One hundred years ago on 4 November 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:
The visibility was again very poor all day. At about 7.30 am three hostile planes flew very low over our battery positions and hovered about for some time, apparently photographing. During the night a great many gas shells were fired by the enemy but as they were scattered over a very large area few casualties were inflicted.
As the batteries are expending a great deal of ammunition and as all this ammunition has to be sent in on pack animals, the road through SPREE FARM and up to the battery positon is terribly congested. It has been planked as far as SPREE FARM but forward of this point the footing is terrible. Pack animals are continually getting down in shell-holes and soft spots and in many cases have to be shot as it is impossible to get them out. Fortunately to date, very few casualties have occurred among the horses of this brigade, other than injuries to their feet.
Operation Order #120 was issued today ordering special bursts of shrapnel fire tomorrow on the enemy defences northeast of MEETCHERLE.
3rd Canadian Divisional Artillery war diary records:
CANAL BANK YPRES - In accordance with O.O.151, the C.R.A. 1st C.D.A. assumed command of Field Artillery covering the 1st Canadian Division front at 11.00 AM. The C.R.A. 3rd C.D.A. continuing to command the RIGHT MAIN GROUP. Visibility fair, and enemy aeroplanes were active, one flying very low over batteries and firing on batteries and traffic on the roads. Enemy artillery active: our artillery fired two Barrages and the usual Harassing Fire.
NO. OF GUNS IN ACTION – 120 18-pdrs. 38 4.5” Howrs
AMMUNITION EXPENDED – A.7580 – AX.3964 – BX .1656 – BCBR. 60.
5th Canadian Siege Battery, Canadian Artillery, Canadian Expeditionary Force was a sub-unit of 1st Canadian Heavy Artillery Group. Their war diary records:
YPRES - At 4.40.a.m. we opened up an Barrage as ordered by Group. The Barrage being continued until 5.24.a.m. 75 Rounds were also fired on Hostile Battery at E 2 c 65.65. At 6 a.m. we fired 12 Rounds barrage in Battery lane. Day was very quiet and we had no special task but during the day fired 55 Rounds in Bursts of fire in Battery Lanes. During the evening we were4 shelled by 8” and Gas. No damage was done although a large number of shells fell very close to the guns.
1st Canadian Heavy Artillery Group war diary records:
YPRES - Period fairly quiet; batteries in group: 66th, 67th, 256th, 274th S.B. R.G.A. and 7th and 9th Canadian Siege Batteries. Shoots carried out daily on selectecd targets and feint barrages fired by all guns usually twice daily at appointed hours. Hostile aircraft very active both day and night. Large squadrons cross our lines in daylight and bomb horse lines and road traffic in and around YPRES. At night both allied and hostile aircraft carry out raids. Objective of hostile aircraft YPRES and POPERINGE; railway junction close to the HQ been bombed several times. On 4th inst. at 06:00 final barrage preceding the attack on the famous Passchendaele Ridge was commenced. Over 3 000 rds. of 6", 8" and 9.2" shells were expended by batteries of this Group in barrage. The ridge was captured. During the rest of the day numerous hostile batteries were neutralised and S.O.S. lines fired on repeatedly to repel counter-attacks. During the night all enemy roads were searched and swept vigorously. On the 8th inst. 352nd and 177th S.B. R.G.A. entered the group. On the 10th inst. hostile art'y shelled our position with shrapnel and H.E.; no material damage being done.
General Officer Commanding, Royal Artillery, Canadian Corps war diary records:
IN THE FIELD - Art'y Order #101 issued. 1st Cdn. Div'l Art'y took over command from 3rd Cdn. Div'l Art'y. on the left sector. Field and heavy art'y carried out harassing fire and concentrations during the day. Medium and heavy hows. shelled buildings and strong points in vicinity of PASSCHENDAELE. Counter-batteries: destructive shoots were attempted, but owing to poor visibility were discontinued. Concentrations on known active hostile btys. Hostile art'y: heavy shelling of our forward bty. positions during night and throughout the day.
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.