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The Canadian "Emma Gees"
A History of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps
Lt.-Col. C.S. Grafton

Transcribed by Dwight G. Mercer

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THE 3rd and 13th Companies of the 1st Division and the 4th and 14th of the 2nd had no rest after Passchendaele as they proceeded immediately upon arrival back in the Lens-Vimy front to the relief of British Machine Gun Companies in the line.

The 3rd and 13th Companies relieved the 177th M.G. Company (British) and 174th M.G. Company (British) in the Lens-Avion sector on the night of November 16th-17th.

The 4th and 14th Companies relieved the 143rd and 144th M.G. Companies (British) on the same night, taking over positions on the Mericourt sector.

But even immediate duty in the line here was a "rest" after Passchendaele and the Canadian Machine Gun Corps was to have plenty of time in which to go through a wide variety of experiences and was to enter upon a period that was to make the Vimy-Lens sector for the Canadian Corps as a whole as much akin to "home" as was possible in a country where war had laid a wide swath of desolation from the North Sea to the Vosges Mountains, 400 miles away to the south.

As the 3rd and 4th Divisions made their more leisurely trek back to Vimy, part of it by marching, the Corps was practically settled in its old area by November 23rd and was to continue service on this front which ultimately was to pile up into the staggering total of 33,500,000 man days - days that were to have many new and pleasant features, days and nights which were to see flashes of war return in grim intensity for short periods and days and nights that would add up to months of a new type of strain - that of tense waiting for events of immense, world-shaking portent to happen.

More pressing, however, for the moment to the Canadian Machine Gun Corps was the immediate realization of what Passchendaele had cost this arm.

It was easy enough for companies, batteries and down to gun crews to realize that they had been hit hard. They needed no details - no compilation of data on the subject - and asked for none. Roll calls that had been sorrowfully shortened were to be a constant reminder of Passchendaele's cost to the machine gunners - until reinforcements filled the gap.

Still a resume of casualties to the Machine Gun Corps during the ...

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Transcript Copyright © 2003 Dwight G. Mercer - Badge Images Copyright © 2003 Ray Adams
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