One hundred years ago on 30 October 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:
Our attack on the BELLEVUE RIDGE immediately in front of the main PASSCHENDAELE RIDGE took place at 5.50 am. the weather was fair but the smoke obscured the vision to a great extent. Our infantry appeared to get away to a good start. The enemy barrage in retaliation came down promptly a minute and a half after our Zero Hour and consisted mainly of 5.9"s and 4.1"s. Inside of 5 minutes it had become very intense. By 6.30 am the infantry were reported to be making good progress and keeping well up to the barrage, and small parties of the enemy could be seen running to the rear. About 7.00 am it appeared that our infantry had met with very heavy machine gun fire and were being held up. A large m.g. emplacement concealed in FRIESLAND COPSE appeared to be heavily manned with machine guns and our men were obliged to work around the flanks and sustained many casualties in doing so. At 8.00 am the infantry appeared to be going very well except in the centre of the Divisional Front where large pill-boxes were holding up the advance, and the barrage at this point had got ahead of the men. The footing was very heavy and in many cases men had to stop to pull up their comrades out of the mire. By 12 noon it was apparent that the infantry had reached their objectives except in the center of the attack which was still held up by strong pill-boxes heavily manned with machine guns. The situation become much quieter in the afternoon until 4.50 pm when an S.O.S. was sent in and all batteries opened up at once. This, however, was soon broken up by artillery and machine gun fire. Special reports are attached from Brigade Headquarters, Lieut. MacGillivray F.O.O. 33rd Battery, Lieut. A.B. Manning, F.O.O. 36th Battery and Lieut. A. Livingstone, Brigade Liaison Officer.
3rd Canadian Divisional Artillery war diary records:
In accordance with O.O.147 the 3rd. Canadian Division continued their offensive against PASSCHENDAELE. Our barrage opened evenly and was replied to by the enemy in one and a half minutes. The fighting was very hard and the situation was not clear until late in the evening, when it was known that although our exact line had not been entirely gained, great progress had been made by the 3rd and 4th. Canadian Divisions, the troops on our left not being as fortunate. Aircraft were very active on both sides and the artillery were active, the enemy barraging our forward areas persistently all day – Two S.O.S’s were received and fired on.
No. of guns in action – 128 – 18-pdrs. 46 – 4.5” Hows.
Ammunition expended A.26314, AX.8917, AS. 232, BX.5453, BVN.36, BCBR.430.
5th Canadian Siege Battery, Canadian Artillery, Canadian Expeditionary Force was a sub-unit of 1st Canadian Heavy Artillery Group. Their war diary records:
Lieut H. M. Stairs arrived at Unit for duty with Battery.
Fired 45 Rounds by visual observation on Vanity House and Vine Cottage, 50 Rounds were then fired by Map on Vapour (Valour?) Farm and 45 Rounds on Vocation Farm. During the afternoon 287 Rounds were fired on Barrage and 46 on S.O.S.
1st Canadian Heavy Artillery Group war diary records:
?? during the day, 1??? rounds all calibers expended.
General Officer Commanding, Royal Artillery, Canadian Corps war diary records:
Art'y Order #97 and #98 issued. At 05:50 3rd and 4th Cdn. Div'ns continue the attack by Cdn. Corps. All objectives were taken except in barrages during the operation and responded to S.O.S. calls during the day. Enemy parties assembling for counter attacks were effectively dispersed. 15" how. effectively engaged PASSCHENDAELE Railway Station and sidings. Counter-batteries were fully engaged throughout the day in neutralizing and harassing fire. 138 Zone Calls sent down and responded to. 58 hostile batteries were engaged, and 16 new hostile bty. positions were disclosed. Hostile art'y: no unusual features developed following on our attack. Heavy fire directed on our whole area but was erratic and scattered. Hostile counter attacks were preceded by heavy shelling of bty. positions.
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.