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.