28 June 1917
Capture of Avion Trench - Part I

A Centennial Action – Part I

Map of the Souchez-Avion Sector, where the Canadians and British advanced along the Souchez River, 28-29 June 1917. Credit: Nicholson, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919, p. 280.

Late in June 1917, as the 46th British Division attacked, German forces holding the Souchez River defences began falling back. The month-long battering by Canadian trench raids had taken their toll on the enemy, now facing a renewed attack. Sensing a weakening line, the 3rd and 4th Canadian Divisions immediately advanced to maintain contact with the enemy. Then on 28 June 1917, at 2:30 a.m., the British attacked to the north of the Souchez while the Canadian Corps attacked along the south, with the 3rd and 4th Cdn. Div. securing Avion Trench by daybreak. From the 85th (Nova Scotia Highlanders) Battalion, a patrol had reached Eleu dit Leauvette, a hamlet occupying the crossroads to Arras and Givenchy. A pause during daylight allowed the Canadians to muster for the second phase of the attack that evening.