Remembering Vimy Ridge

Key battle of World War I

We mark a key battle in Canadian military history today – The Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917.

Canadian soldiers fought through snow, sleet, and machine gun fire to seize the ridge. It was one of the Great War’s most decisive victories.

But there was also great loss. Nearly 3,600 Canadians were killed and more than 7,000 were wounded.

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence have issued the following statement:

“The Canadian assault began early on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, with the first wave of Canadians advancing behind a creeping barrage. While this artillery tactic provided some cover, our soldiers were still exposed to enemy machine gun fire. Fierce fighting ensued. The next day, the Canadian Corps captured the ridge’s main high point referred to as Hill 145. On April 12, 1917, they captured a secondary height known as “the Pimple” to end the fighting at Vimy and force a German retreat.”

Soil from Vimy Ridge was laid to rest in a dedicated memorial monument next to the cenotaph during the official opening of Memorial Square in downtown Barrie
Soil from Vimy Ridge was laid to rest in a dedicated memorial monument next to the cenotaph during the official opening of Memorial Square in downtown Barrie

“A grateful France granted Canada the land where the Canadian National Vimy Memorial now stands. Engraved on the memorial are the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers listed as “missing, presumed dead” in France during the First World War and whose final resting place is unknown.”

banner image via Flickr – 28th Battalion establishing a signal station at the Battle of Vimy Ridge