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Over the top with the 25th Chronicle of events at Vimy Ridge and Courcellette   By:

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Transcriber's Note: Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. For a complete list, please see the end of this document.

[Illustration: LIEUT. R. LEWIS, M.M.]

OVER THE TOP WITH THE 25TH

CHRONICLE OF EVENTS AT VIMY RIDGE AND COURCELLETTE

BY

LIEUT R. LEWIS, M.M.

1918 H.H. MARSHALL, LIMITED HALIFAX, CANADA

Chapter One

The end of August, 1914, found me following my usual employment as second mate on a small steamboat plying between St. John's, Newfoundland, and various stations on the coast of Labrador. The news from the front aroused my patriotism, and though my captain, who was a Britisher through and through, strongly urged me to remain with him because of the great difficulty of securing another man, I was fully made up in my mind that my clear, plain duty was to enlist. On my return trip to St. John's I found, greatly to my disappointment, that it was all too late to enroll my name in the already organized Newfoundland regiment. There was nothing for it but to cross to Canada and try my luck at enlisting there. Arriving at Sydney, and making enquiries, I discovered that the second division was not going to be formed up for some little time, and I therefore enlisted in the 94th Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders. With them I remained in Sydney until October of the same year when the 25th Battalion was organized a battalion which has since covered itself with glory and earned the legitimately proud title of "The Fighting Twenty Fifth."

Although I was one of them myself, I do not hesitate to assert that a finer bunch of men never left the shores of Nova Scotia to take up arms for Britain in the fields of France and Flanders than the gallant boys of the splendid Twenty fifth. The general public does not appear to know very much of the achievements of this battalion and this perhaps may be due to the fact that we left Canada in May of 1915, and that we had been in France some nineteen months before any other Nova Scotia Battalion went into action as a unit. This story is not being penned with the slightest idea of seeking in any way to disparage the Nova Scotia Highlanders; that intrepid body of superb fighters have fought splendidly and well and their glorious record is fresh in the minds of all.

It has been my privilege to be with the Twenty Fifth right from the day of its organization until the 23rd of April, 1917, and now, from records and diaries which I have kept from the beginning, I am attempting to relate the true story of the wonderful work accomplished by this battalion.

As previously intimated, we organized in the October of 1914, and at that time I was a private under Major MacRae. Since then, to quote the words of Kipling,

"Things 'ave transpired which made me learn The size and meanin' of the game. I did no more than others did, I don't know where the change began; I started as an average kid, I finished as a thinkin' man."

In those early days following upon enlistment we enjoyed some real good times in Halifax and the old boys will always recall with genuine appreciation the many kindnesses shown us by the citizens. Taking all the various circumstances into consideration we were well looked after by the military authorities; of course, our one burning eagerness was to get over to France and plunge into the thick of things as speedily as possible, and when it was rumored that we were going to be put on home duty feeling ran pretty high among the men and some quite lively times were experienced! The rumor, however, came to nothing and we settled down to the routine of our daily drill... Continue reading book >>




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