Percival Charles Trendell

Eventually, Trendell saw the capture of the Pimple when a fresh brigade joined the fight.

In a detailed war diary, Percival Charles Trendell of Toronto described the attack on Vimy Ridge. “At zero hour the brigade machine guns opened first, followed a second later by the artillery, all of it, light medium heavy,” wrote the private with the 38th Battalion. “I am sure it was the greatest concentration of artillery fire that I ever witnessed.”

Trendell watched the Allies and Germans fight on the Pimple through his field glasses until the Allies had to withdraw from the summit. “At that range it was impossible to give fire support in such close combat—it was the first hand to hand fighting I had seen.”

Eventually, Trendell saw the capture of the Pimple when a fresh brigade joined the fight. “There has always been question as to why we did not exploit the success immediately, but the fact was that to do this it was necessary to get the supporting artillery forward, and the Zouave Valley and the Ridge were impassable except for the infantry,” he wrote.

“We were relieved on the 13th, and for the men forward, it had been a particularly hard time, lying in the mud for five days after the attack, without any warmth and no food but hard dry rations. Our salvation was the ample rum supply.”

Trendell returned to Ottawa in April 1919 and spent one last night with the men in his battalion. “The officers stayed at the Chateau Laurier, and we held our last unit mess dinner there the following day,” he wrote. “The following day we were demobbed, and the unit disappeared as though it never existed.”

Trendell was born in London, England in 1897 and came to Canada in 1913. He also served in the Second World War with the Control Commission of Germany.

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