Canadian remains at Vimy

From the Canadian Press:

An Ottawa historian has undertaken a mission to give proper burials to more than 40 Canadian soldiers killed at Vimy Ridge.

Norm Christie, an author and History Television host, says that on April 9, 1917, a unit of the Canadian Scottish regiment attacked across a field in northern France.

During the heat of battle, 44 of the dead were buried in a crater which was marked CA40. They included William Milne of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, a Victoria Cross winner.

Christie says the dead — including ten members of the 113th Battalion Lethbridge Highlanders — were supposed to be exhumed and relocated to a nearby cemetery called Nine Elms, but it never happened.

Christie and his supporters are trying to raise money for non-destructive testing to find the exact location of the mass grave, which he suspects is in the middle of a farmer’s potato field.

So far, they have raised $22,000 of their goal of $110,000.

“I think if we can recover them, then we should recover them,” says Christie. “It’s a real statement about a country how you treat your dead and these are, really, Canadian heroes who gave their lives for Canada on one of the most significant dates of our history.”

Christie says residents in the village of Thelus, France and area farmers have given their consent to have the area explored.

On his organization’s website, Christie notes that recent work by the Australians have resulted in the recovery of 150 Australian remains.

He says there is no reason why Canadians can’t show that level of determination and pride.

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Remembering Neuve-Chapelle

By Steve Miller
Britain’s first offensive of 1915 began a century ago today at Neuve-Chapelle. Although it might be deemed a minor success, major lessons of trench warfare were written here and reinforced by further battles in 1915. These included:
1. Loss of communications due to enemy shelling which destroyed the telephone lines.
2. Insufficient artillery preparation.
3. Immediate German counterattacks which might nullify any gains.
4. High casualties, on the order of 28 percent in this battle. I cite it as an early example of the futility of khaki uniforms and bayonets against barbed wire and machine guns.
Neuve-Chapelle is southwest of Lille. The Memorial to the Army of India and its missing from 1914-18 is located at the roundabout intersection of the routes D171 & D947.
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On the panels inside the monument itself are the names of 4742 Indians who have no known grave.
Neuve Chapelle

WW1HA 2013 Symposium speakers: Richard F. Hamilton

Richard Hamilton is a professor emeritus in sociology and political science at the Ohio State University. An Army veteran, he has written more than a dozen books, including three WWI books with fellow WW1HA 2013 Symposium speaker Holger Herwig.

“The Origins of World War I,” published by Cambridge University Press, was praised by the Journal of Military History:

Richard F. Hamilton, Holger H. Herwig, and their distinguished team of nine additional contributors prove triumphantly that indeed there is (more to say about the war). Building on a carefully crafted conference held at Ohio State University in 1999, their book focuses on precisely who, within both the major and several of the minor belligerent states of World War I, took the decisions to go to war, and how and why they reached those decisions.”

Here’s the link to his Symposium page:

http://ww1ha.org/2013symposium/richard-hamilton.html

WW1HA 2013 Symposium speakers: Holger H. Herwig

Holger Herwig is a history professor at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has written more than a dozen books, including “The First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary” (Bloomsbury Academic), part of the Modern War series.

He also wrote “The Outbreak Of World War I (Problems in European Civilization Series),” published by Wadsworth Publishing.

Here’s his link:

http://ww1ha.org/2013symposium/holger-herwig.html

WW1HA 2013 Symposium speakers: Michael S. Neiberg

Michael Neiberg is a history professor at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Penn. He is a dynamic and lively speaker as well as an expert. His books include “The Second Battle of the Marne” (Indiana University Press), part of the Twentieth Century Battles series. This battle took place from July 15 to August 9, 1918 —   Ludendorff called Aug. 8, 1918, “the black day of the German Army.” 

Mike Neiberg also wrote “The Eastern Front 1914-1920” and “The Western Front 1914-1916.” His pre-war book, “Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press), was reviewed by Jay Winter for the Times Literary Press in these words:

“Neiberg’s story is a sober and chastening one, since it shows how wars take on a life of their own, in that the moral pollution they trigger lingers long after the diplomats have finished with the peace treaties supposedly ending hostilities…”

Here’s the link to his WW1HA Symposium page:

ww1ha.org/2013symposium/michael-neiberg.html

 

 

Memorial Day 2013

More than any other modern war ’14-’18 lives in the memory as the ultimate example of a mismatch between what was at stake and the price that was paid. It is the war of the ‘lost generation’, sacrificed for a cause which, in hindsight, is difficult to pinpoint.”

Sophie De Schaepdrijver, Belgian historian and Associate Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University, quoted on http://messines1917.blogspot.be

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Remembering Vimy Ridge

Vimy Ridge Day was celebrated in Canada yesterday, a day to remember the men who fought April 9- 13, 1917, to take the ridge from the Germans and whose success — at a cost of more than 10,000 casualties, including 3,598 dead — marked a turning point for the Canada and its army.

From Veteran Affairs Canada:

Brigadier-General Alexander Ross had commanded the 28th (North-West) Battalion at Vimy. Later, as president of the Canadian Legion, he proposed the first Veterans’ post-war, pilgrimage to the new Vimy Memorial in 1936. He said of the battle:

“It was Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific on parade. I thought then . . . that in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation.”

Here’s a link to a wonderful story from CBC Hamilton, with photos, videos and audio recordings:

http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/2013/04/08/hamilton-vimy-ridge.html

Image Carving the names  of the missing on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. There are 11,000 names.

Image Mother Canada mourning her dead; a detail of the memorial, one of the most impressive sites on the Western Front.

A Canadian nursing sister at rest

Blogger CAMC has a new post about Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe, who was born in Scotland, enlisted in Canada and eventually posted to the 1st Canadian General Hospital in France. She was mortally wounded in a German air attack and died May 28, 1918 at the age of 30. Here’s a photo from her funeral of nurses passing the cemetery in Etaples where she was buried.
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And here’s the link:
http://camc.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/nursing-sister-margaret-lowe/

A Canadian family’s story

Here’s a granddaughter writing about her granddad, James Cooney, and his wartime experience in France. Cooney, who was born in Greenwich, England, lived in a tiny town in Alberta when the war began, but as we well know, it had a long reach.

Scientist Heather Pringle’s blog post: http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2012/11/14/the-trainman-and-the-nobel-laureate/