I had a few hours’ sleep, yet was awakened now and again when a large shell burst somewhere nearby. At daylight we were at it again. The first thing that met George this morning was a shell dropping just the other side of the hedge. It fell among what had been a Canadian Battery Wagon line.
It didn’t matter that the shell fell there, because most of the men had been killed when the Germans bayoneted them while they slept. The enemy also hung a Canadian officer to a barn and used bayonets to crucify a sergeant of the Canadian Scottish army to the barn door.
The Canadians’ wagon line once had 200 horses and now only a dozen horses remain.. If this wasn’t enough, all of the Canadian guns were captured by the enemy. All this happened when the Germans broke through our lines the previous week.
Later the Canadians were revenged through a magnificent charge by their infantry. They are considered to be fine fellows and splendid fighters. They hated the Germans and cursed them for their murderous ways of waging war.
I was told that a couple of days previous the Canadian Scottish were ordered to retire, but refused to do so. Instead of retiring as ordered, they charged the enemy on their own. It was a mad thing to do for they lost over 500 men, although they captured 100 or more prisoners.
I dare say that not one of the captured Germans was brought down as a prisoner. All the soldiers in the Allied Armies started fighting like the enemy, no quarter given, and the Canadians gave none. As evidence of this, just to the rear of our guns, there was the corpse of a husky Prussian guardsman- a fine figure of a man who stood fully at 6 foot 3 inches in height. The Canadians had pinned him to a tree with a bayonet. They stuck a postcard on his forehead that said, “Canada does not forget!” Then someone had written, “We’ll give them crucify” next to the word “Canada”.
The cruel and barbaric happenings around this period would fill a book with horrors of all descriptions. The merciless style of war created by the Germans carried over to their enemy. The centuries that it has taken to develop the meaning behind the word “civilized” has only taken a couple of years to reduce to “barbaric.”
I was pleased with the splendid fighting of both the Canadians and the Indian troops and proud that they were fighting with us. By the end of November, truly enough Canadians had served in the battle of Ypres as did the 7th, 8th, and 1st British Divisions.