canadian Divisions have joined up.
8.40 am From 2nd CDA Captured officer's batman, states that German attack was contemplated at dawn this morning; our attack took place a few minutes before the time laid down for their attack. 9.15am From 2nd CDA Report received that line we are holding runs as follows: N.14.a.o.2.8.1. - N.18.104.22.168 to 7.3.- N.22.214.171.124. - COMBAT Trench from N.14.a.8.2. to 9.2. - N.14.b.1.5. to 4.0 to 35.50.
9.17 am From 2nd CDA SOS Right Group front received at 9.12 am. Passed to CCHA.
10.25 am To CCHA Enquiry as to situation. GREEN CRASSIER still underfire. LENS being searched. Railway embankment being shelled. Nest of MGs at N.126.96.36.199. reported cleared. CCHA instructed to watch entrance of NUN'S ALLEY & NABOB Trenches into railway cutting especially.
10.45 am To 26th HAG 26 HAG informed as to situation and requested to drop occasional rounds into Eastern portion of LENS.
11.15 am From R.A.I./Army Super howitzers will be put on to cellars of LENS with delay action fuzes. 11.15 am To CCHA CCHA instructed to put on 9.2" howitzer battery to walk down main street of LENS. 11.45 am From 2nd CDA 11.32 am party of Germans seen in NABOB Trench in N.10.o. and engaged.
11.33 am 4th CDA report enemy preparing to attack CINNABAR Trench. 11.38 am enemy reported moving up through N.11.a. & b. Heavy artillery informed.
12.05 pm From 4th CDA C.R.A. states that situation is apparently as under; posts established at N.19.b.8.9. and 5.8. South of these posts apparently Green objective is held. North of these points situation is obscure. Men have been seen in AMALGAM Trench to N.13.d.6.1. and thence Northwards along railway.
12.45 pm From 2nd CDA Report SOS on their Right front. Heavy barrage on CHICORY Trench directed by hostile plane flying low. CCHA informed. 3 batteries of 6" howitzers turned on to N.14.0.
12.47 pm From 4th CDA Corroboration of above report; are cooperating with 2nd CDA.
12.55 pm To CCHACCHA instructed to keep N.14.o. & d. under fire.
1.00 pm Green and White rockets being fired in CINNABAR Trench.
1.20 pm From 2nd CDA Counter attack smashed.
1.40 pm From 2nd CDA 20th Battalion will attack at NUN'S ALLEY and CINNABAR Trenches at 2.30 pm. Heavies will engage railway at N.9.d. & o., 2.30 - 2.45 pm.
1.40 pm From 2nd CDA Scattered parties of Boche about one battalion strong seen on road N.11.b.50.05, taken on by 60-pdrs.
1.48 pm From 1st CDA Our trenches in N2.b. - N.2.d. - N.8.a. being heavily shelled.
2.25 pm From 2nd CDA SOS on 2nd Canadian Division front.
2.35 pm To 1st CDA 1st CDA instructed to thicken barrage on their right when they cover 2nd Canadian Division.
2.37 pm To CCHA Enquiry as to disposition.
2.40 pm From 2nd CDA 3 German planes reported as flying low over NUN'S ALLEY engaging our infantry with MGs. Canadian Corps 'G' informed.
3.15 pm From CCHA Report that counter attack was smashed.
3.17 pm From 2nd CDA Report another SOS had developed at 3.12 pm.
3.30 pm From 2nd CDA Report that at 3.25 pm infantry requested barrage to be lifted to railway cutting in N.9.a. & c. It is believed that we now hold the whole objective to the left.
3.40 pm From 4th CDA Report SOS just North of SOUCHEZ River, apparently mine was blown.
3.40 pm To 1st CDA 1st CDA instructed to thicken barrage batteries on their right to cover 2nd Canadian Division left. 24 - 18-pdrs. detailed for this job.
3.42 pm To CCHA CCHA instructed to swing HAMMERSLEY'S Group to cover up to HIGHGATE Trench.
3.46 pm To I Corps RA Request to be ready to assist on BOIS de DIX-HUIT in event of an attack.
3.50 pm From 4th CDA Report that SOS has died down on 47th Battalion front.
4.00 pm From 2nd CDA Reports received point towards probable counter attack being delivered on the line N.14.b., N.8.d., and N.9.o.
4.05 pm To CCHA CCHA ordered to put concentration on N.9.o. & N.13.1.
4.25 pm From 1st CDA CRA states that he has now arranged for one 18-pdr. to 21 yds. on left front of 2nd Canadian Division. One 18 -pdr. to 30 yds. from Div. boundary line H.32.d.6.8. One 18-pdr. to 45 yds. on remainder of front. He is informing 2nd Canadian Division direct.
4.50 pm From 2nd CDA SOS reported on the whole of the 2nd Canadian Division front. CCHA, 4th Canadian Division & 1st Canadian Div. informed.
4.55 pm From CCHA Report SOS extends from NUN'S ALLEY Southwards.
4.59 pm From 2nd CDA Report SOS as having quietened down. CCHA informed. 1st CDA & 4th CDA informed.
5.30 pm From 2nd CDA Infantry have withdrawn to COMMOTION Trench and old front line opposite Left Group, with posts in NABOB & NUN'S ALLEY Trenches. Left Group asked by infantry left battalion to fire on "A" barrage line in case of SOS. Ammunition dump at D/230th Battery, 46th Division blown up by hostile shelling at 5.15 pm.
5.35 pm From CCHA 63rd HAG confirm above message. Instructed CCHA to inform OC, 63rd HAG to keep in close touch with Divisions.
5.40 pm To 2nd Cdn. Dvn. 2nd Canadian Division requested for details as to situation. Apparently this is uncertain. It is supposed that NUN'S ALLEY & NABOB Trenches are held by us.
6.05 pm From 4th CDA FOO's 4th CDA report enemy in CINNABAR Trench South to CONDUCTOR Trench and in houses N.14.a. This repeated to CCHA and 2nd CDA
7.30 pm From 2nd CDA Our infantry reported to be back in their original front line, in COMMOTION & CHICORY Trenches.
8.15 pm From 2nd CDA 2nd CDA report SOS on N.8.a. & b. also N.13.b. CCHA and 4th CDA confirmed SOS. 2nd CDA say they cannot take over any extra line from 1st CDA (1st CDA notified and present arrangement of zones holds).
8.35 pm From 2nd CDA 2nd CDA report SOS still continues. Left Battalion wires down. MG fire heard. 2nd CDA batteries are keeping up a heavy fire. Heavies have double banked.
8.55 pm 1st CDA Quiet on 1st Canadian Division front. Batteries have ceased firing. SOS continues on 2nd Canadian Division front.
The 15th Field Artillery Regiment RCA perpetuates the following sub units:
31st Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, Canadian Expeditionary Force,
5th Canadian Siege Battery, Canadian Artillery, Canadian Expeditionary Force,
68th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, North Russia Expeditionary Force, was not authorized to be formed until 3 August 1918, and
85th Battery, Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force was not authorized to be formed until 12 July 1918.