World: Royal New Brunswick Regiment, through its official social media handle, shared the Regimental history from May 3 to May 4, 1917. As per the update, the history revolves near the village of Fresnoy-en-Gohelle, France.
The update informed that the III Battle of the Scarpe was a general offensive by all three (3) armies astride the Scarpe to secure better defensive positions. In the Canadian Corps sector, the attack was on the village of Fresnoy-en-Gohelle. The Canadian attacks were launched under a heavy artillery barrage on the night of May 2 and 3. The Canadians took their objectives and then endured heavy German shelling and counter-attacks throughout the day of May 3, 1917. However, they held their positions until they were relieved two days later.
Accordingly, the history of the “Fighting 26th” records the battalion’s service during this period is as follows:
The month of May was ushered in with moderately heavy enemy artillery shelling of the new front-line trench system, but the damage was minimal. The 26th was relieved the following evening by the 22nd Bn. This was completed around 0300hrs. It moved back to the railway embankment area as close support. The unit remained there for three days, undergoing daily gas shell bombardments, due no doubt to the close proximity of the Canadian artillery positioned around the embankment.
On May 3, a terrific bombardment by the Canadian artillery opened up for the capture of Fresnoy, a village beyond Arleux, the former being guarded by the Oppy-Mericourt line. The attack by 1st Div was successful, and there was little retaliation on the battalion’s front. The Battalion War Diary entry stated that this bombardment “exceeded in intensity the bombardment of April 9”. This may have been due to a great number of guns firing on a narrow frontage.
Being relieved by the 25th Bn on May 4, the “Fighting 26th” had moved back to the Vimy Ridge Trenches. After a short stay in Neuville St Vaast, the 26th moved on to Aux Reitz Rest Camp on May 7. It had been sixteen days in forward areas, heavily shelled in newly dug trenches with little cover, but good weather, few casualties and fine accomplishments had been good for its morale. Three officers were wounded during the Arleux operation. These were Major ME Wideman, who died later in England, and Lieuts. F Armstrong and JR Calkin, the last named, have remained on duty. As for other ranks, nine were killed in action, eight died of wounds, while fifty-eight were wounded. This made a grand total of seventy-eight soldiers.
The Battle Honour SCARPE 1917 incorporated the tactical incident “Capture of Fresnoy”, formally authorised as the “Third Battle of the Scarpe”, being part of “The Battles of the Arras, 1917”.
For its service and sacrifice during the third battle of the Scarpe, New Brunswick’s “Fighting 26th” Battalion was awarded the Battle Honour SCARPE 1917.
The update, while concluding stated that this Battle Honour SCARPE 1917 was also credited to the 115th Battalion.