HISTORY

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought from 9 to 12 April 1917. Many consider it a turning point in Canadian history, where the four Canadian divisions fought together.

 

The Battle of Arras began on Easter Monday, 9 April 1917, and saw the four divisions of the Canadian Corps, fighting side by side for the first time. They scored a huge tactical victory in the capture of the 60 metre high Vimy Ridge.

After the war, the highest point of the ridge was chosen as the site of the great memorial to all Canadians who served their country in battle during the First World War, and particularly to the 54,000 who gave their lives in France and Belgium.

It also bears the names of 11,000 Canadian servicemen who died in France - many of them in the fight for Vimy Ridge - who have no known grave.

France granted Canada 107 hectares of land at Vimy, and sculptor Walter Seymour Allward was chosen to design the memorial. Work began in 1925 and was completed 11 years later.

The memorial was unveiled by King Edward VIII on 26 July 1936. More than 100,000 people attended the ceremony, including 6,000 Canadian veterans.

On 9 April 2017, a day of ceremonies was held at the memorial to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President François Hollande, Prince Charles and his sons Prince William and Prince Harry paid tribute to the fallen soldiers. Some 25,000 Canadians were also present. Wreaths were laid by Mr Trudeau, President Hollande and Prince Charles. Mr Trudeau said: “Canada was born here.”