Ypres Salient map highlighting the location of Kitchener's Wood.Canadians to counter-attack at 11.30pm

22 April 1915: 22.47

At 9.50pm Brigadier-General Turner, commanding the 3rd Canadian Brigade at Mouse Trap Farm, had sent a message to the 1st Canadian Division headquarters confirming that he was going to make a counter-attack on Kitchener's Wood with the 10th Battalion and 16th (Canadian Scottish) Battalion. Initially there was concern that the 10th Battalion (under Lieutenant-Colonel R L Boyle) might have to go into the attack on its own. The 16th Battalion (under Lieutenant-Colonel R G E Leckie) did not arrive in the area of Mouse Trap Farm until 9.50pm, just before the message was sent:

“...10th Bn. only has reported aaa ... French have apparently fallen behind G.H.Q. line aaa ... French on our left have asked for help and we are sending what men of theirs have stayed in our line aaa Will counter attack with 10th and 16th Bns. (just arrived) aaa Orders herewith.” (1)

10th and 16th Canadian Battalions ordered to assemble ready for the counter-attack on Kitchener's Wood.

The orders referred to in the above message were for the counter-attack on Kitchener's Wood; they were confirmed in a further message at 10.47pm from Brigadier-General Turner of the 3rd Canadian Brigade to the 10th Battalion, 16th Battalion and 3rd Brigade Canadian Field Artillery. The attack was to clear the wood of Germans and pass through it in a north-westerly direction towards the railway line south-west of Langemarck. The time for the launch of the attack was given as 11.30pm:

10th and 16th Bns. In that order will counter-attack at 11.30p.m. aaa Bns. will assemble in C.23.a [trench map reference for south of the Wieltje-St. Julien road, and to the east of Mouse Trap Farm] north of G.H.Q. line aaa Clear wood C.10.d [trench map reference: the northern end of the wood] aaa Direction N.W. to U.27 [trench map reference: a square south-west of Langemarck, where the railway crosses the river in the north-east corner of this square] aaa Attack on frontage of two companies in close support at 30 yards distance on same frontage aaa Artillery shell C.5.c. [trench map reference: a square 500-1000 yards north-east of Kitchener's Wood where the Haanebeke river was located] and N.W. of that square [this would be further north-west along the course of the Haanebeke river].” (2)

All 8 companies of the 10th Canadian Battalion and the 16th Canadian Battalion were to take part in the attack. The 10th Battalion was to be the leading battalion, with the 16th Battalion in close support. The two leading waves of the attack were to move in a north-westerly direction on a two company frontage from about 450 metres north of Mouse Trap Farm; the remaining 6 companies were to follow on in close support. The Staff Captain of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade, Captain H F MacDonald, was to guide the 10th Battalion into its assembly positions.

Next>> Canadian Battalions counter-attack at Kitchener's Wood


(1) Official History of the Canadian Forces in The Great War 1914-1919, Volume I, Chronology, Appendices and Maps, Appendix no. 383, p. 244

(2) Official History of the Canadian Forces in The Great War 1914-1919, Volume I, Chronology, Appendices and Maps, Appendix no. 388, p. 245