100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge


Sunday, April 9, 2017

10:25 am Service Start  -  Memorial Square Cenotaph, Brampton City Hall

 
In the presence of the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the City of Brampton and the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 15, will be commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, with a Parade and Service.
 
The following roads will be closed on Sunday, April 9, 2017 from 9:30 am - 12 pm.
  • Main Street South from Queen Street to Clarence Street
  • Wellington Street West from George Street South to Chapel Street

 

The following roads will have rolling closures on Sunday, April 9, 2017 between 9:55 am - 10:15 am.

  • Theatre Lane from Union Street to Main Street North
  • Main Street North from Nelson Street to Queen Street


The following roads will have rolling closures on Sunday, April 9, 2017 between 11:30 am - 12 pm.

     • Wellington Street West from Main Street South to Chapel Street
​     ​​• Chapel Street from Welling Street West to Armstrong Street
     • Armstrong Street from Chapel Street to Mary Street
     • Mary Street from Armstrong Street to the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 15 entrance 
 

Please note that John Street and Beatty Avenue will be converted from one-way to two-way streets for the duration of the above closures.

To view the Road Closure map, please click here.
 

Five Brampton soldiers were killed at Vimy Ridge.


Corporal William Graham Bellas, 135099.

Born Brampton 1894, son of Thomas Bellas, compositor, enlisted in the 74th Battalion in Toronto, 21 July 1915, spent the winter at Exhibition Camp, went overseas in March 1916 and reached the trenches in June, serving with the 75th Battalion when he was reported killed in action, 9 April 1917.

 

Private Clarence Herbert Cook, 775041.

Born Brampton 1887, son of James Cook, widower, painter, attested in 126th Peel Battalion, transferred to the 38th Battalion, killed in action at Vimy Ridge 9 April 1917. His brother Norman was seriously wounded at the Somme and invalided home.

 
Private George Evan Lenton, 775517.
Born Kettering, Northampton 1885, florist in Brampton, where he lived with his wife Bertha Annie, attested in 126th Battalion, killed while serving with the 21st Battalion, 9 April 1917.

 

Private Elwon David McDonald, 775884.

Born Inglewood 1893, son of John Alexander and Nellie (Watson) McDonald of Market Street, Brampton, clerk, enlisted in the 126th Peel Battalion in Brampton 4 January 1916, transferred to the 18th Battalion, killed in action at Vimy Ridge 13 April 1917.

Private Herbert Richardson, 775553.

Born Raunds, Northamptonshire 1891, son of William and Mary Richardson, brickmaker, 126th Battalion, 60th Battalion, died of wounds 14 April 1917. 
 

History of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

​The Battle of Vimy Ridge began at 5:30 a.m. on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917. The first wave of 20,000 Canadian soldiers, each carrying up to 36 kilograms of equipment, attacked through the wind-driven snow and sleet into the face of deadly machine gun fire.
 
The Canadians advanced behind a ‘creeping barrage’ - a precise line of intense artillery fire that advanced at a set rate and was timed to the minute. The Canadian infantrymen followed the line of explosions closely allowing them to capture German positions in the critical moments after the explosions, before the enemy soldiers emerged from the safety of their underground bunkers.
 
Battalions in the first waves of the assault suffered great numbers of casualties as the Canadian assault proceeded on schedule.
 
Most of the heavily-defended ridge was captured by noon. Hill 145, as the main height on the ridge was called, was taken on the morning of April 10. Two days later, the Canadians took “the Pimple,” the other significant height on the ridge.
 
The Germans were forced to withdraw three kilometres and the Battle of Vimy Ridge was over. The Allies now commanded the heights overlooking the Douai Plain, an occupied portion of France that was still controlled by Germany. The Canadian Corps, together with the British Corps to the south, had captured more ground, prisoners and guns than any previous British offensive of the war.
 
Canadians acted with courage throughout the battle. Four Canadians would earn the Victoria Cross, our country’s highest medal for military valour, for separate actions in which they captured enemy machine gun positions. They were: Private William Milne, Lance-Sergeant Ellis Sifton, Captain Thain MacDowell and Private John Pattison.
 
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a great success that came at great cost. The 100,000 Canadians who fought there suffered approximately 11,000 casualties, nearly 3,600 of them fatal.
 
By the end of the First World War, Canada, a country of less than eight million citizens, would have more than 650,000 servicemen. The conflict took a huge toll with more than 66,000 Canadians losing their lives and 170,000 being wounded.
 
At Vimy Ridge, regiments from coast to coast saw action together in a distinctly Canadian triumph, helping create a new and stronger sense of Canadian identity in our country. Canada’s military achievements during the war raised our international stature and helped earn us a separate signature on the Treaty of Versailles that ended the war.
 
Today, on land granted to Canada for all time by a grateful France, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial sits atop Hill 145, rising above the now quiet countryside. This great monument is inscribed with the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who were listed as “missing, presumed dead” in France. It stands as a tribute to all who served their country in battle and risked or gave their lives in the war and paid such a price to help ensure the peace and freedom we enjoy today.