Canadian Army Commander attends commemoration events in France
August 23, 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, recently attended several commemoration events in France, including the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Hill 70, and the interment of an unknown Canadian soldier from the First World War.
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, lead the official Government of Canada delegation to France to mark the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid. The delegation included Lieutenant-General Wynnyk, Chief Warrant Officer Guimond, Veterans, representatives of Indigenous and Veterans’ associations, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian youth, parliamentarians and a contingent of the Canadian Armed Forces made up of units and branches involved in the raid. Commemorative events held between August 18 and 20 included an Indigenous Sunrise Ceremony, a vigil and ceremony at the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery in France, and a Signature Ceremony at the Square du Canada, followed by a wreath laying ceremony at monuments along the Esplanade of Dieppe Beach.
In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Hill 70, Lieutenant-General Wynnyk addressed guests at the opening of the Hill 70 Project’s memorial park at Loos-en-Gohelle, on August 22.
On August 23, Lieutenant-General Wynnyk attended a ceremony during which the remains of an unidentified soldier found near Thélus were buried in a cemetery, in Neuville-St.-Vaast.
“It was an honour for me to travel to France, with Chief Warrant Officer Guimond, to commemorate these key events from the First and Second World War. This year we celebrate who we are as a nation and it is important to remember that our country is defined by moments where Canadians served, sacrificed and succeeded. Further this year, we not only celebrate, but we renew our commitment to honour the sacrifices that were made and recognize the achievements of Canadian Armed Forces personnel.”
Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk, Commander, Canadian Army
The raid on Dieppe, France, took place on August 19, 1942. Alongside British and American allies, 4963 Canadians took part in this battle against the German forces. The unsuccessful raid resulted in more than 3350 casualties including 916 fatalities.
The Battle of Hill 70, which took place August 15-25, 1917, was the first major action fought by the Canadian Corps under a Canadian commander, Sir Arthur Currie, in the First World War. 2100 Canadians gave their lives in the battle; over 1300 of these have no known grave. The strategic high point of Hill 70 remained in Allied hands until the end of the war.
The name Hill 70 refers to the location’s height in metres above sea level.
In September 2012, the remains of a Canadian First World War soldier were found near Thélus, Pas de Calais, France. On March 24, 2017, an investigation concluded that remains could not be identified, as he was found without personal or unit identifiers. The soldier would have died between the end of October 1916 and the end of July 1917, the nine-month period of action at Vimy.
Department of National Defence
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