Sergeant Major A. Jack’s note entitled “THE GAS ATTACK, 1st
“As to our disastrous gas attack (planned as a raid) on March 1, 1917, let me say that I was not in the attack, having been detailed for other duties by Major Lucas, my company commander. (Whether intentionally or not Major Lucas’s ordering Alec to other duties likely saved Alec’s life.*). Nor did I witness the truce incident. However, my recollection of the happening, as described to me at the time, is as follows:-Shortly after daybreak and following the cessation of the fighting an unarmed German officer emerged from their line trench and came toward our line-about 150 yards distant-under a flag of truce(I think a white flag). He called for a Canadian officer to meet and confer with him. We had no senior officer left in the front line and our representative must have been a very junior officer. Thus he must almost certainly have referred the proposal of truce, as made by the German officer, to Battalion HQ. Possibly it was General Watson who sanctioned the truce, I do not know.
I recall that Lieutenant Joe T. Smeeton was one officer who was concerned with the truce. He wore his revolver when he went out into No Man’s Land and was requested by the German to go back and disarm. It may have been Smeeton who actually met the German officer mentioned.
The truce having being arranged, a party of German soldiers, all fine big strapping fellows, obviously picked men(dressed in new clean uniforms*), went to work and carried our dead half-way across No Man’s Land where our men took over and packed them back to our lines. I do not recall whether or not the wounded were handled similarly.
I remember hearing an address given by a Staff Officer some days before March 1, 1917 and relating to the attack. He told us that the gas to be “sent over” was so effective that rifles, mortars, and forward field guns in the German area would be rendered useless (by instant corrosion or something of the kind) and of course there would be no opposition as the German garrison would all be dead. The battalions mission was to destroy dugouts and other installations, take identifications of the dead troops and then retire to our own line. We were pretty green, weren’t we?”