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October 27, 2017 6:08 pm

Raising a Flag to Remember Vimy

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 @ 9:51 AM

Mayor Lyn Hall, and some members of Council,  join members of the Legion Branch 43 in raising  the Red Ensign.

Prince George, B.C.- The  four day battle to claim Vimy Ridge in France  in 1917,  has  often been  referred to as a nation defining  event for Canadians.

Sunday, April 9th  marks the 100th anniversary of the start  of that  four day battle,   and this morning,  representatives of the  Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 43,  joined  Mayor Lyn Hall and some Councillors,  to raise a flag to commemorate that anniversary.

The Red Ensign, the predecessor of the maple leaf , was the flag under which Canadian troops fought.

Jeremy Diamond,  CEO of the Vimy Foundation is in France for  Sunday’s commemorative event  He says there are a couple of reasons why this particular  battle  is so important “One was, that this was the first time the four divisions of the Canadian Army  fought together,  which wouldn’t seem like a big deal today because  Canadians have gone off to Afghanistan and other  wars as  one.  But then, we were all split up.  We were known more as help and troops of the Brits,   British subjects,   than we were as Canadians. So there is a symbolism in there, that everybody fought together  as one,  from all  different parts of the country and we  were successful.”

He says  the battle was also one  where Canadians could  look back  and say  we were able to do something  no other country was able to do.   The British and the French had  tried previously  and failed,  to  capture the ridge.

Diamond says the key to the Canadian  Army’s  success was planning “This battle was planned for months before hand by a Canadian General.”  The plan  called for  a tactic called “creeping barrage”   where  heavy artillery  shots were fired over the heads of the Canadian soldiers as they  advanced  towards  the line.  “They  has planned this out for months before,  and they took the approach the French and British had not  and were  able to take much of the ridge in the first two days, and the remainder in the last two days.  It was an innovative approach by Canadians and I think that word is  something  Canadians feel has kept on a hundred years later, innovation.”

The  battle was a costly one,  as 3,598 Canadians would lose their lives.

Diamond is in France,  preparing for the  officially commemoration of the anniversary  at the Vimy Memorial .  Descendants of  those who fought at Vimy  will be among those on hand,  “There will be over 25 thousand people there  which we think is the largest gathering at Vimy since the monument was opened  80 years ago.”  He says the Vimy Foundation has  been working very closely with the Government of Canada to unveil a  new education centre ,raising more than $5 million dollars  for the $10 million dollar education centre that will be the first  of its kind to talk about Canada’s role in the  First World War. “This is going to be an incredible entry point at Vimy for people, so before  they  go through the tunnels and trenches and go see the beautiful monument,  they will be introduced to why we were there, and what was the importance of the battle,  what was it like to be in the First World War,  and then go out with a lot more context and understanding  to  their visit.”

Here at home,  the  anniversary is being marked  with the raising of the Red Ensign  at City Hall,  and with a  service and parade on Sunday .   A ceremony will take place at Veterans Plaza in front of City  Hall at 11:45, followed by a short parade  through downtown  and a  reception at the Legion afterwards.



Read the recent book “Vimy” by Tim Cook to get an idea about the battle. What a slaughter of young Canadians.

    That ridge took a whole generation from the British and French that they never recovered from. Banker elites marched the vitality of the nations involved into a slaughter of epic proportions. Over 800,000 Britsh and French died as well as the over 100,000 Germans that the Candians vanquished. So we got off relatively light in comparison to the others.

    The German Army holding the ridge is the same army that gassed the Canadians earlier in the war, so it was personal for the Canadians at that point. Also of note is that the Americans had yet to enter the war until after Vimy Ridge, so at the time Canada was the last stand against a German army that had both the British and the French defeated.

If they wanted to be historically accurate, it wasn’t that version of the Red Ensign they fought under in 1917, if indeed they fought under any ‘Canadian’ flag at all. The three red maple leaves on the flag pictured were green until Diefenbaker’s government changed their colour to red. Perhaps as a premonition they were about to fall? In any case, the coat of arms used was different at the time of World War One, and it was in a white circle.

The original Red Ensign called the Vimy Flag is in a museum in England. It bears the Union Jack in the top left corner, and the four shields of the four original provinces Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the right hand side. Efforts to have the flag returned to Canada on a permanent basis have been refused. The Imperial Museum ‘loaned’ the flag to Canada when remains exhumed from Vimy Ridge were interred in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

I think it would be very difficult to find a flag of the day when the Vimy attack took places. And why should that be applicable. Its just great that the event is being remembered.

A lot of Canadians died! Who cares what the flags are, Canadians are Canadians, period! Sort of calloused if you ask me, talking about something so insignificant when you think of what happened and the odds when they went into battle were not favourable in the least! Honour this event!!

    ‘Someone’ must care, Lien, or they’d be using the current flag instead of the Red Ensign in it’s final form. Perhaps it’s to recognise that at the time of Vimy the majority of Canadians had more of an “imperial” pride than a “national” one. The majority regarded themselves as overseas Brits more than they did as Canadians. Their success at Vimy could be said to have been something that was a beginning of a change in that attitude. In any case, I agree, we should honour this event and the sacrifice made by those who were there.

      Guess I am passionate about the issue. My grandkids, friends, family and myself were all involved in the military and para military to one degree or the other. I used to spit polish my dad’s boots for 25 cents when I was a kid. Just the idea that they went into this battle with the odds stacked against them was crazy! The great thing about this is that the people overseas still show their gratitude after all these years. And as for the politicians, they have no right being in this photo op, it is about the service people and the old time vets. My own opinion of course. Have a good day!

Not one politician , how disgusting. Too busy with fake photo ops, and trashing the other parties, to come raise a flag? All of you political lazy turds should be ashamed.

    You mean Hall and Koehler aren’t real politicians ?

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