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Vimy Ridge

Today in Canada, newspapers are recalling April 9th 1917 when four Canadian divisions and one British brigade captured Vimy Ridge during the Battle of Arras in the First World War.

Vimy was the first time Canadians had been given the central role in a battle - and they were not expected to succeed.

The Germans had repelled all previous efforts to take the ridge.

The Canadians saw Vimy as a problem to be solved by technical and tactical innovation, meticulous planning and extensive training.

Taking the ridge was vital to Allied success and ending the war, and the four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, fighting together for the first time as a unit, succeeded brilliantly. In that awful conflict Vimy Ridge stands as a rare example of an operation marked by intelligence and organisation.

The Canadian Corps suffered almost four thousand killed. Four soldiers were later awarded the Victoria Cross:

Private William Johnstone Milne of the 16th (Canadian Scottish) Battalion
Lance-Sergeant Ellis Wellwood Sifton of the 18th (Western Ontario) Battalion
Private John George Pattison of the 50th (Calgary) Battalion
Captain Thain Wendell MacDowell of the 38th (Ottawa) Battalion.

f_vimy_ridge_memorial.jpg

Image: Cam / WIKI

The Vimy Ridge Memorial commemorates the 56,639 Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War, including 11,285 soldiers missing or presumed dead in France who have no known resting place.

Canadians say they became a nation here, on this ridge in France.

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