10th Canadian Battalion moves forward from the divisional reserve
22 April 1915: 17.45
At the time of the German attack the 10th Canadian Battalion was one of the two divisional reserve battalions. The 16th (Canadian Scottish) Battalion was the other. The 10th Battalion was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel R L Boyle. It was located near the canal basin in the north of Ypres.
At 5.45pm the 10th Canadian Battalion received instructions from 2nd Brigade headquarters in Wieltje to report at Bombarded Cross Roads at 8pm on the Wieltje-Gravenstafel road. On its way it was to pass through Wieltje at 7.30pm as a working party.
The War Diary of the 10th Canadian Battalion wrote at 5.20pm:
“An order was received by the O.C. [Officer Commanding] from the BDE MAJ [Brigade Major] 2nd CN. INF. BDE. [2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade] to parade the BN. [Battalion] at 6.00pm and to report at WIELTJE at 7.30pm for work in the trenches. Orders were at once issued for the BN. [Battalion] to parade in marching order less packs at 6.00pm.” (1)
The War Diary continued for 6.00pm. The battalion had to make its way to St. Jean through the fields and gardens because of heavy German artillery fire onto the St.Jean-Wieltje road. They saw French troops retiring from the French sector in dissaray:
“BN. [Battalion] could not fallin [sic: fall in] on the ST. JEAN-YPRES road on account of the terrific shelling at the corner I.2.d.2.7. [trench map reference: this was on the road from Ypres to St. Jean] so was led into position by several ways cutting through the fields and gardens. Proceeding at once to ST. JEAN the road was blocked by masses of FRENCH troops proceeding towards YPRES in great disorder, there were also masses crossing the fields in a SOUTH WESTERLY direction, many having thrown away anything that could impede their progress. We had difficulty in proceeding along the road owing to this congestion.” (2)
(1) War Diary of 10th Canadian Battalion, April 1915: ref. WO 95/3770
(2) War Diary of 10th Canadian Battalion, April 1915: ref. WO 95/3770