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Sketch History 1917

The following is a very basic sketch outline of history of the 10th Battalion which will be embellished in greater detail on other pages of this website.

1 January Major Eric MacDonald's Distinguished Service Order was gazetted, the first of three he would be awarded during the war.
18 January Inspection of Lieutenant Colonel Ormond.
20 January The Battalion leaves Divion for Fosse 10, a group of houses on the Arras-Bethune road, where it remained in 2nd Brigade reserve.
24 January Return to front line trenches after an absence from the line since early December 1916, relieving the 7th Battalion opposite Angres.
30 January Relieved by 7th Battalion, moved to Brigade support at Bouilly-Grenay.
5 February Relieved 7th Battalion in front line trenches.
11 February Return to billets at Fosse 10.
14 February Inspection by Field Marshal Sir Douglas Hair, Commander-in-Chief, British Expeditionary Force at Hersin.
17 February Relieved the 7th Battalion in front line trenches near Angres.
23 February Relieved by 7th Battalion, moved to Bouilly-Greany and Brigade support.
28 February Return to front line.
1 March Took part in simulated attack by releasing smoke along front line behind barrage; provoked violent counter-barrage.
3 March Relieved by 8th Battalion, East Kents of the British Army. The Canadian Corps consolidated its front line to a four-mile front along the base of the Vimy Ridge and departed the Lens sector until later in the summer. Moved to Fosse 10.
4 March Moved to Houdain.
8 March Moved to Ecoivres.
10 March Moved to 2nd Brigade support positions known as "the Labyrinthe", a system of tunnels opposite the Vimy Ridge.
14 March Move into front line trenches and support trenches held by 8th Battalion.
20 March Relieved by 8th Battalion, moved to Ecoivres.
24 March Return to front line trenches.
29 March Relief by 2nd Battalion, move to Ecoivres.
30 March Move to training ground at Estrée Cauchie for assault training for the upcoming attack on Vimy Ridge.
1 April Bath parade
2-5 April Assault training and rehearsals.
6 April Return to front line.
8 April Trench raid to determine if barbed wire on the 10th Battalion's assault route on Vimy Ridge had been cut. Despite heavy casualties to the raiding force, valuable information was gained, and a heavy concentration of artillery was unleashed on the uncut German barbed wire that was discovered, reducing the obstacle during the next day's assault.
9 April In the wake of a 983-gun barrage that had been firing for seven days (the "Week of Suffering" as the Germans referred to it), the Canadian Corps launched a four-division assault on Vimy Ridge. The 10th Battalion suffered heavy casualties in its part of the 1st Division's assault, mainly in the first 15 minutes of its action, and the creeping barrage and section-based infantry attacks perfected after the Battle of the Somme in late 1916 allowed the objectives later in the day to be taken relatively easy. In all, 101 men were killed, 252 wounded and 21 went missing on 9 April, one of the bloodiest battles of the war for the 10th Battalion. At the end of the day, the Battalion moved back to its original start line after being relieved by the 8th Battalion.
11 April Move forward to Red Line on Vimy Ridge.
13 April Move to Blue Line to relieve 3rd Battalion.
14 April Support 8th Battalion in advance past Willerval; two companies move into Farbus Wood.
15 April Retire to "the Labyrinthe."
18 April March to billets at Mont Saint-Eloi west of Vimy Ridge.
26 April Move to Farbus Wood in preparation for six division operation on the River Scarpe to ease pressure on the battered French armies on the verge of mutiny. Relieves 2nd Battalion after dark.
27 April Move to assembly positions near Arleux Loop.
28 April Battalion assault on Arleux-en-Gohelle. The attack is successful and no strong counter-attack force is permitted to deploy.
29-30 April Relief by 13th Battalion. Move to Labyrinthe, then to billets at Mont Saint-Eloi
1 May Single long-range shell hits billets at 6:00 a.m., killing 15 and injuring 38. Entire regimental band and entire scout section save one is left dead or wounded.
3 May Move to Estrée Cauchie.
5 May Move to Maisnil-les-Ruitz.
9 May Visit by Brigadier-General Loomis.
11 May Inspection by Corps commander, General Byng.
13 May Church service; Battalion joined by Major-General Currie and General Sir Henry Horne, General Officer Commanding the British 1st Army.
1 June Return to Mont Saint-Eloi.
2 June Move to Brigade support at Neuvuille Saint-Vaast, at foot of Vimy Ridge.
9 June Move to Mont Saint-Eloi, to billets at Winnipeg Huts.
15 June Inspection by Lieutenent Colonel Ormond.
16 June Return to Vimy Ridge, relieving 14th Battalion.
18 June Move to Brigade reserve along railway line east of ridge.
22 June First return to front line positions since Arleux two months previous, relieved 2nd and 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles in trenches between Fresnoy-en-Gohelle and Méricourt.
26 June Relieved by 15th Battalion, moved to Brigade support near Thélus.
30 June Move to Neuville Saint-Vaast.
1 July Dominion Day celebration, the first of the war for the Canadian Corps.
4 July Move to divisional reserve at Mont Saint-Eloi and Ottawa Huts.
11 July Inspection by King George V as battalion marched past on Lens-Arras road.
13 July Canadian Corps departs Vimy sector for new front, shifting north of River Souchez to focus on operations against Lens. 10th Battalion moves to Cauchin Légal.
14 July Move into Brigade support near Les Brébis.
15-16 July Into front line, relieving elements of 2nd and 14th Battalions, Durham Light Infantry and 1st Battalion, The King's (Shropshire Light Infantry) of the British Army.
21 July Relieved by 7th Battalion and moved to Les Brébis.
22-23 July Moved to new billets at Fosse 7 and Barlin as Divisional reserve.
24 July Assault rehearsals.
29 July Return to Brigade support positions at Les Brébis.
30 July Final address by new divisional commander, Major-General Archibald Macdonell.
4 August Return to trenches east of Loos, relieving 5th Battalion.
7 August Relieved, marches back to Les Brébis and into tents at Fosse 2.
9 August Move to Divisional reserve at Hersin.
13 August Relieved 4th Battalion in front line.
15 August Assault by 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions on Hill 70. The 10th Battalion is reduced to a strength of 17 officers and 316 other ranks after the first day of fighting. Hill 70 is captured on the first day.
16 August Fighting continues on Hill 70; 10th Battalion makes renewed assault on the Chalk Quarry, then holds out against counter-attacks. Private Harry Brown is killed delivering a message and is later awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. The Battalion captures 26 machine guns and 225 German soldiers. At Hill 70, the 10th Battalion received more decorations for this single battle than any other single Canadian unit for any other battle in any other conflict, with 60 Military Medals being awarded (also a record), three awards of the Distinguished Service Order, seven awards of the Military Cross, and nine of the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
19 August After a day spent at Barlin, 10th Battalion moves to Brunay.
21 August Inspection by General Macdonell at Caucourt.
27 August Visit by General Sir Douglas Haig.
3 September Return to Barlin.
6 September Relieves the 52nd Battalion at Noulette Huts in Brigade reserve.
13 September Moved to Brigade support at Liévin, near Lens.
17 September Relief of 5th Battalion in front line.
20 September Relieved by 8th Battalion, moved to Noulette Huts in Brigade reserve.
25 September Relieved 5th Battalion in brigade support at Liévin.
3 October Relieve 7th Battalion in front lines for last time in this sector.
6-7 October Relieved by 4th Battalion.
12 October Move to Houdain.
18 October Execution of Sergeant William Alexander for desertion.
19 October March out of Houdain.

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