Canadian Army Commander attends Vimy 100 Commemoration in France
April 9, 2017 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk, Commander of the Canadian Army, along with Chief Warrant Officer Alain Guimond, Canadian Army Sergeant Major, attended the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, alongside Canadian Army personnel representing 58 Regiments with Vimy Battle Honours.
Thousands of people from around the world were in attendance at today’s Vimy Memorial, including members of the Royal Family, the Governor General of Canada, the Prime Minister of Canada, other dignitaries and military members from France, Canada, and other Commonwealth countries. The Canadian Armed Forces was also represented by General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, Lieutenant-General Michael Hood, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and Major-General Mike Rouleau, Commander of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command. Among other major events that took place in France over the weekend, were a military concert in Arras and a ceremony for the Hill 70 Monument in Loos-en-Gohelle.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge began on April 9, 1917, during the First World War, and is seen as a defining moment for Canada. It marked the first time that all four Divisions of the Canadian Corps fought together, and holds an important place in our military history.
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is significant to Canada as it stands as a tribute to all Canadians who served during the Great War. The names of the 11 285 Canadians who lost their lives in France during the First World War and who have no known grave are recorded on the monument’s base.
“It is with great pride that I stand here today, along with Chief Warrant Officer Alain Guimond, at the site of a momentous event that shaped the future of our Army and our nation. A century later, it is essential that we remember and honour the sacrifices and achievements of the brave Canadian soldiers who took Vimy Ridge.”
— Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk, Commander Canadian Army
Vimy Ridge is located in northern France, 175 kilometers north of Paris. It is a long, high feature that dominates the landscape. Germany had captured Vimy Ridge early in the war and transformed it into a strong defensive position.
On March 20, 1917, in preparation for the attack, the Allies launched an artillery barrage aimed at weakening enemy defences. Over 1 million rounds (50 000 tonnes) were dropped on enemy positions. Then on Easter Monday at 5:30 a.m., 20 000 Canadian soldiers attacked through sleet and snow facing deadly machine gun fire.
In the first waves of the assault, Canadian battalions suffered a great number of casualties, but the assault proceeded on schedule. Most of the heavily-defended ridge was captured by noon.
Though the victory at Vimy came swiftly, it came with a heavy cost. There were 10 602 Canadian casualties, of which 3 598 were fatal.
Four Canadians earned the Victoria Cross during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, with only one of them surviving the war.
- Canadian Army – 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge
- Veterans Affairs Canada – Canadian National Vimy Memorial
- Veterans Affairs Canada – The Battle of Vimy Ridge
- Canadian Army website
- Canadian Army on Facebook
- Canadian Army on Twitter
- Canadian Army on YouTube
- Canadian Army on Flickr
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