MOTORS OFF INTO THE
FOUR motor batteries of the
1st C.M.G.C. Brigade were in Divisional reserve positions on the Lens front
and one was in the unit's camp at Vedrel when Ludendorff's legions launched
their drive against the juncture of the British and French armies in front
of Amiens on March 21st.
By the afternoon of the next
day the Brigade had received orders to move to the 5th Army front. By 2.30
a.m. of April 23rd the four batteries in the line were at Vedrel and by
5.30 a.m. the entire Brigade was under way, beaded south, under command
of Lieut.-Col. W.K. Walker, D.S.O., M.C., the genial giant who had, up
to March 17th, been in command of the Machine Gun Squadron of the Canadian
The cavalcade, as it left
a sputtering exhaust in its wake, was composed of five batteries. "A" and
"B" Batteries each had eight Vickers guns mounted on four armored cars.
"C" (Bordens), "D" (Eatons) and "E" (Yukons) each had eight Vickers guns,
were designated as Motor Batteries and they were transported in light box
cars, from which the crews would fight as infantry machine gunners.
"The Corps Commander wishes
you the best of luck and has every confidence that you will do more than
well," was the message received by the Motors from Gen. Sir Arthur Currie
just before they pushed off.
The eight armored cars in
the long convoy chugging its way southward were the surviving veterans
of many vehicular changes which had seen the motorcycle elements of the
Motors discarded except as a means of officers keeping control over the
Like many elements of the
Cavalry, the Motors had been forced to fight as "dismounted troops," while
their metallic steeds were threatened by the rust of inaction. The Somme
was the first of the later battles in which the mechanized cavalry role
always envisioned for the Motors had been promised. The promised "break-through"
never came. The Motors were doing their barrage task at Passchendaele when
they might have been tuning up for a more spectacular, more fitting task
in Gen. Byng's temporarily successful thrust for ...