This page contains the information from the text of Col. Nicholson "Official
History of the Canadian Army in the First World War - Canadian Expeditionary
Force 1914-1919" details
of which are described at the Nicholson Great War page for my paternal
grandfather, George Van Wyck Laughton. I have included here the pages that
are significant with respect to the PPCLI activities, not all pages where they
are referenced. Some additional pages are referenced in the notes, any of
which can be scanned and posted for those who have an interest.
The Nicholson text covers the CEF in the Great War and so this page deals
only with Grandfather Kennedy as a soldier in Princess Patricia's Canadian Light
Infantry, details of which are also provided here on the PPCLI
page. We have inserted here time periods beyond which JACK was with
the PPCLI for the benefit of other PPCLI researchers who do not have the
Click on any of the MAPS to see them in their full scanned
size. All maps were updated in 2006 to a higher resolution.
In addition all sketches and other supporting information was
|PDF File Name by Page Number
||Reference to PPCLI Activity
(see MAP 3)
Formation of the unit under
Captain A. Hamilton Gault and appointment of Lt. Col. F. D. Farquhar
(Coldstream Guards) as Commanding Officer. Landed in France
December 21, 1914 and joined the BEF 80th Brigade, 27th Division of
January 6, 1915.
Page 138 refers to the PPCLI holding "The Mound" at Mount
Sorrel in January 1915.
Page 122 refers to the Princess Patricia's undertaking the first
recorded trench raid by Canadian troops on the last day of
February 1915, a week before the first Canadian Division entered the
Page 156 refers to the PPCLI switching from the Ross Rifle to the
Lee-Enfield before they saw action with the British Brigade.
(see SKETCH 14)
The PPCLI in the Salient at
Ypres in 1916 where they occupied positions in front of Polygon
Wood. They fell back to Bellewaarde Ridge, north of Hooge and on
May 4, 1915 suffered 122 casualties. A major German onslaught took
place on May 8, 1915, the third assault being successful for the Germans
and whole sections of the PPCLI were obliterated, leaving 4 officers and
150 men. (Note: Grandfather Kennedy was wounded on May 10, 1915
and eventually struck off the ranks of the PPCLI and sent to England for
Page 92 makes note that the total PPCLI suffered 678 casualties
between April 10th and May 21st, 1915.
(see MAP 4)
The PPCLI took played an active
role in the St. Eloi Craters and Mount Sorrel in June of 1916, as
detailed in the CEF Study Group project on Mount Sorrel. We have
included the full section from Nicholson on this event.
Page 150 refers to the Battle of Sanctuary Wood costing the PPCLI
more than 400 casualties, including 150 killed, one of whom was the
Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. H. C. Buller.
Please see the main site for the 3 maps depicting the period at Mount
Maps (see 4a,
(see MAP 5)
Nicholson covers the
July-November 1916 Battle of the Somme with reference to the Princess
Patricia's at Fabeck Graben (the Courcelette Sector) in September (a
battle with which I have limited familiarity). Specific reference is
made on page 171 to the PPCLI losing it's way in the broken ground from
which all landmarks had been obliterated. They struggled through
intense rifle and machine gun fire to join with the 5th Brigade at
(see MAP 7)
I have covered the Battle of
Arras (Vimy) in detail on my Great War website for my paternal
grandfather George Laughton. All of Nicholson's maps as well as
the text for Vimy are provided at that location (see
Vimy link). We have included in the PDF link pages 252 to 258
to allow the reader to read the references to the April 9th
battle. The PPCLI are referenced on pages 254 and 256.
As this was such a significant battle for the united Canadian
divisions, the Nicholson coverage does not contain significant detail on
any one unit. For more detail refer to Newman's text "With
the Patricia's in Flanders".
(see MAP 9)
Nicholson refers to the PPCLI on pages 321 and 322 of his detailed
outline of the offensive at Passchendale, however we have included 320
to 325 so that the reader can get the full context. In fact, one
must go back to page 312 to see how Field-Marshall Haig started to move
troops in preparation for the northern offensive. The Canadians
returned to Gravenstafel Ridge, the same front they held prior to the
gas attacks in 1915. Currie and the Canadians worked with the
Australians to coordinate an effective artillery and infantry attack, as
they had at Vimy. At this time the Germans also changed tactics
and moved heavy machine gun support into the "forefield", to a
great extent negating the use of heavy artillery by the Canadians.
The attack started on October 26th and by the 28th the Canadians
had suffered 2,481 casualties ("the slaughter in the mud"),
including 585 killed, 965 wounded and 8 taken prisoner on the first
day. The PPCLI are referenced in the renewed assault on October
30, 1917 as the Canadians attempt to take Crest Farm. The PPCLI
had been successful in capturing "Snipe Hall", a troublesome
pillbox at the edge of the swamp, the night before the main
attack. Regardless, the PPCLI were welcomed with a "storm of
fire" that brought heavy casualties, loosing most of their junior
officers in the first hour, many by German snipers. The PPCLI main
accomplishment is reported as being the storming of the fortified
positions guarding the Meetcheele crossroads, thanks to the efforts of
two Victoria Cross soldiers (Mackenzie and Mullin). Passchendale
was captured on November 6, 1917 and it was recorded as a day "by
which for the second time within the year the Canadian troops achieved a
record of uninterrupted success".
Map #10 of the Nicholson Collection is also used in the section that
describes the Capture and Taking Prisoner of
Josiah Kennedy on March 21, 1918, while serving with the 12th
Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. At that time the Germans were in the
early stages of their infamous March 1918 Offensive and Kennedy was
encircled and captured, along with many others.