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28th Battalion History

1916

April 3, 1916

St. Eloi - The 28th and 27th Battalions man the newly taken line, still full of British dead and wounded, with the craters between their front line positions and the support line trenches. All reinforcements & supplies therefore must come around the line of craters using very shallow communication trenches or over open ground.

April 5, 1916

One Lewis gun team from each of the 22nd, 24th, 25th & 26th Battalions reinforces the 28th Battalion.

April 6, 1916

A work party from the 28th assisted in digging and wiring a support trench between the front and the craters to close a gap in the line between the 31st & 27th Battalions early in the morning. At the same time, other parties are moving the wounded back. An artillery bombardment began at 10:00AM.

April 7, 1916

At 3:00 AM, there was heavy shelling. 400 Germans cross the trenches the 28th had dug & enter Craters 2 & 3, overwhelming the work parties there. The 28th ordered to attack to retake these craters. The 28th moved to the center support trench at Voormezeele & were very heavily shelled. While the 27th & 29th were to assault craters 2 & 3 from the right, the 28th & 31st were to reoccupy craters 4 & 5 from the northeast. It was almost impossible to get through the mud or know where they were going due to the severely broken ground & lack of familiarity. The 28th occupied craters 6 & 7, thinking that they were their objective. An attack was made that evening on craters 4 & 5 (thought to be 2 & 3) by bombing parties from 25th, 31st Battalions and 28th Battalion (Captain Styles) led by Lieutenant Murphy of 25th Battalion. They got quite close to the craters before being repulsed and failed to take the craters.

June 5-6, 1916

Overnight, 28th Battalion relieves Royal Canadian Regiment on the knoll at Hooge. The Battalion does so by marching up the Menin Road, skirting the Menin Gate, then across country and into the communication trenches. Disposition in the line was:

- 1&½ companies in the front line and bombing posts.

- 2 companies and machinegun sections (4 Colt machineguns, 2 Lewis guns & 1 Stokes mortar) in the support line.

- Remaining 2 companies in support trenches by the Menin Road.

June 6, 1916

A very heavy artillery barrage started at 7:00 AM, and continued until 2:00PM. At 2:00 PM, the Germans explode 4 enormous mines under the Battalion's frontline. The men in the frontline and bombing posts, including the men from 'A' Company were wiped out. 'A' Company's men came from the twin ports area at the head of the lakes in Manitoba. As there were now no units in the battalion from Manitoba, all future reinforcements for the Battalion came from Saskatchewan. Support companies of 28th, with the 31st Battalion on their right, held on to the support trenches along side the Menin Road and repulsed the German assault with rifle & machinegun fire by 3:30 PM. This was accomplished, despite significant jamming problems with their Ross rifles

April 7-15, 1916

The 28th Battalion was relieved by 18th and moved back to support trenches where it worked to improve the fieldworks with sandbags and wire.

June 9, 1916

Major-General R.E.W. Turner, Commander 2nd Division, reports to Lieutenant-General Julian Byng, Commander Canadian Corps, that the 28th and 31st Battalions found the Ross Rifle satisfactory and that the Regimental Sergeant-Major of 28th reports that he has heard no complaints whatever despite the fact that the firing was intense.

July 1916

The Battalion, along with the rest of 2nd Division, moved west to the St. Omer area for three weeks of rest and training. After this break, the Battalion entrained for the Somme battlefield where the attacks had been going on since July 1 with little progress.

September 15, 1916

6th and 4th Brigades attack towards Courcelette with the aid of 3 tanks for each brigade, advance went so well that the 5th brigade was added. Courcelette was taken for a gain of over 2 miles. These gains would not be repeated in future attacks, while the casualty lists swelled.

October 1916

2nd Division's survivors from the Somme moved north through Picardy. Captain D.E. Macintyre meets the Battalion's acting commander, Major Alex Ross with a column of about a company of men near Canaples. When asked where the rest of the battalion was, Major Ross replied, "This is all of the battalion, Mac, We lost a lot of men."


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