The remainder of the winter (1916-17) passed without incident, the battalion doing regular trench tours in the neighbourhood of Souchez and the north end of Vimy Ridge. This winter cost 17 officers and 87 other ranks killed and wounded. (interesting to note that your odds of being a casualty were much greater if you were an officer although less than 4% of the battalion were officers and 96% of the battalion were enlisted men).
|Vimy Ridge Memorial April 9, 2007|
In March, orders were received that several corps, including the Canadians, were to open the spring offensive with an attack upon the Vimy Ridge and the lines to the south of it.. Careful training and study of the ground were carried out during the following weeks and when at dawn April 9th (1917), the battalion went over the top, under Lt.-Col. Rogers, not a detail had been overlooked and everything was carried out according to plan. The battalion was on the extreme right of the corps and had the longest distance to go, but though its flank was quite up in the air, it took and passed its final objectives on time the village of Farbus and Farbus Wood and captured many prisoners and four guns (the first to be taken by the Canadians), on the eastern slope of the Ridge.The cost was only 6 officers and 179 men in casualties. During the next few days, the gains made were extended into the flat country east of the Ridge and here, on April 28th, the Second Brigade took the entrenched village of Arleux. The 3rd Battalion was in support but was not used in the successful attack, though it suffered from shell-fire.
|1st Division, Vimy Ridge, April 9, 1917|
|A/Major W.E.Curry, KIA April 9,1917|
|Sergeant Henry Garlick #63370, MM|
In June the battalion went again into the line, which had now become stabilized in the flat ground east of Vimy Ridge, taking over part of the Mericourt Sector. Regular trench tours were carried out without special incident till the attack of the 1st and 2nd Divisions on Hill 70 and the ground to the south of it, in the middle of August. The attack of the 1st Division on Hill 70 was carried out by the 2nd and 3rd Brigades, the 1st being in support. Although not engaged in the actual attack, the 3rd Battalion did valuable work and suffered 117 casualties in holding the line before and after the battle. Following this brilliant and completely successful action the 1st division moved into the back area for rest and training, the battalion going into billets in Monchy-Breton.
Captain Henry Sloane Cooper, MC & Bar, OBE, MPP - 3rd Battalion
Battle of Vimy Ridge - April 9, 1917
"When we started over at 7:30 in the morning they still had a 5.9 barrage on our old front line and it looked as though our battalion would have to go through it. It stopped just as we got there. That was counter battery work that did that, that stopped it and how! Well then from then on there was relatively little shelling. We just outgunned him so much that he didn't have a chance of coming back" CBC Flanders Fields
Pierre Berton - VIMY
Battle of Vimy Ridge - April 9, 1917
"The techniques that would be used to capture Vimy Ridge were honed and polished in the careful planning that preceded the larger raids, as early as December (1916), five officers and ninety men of the 3rd Battalion from Toronto had trained for a week using a replica of the enemy trench system located by aerial photography. These practice trenches were actually dug and the men trained to leap into them, first with dummy grenades and later with live ones. Scouts who had been over the ground guided the attacking parties to within fifteen yards of the enemy wire. The attackers flung bathmats over this obstacle and were in the enemy trenches in just eight minutes. In that time they killed or wounded one hundred Germans, cleared one hundred and thirty yards of trench, and suffered thirty-five casualties. These were not seasoned veterans. Two thirds of he party were new men who had arrived just in time to be trained for the job". VIMY, Pierre Berton, McClelland & Stewart, Toronto, 1986