This week marks the 106th anniversary of one of the most prominent battles of the First World War: the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
The Battle, which took place from April 9-12, was the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought together in the War.
Every year, Canadians take a moment to honour the nearly 3,600 soldiers who lost their lives and more than 7,000 who were wounded on that fateful day.
“Many historians and writers consider the Canadian victory at Vimy a defining moment for Canada, when the country emerged from under the shadow of Britain and felt capable of greatness. Canadian troops also earned a reputation as formidable, effective troops because of the stunning success. But it was a victory at a terrible cost, with more than 10,000 killed and wounded,” writes Dr. Tim Cook for the Canadian War Museum.
A Turning Point
After careful planning and preparation, the Battle began in the early morning hours of April 9. Canadian soldiers gallantly climbed out from their trenches and stormed Vimy Ridge, an emery fortress many thought could never be taken. Over the course of four days, the Canadian Corps captured the entire ridge, achieving something not thought possible by other Allied countries.
Nearly 100,000 Canadians fought at the Battle of Vimy Ridge, with more than 10,600 suffering casualties.
Recognizing the Battle Years Later
“Four years after the end of the war, in 1922, France granted the use of a parcel of land on Vimy Ridge to the people of Canada for all time, in recognition of the valour and courage of our soldiers. Erected on the highest point of this former battlefield, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial serves as a towering and striking reminder of Canada’s sacrifice. It has also become a symbol of Canada’s commitment to upholding peace around the world, standing as a tribute to every Canadian who served their country in battle and risked or sacrificed their lives in the First World War. Carved on the walls of the monument are the names of the 11,285 Canadian soldiers who died in France and whose final resting place was then unknown,” stated the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau.
Vimy Ridge Day
To mark the anniversary this year, Vimy Ridge Day was held at the National Vimy Memorial in France on April 9. Also, a number of ceremonies were held throughout Canada to commemorate the day.
In 2017, the Directorate of History and Heritage at the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) released an e-book, Canada and the Battle of Vimy Ridge, 9-12 April 1917, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Battle_._ The free 149-page document details the Battle of Vimy Ridge and those who fought in it. Visit here to view the book.