Vimy 100 | 2017

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the KMA and Royal Canadian Legion Branch 52 hosted the commemoration of this significant milestone year and inaugurated the Kamloops Cenotaph clock on Sunday, April 9, 2017. Local Kamloops residents gathered for the Parade of Colours, Canadian National Anthem, laying of wreath, inauguration of the Kamloops Cenotaph clock, and Royal Anthem "God Save the Queen".

100 Years Ago | Battle of Vimy Ridge

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a pivotal moment in the Great War (1914 – 1918) for the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. The battle was part of a larger battle of Arras, near the border of Belgium and it marked the first occasion on which the four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces fought together. Their success broke a longstanding stalemate at the Western Front and was one of the crucial junctures that led to the war’s conclusion.

The Canadian Expeditionary Forces faced a challenging geography. The steep incline required improvements in artillery and the inventive use of an extensive tunnel system that allowed soldiers to advance towards Vimy Ridge unseen. While victory was achieved, it resulted in tremendous casualties. The Canadian National Vimy Memorial at the site marks over 11,000 names of those whose lives were lost.

The high proportion of recruits magnified the sense of recognition and respect for those who served and the grief for those who did not survive. On the Kamloops Cenotaph are the names of 12 soldiers who lost their lives at Vimy Ridge, among numerous others who survived the battle, but never returned home.

Click photo to enlarge:

    

Listed cenotaph soldiers who died at Vimy Ridge

DAY. A.C. Died April 9, 1917
ENRIGHT. J.A. Died April 9, 1917
HOFFMAN. A.B. Died April 9, 1917
HUNTER. W.F. Died April 9, 1917
JOHNDRO. B.A. Died April 13, 1917
LOUIS. R.H. Died April 13, 1917
McGILLIVARY. J. Died April 9, 1917
PEARSE. W. J. Died April 9, 1917
PIERCE. P.C. Died April 13, 1917
SMITH. J.W. Died April 9, 1917
TUDGE. J. Died April 9, 1917
WATSON. J.H. Died April 13, 1917

Listed cenotaph soldiers who survived Vimy Ridge, some of whom died later in the Great War

EVANS. J.R. Served in the Canadian Army Medical Corps and was later president of the Kamloops chapter of the Great War Veteran’s Association.
FITZWATER. J.E. Later Mayor of Kamloops (1952-1961) and Freeman of the City in 1962.
HARPER. N. Survived the Great War and came back to Kamloops.
LEE. FRED. Later killed at the Battle of Hill 70.
MILLER. D.C. First full-time paid Fire Chief of Kamloops.
SMITH. L.A. Son of John Freemont Smith who was later killed in the Great War.

Soldier Awarded Medal for Vimy Ridge

Desmond Odlum Vicars, Commanding Officer of RMR - survived Vimy Ridge and won Distinguished Service Order, the youngest Canadian recipient of the order at the time. Vicars died in Kamloops on September 30, 1985.

Quoted in a Kamloops Daily news article on February 1, 1992, his citation for the award reads: "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion in operations. On reaching the objective only two of his platoon remained, but with the greatest coolness he attacked about 50 of the enemy, bayonetting several himself, causing numerous casualties and taking eight prisoners, driving the rest away. His conduct throughout was magnificent."