April 20, 1883 - July 5, 1916
|The following account was transcribed from the War Diaries of the 8th Battalion of Canadian Infantry that are located in the National Archives of Canada (microfilm T10711, pages 55 through 58). This action seems to be the only one in which that particular battalion, the one to which Edward served, was involved in on the day he died. While he is not named in the document (only officers are), there was one soldier reported missing and presumed killed. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Edward Pilon's name is incribed, along with tens of thousands of other British and Commonwealth soldiers' names, on the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium. This memorial, erected by Great Britain, honours those who fell in the defence of the Ypres Salient and who have no known grave, but were reported "missing and presumed killed". As Edward Pilon's name is there, this was undoutdedly his fate and so the raid detailed below is more than likely the one in which Edward Pilon made the supreme sacrifice.
|View a map of Belgium locating Ypres
|View a map of the location of the Canadian Corps near Ypres during the summer of 1916
|Scouts were sent out to ascertain the damage done to German wire by
bombardment and they are unable to reach wire being driven back by rifle fire and grenades but state "wire appears to be little damaged."
|This state of affairs is rather discouraging as the attack is to be called for 2:30 a.m. 3/4 July.
|Our scouts at AP report all very quiet.
|The Germans commence to shell Mt. Sorel and the valley with some heavies but do no damage to us.
|Our artillery reply to this and a message from Capt Wingood states our 18 pdrs are bursting shrapnel over Armagh Wood. This matter is reported to FOO who states - It cannot be our 18 pdrs - It must be 4.5 Howitzers - This repeated shelling of our own positions is very discouraging to our own troops and especially when so persistent.
|The bombardment commences and our guns make better shooting.
bombardment is continued for 15 minutes and ceases at 10:15.
|Our reports re condition of wire reached Brigade and Capt. McKenzie come up and is informed of the conditions of wire and then proceeds to front line.
|We receive orders from Brigade that operations are postponed for 24
|Our heavies and field artillery commence a deliberate bombardment which is kept up till 9 a.m. With this exception the night was fairly quiet, our artillery not doing much heavy or concentrated shelling.
|All fairly quiet - the weather is good and no rain with exception of
early morning shower.
|The AC calls a meeting of all officers to again discuss the operations for tonight. It was decided that D Coy under Capt Fiske would attack as previously arranged and minor details were gone into very thoroughly - Our artillery have been bombarding enemy lines and cutting wire in a casual manner.
|Our AP reports minnenwafers are being thrown into Mt. Sorel area and also that our artillery which has been shelling enemy wire are making fair progress.
|The enemy shell Armagh Wood heavily with 4.1 and 5.9. The FOO asks if we want retaliation and as no harm was being done we replied no. Our AP reports wire on our right is being fairly well destroyed in places but no results have as yet been obtained on our left front. As the artillery have tapped onto our O.P. wire our communications have been somewhat delayed.
|Our AP report: "At point 100 right of CANADA TRENCH wire cut for about 10 yards and further to right in small places - on the left still good."
|Capt. Raddall hand in report on the general situation showing condition of wire and Major Bedson at once leaves for Brigade.
|Report received by phone from our AP "Wire Canada . to TUBE (which was light) now appears mostly cut. From point 100 right of CANADA STREET the wire is cut in number of places."
|AP report conditon of wire unchanged.
|We find artillery observers again using our wire to our AP. This again hinders our reports coming in promptly. This we find to be the GP Battery.
|AP reports "Enemy wire to right of SAP 5. has numerous gaps but not totally demolished. Artillery now shooting 60 to left of SAP 5.
|A slight rain makes observation rather difficult. We then receive a phone call from artillery observer (Higginson) asking if it is necessary to cut all wire for 60 left of SAP 5 cut? Answered yes - it is most important.
|AP report - artillery still working on left of SAP 5 but little damage is being done.
|We hear the FOO (now our own) ask his observer if he has observed any of the shots fired by the battery (VGO - by) - apparently he had not done so as the battery commander phones "I am not going to fire any more but you will stand by for further orders."
|AP report - "Wire still good on left of SAP 5- artillery getting a few hits but little firing being done. Artillery ceases all firing and eveything quiet - for a short time.
|Our heavy artillery again open fire and fire short into rear of trench 50. The FOO advised at once. She replies it must be field guns - apparently this was correct as our heavies were not firing at this time and our AP mistook one or two German munnenwafers for our heavies. - Brigade were again advised of the condition of things also re the bad shooting fo the artillery - 18 prds.
|AP reports wire on left of SAP 5 still intact.
|AP reports wire on left of SAP 5 now shows signs of being cut - but still good.
|The enemy appear to be working in their trenches opposite SAP 5 and to the left apparently cleaning trenches of debris and they can be seen throwing out earth.
|We receive instructions that under the circumstances and general situation the assault will be postponed. Major Bedson at once issues orders for companies to be changed around. D Coy to be taken out of front line and when this is fairly under way orders are received to carry out a minor operation in place of the attack. Under such conditions there is a certain amount of confusion owing to orders being issued and coutermanded.
|Major Bedson at once issued orders detailing D Coy to make the raid. The 7th Bn bombing platoon from their Coy in support is ordered to relieve our bombers in the front line but this has to be cancelled also - as the men were expecting to make the attack the previous night and having it cancelled and so many instructions which were issued to be cancelled - it was very trying on them as well as the Coy officers.
|At 12:10 The orders giving particulars and details for Capt Fiske were ready and were at once sent out by runner with all speed - The companies were in the middle of their reliefs and Capt Fiske only received orders at 1:05 a.m.
|The companies were at once placed in their former positions and parties
detailed at once for the raid - The night was quiet and we were in no way bothered with German activity the latter seemingly to have no great amount of artillery and if so it was very inactive. The raid was planned and all men detailed very hastily. The NCOs doing splendid work in assisting Capt. Fiske, who also had Lt. Colt with him and every man was keen to be detailed for the work.
|The AP report that the Dive Artillery open fire on Mr. Sorel as arranged and
|also that our machine guns are firing
|AP reports no German retaliation whatever.
|German guns retaliate feebly. The Huns send up a red rocket which breaks
into 2 lights upon which the Hun artillery increases its fire using mostly whiz
|German artillery increases in activity - The Armagh Wood area receiving
particular attention - The shells are larger but do no harm.
|The AP reports a little rifle fire followed by a few bombs and at 3:02 all quiet on the front again
|The morning is fairly misty and the AP reports everything pratically normal. The raid should have been started at 2:45 but owing to the many changes they were delayed.
|We asked Capt Raddall for report but he states -nothing to report at present.
|Bn. HQ receive attention from Huns with a naval gun but no hits were made.
|GIO (9th By) ask if we want retaliation but as no damage was done we reply No.
|The wires have now been repaired and we are once more in touch with front line - The visual signalling worked splendidly - Lt Candy having arranged a code and we were kept in touch with front line most of the time - a light was used with equal success at night. Several wounded men were taken out by the stretcher bearers from the 16th Can. Inf. Bn. These fellows worked splendidly and undoubtedly were means of saving the wounded men much suffering.
|They were detailed as a fatigue party and did all in their power to help the men who had been hit. Our AP reports all quiet - This report is promptly followed by another stating a great deal of machine gun and rapid rifle fire and bombing.
|Our party had gone over the parapet and proceeded in three groups - they came upon a large crater heavily manned with Germans which they bombed causing many casualties - This crater was about 12 feet deep and 15 yards long and had a firing step to enable men to fire and throw bombs from under this firing step were several dug outs - The Germans fired many grenades but inflicted very few casualties. Pte Mc.. stating he threw several of their own bombs which landed close to him back causing casualties to the Huns - The Huns retreated along a sap to their own front line and several were killed while so doing - Our men were unable to take any prisoners. This raid was carried out in day light and our casualties were 2 killed, 6 wounded slightly and one missing - the missing man was not found and is supposed to have been killed.
|The FOO asks if we want any artillery fire but as our men were not in and as no report had reached us we decided it was unnecessary and not needed.
|Bombing and firing is dying down - our AP reports.
|AP reports - Our men seem to be bombing down to the right and also
front Trench 48.
|AP reports all quiet - no firing of any kind or bombing.
|Capt Raddall unable to give us any particulars.
|From now on till 6:15 when we receive our first report all is very quiet.
|When the raid was over all the officers and men were absolutely exhausted
having had little or no sleep for 48 hours and the spirit shown by all was
marvellous - Capt Fiske and Lt Richardson who had worked without rest were sent out to the camp by ambulance - much against their will. All morning and afternoon there was no activity of any kind and as we were expecting our relief to arrive things looked well for a speedy relief.