8-9 June 2017
Battalion Strength Raids

Map of the Souchez-Avion Sector, where the Battalions attacked on the night of 8-9 June 1917. Credit: Nicholson, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919, p. 280.

A Centennial Action

In early June 1917, Canadian troops carried out massive raids involving multiple battalions to divert the enemy’s attention from Messines Ridge. On the night of June 8-9, six Battalions struck out on a two-mile front, from the southern railway embankment leading into Avion to the north side of the Souchez River. The Royal Canadian Regiment, 42nd (Royal Highlanders), 49th (Edmonton), 87th (Canadian Grenadier Guards), 75th (Mississauga) and 102nd (Northern British Columbia) Battalions left approximately 1,000 enemy casualties in their wake. The effectiveness of the raid was not lost on General Plumer, commander of the Second Army which had launched its attack on Messines Ridge just the day before. In a message to the Canadians, General Plumer stated: “Hope you will let the troops concerned know how much I appreciate their efforts. Your raids last night must have been splendid.”

Subjected to numerous raids by the Canadians in June 1917, little remained of the hamlet La Coulotte once finally taken.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001694.
3. The damage surrounding this German concrete gun pit at La Coulotte indicates the battering that could be endured.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001740.