Monday, March 30, 2015

The Battle of Moreuil Wood, 97 Years Ago

March 30th, 1918, was a dreary day in Picardy, France. The Canadian Cavalry Brigade was mounted and on the move, having bivouacked at Guyencourt. They crossed the Noye River, and at a high point of land were directed to Moreuil Wood, across the River Avre, via Castel. Brigadier J E B Seely had led the way, setting up a command post at the northwestern corner of the Wood while under fire.

Men and horses were hungry and tired after nine days of running battles. The Royal Canadian Dragoons led the way from here down to Castel and up the opposite ridge to Moreuil Wood, visible on the horizon in the photo at right. 

This is Castel in 2008, 90 years after the Brigade--Dragoons, Lord Strathcona's Horse (RC), and Fort Garry Horse--made their way down this road and over the bridge in the background. 

On the right is the the famous painting by Alfred Munnings who was in France, having been commissioned to paint the Canadian cavalry in action. He didn't witness the battle, but Lord Strathcona's Horse obligingly restaged it for him later. Sergeant Tom Mackay, my father, related his version of the battle, which is covered in my novel "Soldier of the Horse".


Sincere Endeavour said...

Soldier of the Horse is such a fine read.

Robert Mackay said...

Thank you, Sincere Endeavour. It is in many ways a labour of love.

Post a Comment