Battle of Passchendaele, Oct 26 - Nov 10
In April 1917 the Canadian Corps of 100,000 men took Vimy Ridge at a cost of 3,598 killed and another 7,000 wounded. Twenty-four Norfolk men were killed in the battle and another 300 were wounded. In August, they had moved north to attack Hill 70 which they successfully carried out employing their tactic of following a creeping barrage forward to the enemy. The Corps suffered another 10,000 casualties. Among them were twenty-nine Norfolk men who had been killed in the raging battle. The brutality of the fighting defied imagination. At the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Pte. Walter Low of Port Dover was the only Norfolk man whose body was never recovered. On Hill 70, the bodies of twenty Norfolk men were never found or identified.
During September, the Canadians maintained their front on Hill 70 and attempted to gain a foothold in the city of Lens. Louis West of Houghton and Walter French of Rockford Road were killed during this period. With the victories at Vimy Ridge and Hill 70, the Canadians were gaining a reputation as dogged fighters and the Germans were beginning to treat the appearance of the Canadian Corps on any part of the battlefield as a precursor to a major offensive. In early October, the boys of the Maple Leaf began assembling along a front that centred on the small village of Passchendaele.
Following the battle for Passchendaele, many of Norfolk's warriors who had talked us eloquently through the battles of Vimy and Hill 70 in their letters home, were either dead, lying wounded in a hospital bed or had stopped trying to tell the folks back home about the war. The number of letters home during that last part of 1917 had been reduced to a trickle. It became more of a job - a matter of putting one foot ahead of the other and not caring what tomorrow brought. Everyone agreed on one thing. The battle field at Passchendaele was the worst they had ever encountered. The British, Australians and New Zealanders have been fighting over this worthless patch of land for over seven months and now constant rain had turned it into a quagmire. The conditions of the battlefield were appalling. Tim Cook wrote: "The horrific pervasiveness of quicksand like mud and unburied corpses brought to mind Dante's images of hell."
Employing the same tactics that won the day at Vimy and Hill 70, the Canadians began a series of attacks on October 26. The main attack was led by the 3rd and 4th Divisions with their predominance of Western