The Importance of Vimy Ridge

Canadians will pause on April 9 to commemorate the Battle of Vimy Ridge, an important WWI fight that saw the country step out from under the wing of Great Britain.

In fact, some say this battle made Canada as a country. Those from coast to coast volunteered to take part in the fighting.  

It was one of the biggest wars in modern history and pit Britain, France, Russia and the U.S. against Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.

Canada’s participation in the war came about through Britain, who was still in charge of the country’s external affairs, according to the Veteran Canada website

When it was announced that Canada would take part, thousands rushed to join the action.

The Battle began on Easter Monday in 1917 but it was not the first time the Allies had attempted to capture the area. In both 1914 and 1915 there were failed attempts to wipe the Germans from the Northern France site.

One of the most notable facts of the Battle is that it was the first time that the four division of the Canadian Corps fought together. The move took months of planning and preparation. It took about four days before the Germans retreated and the Battle was declared over.

Though the victory was celebrated, there was great loss. More than 10,000 were killed or wounded in the Battle, according to the Canadian War Museum article on Vimy Ridge.

There now stands a monument on Hill 145 with the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who were missing and presumed dead.

This year there will be 20 students from across the county that will take a pilgrimage to Vimy Ridge during April 2-10. There will be a visit to the major First World War sites to learn more about Canada’s role in WWI and the Battle of Vimy Ridge in particular. The trip will be fully paid by the Vimy Foundation, a charity that was created in 2006.

Here on Canadian soil there will be a commemorative ceremony in Ottawa on April 9 beginning at 3 p.m. EST. Check your local television listings to see when it will be broadcast in your area.

*Photo courtesy of Veteran Affairs Canada


Written By Chandra Lye




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