The Last Hundred Days

Alec MacDougall
Trench Warfare (condensed) (Transcript)

October 01

Day: 55 - Official End of The Battle of the Canal du NordAllie Image

The day's gains represent an advance of about a kilometer and a half, the only achievement of significance being the gain of the high ground east of Tilloy. The 1st Canadian Division itself suffers more than 1,000 casualties. In five days of fighting, the Canadian Corps had captured more than 7,000 prisoners and 205 guns.

Victoria Cross recipient:

October 02

Day: 56 Allie Image

There was little action in the Canadian Corps sector, as the remainder of the 1st and 4th Canadian Infantry Divisions are moved into reserve, leaving the Corps' front in the hands of the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisions.

October 03

Day: 57 Allie Image

In Flanders, after a short period in reserve, troops of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment fight off stiff German counterattacks at Ledeghem train station, which was preceded by heavy shellfire. Not a single German soldier comes within 45 meters of the Newfoundlanders' forward positions.

October 04

Day: 58

American troops attacking west of the Meuse River gain ground northeast of the Argonne Forest. Germany, through Switzerland, sends a note to American President Woodrow Wilson inviting peace negotiations and an armistice.

October 05

Day: 59

In the face of continued Allied advances, the Germans fall back towards the Suippe River.

October 06

Day: 60 Allie Image

In Flanders, troops of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment defend their positions around the area of the Ledeghem train station for four days, fighting off repeated German counterattacks before being relieved during the night.

October 07

Day: 61 Allie Image

The 1st Canadian Infantry Division is temporarily under the command of the British 22nd Corps, taking up positions behind the Trinquis Brook and the Sensée River, some five kilometers east of Étaing.

October 08

Day: 62 Allie Image

Due to a lack of progress on the British Third Army front, on the Canadian Corps right, the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisions do not go into action until the 9th.

October 09

Day: 63 - The Battle of Cambrai
The Pursuit to the Selle, October 9 to 12Allie Image

By the end of the day, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division advances as much as four kilometers and captures the towns of Ramillies, Escaudoeuvres and Eswars, while securing important bridges over the Canal de l'Escaut.

On the Canadian Corps right, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division clears the town of Cambrai and meets up with the 24th British Division moving up from the south.

Further south, in the British Fourth Army sector of operations, the Canadian Cavalry Brigade sees its last action of the war, and its first major role since the Battle of Amiens at the beginning of August. The brigade, made up of the Fort Garry Horse, the Lord Strathcona's Horse, the Royal Canadian Dragoons and a battery of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, advances close to 13 kilometers on a front more than four kilometers wide, captures more than 400 prisoners and many weapons, and disrupts enemy attempts at demolition. The brigade reports a total of 168 men and 171 horses killed, wounded and missing.

The Canadian Cavalry Brigade at Cateau, Battle Area map

Victoria Cross recipient:

Canadian troops advancing toward Cambrai. Photo: Library and Archives Canada/PA-003247

Canadian troops advancing toward Cambrai. Photo: Library and Archives Canada/PA-003247

October 10

Day: 64 - The Pursuit to the SelleAllie Image

The Canadian Corps advances as much as two kilometers and liberates among others, the villages of Naves and Thun-St-Martin.

October 11

Day: 65 - The Pursuit to the SelleAllie Image

In the face of heavy German resistance and counterattacks which included tanks, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division advances as much as three kilometers and finds itself well established on the forward slope of the Iwuy spur.

From August 26 to October 11 (47 days), the Canadian Corps advances 37 kilometers against very strong resistance. Total casualties over this time are 1,544 officers and 29,262 other ranks. The Corps captures 18,585 prisoners, 371 guns and nearly 2,000 machine guns and liberates 54 towns and villages.

Victoria Cross recipient:

Lieutenant Wallace Llyod Algie, recipient of the Victoria Cross for his actions on 11 October 1918, during the Last Hundred Days.

Lieutenant Wallace Llyod Algie, recipient of the Victoria Cross for his actions on 11 October 1918, during the Last Hundred Days.

The Final Advance - Cambrai to Mons, October 12 to November 11, 1918

View Battle Area map

October 12

Day: 66 - The Pursuit to the SelleAllie Image

In two days of fighting in the 1st Canadian Infantry Division area of operations, the Division advances roughly eight kilometers along the south bank of the Scarpe until the whole front faces the Canal de la Sensée by evening.

In the area of operations of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, the front extends westward almost to Aubencheul-au-Bac. The Canadian Corps front is now held by the 1st Canadian, the 56th British, and the 2nd Canadian Divisions.

October 13

Day: 67 - The Pursuit to the Selle

French troops capture the village of Laon.

October 14

Day: 68 - The Battle of Courtrai, October 14 to 19Allie Image

Patrols of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division push across the Canal de la Sensée near the village of Férin but the German retaliation is too strong for a permanent bridgehead[8].

Fighting with the British Second Army, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, in a five-kilometer surge through the German Flanders position, takes 500 prisoners, 94 machine guns and eight guns, four of these being field guns accounted for by one platoon.

Victoria Cross recipient:

[8] An area of ground which must be held in order to move troops and/or materials.

October 15

Day: 69

Belgian troops capture the villages of Iseghem and Cortemarck.

October 16

Day: 70 Allie Image

With the 4th Canadian Infantry Division relieving the 56th British Division, there were now three Canadian divisions at the front. These three divisions were responsible for roughly 32 kilometers of front..

October 17

Day: 71 Allie Image

By dusk, the Canadian Corps advances around seven kilometers and has patrols in a number of positions, as well as crossings over the Canal de la Sensée.

October 18

Day: 72 Allie Image

The 1st and 4th Canadian Infantry Divisions advance ten and eight kilometers respectively and occupy more than 20 towns and villages by day's end, including Pecquencourt and Auberchicourt.

October 19

Day: 73 Allie Image

The Canadian Corps liberates nearly 40 more communities, including the large industrial town of Denain. The day's advance of slightly less than 11 kilometers is the longest made by Canadians on any single day during the war.

A Canadian enjoying blackberries which he had just gathered in Bourlon Wood.  Advance East of Arras.  October, 1918. Photo: Library and Archives Canada/PA-003419

A Canadian enjoying blackberries which he had just gathered in Bourlon Wood. Advance East of Arras. October, 1918. Photo: Library and Archives Canada/PA-003419

October 20

Day: 74 Allie Image

The 1st Canadian Infantry Division occupies Wallers, the last town of any size before reaching the large Forêt de Vicoigne. Before night fall, the division gains a line running along the western edge of the forest. On the Canadian Corps' right, the 4th Canadian Infantry Division clears out the town of Denain and advances roughly three kilometers.

In Flanders, troops of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment cross the River Lys and advance to positions roughly a kilometer from the village of Vichte. They are unable to advance any further in the face of German artillery and machine-gun fire coming from front and side.

October 21

Day: 75 Allie Image

The 1st and 3rd Brigades[9] of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division reach the St. Amand-Valenciennes road, an advance of some 6.5 kilometers. The 4th Canadian Infantry Division was halted at the Canal de l'Escaut, an advance of roughly eight kilometers.

In Flanders, with only one officer per company left unwounded, troops of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment hold their positions throughout the day before being relieved in the evening.

[9] A brigade is a section of a division, made up of three or four battalions.

October 22

Day: 76 Allie Image

The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division clears most of the Forêt de Raismes, an expanse some 10 square kilometers. Troops of two brigades do most of the work. In 15 hours they make their way through the woods, a distance of just less than 6.5 kilometers.

October 23

Day: 77 Allie Image

By evening, the Canadian Corps front line stretches for almost 13 kilometers along the Canal de l'Escaut, from the Corps southern boundary to Fresnes where it slants back toward the Germanheld village of Odomez.

October 24

Day: 78

A German counterattack along the Canal de la Dérivation is pushed back by Belgian troops.

October 25

Day: 79

The Battle of the Selle, begun October 17 and involving the British First, Third and Fourth Armies as well as the Second American Corps, comes to an end.

October 26

Day: 80

Erich Lundendorff, First Quartermaster General of the German army, resigns under pressure from Kaiser Wilhelm II, Emperor and Commander-in-Chief of the German armed forces.

October 27

Day: 81

A German attack northwest of the town Le Quesnoy is fended off, while French troops are in pursuit of German troops on the Serre-Oise salient. American troops capture Belleu Woods, on the east bank of the Meuse river.

The German government agrees to American President Woodrow Wilson's latest peace demands.

Victoria Cross recipient: Allie Image

October 28

Day: 82 Allie Image

The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division takes over some of the 4th Division's front, while French troops are involved in heavy fighting in taking the village of Verly. American troops face a similar fight around the village of Grand Pré.

October 29

Day: 83 Allie Image

Troops of the 4th Canadian Infantry Division relieve the British 51st Division in front of Mont Houy, between the la Rhonelle River and the Canal de l'Escaut. Meanwhile, French troops launch a successful attack on a 12-kilometer front northwest of Château Porcien.

Newspaper clipping noting the awarding of the Victoria Cross to Canadian Soldiers, Sgt Spall, Cpl Miner and Pte Dinesen, for their respective actions in battle during the Last Hundred Days.

Newspaper clipping noting the awarding of the Victoria Cross to Canadian Soldiers, Sgt Spall, Cpl Miner and Pte Dinesen, for their respective actions in battle during the Last Hundred Days.

October 30

Day: 84 Allie Image

The Royal Newfoundland Regiment, kilometers behind the front lines and in reserve, suffers its last battle casualty of the First World War. A shell from a German heavy gun explodes in a cook house, wounding Pte Ronald Courage.

Turkey, a German ally during the war, signs an armistice and ends its involvement in the First World War.

October 31

Day: 85

British troops launch a successful attack southwest of the village of Audenarde (Courtrai), carrying all objectives and capturing some 1,000 German prisoners.

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