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«LONDON PRINTED BY AUTHORITY OF THE MINISTRY, OVERSEAS MILITARY FORCES OF CANADA. REPORT of the MINISTRY Overseas Military Forces of Canada LONDON ...»

-- [ Page 45 ] --

D.A.Q.M.G.:-Major B. W. Browne, M.C., 16th Canadian Battalion.

Administration Services and Departments.

CHIEF SIGNAL OFFICER :-Lt.-Col. E. Forde, D.S.O., Canadian Engineers.

D.A.D. ROADS:-Temp. 2nd Lt. (Temp. Major) L. D.

Lewis, Royal Engineers.

330 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

LABOUR COMMANDANT:—Major (T/Col.) A. W. R. Wilby, 7th Canadian Battalion.

ASSISTANT TO LABOUR COMMANDANT:—Capt. F. Y.

Harcourt, 1st Canadian Infantry Workers' Battalion.

D.D.M.S.:—Col. A. E. Snell, C.M.G., D.S.O., Canadian Army Medical Corps.

D.A.D.M.S.:—Major R. M. Gorssline, Canadian Army Medical Corps.

A.D.O.S.:—Lt.-Col. H. R. V. Count de Bury and de Bocarme, Canadian Corps Ordnance.

D.A.D.O.S.:—Capt. W. G. Hale.

A.D.V.S.:—Lt.-Col. A. B. Cutcliffe, D.S.O., Canadian Army Veterinary Corps.

D.A.D.R.P.S.:—Capt. F. A. Warner, Canadian Postal Corps.

FIELD CASHIER:—Lt.-Col. S. R. Heakes, O.B.E., Canadian Army Pay Corps.

Special Appointments.

A.P.M.:—Major F. Gilman, D.S.O., Royal Canadian Dragoons.

CAMP COMMANDANT:—Lt.-Col. A. McMillan, D.S.O., Royal Canadian Dragoons.

ASSISTANT CAMP COMMANDANT:—Capt. A. L. Brick, 10th Canadian Battalion.

STAFF CAPTAIN:—Temp. Capt. S. A. Vernon, M.C., 47th Canadian Battalion.

Headquarters, Artillery of the Corps.

COMMANDER:—Maj.-Gen. E. W. B. Morrison, C.B., C.M.G.

D.S.O., Canadian Artillery.

G.S.O. 2:—Major D. A. White, D.S.O., Royal Field Artillery.

STAFF CAPTAIN:—Capt. H. D. Fripp, Canadian Field Artillery.

S.O. FOR RECONNAISSANCE:—Lt. W. M. Taylor, Canadian Field Artillery.

LT.-COL. R.A. ATTACHED FOR COUNTER BATTERY

WORK:—Major H. D. G. Crerar.

Headquarters, Corps Heavy Artillery.

COMMANDER:—Lt.-Col. (Temp. Brig.-Gen.) A. G. L.

McNaughton, D.S.O., Canadian Artillery.

BRIGADE MAJOR:—Major N. W. Aitken, D.S.O., M.C., Canadian Artillery.

STAFF CAPTAIN:—Capt. L. P. Napier.

Corps Administration. 331

–  –  –

Headquarters, Canadian Corps.

1st Canadian Division. 2nd Canadian Division.

3rd Canadian Division. 4th Canadian Division.

5th Canadian Divisional Artillery.

8th Army Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery.

Various Attached Units. Canadian Light Horse.

Royal North West Mounted Police.

Canadian Corps Heavy Artillery.

Canadian Cyclist Battalion.

1st and 2nd Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigades.

Canadian Corps Signal Company. Canadian Works Group.

Canadian Corps M.T. Column.

Canadian Corps Siege Park.

Nos. 81, 82 and 83 (Canadian) Ordnance Mobile Workshops.

5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th Canadian Area Employment Companies.

332 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

–  –  –

Owing to the shortage of available reinforcements at the beginning of 1918, the War Office was confronted with the alternative of either reducing the number of Imperial Divisions in the field or of cutting down the number of men in each Division. They decided on the latter course and accomplished it by reducing their Infantry Brigades from four to three Battalions. With the personnel of the Battalion thus set free, they brought up the remaining three Battalions in each Brigade to full strength.

A suggestion for a similar re-organisation of the Canadian Divisions was communicated to the Minister by a letter dated Janaury 11, 1918, from the War Office to Canadian Headquarters, intimating that the Army Council (Imperial) would be glad to know whether the Canadian Military Authorities were prepared to expand the Canadian Corps in accordance with the Imperial scheme, and indicating that they would welcome the adoption of such an arrangement.

The Canadian Corps consisted of four Divisions, each containing three Brigades of four Battalions. The adoption of the Imperial system would have involved the creation of two Corps out of the existing Corps.

This would have been accomplished by cutting down the strength of each of the four Divisions to nine Battalions instead of twelve, thus releasing twelve Battalions, which, with the addition of six new Battalions from the 5th Division, at that time in England, would have given the material for six Divisions on the Imperial scale of nine Battalions each.

Furthermore, it would have involved the creation of six new Brigade Staffs, two new Divisional Staffs, one additional Corps Staff, and possibly something in the nature of an Army Staff to direct the two Corps, all of which would have entailed increased expense, and a heavy strain on the available supply of trained Staff Officers.

The proposals of the Army Council received the most careful consideration, but after a consultation with the Corps Commander and with the Chief of the General Staff, the Minister came to the conclusion that nothing would be gained by adopting the proposed re-organisation. It was felt that the conditions necessitating the change in Imperial formations 334 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

did not exist with regard to the Canadian Forces. In their case the supply of reinforcements was assured, and the effect of the proposed change would not have been, as in the case of the Imperial Forces, merely to maintain the status quo, but to increase the number of Canadian formations in the field, and the number of troops required to maintain them at full strength.





The Canadian Corps in the existing formation had proved itself a smooth-running machine of tremendous striking power, and any radical alteration in its constitution might have resulted in a reduction of such power without any compensating advantages.

At a time of national crisis, such as that in the spring of 1918, it would not have been permissible to allow sentiment to stand in the way of any change likely to further the common cause. Every soldier would have been prepared to sacrifice the pride which he had in his particular Brigade and in the Corps as a whole. At the same time it should be a matter of deep gratification to all Canadians that, for practical reasons, it was possible to avert what, from a sentimental point of view, would have. almost amounted to a national calamity, namely, the breaking up of a Corps, which as such, had gained a unique position among the armies on the Western Front.

Canadian Cavalry Brigade.

RECORD OF THE MOUNTED CORPS WHICH FOUGHT

WITH DISTINCTION AND SUCCESS.

The history of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade, as such, dates from December, 1914. At the time of its formation it was placed under the command of Major-General, then BrigadierGeneral, J. E. B. Seely, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., M.P. (formerly Secretary of State for War in Mr.

Asquith's Government) and now Under-Secretary of State for Air in the Imperial administration. General Seely remained in command until May 20, 1918, when he was succeeded by the present Commander, BrigadierGeneral R. W. Paterson, D.S.O., of the Fort Garry Horse.

The Brigade originally consisted of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, Lord Strathcona's Horse, King Edward's Horse (an Imperial unit), and the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. In January, 1916, the King Edward's Horse left the Canadian Brigade to return to the Imperial Cavalry, and its place was taken by the Fort Garry Horse, which, since December, 1914, had been known as the Canadian Reserve Cavalry Regiment.

The units of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade are now the Royal Canadian Dragoons, Lord Strathcona's Horse, Fort Garry Horse, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, Machine Gun Squadron, Canadian Cavalry Field Ambulance and the Mobile Veterinary Section. All units of the Brigade formed part of the 1st Canadian Contingent, which arrived in England in October, 1914. The Fort Garry Horse was then a dismounted unit known as the 6th Battalion, Fort Garrys, and was for a short time a Battalion in the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade on Salisbury Plain. The other Cavalry Regiments of the Cavalry Brigade were attached as independent units to the First Canadian Division.

The Brigade left for France as a Dismounted Force at the latter end of April, 1915, a few days after the commencement of the Second Battle of Ypres, in which the First Canadian Division played such a distinguished part. The Brigade arrived in France on May 4, and almost immediately afterwards played a prominent part in the fighting at Festubert, later serving in the trenches as Infantry in the Givenchy Sector.

336 Overseas Military Forces of-Canada.

In July, 1915, the Brigade left the Givenchy and Festubert sectors and went into the line at Messines, where it continued to serve as a dismounted force until the end of January, 1916. On the 16th of the following month the Brigade was reconstituted as a Cavalry Force and attached to the First Indian Cavalry Division, later to the Second Indian Cavalry Division, then to the 3rd British Division, and afterwards to the Fifth Cavalry Division (formerly Second Indian), replacing the famous Meerut Brigade which was sent East. These transfers took place between February and June, 1916, and in those months a thorough course of training was undergone to prepare the newly reconstructed Brigade for the expected operations on the Somme.

On the Somme.—The first movement of the Brigade as a mounted force in the Battle Zone was in the latter part of June, 1916, when it was detailed as the advance guard of the Fifth Cavalry Division in the operations south of Albert, on the Somme, which began in real earnest, so far as all arms of the service were concerned, on July 1. Since that first appearance as mounted troops the Canadian Cavalry Brigade has earned for itself an honourable record as a fighting force in the various actions in which it has taken part in different parts of France and Flanders. It played a conspicuous part in the German retirement in the Somme area, which took place in the early part of 1917, and in the fighting at Saulcourt-Guyancourt. It was here that Lieutenant F. M. W.

Harvey, of Lord Strathcona's Horse, won the Victoria Cross for rushing a machine gun post and capturing it, with the result that many of the lives under his command were saved.

In the attack of the Third British Army on Cambrai, the Brigade at the opening stages of the attack on November 20, 1917, and later, on the morning of November 30, when the German counter-attack was delivered with tremendous force, rendered gallant aid to the infantry. The dashing and intrepid feat of Major H. Strachan, of the Fort Garry Horse, in the neighbourhood of Masnieres (Cambrai), earned for him the Victoria Cross.

In March, 1918, when the Germans launched an Offensive which necessitated the withdrawal of the Allied line towards Amiens, the work done by the Brigade stands out as one of the most brilliant episodes of the war. General Rawlinson, commanding the Fourth British Army, told the Brigade that it had contributed very largely in preventing what, at times, had the Cavalry Brigade. 337 aspect of developing into a very serious disaster, and that their work at Moreuil and Rifle Woods had undoubtedly saved Amiens.

At Amiens.—At the battle of Amiens on August 8 the Brigade went into action and cleared the way to a large extent for the Canadian Infantry to advance. Their entry,into the attack on a front of over three miles, formed up in waves that measured about a thousand yards in depth, afforded one of the most picturesque and thrilling sights of the war. The dash and courage displayed by the three regiments and the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery is acknowledged by the chief military authorities who directed the battle to have been a big factor in the unqualified success of that famous battle.

On July 14, 1916, the Brigade was detailed to act as an advance guard and went into action in the neighbourhood of Bazentin-le-Grand, one squadron of the Fort Garry Horse reaching Caterpillar Valley, and another squadron of the same regiment, with the Secunderabad Brigade, went through the Infantry line and, reached High Wood, an advanced position that was held by them until the next morning, when the Infantry came up and consolidated the occupation.

During the latter part of July, the whole of August, and the first two weeks in September of 1916 the Brigade was once more employed as Infantry in the line and in the construction of roads, railway lines, trenches, etc., in order to lend every possible support to the operations being carried out by the Infantry.

It was about September 15 this year that an entirely new weapon in modern warfare appeared on the battlefield-the Tank. The Tanks made their debut in the vicinity of Delleville Wood, and the Brigade was ordered to send patrols forward to reconnoitre and obtain information of the ground and situation ahead that would be useful to the Tanks., The main body of the Brigade was not called on to take part in the fighting, but, after the first advance by the Infantry, turned to and built a tramway track through a trench system to enable supplies to be taken forward.

During the autumn and winter of 1916 the horses of the Brigade were left in the back areas with a few men to look after them, and the remainder of the personnel of the Brigade went into the line again in the Somme sector and did duty in the trenches with various units and formations.

Word was received on March 10, 1917, that the Germans were in full retreat in the neighbourhood of Peronne. The (642) Z 338 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

Canadian Cavalry Brigade moved after them on March 23. Peronne was reached on the following day in bitterly cold weather and the whole Brigade went into action on a 12-mile front.

There were important engagements at Ytres, Bois de Vallulart, Etricourt Station, Equancourt, Longavesnes, Lieramont, Guyancourt, and Saulcourt, during March 24, 25, 26, 27, and 28, in which all regiments and the R.C.H.A. Brigade took part with such dash and determination that the enemy was driven back to the Hindenburg line.

This achievement was accomplished in the face of n: any difficulties, such as atrocious weather and the lack of water for men and horses ; for the enemy in his retreat had fouled practically all wells and ponds in the neighbourhood. The casualties in the Brigade during the fighting were not excessive, while heavy losses were inflicted on the enemy.



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