Standing on land granted by France to the Canadian people, the Vimy Ridge Canadian War Memorial overlooks the Douai Plain from the highest point on the ridge, and towers over the site of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, fought from April 9-12 1917, an engagement that Canadians remember with more pride than any other World War 1 operation. This incredible monument was designed by one of Canada’s most well-known sculptors, Walter Allward. He began work in 1925 and completed it 11 years later at a cost of $1.5 million. Twenty figures can be seen representing faith, justice, peace, honour, charity, truth, knowledge, and hope. The walls of the memorial are inscribed with the names of the 11,285 Canadians who were killed on French soil and have no known graves. Think about that for a minute…
My friends Barry Canning, Lloyd Reid and I visited Vimy Ridge as part of a trip to Northern France to pay our respect to the war dead of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont-Hamel about 40 kilometers away. Obviously, Newfoundland wasn’t a part of Canada during the First World War and wouldn’t be until 1949, but as Newfoundlanders we were just as moved by the contributions of the Canadian Forces as we were by the sacrifices made by the RNR. We were also happy to see a busload of British high school students visiting the memorial with their teachers. The park is nearly 100 hectares of parkland, preserved trenches and cemeteries, meticulously maintained, scenic, awe-inspiring and able to stir deep emotions in the visitor.
Shot with a Nikon DSLR and iPhone 5, 3-5pm on July 10, 2013.
To the valour of their countrymen in the Great War and in memory of their sixty thousand dead this monument is raised by the people of Canada.
– Inscription on Monument.
Please attend the the Remembrance Day Parade on November 11, and if you’re in Newfoundland, the Memorial Day Parade on July 1, lest we forget.