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News - Miscellaneous - 8 Apr 2021

News Item 3 of 355 

Miscellaneous: 8 Apr 2021
VIMY RIDGE DAY - April 9th

Battle of Vimy Ridge

The Battle of Vimy Ridge began at 5:30 a.m. on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917. The first wave of 15,000-20,000 Canadian soldiers, many heavily laden with equipment, attacked through the wind-driven snow and sleet into the face of deadly machine gun fire.

The Canadians advanced behind a “creeping barrage.” This precise line of intense Allied artillery fire moved ahead at a set rate and was timed to the minute. The Canadian infantrymen followed the line of explosions closely. This allowed them to capture German positions in the critical moments after the barrage moved on to the next targets but before the enemy soldiers could emerge from the safety of their underground bunkers.

Sacrifice
The Battle of Vimy Ridge proved to be a great success, but it only came at a heavy cost. The some 100,000 Canadians who served there suffered more than 10,600 casualties, nearly 3,600 of which were fatal. By the end of the First World War, Canada, a country of less than eight million people, would see more than 650,000 men and women serve in uniform. The conflict took a huge toll with more than 66,000 Canadians losing their lives and over 170,000 being wounded.

The Legacy
At Vimy Ridge, regiments from coast to coast saw action together in a distinctly Canadian triumph, helping create a new and stronger sense of national identity in our country. Canada’s military achievements during the war raised our international stature and helped earn us a separate signature on the Treaty of Versailles that formally ended the war.

Today, on land granted to Canada for all time by a grateful France, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial sits atop Hill 145, rising above the now quiet countryside. This great monument is inscribed with the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who were listed as “missing, presumed dead” in France during the First World War. It stands as a tribute to all who served our country in the conflict and paid a price to help ensure the peace and freedom we enjoy today.

VETERANS AFFAIRS CANADA


VAC/jm
 

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