Ceremonies in Canada and France mark 95 years since the battle of Vimy Ridge - Macleans.ca

Ceremonies in Canada and France mark 95 years since the battle of Vimy Ridge


Five thousand Canadians are expected today in France for the ceremonies marking the 95th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge in the First World War. Governor General David Johnston and Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney are in France today to participate in the ceremonies at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, near Vimy in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of northern France.

Coincidentally on an Easter Monday, April 9 1917, all  four divisions of the Canadian Corps, fighting side by side for the first time, stormed Vimy Ridge to roll out a victorious four-day battle that ended up costing more than 3,500 lives and thousands of others wounded.

“The lessons of the First World War are many, and we must always remember the enormous sacrifice of Canadians who served and fell in the fields of France and Belgium,” said the Governor General in a statement.

Other ceremonies marking the anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge will all also be held in Toronto and Ottawa today.



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Ceremonies in Canada and France mark 95 years since the battle of Vimy Ridge

    • Technically, Beaumont Hamel wasn’t a Canadian victory– if you could call it that– because Newfoundland didn’t join the Confederation until 1949. From 1929 to 1939, it was an independent dominion of the British Commonwealth, until it surrendered its independence to Great Britain on the eve of World War II. 

      However, you’re right about one thing: we should recognize Newfoundland’s contributions in World War I, because they probably suffered more casualties in proportion to their population than any other province. 

      • As a NLer, I’m well aware of my province’s history. And no, it was no victory; it was a tragedy. That makes it no less worthy of remembrance.

        Lots of pre-Confederation history is recognized as “Canadian”. Think War of 1812, for example. It is a very important part of NL history – and as NL is now a Canadian province, its history is Canadian history.

  1. They made us proud.  May they rest in peace, and may all Canada’s sons fight with this kind of bravery and cunning when our country calls.

  2. It was because of the battle of Vimy Ridge that Gen. Arthur William Currie was considered the finest Allied general by the Germans. Probably the single most important achievement of this battle was that one of Currie’s officers, Capt. Andrew McNaughton, came up with the “rolling barrage,” which effectively neutralized the Germans’ artillery. 

    With the infantry advancing between artillery barrages, the Canadians actually managed to capture the Germans’ artillery and turn them on the fleeing Germans. 

    Vimy Ridge (along with Canadian victories at Paschendaele and Amiens) helped to turn the tide even before the Yanks arrived. 

    • Without taking anything away from Currie, who was one of the best commanders of that war, he was not in command of the Canadian Corps at Vimy.  That commands was held by Julian Byng. It was only after he was promoted to lead the 3rd army that Currie recieved command of the Corps. Currie was essential in his planning of the attack, but Byng’s leadership should not be overlooked in our attempts to make this an all-Canadian affair.