Yesterday, August 15, marked 102 years since Canadian soldiers fought at the Battle of Hill 70.
Noted as one of the major victories in 1917, it was also the first major battle fought by the Canadian Corps under the direction of a Canandian commander.
Carl Kletke, Assistant Heritage Officer, Directorate History and Heritage (DHH), Department of National Defence says it was an important battle in Canada’s military history in part because it contributed to building the reputation of the Canadian Corps as powerful and effective fighting force in the First World War.
“The battle was meticulously planned and the soldiers of the Canadian Corps fought bravely pushing the Germans from their position then resisted many counterattacks. It was also the first major battle in which the Canadian Corps was under command of Lieutenant-General Arthur Currie, a Canadian, and it helped confirm his abilities as an effective planner and leader,” says Kletke.
The Battle of Hill 70 took place from August 15, 1917, to August 25, 1917.
9,000 lives were lost at Hill 70, however the Canadians injured or killed an estimated 25,000 Germans.
Six Canadian soldiers won the Victoria Cross during the ten day battle. They are among only 96 Canadian recipients of the Victoria Cross since its introduction during the Crimean War in 1856.
In 2017, the Battle of Hill70 Memorial Park opened to the public in commemoration of the signifying victory of the Canadian Corps.
Kletke says memorials are important to help mark significant historical events and help focus our remembrance.
“In some instances, a memorial might make us pause to ask why that memorial is there. This question will in turn help ensure the remembrance of those for whom the memorial has been erected. The Hill 70 memorial will help those living in the area and visitors remember this important even in Canada’s military history,” says Kletke.
The park is located near the start line where the Corps began its charge to capture Hill 70.