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.
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.
Every mile of advance through this densely populated mining country saw the liberation of thousands of Belgian civilians -- old men, women and children. hardly was the enemy driven from the east end of a village than the entire population fell upon our men. garlanding them with flowers, frantically greeting their "brave saviors", actually impeding their advance.
Alternative for Canadains
Speed was essential. For if, as was possible, the armistice negotiations broke down, Foch had ordered the Canadian Corps must take and hold the heights east of Mons. The enemy, falling sullenly back, systematically destroyed railways, roads and bridges. It was bitterly cold; rain fell relentlessly; but with victory in sight nothing could daunt our men, and they pushed on so inexporably as to leave far behind them British troops on either flank. Wonderful work was done, too, by the Canadian Engineer Battalions.
It thus came about that on Sunday, November 20, the 2nd Canadian Division, with the 4th Brigade of Ontario troops in line, had pushed on well southeast of Mons, while the 3rd Canadian Division, with the 7th Brigade in line, was in the outskirts of the city itself. The situation is thus explained by the corps commander, Sir Arthur Currie:
"By the morning of Nov. 10 the 52nd Division (8th Corps) had advanced and relieved the part of the 3rd Canadian Division operating north of the left boundary of the Canadian Corps.
"The 3rd Canadian Division's advance on Nov. 10 brought our troops to the southwestern outskirts of Mons, while the 2nd Canadian Division had reached the Mons-Givry Road, outflanking the city from the south, but owning to the large number of civil [illegible]. Mons by way of the railway station was effected before midnight. By 6 pm. on November 11 the stubborn machine-gun resistance had been broken and the town cleared of the enemy.
"The 2nd Canadian Division had, during the night, taken the Bois-le-Haut, a wood crowning a large hill on the southeastern outskirts of Mons, thus securing the right flank of the 3rd Canadian Division. The capture of this high ground forced upon the enemy a further retirement, and our troops, still pressing on, reached and captured St. Symphorien and Fbg. Barthelmy by 8 am.
Hostilities to Cease
"In the meantime, word had been received through the First Army that hostilities would cease at 11 am on November 11, the armistice having been signed in acceptance of our terms.
"To secure a satisfactory line for the defence of Mons our line was further advanced, adn the Bois-d'Havre, Bois-du -Rapois and the town and villages of Havre, Bon Vouloir, La Bruyer, Maisieres, St. Denis and Obourg were captured before hostilities ceased".
BC Archives, MS-2879 Box 83 File 1 / CREASE FAMILY /"diary of the War", Diary and scrapbook of Arthur Douglas Crease, 1915-1919.