Canada Wins Victory at Vimy

War News – April 15, 1917

Despite winning Vimy Ridge, the battle did not end. The troops moved onward to Lens, part of the Arras offensive, with the objective of moving the Germans out of the French sector. France and its citizens were ready to surrender after two and a half years of occupation, battle and major setbacks. On other battlefields, there were incidences of military revolt when French soldiers refused to do anything but defend their trench.

When the German prisoners were rounded up, it was found they were hungry, cold and wet. Many hadn’t eaten in three days because the food supply had not been able to make it through the artillery barrage.  Apparently the Germans had learned of the French offensive to break their line and had withdrawn many of their troops from Vimy. They’d gone east, and when the French attacked on April 10th, they’d been slaughtered.

In the large view, Vimy was a small battle, virtually ignored by the British, in a long, bloody conflict that left 10,000 dead and left the plains of Arras torn and cratered, making it difficult to pull artillery through it.

The victorious Canadians were now moving into their summer offensive.

War Events – April 14, 1917

On April 14, 1917, the sixth day of Canadians’ attack on Vimy Ridge, they had captured more ground, more guns and more prisoners than any previous French and British offensives, at the cost of over 10,602 casualties, 3,598 of which resulted in deaths.

This was the first time that the Canadians had fought as a group and it was the first significant Allied victory in two and a half years. The Canadian’s victory helped dispel the growing legend of the German’s invincibility and cemented the Canadian government’s resolve to keep Canadian troops in Canadian divisions, not sprinkled throughout the British and French army battalions.

The Canadian victory at Vimy was recognized by headlines in the New York Times and a friendly welcome from the French people that they freed from German occupation.

As a result of the battle, Byng was promoted to Brigadier-General and General Currie, a Canadian insurance salesman, was knighted and became Sir Arthur Currie. He was given control of the Canadian Corps. He became the lion that bound them together as a small army within the British Armed Forces.

In memory of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Walter Seymour Allward was commissioned to design a war memorial on Vimy Ridge after WWI. It was dedicated on July 26, 1936. It took 11 years to build and cost $1.5 million. Carved on the outside walls of the memorial are the 11,285 Canadians killed in France whose final resting place is unknown.

Canadian Division Orders Wearing of All-Steel Helmets in the Field

War Events – April 13, 1917

April 13, 1917 was the fifth day of Canadians’ attack on Vimy Ridge.


Battalion Diary – April 13, 1917

Location: Witley Camp, North Surrey

Muster Parade at 6:30am. All Correct. Battalion marched to Training Area and carried out collective, flank and rear guard training all day. Dinner in field. The wearing of all steel helmets in all field training ordered by Division.

161st Men in Attack Exercises

War Events – April 12, 1917

April 12, 1917 was the fourth day of Canadians’ attack on Vimy Ridge.


Battalion Diary – April 12, 1917

Location: Witley Camp, North Surrey

Battalion carried out attack in artillery formation during morning on Training Area about H. In HANKLEY FARM (Ref: 1st Map Aldershot District South). Individual training during afternoon.

Battalion Diary – April 11, 1917

Location: Witley Camp, North Surrey

Battalion was inspected on parade by G.O.C. (General-On-Command) of the 5th Canadian Division. Kits, rifles, equipment and loaded transport were inspected also. The Battalion was favourably criticized by the inspecting Officer.


War Events – April 11, 1917

April 11, 1917 was the third day of Canadians’ attack on Vimy Ridge.