14th Canadian Battalion moves to Mouse Trap Farm
22 April 1915: 18.00
The 14th Canadian Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel F S Meighen, was in St. Jean when the German attack was launched. It was in reserve for the 3rd Canadian Brigade with three of its four companies, namely the 1st, 3rd and 4th Companies. (The 2nd Company of 14th Battalion was presently forming the garrison at St. Julien under the 13th Battalion commander Lieutenant-Colonel Loomis.) The 14th Battalion had been 'stood to arms' on hearing news of the German attack on the Allied line. By about 6pm the 1st, 3rd and 4th Companies of 14th Battalion began to arrive in the G.H.Q. Line north of the Wielte-St. Julien road and north of 3rd Brigade headquarters at Mouse Trap Farm.
Half a battalion of the French 2nd bis Zouaves (about 500 men), who had been in reserve positions in support of the 1st Tirailleurs battalion in the line, also arrived in these trenches, extending to the left of the Canadians near Hampshire Farm.
By now, some 45 minutes after the German infantry had begun its attack, some German troops of the 51. Reserve Division had pushed far into Allied territory through gaps in the French line east of Langemarck. These Germans were about 4 kilometres behind the French front line and had taken up a position only a few hundred metres west of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade headquarters in Mouse Trap Farm.
As No. 1 Company of the 14th Canadian Battalion approached the area of Mouse Trap Farm it sent out a patrol to the north of Hampshire Farm under Colour Sergeant-Major Price. The Canadian patrol encountered a German patrol here and both suffered casualties.
2nd Company, 14th Canadian Battalion
At 6.08pm the commander of 3rd Brigade, Brigadier-General R E W Turner, VC, CB, DSO, ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Loomis, Commandant of St. Julien, to send the garrison company of the 14th Battalion (this being the 2nd Company) to support the French at Keerselaere.
Lieutenant-Colonel Loomis sent confirmation back to 3rd Brigade HQ two hours later at 8.00pm. He said that he had sent this company under Major Hanson and also about 40 men under Captain Morrissey to support and try to hold the Canadian left flank at Keerselaere. There had been no further news from the company. At 8pm Lieutenant-Colonel Loomis reported:
“Have lost touch with Capt. Morrissey aaa Understand Major Hanson has been wounded and his coy. [company] obliged to fall back. Not confirmed.” (1)
(1) Official History of The Canadian Forces in the Great War 1914-1919, Volume I, Chronology, Appendices and Maps, Appendix no. 363, p. 241