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.
General Sir Arthur Currie stood on the Bonn bridge on a rainy December day 27 years ago and reviewed units of the Canadian Army crossing the Rhine to establish a bridgehead as part of the army of occupation. This picture shows a brigade of Canadian Field Artillery moving across the Bonn bridge, while General Currie takes the salute. (Official Canadian War Photo).
With the news of the Allies crossing the Rhine, veterans of the First World War have been recalling a great day more than 26 years ago--the anniversary of their triumphal march across the river's bridges to occupy Germany's homeland. Capt. A.D. Crease who was attached to the Canadian 2nd Division at the time looked at the above picture and recounted how he hoisted the flag shown at the right as another Victorian, General Sir Arthur Currie reviewed Canadian Units. Leaving Victoria with the 88th Battalion in the spring of 1916 Capt. Crease transferred overseas to the 29th Battalion, known to veterans at "Tobin's Tigers."
BISHOP WELLS' FLAG
Today he told how the flag was the property of Bishop George A. Wells, Chaplain of the fleet and at that time an army padre with the honorary rank of major. He noted that Bishop Wells is also a member of the party shown with Gen. Currie. Bishop Wells was a visitor to Victoria last week. "What you don't see in the picture," said Capt. Crease, "i the German steamer that was passing under the bridge at the time flying the Kaiser's standard. Or the little German boy who stood with a group of civilians crying 'Long Live the Kaiser'."
"One of the great days of history," begins the description of the Canadians crossing the Bonn bridge, Dec. 13, 1918 at Capt. Crease's diary which he brought home with him in April, 1919. "The British armies crossed the Rhine," he continues "with the Canadian 2nd Division at Bonn and the American Rainbow Division at Coblenz. I had the honour of hoisting the Union Jack on the bridge at Bonn on arrival of our Corps commander at 9.20 a.m. The flag belonged to Maj. Rev. George Wells. March finished at 15.15 hours without a break. Prince Arthur of Connaught was present, attended by Master of Sinclair.
"There was no hitch and only two arrests of civilians. General Sir Henry Burstall, 2nd Division commander made a good impression. Troops looked wonderfully smart and well disciplined after their long march of 30 days to the Rhine. They marched well and had a fine bearing. All fighting troops had bayonets fixed. The effect on the Germans was as intended. There was roughness shown to civilians but they were compelled to show respect to colour and officers. It seems the town had suffered a good deal from retreating German and Austrian troops."
BC Archives, MS-2879, Box 83, File 1 CREASE FAMILY "Diary of the War", diary and scrapbook of Arthur Douglas Crease, 1915-1919.