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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.

*All transcriptions are provided by volunteers, and the accuracy of the transcriptions is not guaranteed. Please be sure to verify the information by viewing the image record, or visiting the BC Archives in person. 

BC Archives MS-0055BC Archives MS-2879



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First Armistice Day Ushered in With Fighting- Suggestion of Peace Received with Ridicule by Men at Front- The Canadians Right at Spear Head

On Sunday, November 10, 1918, Battalion Headquarters of the P.P.L.I., more familiarly known as the Princess Pats, was situate at Cuesmes, a village hardly a mile southwest of Mons. Early that afternoon an officer came in from Canadian Corps Headquarters at Valenciennes with the news that an armistice had been signed to go into effect the following day. There was a roar of laughter at the bad joke. That very day this battle-scarred unit had lost heavily. The Boche machine gunners showed no sign of weakening, stout Wurtemburgers for the most part. Back from the hills east of Mons, and from Bois-le-Haut, Boche artillery kept up all that Sunday a heavy bombardment. Passing through Jemappes, a couple of miles away, the same officer had seen women and children killed in the public square. It was the tragedy of those closing days that the Belgian folk of the liberated areas were quite careless of danger. Forgotten was the swift panorama of August, 1914; meaningless was the cry, "Aux caves; aux caves;" and women and children gave their lives those days because they could not recognize swift-winged death in bursting shrapnel. Further forward still, on the very outskirt of Mons, "A" Company had established an "O-Pip." From this observation post and across the canal lay in full view the ancient city of Mons, crowned by its silver-tongued belfry, and the naked eye could read the time on the clock tower. "Four o'clock! I had no idea it was as late as that!" But it was Boche time, one hour ahead of Allied time. The clock was put back next day.

Actually in Mons

Yet a little further on, and "A" Company's outpost that Sunday afternoon was actually in Mons, for to reach the platoon it was necessary to pass the familiar Octroi post that marks the city limits, as we say in Canada. Fronting the outpost was a little square, and not more than a hundred yards or so across it was hid a Boche machine-gun post. Early that Sunday morning he had made a raid and some of his dead in the familiar fleld-grey lay in the little square amid a tangle of broken trolley poles and wire. During the same afternoon the Royal Canadian Regiment, on the left of the P.P.L.I., captured Ghlin, northwest of Mons, and thence pushed an outpost into the city. How did the Canadian Corps come to find itself in Mons on Armistice Day? After the capture of Valenciennes on Nov. 1 by the 3rd and 4th Canadian Divisions- scene of a very brilliant exploit by the 10th Brigade- the pursuit was pushed hard, the enemy stoutly contesting every foot of ground. He had flooded much of the terrain, and his defence, otherwise unorganized, was assisted by numerous small rivers and by the fosses or great slag heaps of this mining country. And so, our men sometimes waist deep in water, he was driven back from France, the Canadians being first of the Allied troops to cross into Belgium.

Antecedent Events

During the night of November 6-7 the 2nd Canadian Division relieved the 4th Canadian Division, the latter being withdrawn to rest just west of Valenciennes. At this time the 1st Canadian Division was in billets east of Douai, and so swift was the denouement that neither of these divisions again came into the line. Thenceforth the pursuit was carried on by the Canadian Corps with the 2nd Division on the right, south of the Valenciennes-Mons road, and the 3rd Division on the left, operating along the road and as far north as the Oonde canal. On the flank was the Corps Cavalry reinforced by the Fifth Lancers, whose pennons after four years were once again to flutter in the Grand Place of Mons.

BC Archives, MS- 2879 Box 83 File 1 / CREASE FAMILY/ "Diary of the War", diary and scrapbook of Arthur Douglas Crease, 1915-1919.

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