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Arthur Douglas Crease Letters, Diaries and Scrapbooks

Letters from Arthur Douglas Crease of Victoria to his brother Lindley Crease and his mother Sarah Crease; instructions for the offensive of July 26, 1917; a regimental notebook, diaries and scrapbook. Learn more.

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BC Archives MS-0055BC Archives MS-2879

 

 

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7 to July 15 the Corps was in the G.H.Q. Reserve. The time was spent in vig-orous training and reorganization. General Currie, who realized that the many calls on the infantry by the engineers for working parties was a source of weakness, strengthened his engineers and also strengthened the machine-gun organization and formed them into battalios. When the call came for the Can-adians once again to take an active...

...should follow and not precede the in-fantry. The attack went splendidly. On reaching the Canal du Nord, the Canadian Corps Commander attempt-ed and carried put successfully one of the most difficult operations in the war. The Corps crossed the canal on a 2,600 yards front and at once expand-ed to 15,000 yards. This is an intri-cate manoeuvre at the best of times, and requires skillful leadership and high discipline, two qualifications the Canadians possesed in the highest degree. These operations resulted in the fall of Cambrai, which was ocuppied without opposition, owing to the fact that General Currie had outflanked the enemy by capturing the high ground to the north and east of the town. The operations were carried out on the following dates: August 26, opening of the attack. September 2, major operations against the Drocourt-Queant line September 27, capture of the Bourlon Wood and Canal du Nord. October 8, capture of Cambrai. Between August 28 and October 12 the Corps advanced 23 miles, fighting every foot of the ground over-coming the most bitter resistance. They engaged and defeated decisively 31 German divisions, reinforced by numerous special machine-gun com-panies. The prisoners captured to-talled 18,585, while 371 big guns, 1,923 machine guns and many trench mortars fell into their hands. Over 116 square miles of French soil were recovered, and 54 towns and villages liberated. From October 12 to November 11 the enemy was retiring and rapidly through a large industrial area. Be-fore Valenciennes was reached over 70,000 civilians had been liberated by the Corps, and by October 19 40 towns and villages, including the town of Denain, had been freed. The pursuit was arduous, as the Corps Commander gave the enemy no rest. The capture of Valenciennes was car-ried out in conjunction with the 13th British Corps. The fighting was very fierce at times, the enemy taking ad-vantage of the numerous small houses for machine gun positions. In the actual operations round the town over 800 of the enemy were killed, and 1,800 prisoners taken, the Cana-dian casualties being only 80 killed and 300 wounded. On November 10 the Canadians were on the southwest outskirts of Mons, and by occupying the high ground to the south of the town fell in-to their hands like a ripe cherry. It is a striking testimony to Gen-eral Currie's tactics that he found it unnecessary to bombard Cambrai, Denain and Mons. The following figures show the success which met the efforts of the Canadian Corps during the last 100 days--August 8 to November 11: Prisoners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31,537 Guns (heavy and light) captured . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 623 Machine guns captured . . . . . . . . 2,842 Trench mortars (heavy and light) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 356 Territory released (square miles) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 500 Cities, towns and villages lib-erated, including Cambrai, Denain Valenciennes and Mons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228 The Corps met no less than 47 German divisions, almost one-fourth of the German strength on the Western front. Already a large number of the Canadians who took part in there operations are at home and in civilian life. The 1st Division, which saved the line at the Second Battie of Ypres in April, 1915, is no more. The 3rd Division, including the famous "Prin-cess Pat's," has also been demobil-ized, while a large part of the 2nd Division has left for Canada.

BC Archives, MS-2879 Box 83 File 1 CREASE FAMLIY "Diary of the war", diary and scrapbook of Arthur Douglas Crease, 1919 -1919.

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