For King And Empire
The four divisions of the Canadian Corps were transferred to the Ypres Salient and tasked with making additional advances on Passchendaele. The Canadian Corps relieved II Anzac Corps on 18 October from their positions along the valley between Gravenstafel Ridge and the heights at Passchendaele. Interestingly, it was virtually the same front as had been occupied by the 1st Canadian Division back in April 1915. The Canadian Corps operation was to be executed in series of three attacks each with limited objectives, delivered at intervals of three or more days. As the Canadian Corps position was directly south of the inter-army boundary between British Fifth and Second Army, the British Fifth Army would mount subsidiary operations on the Canadian Corps' left flank while the I Anzac Corps would advance to protect the right flank. The execution dates of the phases were tentatively given as 26 October, 30 October and 6 November.
Canadian nurses helping the wounded.
The first stage began on the morning of 26 October. The 3rd Canadian Division was assigned the northern flank which included the sharply rising ground of the Bellevue spur. South of the Ravebeek creek, the 4th Canadian Division would take the Decline Copse which straddled the Ypres-Roulers railway. The 3rd Canadian Division captured the Wolf Copse and secured its objective line but was ultimately forced to drop a defensive flank to link up with the flanking division of the British Fifth Army. The 4th Canadian Division initially captured all its objectives, but gradually retreated from the Decline Copse due to German counterattacks and mis-communications between the Canadian and Australian units to the south.
The second stage began on 30 October and was intended to capture the position not captured during the previous stage and gain a base for the final assault on Passchendaele. The southern flank was to capture the strongly held Crest Farm while the northern flank was to capture the hamlet of Meetcheele aw well as the Goudberg area near the Canadian Corps' northern boundary. The southern flank quickly captured Crest Farm and begun sending patrols beyond its objective line and into Passchendaele itself. The northern flank was again met with exceptional German resistance. The 3rd Canadian Division captured Vapour Farm at the corps' boundary, Furst Farm to the west of Meetcheele and the crossroads at Meetcheele, but remained short of its objective line.
To permit time to facilitate inter-divisional reliefs, there was a planned seven day pause between the second and third stage. British Second Army was ordered to take over section of the British Fifth Army front adjoining the Canadian Corps, so that the central portion of the assault could proceed under a single command. Three consecutive rainless days between 3 and 5 November aided logistical preparations and reorganization of the troops for the next stage. The third stage began the morning of 6 November with the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions having taken over the front, relieving the 3rd and 4th Canadian Divisions respectively. Less than three hours after the start of the assault, many units had reached their final objective lines and the town of Passchendaele had been captured.
A final successful action to gain the remaining high ground north of the village in the vicinity of Hill 52 was launched 10 November. This attack on 10 November brought to an end the long drawn-out Third Battle of Ypres. The Second Battle of Passchendaele cost the Canadian Corps 15 654 casualties with over 4 000 dead, in 16 days of fighting.