Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Vimy Ridge Day

April 9 – Vimy Ridge Day – has been a national day of remembrance in Canada since 2003. It commemorates the Battle of Vimy Ridge in World War I in which “Canadians from coast to coast fought in a battle together [for the first time] against a common enemy”. [1]

Vimy Ridge was “Canada's most celebrated military victory”. It took place 9 – 12 April 1917, 97 years ago. [2]

3,598 were killed in the Canadian Corps during those four days in April. [3] On the first day of battle, there were 7,707 casualties, making it “the single bloodiest day of the entire war for the Canadian Corps, and the bloodiest in all of Canadian military history”. [4]

I won’t pretend to say I know a lot about this important battle, because I don’t, but after reading a few articles, I wanted to post something on my blog as my way of remembering the sacrifice that Canadian soldiers made in those terrible days of the Great War.


Map of North Western Europe during First World War
(Canadian War Museum: The Battle of Vimy Ridge) 

Looking over crest of Vimy Ridge on Vimy Village
Looking over crest of Vimy Ridge on Vimy Village.
(Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-001290)

Canadians advancing through German wire entanglements Vimy Ridge
Canadians advancing through German wire entanglements - Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.
(Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/)

29th Infantry Batallion advancing over "No Man's Land" Vimy Ridge
29th Infantry Batallion advancing over "No Man's Land" through the German barbed wire and 
heavy fire during the Battle of Vimy Ridge
(Photographer: W.I. Castle/Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001020)

Bringing in our wounded Vimy Ridge April 1917
Bringing in our wounded. - Vimy Ridge. April, 1917
(Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/)

To learn more about the Battle of Vimy Ridge, see the following online resources:

• Canada at War: Battle of Vimy Ridge, April 1917   

• Canadian War Museum: The Battle of Vimy Ridge, 9-12 April 1917 

• The Canadian Encyclopedia: Vimy Ridge  

• Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Battle of Vimy Ridge 

Sources:

1. “Vimy Ridge Day Act S.C. 2003, c. 6”, Justice Laws Website (http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/AnnualStatutes/2003_6/page-1.html : accessed 5 April 2014).

2. Richard Foot, “Vimy Ridge”, The Canadian Encyclopedia (http://thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/vimy-ridge/ : accessed 5 April 2014).

3. Tim Cook, Shock Troops: Canadians Fighting the Great War 1917-1918, 2 vols. (Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2008) 2: 142.

4. Cook, Shock Troops, 2: 143-144.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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