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 ...