The Battle of Vimy Ridge

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Friday, April 09, 2021 to Friday, April 09, 2021
All Day Event
Online

Many battles in WWI left their scars on communities across Canada and Brampton was no exception. The Battle of Vimy Ridge holds significant prominence in our history not only for military and political reasons but for the sacrifice made by Canadians at the front, and here at home, with 10,000 Canadians being killed or wounded from April 9 to 12, 1917. 

The capture of Vimy Ridge was important from a military standpoint and previous attempts by the French had resulted in over 100,000 causalities. The Canadians developed a new methodology that was never used prior to this in WWI but it changed the tactics of the war thereafter. It was considered a stunning military victory. 

Also of significance at Vimy was the fact that the 4 Canadian Army Divisions fought together for the first time in WWI and under Canadian officers. Many regard this as “The Birth of a Nation” because Canada came out of the umbrella of the British Empire and fought as an independent Nation. 

But the causalities, while significantly less than previous attempts was still very high for a relatively young country and the loss was felt here in Brampton. Five Bramptonians made the ultimate sacrifice, dying as a result of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. They are Corporal William Graham Bellas, Private Clarence Herbert Cook, Private George Evan Lenton, Private Elwon David McDonald, and Private Herbert Richardson.

In 2021 Brampton commemorates the 104th Anniversary of this milestone in Canadian History in a virtual service. ​

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Brampton soldiers killed at Vimy April 1917​

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Corporal William Graham Bellas 

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 Batta​lion when he was reported killed in action, 9 April 1917.

Canadian Cemetery # 2, Neuville St Vaast.
St Paul’s United Church memorial. Cenotaph book.

Private Clarence Herbert Cook 

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.

Givenchy-en-Gohelle Canadian Cemetery, Souchez.
Christ Church memorial. Cenotaph book.

Private George Evan Lenton 

Private George Evan Lenton, 775517.

BBorn 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.

Zivy Crater Cemetery, Thelus, France.
Christ Church memorial.

Private Elwon David McDonald 

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.

Vimy Memorial, Brampton Baptist church memorial.

Private Soldier 

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.

Lapugnoy Military Cemetery, France.
St Paul’s United Church memorial.

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