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The Drocourt-Queant Line

Heroes Remember

The Drocourt-Queant Line

We drew up on this, I don’t remember exactly where, but we were in front of Canal. And this was a part of what they call the Drocourt-Queant Line, do you ever hear of it? Well, it was an extension of the Hindenburg Line that they built later and was probably the strongest part of the Hindenburg Line. There was a canal there that was being built when the war broke out, but it was never finished and it was dry. Well, we were on one side of the canal when, on the day that they broke the Hindenburg Line. Now we started on, and that’s the longest barrage we ever had, was on the day of breaking the Hindenburg Line. And that I believe was the 26th of September, nineteen, about there, maybe the 27th. And we were firing from some time around four or five in the morning till noon. We had to stop our guns - take some time - because they were too hot. And we rested one and then another, and we were only firing two a minute, they got so hot. But they broke the line then and went through the Drocourt-Queant Line. And that was the end of the Hindenburg Line. And I’m sure that was about the 26th of September.

Mr. Pitcairn describes the artillery barrage at the Hindenburg Line as the largest barrage to date, and having to ‘rest’ the guns which were overheating.

James Pitcairn

James Pitcairn was born in Kirkintilloch, Scotland on May 3, 1897. The second of four children, he moved to Vancouver with his widowed mother in 1911. At the age of thirteen, he was working as an elevator boy when a truancy officer sent him back to school, which he attended for five years. In Vancouver, Mr. Pitcairn was twice denied enlistment because of his small size; however, he joined friends in Kingston, Ontario and was accepted there as a member of the 50th Battery, Queens Artillery on March 7, 1916. He trained as a horse artilleryman at Petawawa. Mr. Pitcairn sailed for England aboard the SS Olympia in August, 1916. He had further training at Camp Whitley and was finally sent to France as a member of the 52nd Field Artillery, 5th Division. Mr. Pitcairn’s service saw him in action at Lens, Vimy, Hill 70, Amiens, Drocourt-Queant and Valenciennes as the layer on an 18-Pound artillery gun. One hundred and two at the time of his interview, Mr. Pitcairn’s clear voice and photographic memory offer some very informative descriptions of the Artillery’s role in the First World War.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
James Pitcairn
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War
50th Battery

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