THE BATTLE OF FESTUBERT, MAY 1915
|Major Frederick Amy, 5th CFA 1944|
|ThE Battle of Festubert May, 1915 (Thanks to Richard Laughton)|
When the attack was launched some men of the 3rd Battalion, supported by the 4th Battalion, did break into the German Line, but they were cut off and killed or taken prisoner. As the 3rd Battalion attacked from the Orchard, the 5th and 7th Battalions launched a determined assault on the South Breastwork, and finally after 30 minutes of fighting K.5 was in their hands again with heavy losses. The next day (May 25) dismounted Canadian Cavalry of the Lord Stathcona's Horse, made an attempt to take a bit more of the South Breastwork, but were unable to push the line forward.
Finally on May 25, 1915 the Battle of Festubert was called off. For a gain of two km the British Army had lost 14,500 men, killed, wounded and missing. Canadian losses were 2,468, including 661 dead. Norm Christie, Other Canadian Battlefields of the Great War, CEF Books, 2007.
However the Canadians, principally the 3rd Battalion and the 4th Battalion under the 3rd's command, remained on the from line until being relieved by the Gordon Highlanders on the morning of June 1 still suffering casualties until the last hours. L/Cpl Amy of the 4th Battalion was the final Canadian casualty of the battle.
|L/Cpl Raulin Amy #63057 KIA May 31, 1915|
|The area around Festubert 1919|
The last notation in Amy's service record Casualty Sheet simply states "Killed - No particulars - 1/6/15". However an addendum was added by a person unknown as follows, almost in answer to questions being asked:
This man was instantly killed at Festubert on the night of May 31, 1915 by a shell which exploded in his trench. He was buried in the part of the line known as the Orchard. The location on (comb.sheets 36aSE, 36SW, 36bNE, 36NW) is S.21.d.8.3.. Not known if a cross has been erected.
|The Canadian Orchard in 2015. Where is Raulin Amy?|
L/Cpl Raulin's name is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial, strangely with a death date of June 1, 1915. There is a campsite situated exactly on the site that Amy was reported to have been buried. It is not known at this point if his body was ever recovered but seems quite plausible as the area remained in British hands until the great German advance of March 1918. Sergeant Martin Thomas Lyons #63550 was killed the same day possibly by the same trench shell. I presently own L/Cpl Amy's three World War One medals.