Vimy Ridge, France

At the Canadian War Memorial, Vimy Ridge, France

Vimy Ridge

We travelled by train from Amsterdam, through Holland and Belgium, to France. First stop Arras, France, for its proximity to the Vimy Ridge Memorial, and its’ historic role in WWI. At the Vimy Ridge battle in April,1917, Canadian Corps forces overtook German foes in a 3 day fight. Here on this ridge of farmland, in the cold mud, 3600 young Canadians died, over 7,000 more were wounded. Germans took huge casualties.

Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge
The Canadian War Memorial at Vimy towers over the French landscape on 250 acres of land forever given to Canada to commemorate the horrible sacrifice. We toured the underground tunnels, viewed the trenches, and walked by restricted grounds where explosives may still be lurking. The poignant limestone Memorial solemnly stands at the highest point on the ridge, overlooking the Doui Plains.

Vimy, France
It has been said that Canada was ‘forged’ as a nation at Vimy, and that the ‘victory’ at Vimy Ridge was a defining moment for Canada. Certainly it was tragic for our young country. WWI, the Great War, the ’War to End All Wars’ was a horrific and senseless war where more than 60,000 Canadians died. Globally 15 million people died in the First World War. It was a terrible human failure, of which nothing good came and it set the stage for tensions that led up to World War II.

Arras, France
After our trip to the Canadian War Memorial, we returned to Arras, and at a quiet outdoor cafĂ©, we sadly tipped our glasses of Stella Artois to the ’boys’ . We noticed other tourists from Canada, Australia and New Zealand in the town. Arras was fully destroyed in WW1, as it stood right on the battle lines, and it has mostly been reconstructed, as it was before the war. It really is a lovely town , with pretty Flemish architecture. Robespierre was born here.

Arras, France

Heading underground at Vimy Ridge, France

Underground at Vimy Ridge
Underground tunnel at Vimy

The Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge, France

The Vimy Pin