RMR featured in Ottawa Citizen article about Great War

This article about the RMR in WW1 was originally published in the Ottawa Citizen on 08 November 2014, written by Bruce Deachman

It details the action at Mount Sorrel, in which the RMR suffered the most deaths in a single day: 119

The following is from the War Diaries of the 14th Canadian Infantry Battalion (RMR) with which Private Albert Croteau served, during the Battle of Mount Sorrel, June 3 and 4, 1916. Croteau suffered a gunshot wound to the back of his right thigh on June 3.

Mount Sorrel
PHOTO: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library, Archives Canada Mount Sorrel with Armagh House in the foreground.

“At 8.17 A.M. word was received to advance. Under Major Powell the whole Battalion swept forward. They were met with a concentrated machine gun and rifle fire from the enemy’s trenches and an almost incredible weight of artillery was brought to bear upon them. Steadily they went forward, the lines reforming automatically as the growing number of casualties robbed the first lines of their effectives. For almost three hundred yards they continued towards the German trenches, one Officer, Lieut. Major with a small following actually reaching the German Line, other parties advancing right up to his wire. Major Powell finding his strength reduced to one third and losing heavily at every step then stopped the advance and ordered the Battalion to dig in where it stood. Under continuous heavy fire of all descriptions the Battalion established a line here, dug in and held it all day until relieved early the following morning.

“Major Powell kept charge of the firing line, although wounded, until it appeared to be established, when he handed over to Lieut. R.A. Pelletier, who although blown up twice and once rendered unconscious for a short time kept the command, and handed over only to the relieving Battalion. No communication with Headquarters was possible for over three hours. Through the day the firing line was never stronger than about 80 of all ranks with small detached parties on the flanks, the whole representing what remained of the Battalion.

Lieutenant A.F. Major
Lieutenant A.F. Major

“Of the Officers of Companies and Details taking part in the advance every one was either killed, wounded, blown up or buried by shells. Major Powell, Capt. C.B. Price, Lieut. Lugar, Lieut. Worrall, Lieut. Evans, Lieut. Torrance, Lieut. O’Brien, Lieut. Rexford, Lieut. MacKenzie, Lieut. Owen, Lieut. Walker and Lieut. Marion were all wounded. Capt. E.A. Whitehead, Lieut. A.F. Major and Lieut. M.M. Grondin were killed. Capt. Frost was twice blown up by shells but remained on duty. Lieut. Pelletier had a similar experience and also remained so did Lieut. Nesbitt who was partially buried. Lieut. Beaton had a shell splinter in his shoulder but did not leave his post nor did Lieut. McKenna wounded in the hand. Major G. McCombe, Capt. F.W. Utton and Lieut. C.G. Power came through unscathed.

“Altogether the Battalion lost in this advance 379 all ranks.

Captain E.A. Whitehead
Captain E.A. Whitehead

“It had achieved what would have been a fine feat for the best troops in the World. The men had come up to unknown ground on an unknown task through miles of country under intermittent shellfire without any loss of morale. They had advanced through two of the most severe barrages of artillery fire possible to imagine. They has established a line through a bad gap in our defences under the same conditions; prevented any further advance of the enemy to the key of the salient; had reclaimed a large portion of ground written off as lost and had established a line from which a successful attack on the lost positions could be and was eventually launched.

Lieutenant M.M. Grondin
Lieutenant M.M. Grondin

“The Batallion was relieved early in the morning of June 4th and marched to Dominion Lines. On the following afternoon they were ordered to Patricia Lines. Lieut. Beaton and Lieut. Nesbitt responded to a call from Col. Clark for volunteers to go back and bury the dead. They took fifty other ranks with them, and did much valuable work in burial of the dead and reclaiming the wounded who had been overlooked, on that night June 4/5th. This party suffered three killed.”

RMR’s Roll of Honour: 119 Dead

From Saturday, June 3, 1916

Officers (3)

Lieutenant Maurice Marcel Grondin K in A
Lieutenant Albert Frederick Major K in A
Captain Edward Ashworth Whitehead K in A

Sergeants (9)
26152 Company Sergeant-Major George Armstrong K in A
26394 Company Sergeant-Major Ludovic Duhamel K in A
26029 Company Sergeant-Major Richard William Rankin K in A
25934 Sergeant John Douglas Campbell K in A
404372 Sergeant Albert Henry Hunt K in A
63247 Lance Sergeant Thomas John Clinch K in A
26217 Sergeant Ernest William King K in A
25656 Lance Sergeant Alexander Wallis K in A
25900 Sergeant Alexander Wells K in A

OR’s (107)
448002 Private David Brown Adams K in A
127376 Private Thomas F. Adcock K in A
412081 Private William James Anderson Missing
404257 Private Walter Bagshaw K in A
435042 Private Joe Barraclough K in A

444178 Private Alexander Basque K in A
63137 Private John Robert Bell K in A
444234 Private William Nobles Belyea K in A
404263 Lance Corporal Percy Frank Bennett K in A
164039 Private John Boute K in A
448035 Lance Corporal John Brooks K in A
163536 Private Alfred Carroll Burritt K in A
457243 Private John Caine K in A
448042 Private Alfred Carey K in A
140039 Private Andrew Walker Clarke Missing
404297 Private Reuben Clayton Missing
22981 Private Frank Clifford K in A
22855 Private John James Collins K in A
444073 Private Walter Vincent Cook K in A
451170 Private Charles William Archibald Corin K in A
444197 Private George Court K in A
140048 Private William Crane K in A
26538 Private Arthur Cusson K in A
412215 Private William Desilest K in A
444130 Lance Corporal Roy B. Dick K in A
63253 Lance Corporal Arthur Carmichael Drysdale K in A
164076 Private Clarence Glee Eggleton K in A
163319 Private Walter English K in A
451835 Corporal Wilbert Robinson Ferguson K in A
416217 Private Jean Fiset K in A
444358 Private Charles Adrian Fisher K in A
448091 Private Patrick Fitzpatrick K in A
25582 Private Frank Flanagan K in A
404339 Private Benjamin Forbes Missing
25714 Lance Corporal William Henry Fry K in A
457812 Private James Gaboury Missing
26552 Private Isadore Gaudreau Missing
23552 Corporal Grantley Gilbert K in A
412742 Private Thomas Edgar Greenfield K in A
63398 Lance Corporal George H. Gregory K in A
444075 Lance Corporal Walter Lawson Hanson K in A
63442 Lance Corporal Arthur Walter Hazelgrove K in A
139606 Private Mark Humphreys K in A
25734 Private John Hempenstall Kearney K in A
144183 Private Wilbrod Lecraw K in A
23666 Private Alfred Lemay K in A
23293 Private Fred H. Madden K in A
410021 Private Francis Lorne May K in A
444157 Private Harry Carruthers McArthur K in A
404410 Private William McCurdie K in A
23162 Private Malcolm McDonald K in A

416393 Private Eusebe McDuff Missing
140141 Private Walter McFarland K in A
23292 Private Peter Joseph McKenna K in A
444213 Private Charles McLean K in A
163392 Private Samuel McMahon K in A
23683 Private Henry Mitchell K in A
412793 Private Stanley Mitchell K in A
416904 Private Clinton Mongeau K in A
63616 Private Richard Moody K in A
64032 Private John Moran K in A
144053 Private Alfred Morin K in A
457406 Private Archibald Munn K in A
412802 Private Harold Mustchin K in A
444079 Lance Corporal George Howard Nesbitt K in A
404416 Private Herbert Nuttall K in A
46872 Private Daniel O’Kane K in A
25625 Private William Officer Missing
26490 Private Joseph Paradis K in A
444223 Private George William Paul K in A
451911 Private Albert Penfold K in A
448198 Private Simeon Povar K in A
444163 Private Bertholomew Preshong Missing
26117 Private Arthur George Raby K in A
458065 Private Walter Reid K in A
404445 Private John Cameron Robertson K in A
457275 Corporal Walter Rowbotham K in A
448213 Private Donat Roy Missing
444215 Private Ernest Walter Saunders Missing
603075 Private Theodore Schuler K in A
26635 Corporal Robert Scott, MM K in A
412158 Private Harman Joseph Simmons K in A
126973 Private Roderick Alexander Mackay Smith K in A
404460 Private Norman Southorn K in A
404462 Private George Speers K in A
46540 Private Albert Ernest Spriggs K in A
435451 Private Edwin Leon Spurr K in A
25645 Private George Alexander Stewart K in A
444248 Private Ralph Burns Stuart K in A
444753 Private Robert William Tardy Missing
444129 Private Nectaire Theriault Missing
602986 Private Edward Turner Missing
457398 Private John H. Walker K in A
602874 Private Frederick Wiffin K in A
412864 Private William Dempey Woodrow K in A
404499 Private Robert James Woodwards K in A
602490 Private Frederick Ziegler K in A

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