I invite you to join us as we take part in the special 100th anniversary ceremonies of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the historic battle where brave, courageous Canadians fought, gave their lives and solidified Canada’s national identity.
A hundred years past and the Great War is still echoing through time. The affects it has had on the global political reality, the ways in which war is fought and the psyche of countless families is simply staggering. Throughout the war fierce battles were fought, most of which can be considered lost by both sides. Just last month our neighbours out east in Newfoundland remembered the terrible sacrifices made by the First Royal Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont Hamel and the Somme. There is but one other battle that rings in the memories of all Canadians; the battle for Vimy Ridge. It is remembered as one our nation’s greatest victories in war. Our forces did the impossible and took the ridge that so many others had failed to even approach. That victory came at great cost of life of our brave young men; our brothers, our fathers, our sons.
To capture this heavily fortified seven kilometer ridge, the Canadian Forces carefully planned and rehearsed their attack. For weeks prior to the attack soldiers were drilled in special roles such as machine gunners, rifle men, and grenadiers. New maps were created using recently taken aerial photographs. Deep tunnels were dug to bring forces to the front line in greater safety. All these had an effect on their success, but none was more influential than the use of the near limitless artillery shells that pounded enemy positions for weeks before the attack. At 5:30am on April 9, 1917, four divisions stormed the ridge. The incredible bravery, discipline and skill of those soldiers brought victory a few days later when Hill 145, the highest point on the ridge, was taken. In 1936, on that very hill, the Vimy Memorial was unveiled as a poignant reminder of the soldiers killed in battle.
April 2017 marks the centennial of this great historical event. In memory, we are offering a special itinerary to visit the important sites of both the Great Wars. Beginning in London, we shall visit newly opened museums that focus on what life was like during the Battle for Britain. In Portsmouth, we shall visit the rooms where the D-Day landings were planned before crossing the channel, as those soldiers did in June 1944. In Normandy, we will walk on the landing beaches and the land battle grounds from WWII. In the Somme, visit important sites from the Great War such as Beaumont Hamel, Lochnager Crater, and the Memorial at Vimy Ridge. On April 9, we shall take part in a special centennial event held in remembrance of the brave soldiers that fought and died on those grounds. In Ypres, we’ll stand on the site where John McCrae wrote his famous poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’ before attending the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate.
This journey (one departure only) is sure to bring you home with a lasting appreciation for our shared heritage and a feeling of incredible pride in this country we call Canada.
Book early to take part in the special 100th anniversary ceremonies - Vimy Ridge Memorial April 1, 2017