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The Thin Blue Line

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Vimy Ridge

Here at Vimy Ridge is the Canadian National Memorial and Park which commemorates the 11,285 missing Canadians. The Memorial  stands on Hill 145 part of the ridge which cost 3,600 men following its attack on 9th April 1917. Prior to this the French had sustained 150,000 casualties in 1915. When the British arrived in 1916 the Germans attacked and and captured forward trenches along a 2km front. All operations were suspended until the following spring when the Canadians took the position.

For Canadians the taking of Vimy Ridge stands as a great feat of arms, an exceptional example of courage and sacrifice, and an important milestone in the development of their armies. Vimy has also become a place of remembrance dedicated to those soldiers who died in France and who have no known grave.

After two unsuccessful Allied attempts to dislodge the Germans from this heavily fortified height, the four Canadian divisions, fighting together for the first time, seized the ridge on 12th April 1917 after four days of intense fighting. Meticulous preparation, the use of advanced technology, teamwork, and the sacrifice of thousands of Canadian lives produced this remarkable result. It was an important turning point for Canada in the war.

A site of victory but also of death, Vimy is a place of remembrance marked by the towering work of Canadian sculptor Walter S. Allward. His distinctively modernistic design poses grieving figures against two pillars of limestone quarried  at Tras. Inscribed on the monument are the names and ranks of the 11,285 missing Canadians in France during the Great War. This memorial park, the legacy of an agreement between France and Canada, honours those soldiers and ensures that their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Government of Canada