April 5, 2017: For King And Canada

“Chaps, you shall go over exactly like a railroad train, on time, or you shall be annihilated.” – Canadian Corps commander Sir Julian Byng


11,285 names of Canadians who perished in France are carved on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial


Canadian Cemetery No. 2 is the final resting place for 3,000 First World War soldiers, including 370 Canadians killed at Vimy Ridge


April 9 marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Preceded by a week of relentless artillery barrage, at 5:30 AM on Easter Monday, the 15,000 strong, four divisions of the Canadian Corps attacked. By mid-afternoon, most of their objectives had been reached. On April 10, Hill 145 – the highest point on the 14 kilometre-long ridge – had fallen to the Canadians. On April 12, the 4th Canadian Division captured the Pimple at the northernmost limit of the Ridge. 


Towering over the Douai Plain from atop Hill 145, the figure of a heartbroken woman on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial represents Canada grieving for her war dead


“The whole Empire will rejoice at the news of yesterday's successful operations. Canada will be proud that the taking of the coveted Vimy Ridge has fallen to the lot of her troops. I heartily congratulate you and all who have taken part in this splendid achievement.” – King George V 


Vimy Ridge, France


The cost was staggering. Of the 10,602 casualties, 3,598 made the ultimate sacrifice. German casualties were estimated at 20,000. But victory did not put a halt to the carnage. From April 9 to May 16, 1917, British and German casualties from the Battle of Arras which included the Battle of Vimy Ridge, are estimated at 160,000 and 125,000 respectively.


Canadian National Vimy Memorial


Canadian National Vimy Memorial


“It was Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific on parade. I thought then, and I think today, that in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation.” – Brigadier General Alexander Ross


 Vimy Ridge, France


The Battle of Vimy Ridge caught the imagination of the Canadian public. It represented the moment we broke away from the yoke of empire and stood together, where soldiers from faraway regions of the country fought as a single entity and achieved their goal. 


Vimy Ridge, France


Some historians claim this event has been aggrandized, even mythologized; it was merely one battle among many First World War battles; in the grand scheme, it did little to end the war. But as I stood at the foot of Walter Seymour Allward’s commanding Vimy Memorial on land given forevermore by France to Canadians, I understood that today, the Battle of Vimy Ridge is so much more than a chapter in a history book, it exemplifies the virtue and honour we want to believe guide us as a nation. 


Canadian National Vimy Memorial


Canadian Cemetery No. 2, Vimy Ridge, France


• Photographs illustrating this edition of the Focal Point blog were taken on November 11, 2016, during the last ceremony before the centennial commemoration of the battle.  

• Information about the Battle of Vimy Ridge was researched in publications of Veterans Affairs Canada, The Canadian War Museum and The Canadian Encyclopedia.


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Carey Management Inc. and Wallace & Carey proudly support our military and veterans. Their selflessness and stoutheartedness remain sources of inspiration and pride. 


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