Describing the Cambrai Offensive
Tuesday, October 01, 1918
Transcribed by: marc
The 'smash' that Gunner Eyres is referring to was the start of the Cambrai Offensive, 27 Sept., 1918
Since this last smash we had a pretty hot time of it. We have been chasing the Hun pretty close and, according to the old timers in the battery, we have been closer to him than they ever were before out here, and although we have had quite a few casualties lately, we expected more.
I suppose you have had the accounts of the latest scrap the Canadians have pulled off out here. It has certainly been pretty stiff fighting for all concerned, especially the infantry, but, with few exceptions, everything went like clockwork.
The barrage work of the artillery was certainly wonderful to watch and listen to; all you could see for miles and miles along the front was the flashes of guns, and Fritzie's line was a mass of smoke and bursting shells. About two hours after the scrap started the prisoners started to come back, and they were certainly a great looking bunch. They looked frightened to death. The last day or so they looked a little more like civilized men, but as for physique, they are not in it with our boys.
The war news from all fronts has certainly been good the last week or so, especially from the East, where events seem to be moving pretty fast, but the news from this front is what we like to hear, as the Hun's strongest defences are steadily being smashed, and as steadily as he is losing ground, the German people's morale is becoming worse. The general opinion of prisoners when ques- tioned on their way to the cages is that the war is nearly over, and they all say that we are going to win. Whether they are so frightened that they say this, or whether it is their candid opinion, is hard to say, but surely to goodness they must have begun to realize by this time that Germany and her allies are out of luck as far as winning this war goes.
The spirit of our Canadian boys is surely wonderful. They come down the line wounded, some seriously, but they all have a cheery word or a smile if possible, and as long as they can get a cigarette they are happy. The prisoners carry most of the wounded to the dressing stations.
We are rather short of signallers, now, between leave and casualties, but no one minds working when old Fritz is gradually being shoved back.
The weather out here is pretty cold at times, but at the present time we have a little stove going and lots of wood to burn in it, so you see we are well any way.Many of our brave boys are getting it these days; two Winnipeg battalions were pretty badly hit lately, and I have seen quite a few wounded fellows whom I used to know.