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Sunday, April 12

Bloody Easter: Vimy Ridge

A view over the crest of Vimy Ridge showing the village of Vimy, captured by Canadian troops April 1917 (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/PA-1446).
Canadian machine gunners dig themselves into shell holes on Vimy Ridge, France, April 1917 (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/PA-1017).

On Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, at 5:30 am, the deafening roar of 800 guns rebounded over Vimy Ridge in northeastern France. The Ridge had fallen to the Germans in October 1914, and all efforts by the Allies to retake it had been in vain.

Private Lewis Duncan, in a letter to his aunt, stated, The Ridge in front was wreathed in flames as the shells burst."

It was a barrage that was unprecidented in the history of war. Over one million rounds of ammunition was fried--most of them with deadly accuracy. A new type of shell, equipped with fuses that ignited on contact ripped the barbed wire apart and allowed access that until that point had been denied.

My mother's cousins fought at Vimy Ridge. Their names were Tollhurst and they were in the same platoon. One brother was wounded and was carried out by the other. Once he had gotten medical attention for his wounded brother, he returned to the Front, where he died for his country.

On this, the anniversary, of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, I pay tribute to the infantrymen who came from every corner of Canada to take the strongest fortress on the Western Front. These young men fought as "Canadians," not as part of the British Empire. Many gave the ultimate sacrifice, while others came home maimed and broken, both mentally and physically. Still others suffered their entire lives from the effects of mustard gas.

If you would like to learn more about the Battle of Vimy Ridge, click on the link. This is an important part of Canadian history.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this sweetie, very interesting.

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  2. Interesting article on the history of your country!

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  3. Very interesting Mary. You are a great historian!

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  4. mary...each visit to your blog enlightens me so. I thank you!
    ~AM

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  5. Our guys were amazing. We're a special breed up here.

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  6. Happy Easter dear Mary, one day late! lol I do hope you had a lovely weekend. It was busy here and seems I spent an awful lot of time in the kitchen but I enjoyed every minute of it:-)

    You are right, the battle of Vimy Ridge is indeed a very important part of our Canadian history. xoxo

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  7. There a lot of reason I visit your blog but one is what I learn about history.
    I real don't know that much of Canadian history and we are so close as country.

    Hope your day is going wonderful and the coffee is on.

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  8. Mary,

    The Vimy footage video is a treasure. Thanks for posting the link, it's interesting to learn history.

    I;ll have to finish reading tomorrow, right now a bad thunderstorm is popping up (again!) so I have to turn off the pc...:)

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