Lone Survivor Lay In Crater

Lone Survivor Lay In Crater

Wednesday, June 9, 1915

Trenches, Givenchy

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Work on front line which had been begun on 7th was completed and front of sector occupied by the 14th was now a continuous fire trench.  Bde. H.Q. had suspicions that point near H.1. was occupied by enemy party with machine gun and asked for reconnaissance and report.  This was carried out by patrol from No. 1 Co. and position reported unoccupied.  No sign of enemy.  Sounds of mining heard and reported to the H.Q.  Some weeks afterwards enemy exploded mine in this sector.” [1]

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY:  “On the afternoon of June 9th the Royal Montreal Regiment handed over the front line to the 13th Battalion and moved to reserve trenches near the Canal. Large work parties were supplied to the engineers that night.”    [2]

Soldier threw bombs back and escaped at nightfallLondon, June 7, 7:05 pm. The exploit of a British soldier who lay in the crater made by a shell and hurled back at the Germans bombs which they tossed into the excavation to kill him is related in a despatch from the front, under date of June 4, from the official observer attached to the British Army as given out in London tonight.

‘After having got into a German trench and finding he was the only survivor of his party, he managed to crawl deep in a shell crater nearby,’ the observer says. ‘The Germans knew where he was, but could not shoot him and were prevented by our rifle fire from approaching. They therefore contented themselves with lobbing hand grenades into the crater.

THREW GRENADES BACK: ‘All day long, this British soldier remained in the hole within a few yards of the enemy, picking up and hurling back bombs with which he was pelted. At night he managed to crawl safely back to our lines.’

Another incident described by the official observer has to do with an officer and ten men, who, when the Germans stormed and captured British trenches near Ypres, refused to retire. Surrounded by the Germans on all sides, they stuck to their trench in the hope of regaining the lost ground by a counter-attack. At night-fall they withdrew, after holding the Germans at bay throughout the day. [4]

[1]  War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, June 9, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089757.jpg
[2] R.C. Featherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 14th Battalion C.E.F. 1914-1925, Montreal, The Gazette Printing Co., Ltd., 1927, pg. 61.
[3]  “Huns Baffled by Soldier in Crater,” Toronto World, Toronto, Ontario, June 8, 1915, pg. 1, col. 1.
[4]   Ibid


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