The Canadian Expeditionary Force’s first battle experience, aside from a trench raid, came in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in mid-March 1915.
The Canadians were tasked with preventing the Germans from reinforcing their position while the British pushed through enemy lines to advance the front. A new front was established, but the Allies were unable to exploit their advantage and press on due to difficulty transmitting orders and a lack of reserves.
“The guns are dropped and the teams go out, form up and move away.”
James Wells Ross talked about battle preparations in a letter home on April 13, 1915, one of several quoted here from the Canadian Letters & Images Project.
“Imagine a column of horses and vehicles moving along a road. They turn into a field over a rough di...