Excerpts of Sidney Thomas Hampson's diary:
Jan 11, 1915
Enlisted Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan with the 46th Battalion.
Trained at Camp Sewell, Manitoba.
Jul 1, 1915
By train to Montreal via Smiths Falls on.
Jul 7, 1915
Boarded ship, stopover at Louisberg.
Jul 15, 1915
Arrive at Plymouth.
By train to Shorncliffe and transferred to 32nd Battalion.
Sept 4, 1915
Transfer to 10th Battalion, D Coy.
Arrive in France near Hill 63 (near the River Douve).
War Diary mentions "New Year's Eve was highlighted by the enemy's attempt to fraternize, shouting across friendly greetings but soon stopped on receiving no reply."
10th Batt. conducted 2 March diversionary attack supporting British Army main offensive on the Bluff, north bank of Ypres-Comines Canal. Later letters list Percy Whitney as Sid's friend who won the MM here in the same Company.
Apr 7, 1916
10th Batt moved to Hill 60 between Ypres & Comines.
June 13, 1916
War Diary lists this time period after this date as "perhaps the worst experience of the Battalion" in the entire war.
June 2nd opened with a terrific German bombardment and a major German attack near Mont Sorrel, Hill 61, Tor Top, and Observatory Ridge. Loss of this ridge would give the enemy command of the Ypres salient. The 10th Batt. responded counterattacking with 7th Batt. on Mont Sorrel through Armagh Wood to support the 3rd Div who lost the ground. Both Battalions were "cut to ribbons". Many were killed by friendly British artillery rushing to support the Canadians. 10th's casualties in these few days were 274 killed or wounded of the strength at the time of 959. Whitney's exploits mentioned in war diary which led to renewed German bombardment.
War Diary lists the 10th Batt. marching via Candas and Montrelet, to the assist at the Battle of the Somme on Aug 28th and called in the diary "the slaughterhouse". They had just received their new "10th Canadians" cap badge and collar markings. Their trenches lay near La Boiselle and the Chalk Pitts, three miles north of Albert. "Around the clock shelling was routine" in the hell that was the Somme, and the casualties were appalling. Men "literally disappeared from the face of the earth in this witch's cauldron of high explosive and mud". "The men marched in over shell swept roads; waiting patiently in the shelled trenches; they advanced a few hundred yards in limited objective attacks, with barrages in front of them; if fortunate they held their position with heavy casualties; if not, they came back-or such as remained-to their jumping-off trench and had still heavier losses; and they returned to rest billets a shadow of their former selves."
September - November 1916
The 10th sustained no fewer than 4 heavy German attacks, the final one coming as close as 35 yards before being broken up. Heavy shelling along with this caused casualties. On Sep 25th, in a major offensive all across the Somme, the 10th attacked Thiepval Ridge between Thiepval and Courcelette. The Battalion fought effectively in spite of heavy losses and extensive disorganization. 417 casualties were sustained by the 10th Batt. in these actions on the Somme.
They then marched to a place called Vimy on Nov 6th.
The winter of 1916-17 was the worst in 21 years.
April 9, 1917
On the morning of the battle, 5:30 am, Apr 9th 1917, the 10th Batt. was on the left of the 1st Div. Led by the creeping artillery barrage, A Coy (Sid's), on the right, and D Coy, would form the first two waves, with B & C Coy's in the 2nd waves. Twenty yard separated the first two waves while 100 yards separated the follow up waves. Their front was a mere 480 yards wide. Their first objective was the German, the Black Line, encompassed the German forward defensive zone, a triple line of trenches, within 750 yards of the Canadian front line. The second objective, the Red Line, included the enemy's intermediate defences, just below the crest of the ridge. The 10th Batt. was to complete its part in this epic battle in barely an hour and a half. This area had the largest craters of any sector at Vimy. Most casualties were suffered by the first waves in the first 15 min of the assault, and by 9 am, approximately 3 of 4 men in these waves were casualties. By 6:10 am, the 10th had overrun the first German positions. By early afternoon, a few members of the 10th wandered up to the crest of the ridge. D. Coy's Sgt. Maj. Scriven stated, "You could look right down for miles, into a beautiful, fertile plain ahead of you—the Douai plain— and that's where we saw all the German army just moving out. It was the most magnificent sight you ever saw: horses rushing in, hooking up to the guns, tearing off across the fields to get out of there." The Battalion had suffered 374 casualties this day. 2 days later, its strength listed only 16 officers and 372 other ranks. More than half were killed, wounded, or missing.
April - July 1917
After Vimy, the 10th spent some time in the area of Mont St Eloi in reserve and rest.
On May 1st, their entire band was killed or wounded with one long range German shell in this area, and total casualties were 53. The unit alternated their time between Neuville Saint-Vaast and Mont St Eloi.
On Jul 13th they marched out north to Cauchin Legal in the coal mining center of Lens.
August 15, 1917
The 10th attacked Hill 70 ending the battle in the Chalk Quarry, a ferocious battle which took many lives. They also suffered 3 dozen gas casualties while marching to reserves afterwards. Hill 70 was one of the most outstanding performances in the 10th's history. They netted 225 prisoners, twenty six machine guns, one VC, three DSO's, seven MC's, nine DCM's, and sixty MM's, gaining the distinction of winning more medals than any other Canadian combat unit acquired in any single action during the war.
Oct 1917 - August 1918
The 10th was engaged in the Battle of Passchendaele and Hill 52, which was described as "a useless waste of life".
March 12, 1918
At Hill 70, Sid took part in a raiding party at night and his party was gassed by the Germans. They returned and he was sent to the rear for treatment.
In June, the 10th marched to Arras where they were involved upgrading trenches and went into the front lines here on Jul 13th. Intensive patrolling took place with nightly raids in latter July. On the 26th July, while on a night raid, Sid Hampson was shot through the left shoulder by friendly fire returning to his own lines.