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Thursday, November 14, 2013



The 1st Canadian Division then took over a new sector farther north , the 1st Brigade being in Reserve at Vis-en-Artois. On October 10th, the enemy withdrew to the Sensee Canal.The 3rd Battalion took over from the 15th here and co-cooperating with the
3rd Battalion Divisional Patch
engineers, carried out a daring and successful raid. The Engineers bridged the canal with a cork bridge , "B" and "D" Companies crossed, captured several prisoners, 4 machine guns and accounted for many of the enemy. Two days later the enemy again retired, the 3rd Battalion following to the Cambrai-Douai Road. The next morning the 1st and 4th Battalions carried on the chase, getting as far as Pecquencourt, where there was over 1000 civilians.The pursuit continued for three more days, when the 3rd Battalion arrived at the outskirts of St. Amand. Here the 1st Division was relieved by the 3rd Canadian Division, the 3rd Battalion being moved to Montigny, where it remained training and resting until the signing of the armistice on November 11, 10:00 am, on December

3rd Battalion Machine Guns August, 1918
Two days later, on November 13th, as part of the Army of Occupation, the battalion, commanded by Major Mason, commenced the march to the Rhine, a distance of some 250 miles. The route lay through Valenciennes and Mons, the latter only recently being freed by the 2nd Canadian Division. Everywhere flags were displayed and enthusiastic crowds greeted the troops. At Arquennes a civic reception was tendered the battalion. On November 24th and 25th "C" and "D" Companies formed the Infantry of the Advanced Guard. The Meuse was crossed at Andennes on the 28th, and the hilly country of the Ardennes entered on the 30th. At noon on December 4th, the battalion, led by the Corps and Divisional Commanders, entered Germany at Poteau, bayonets fixed, and the band playing the "Maple Leaf Forever." Two days later the battalion furnished "A" and "B" Companies to the Advanced Guard, under Major Mason, which pushing steadily forward, reached the Rhine at Wesseling, 5 miles south of Cologne, at 10:00 am, on December 9th, the first Canadian troops to reach the River.They had covered 85 miles in five and a half days Four days later, on Friday, December 13th the whole Division crossed the Rhine at Cologne, being inspected as they did so, by General Sir Herbert Plumer, Commanding the Army of Occupation. After a few short moves, the battalion settled down in the workman's barracks at the Wahn Dynamite Factory, 10 miles south-east of Cologne, where here Christmas and New Year's Day were very pleasantly spent.  
3rd Battalion Marching Into Germany December 4, 1918

S.S. City of Poona
On January 10th, 1919, the Battalion entrained for Belgium and went into billets at Moxhe, Ciplet and Avin, 10 miles northwest of Huy on the Meuse, where it remained till March the 18th, before entraining for Le Havre. The monotony of this period was relived by a good deal of short leave for trips to points of interest in Belgium, and by a review of some 2500 men of the Division in Liege. Early in March the King's Colour given by His Majesty to the Battalion.was formally presented by the Divisional Commander, Maj.-Gen. Sir Archibald C. McDonnell, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O. On the night of March 22nd-23rd, four years and six weeks after its arrival in France, the Battalion crossed to England and went into hutments at Bramshott, where the demobilization documents of all ranks were made out, and eight day's leave granted during the following three weeks. April 14th saw the Battalion again commanded by Lt.-Col. Rogers, embarked on the S.S. "Olympic" which on the following day sailed for Halifax, reaching that port on the 21st. The Battalion arrived in Toronto with the 4th Battalion in the afternoon of April 23rd, with a strength of 31 officers and 694 warrant officers, N.C.O.'s and men; of the former two were originals officers and six had been in the ranks when the Battalion entered the war. Of the latter 32 were originals. Detrainment took place at North Toronto Station were the previously returned veterans of the Battalions' were drawn up to receive it. Preceded by them, and followed by the 4th Battalion, it marched down Yonge St. and via Queen's Park to the University Stadium, the grand stand of which was crowed with the fiends, and relatives of the members. For the last time the Battalion formed Mass. The next movement it was over-whelmed by a rush of its friends and then there and there ceased to exist as a military unit.

Private Eric Richard Seaman #9825, 3rd Battalion
Prisoner of War Repatriation, December 1918

"I'll never forget the train that pulled out of this camp and on to the docks in Hamburg, and it was Christmas Day, 1918. There were soldiers everywhere, on the running boards, on top of the railway cars, and everything. I'm sure there must have been about twenty-five hundred of them and we got off it whooping and yelling, and there what do you suppose we saw at the very dock, right in Hamburg? There she was, the "S.S. City of Poona", with the Union Jack floating at the stern. Oh gee, the sight of that flag after months and months in that bloody country, you know. It got so you wondered if you would ever get back."

Major D.H.C. Mason, 3rd Battalion
March Into Germany, December 1918

"The march to the Rhine finished up in a race between the 1st and 2nd Divisions quite unexpectedly. I happened to have the advance guard, and just before noon I was just mounting my horse and the signaller was just going to leave the telephone when a message came through from Brigade, a very excited Brigade Major said,": The Brigadier wants you to get to the Rhine tomorrow as soon as possible." So I said, "Right." 10:15-10:30, something of that kind, the next morning we hit the Rhine and gave them the time. All I heard was a fervent "Thank God". That afternoon I think that I had pretty near every member of the Divisional Brigade staff in to see me to shake my hand. It appeared that hey had suddenly discovered that the 2nd Division was further ahead than they thought, you see. Hence this frantic message. Sir Archie MacDonnell wouldn't have been fit to live with for a week, you know, if the 2nd Division had got there before the 1st."

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