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219th Battalion 1916 -1918 Based in Aldershot, Nova Scotia, the 219 Battalion began recruiting in early 1916 throughout Nova Scotia. Sailing from Halifax on October 13, 1916, to England on RMS Olympic, the battalion arrived in Liverpool England on October 19th and was based at Witney Camp and then Camp Bramshott. Bramshott Military Camp, often simplified to Camp Bramshott, was a temporary army camp set up on Bramshott Common, Surrey, England during both the First and Second World Wars. Camp Bramshott was one of three three facilities in the Aldershot Command area established by the Canadian Army; the others being Bordon and Witley. The 219th battalion was absorbed into the 17th Reserve Battalion on January 23, 1917, and a number of men were transferred to the 85th Battalion. The 85th Battalion departed Witney Camp on February 10, 1917 for Folkstone in Kent for departure to France on the SS London at 10:30 am the same day. The 85th Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders) was one of the four battalions assigned to the 12th Brigade, part of the 4th Canadian Division that joined the Canadian Corps in October 1916. The Division served in France and Flanders thereafter until the Armistice. The Division participated in the assault on Vimy Ridge, and took the left flank of the Canadian Corps on April 9, 1917. Fighting on the 4th Division front led to heavy casualties, and some German positions managed to hold out from the 4th Division for three days. The Division participated in the battle of Hill 70 in Aug 1917 with Passchendaele following in mid-October, and into November. The 4th Division, including the 85th Battalion engaged in the battle of Amiens between the 8th and 11th of August 1918. On the morning of August 8th the battle began in dense fog at 4:20 am. In the first phase, the British 18th (Eastern) and 58th (2/1st London), the Australian 2nd and 3rd, and the Canadian 1st, 2nd and 3rd Divisions advanced against the German lines. Parts of the American 33rd Division supported the British attackers north of the Somme. The attackers captured the first German position, advancing about 3 km In the centre, supporting units following the leading divisions attacked the second objective a further 3 km. Australian units reached their first objectives by 7:10 am, and by 8:20 am, the Australian 4th and 5th and the Canadian 4th Divisions passed through the initial breach in the German lines. The third phase of the attack was assigned to infantry-carrying Mark V tanks. However, the infantry was able to carry out this final step unaided. The Allies penetrated well to the rear of the German defences and cavalry now continued the advance, one brigade in the Australian sector and two cavalry divisions in the Canadian sector. RAF and armoured car fire kept the retreating Germans from rallying. The Canadian and Australian forces in the center advanced quickly, pushing the line 4.8 km forward from its starting point by 11:00 am. A gap 24 km long was punched in the German line south of the Somme by the end of the day. The British Fourth Army took 13,000 prisoners while the French captured a further 3,000. Total German losses were estimated to be 30,000 on 8 August. The Fourth Army's casualties, British, Australian and Canadian infantry, were approximately 8,800, exclusive of tank and air losses and those of their French allies. The German general Erich Ludendorff described the first day of Amiens as the "Schwarzer Tag des deutschen Heeres" ("the black day of the German Army"), because the morale of the German troops had sunk to the point where large numbers of troops began to capitulate. The Allied forces pushed, on average, 11 km into enemy territory by the end of the day. The Canadians gained 13 km, Australians 11 km, British 23.2 km, and the French 8.0 km. The Battle of Amiens was the beginning of the last 100 days of World War I.
219th Battalion 1916 -1918