Canadian 1st Division relieves French 11th Division
17 April 1915
At 10.00am on 17th April the 1st Canadian Division completed its relief of the French 11th Division and Lieutenant-General E A H Alderson took over command of the sector from General Ferry. As the Canadians moved into the sector, the outgoing French soldiers told them that it was generally a very quiet part of the line and they had had very few casualties over the past few months.
The 1st Canadian Division had been withdrawn from the British First Army in the Neuve Chapelle sector in French Flanders from 6th April 1915. It was being moved into the British V. Corps area of the British Second Army in Belgian Flanders. This was so that the V. Corps would be able to cover the extended frontage which had been allotted to it from April from north of the Ypres-Menin Road to the Ypres-Poelcappelle road.
The War Diary of the 10th Canadian Battalion stated for the afternoon of 14th April 1915:
“BN [Battalion] paraded and loaded into 40 motor busses [sic] and was transported to VLAMERTINGHE, then marched to WIELTJE where guides were supplied by the FRENCH OFFICIALS and approximately 1500 yards of trench taken over all cleared rations and ammunition taken in at 4.30am” (1)
The relief by the Canadian Division had begun on the night of 14th April with the following Brigades from east to west:
- 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade under the command of Brigadier General Currie. The two battalions taking over the front line were 10th Canadian Battalion and 7th British Columbian Battalion.
- 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade under the command of Brigadier-General Turner, V.C., D.S.O. The two battalions taking over the front line were 16th Canadian Scottish and 14th Battalion Royal Montreal Regiment, which formed the junction with the French.
(1) 10th Canadian Battalion War Diary, April 1915, WO 95/3770, National Archives, Kew, Surrey
British Military Operations: France and Belgium 1915, pp. 158-161