|Location:||Pas de Calais|
|Owned by:||Commonwealth War Graves Commission|
|Number of gravesites:||11,163|
The Vimy Memorial is a Canadian Monument in the Pas de Calais region of France. It stands as a tribute to all who served their country in battle in the Great War and particularly to those who gave their lives.
On the opening day of the Battle of Arras, 9 April 1917, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps, fighting side by side for the first time, scored a huge tactical victory in the capture of the 60 metre high Vimy Ridge.
After the war, the highest point of the ridge was chosen as the site of the great memorial to all Canadians who served their country in battle during the First World War, and particularly to the 60,000 who gave their lives in France. It also bears the names of 11,000 Canadian servicemen who died in France - many of them in the fight for Vimy Ridge - who have no known grave.
Canadian sculptor and architect Walter Seymour Allward began work on the Vimy memorial in 1925 and completed it 11 years later at a cost of $1.5 million.
The Vimy Memorial rests on a bed of 11,000 tonnes of concrete, reinforced with hundreds of tonnes of steel. The towering pylons and sculptured figures contain almost 6,000 tonnes of limestone brought to the site from an abandoned Roman quarry on the Adriatic Sea (in present day Croatia). It is adorned by 20 allegorical figures carved where they now stand from huge blocks of this stone. A cloaked figure, the largest, stands at the front, or east side, of the monument overlooking the Douai Plain and is carved from a single, 30-tonne block.
The design elements of the memorial are:
- The Pylons - The two pylons stand 120 feet (30 metres) high from the base of the memorial. They represent Canada and France; one pylon has a carving of the maple leaf for Canada, the other plyon has the fleur-de-lis for France. Both countries shared the sorrow and sacrifice of war.
- Sculpted Figures
- The Chorus: A group of eight figures high up on the top of the two pylons represent Justice, Peace, Hope, Charity, Honour, Faith, Truth and Knowledge. Peace is the highest figure on the monument, reaching upwards with a torch.
- The Spirit of Sacrifice: Between the pylons the group of two figures comprises a dying soldier who has passed a torch to a comrade.
- The Defenders: Two groups of figures located at each end of the front wall comprise seven figures called The Defenders. The group of three figures called Breaking of the Sword is on the south corner of the front wall. The group of four figures called Sympathy of the Canadians for the Helpless is at the north corner of the front wall. Above each group a gun barrel with laurel and olive branches represents peace.
- The Mourning Parents: Two reclining figures on the southern (reverse) side of the memorial, located either side of the steps, represent the mourning mothers and fathers of Canada's war dead.
- “Mother Canada” or “Canada Bereft”: A female figure draped in a cloak stands alone on the wall at the north-eastern side of the memorial. She bows her head and is looking down at a stone sarcophogus, representing Canada's war dead, at the base of the 24 foot (7.3 metres) wall below her. The magnificent view across the Douai plain and the location of the old enemy of the time spreads out before her. This figure is called Mother Canada or Canada Bereft, representing the nation of Canada mourning for her dead. The figure was carved from a single 30 tonne block of limestone.
- Sarcophagus - A stone sarcophagus is situated at the foot of the front wall of the memorial, which rises above it to 24 feet (7.3 metres). A Brodie steel helmet, as worn by the Canadian soldiers, a sword and laurel branches lie on the sarcophagus.
The Vimy Memorial overlooks the Douai Plain from the highest point of Vimy Ridge, about eight kilometres northeast of Arras on the N17 towards Lens. The memorial is signposted from this road to the left, just before you enter the village of Vimy from the south. The memorial itself is someway inside the memorial park, but again it is well signposted.
"We Rest Here"
The following Signals related people are commemorated here.
|Headstone||Service Number||Rank and Name||Grave Location|
||5671||Spr T. Graham|
||157587||Spr J.H. Grandin|
||447301||Spr J. Jardine|
||5695||Spr E. Kellett|
||285||Spr J.M. Strathy|
||Capt W.W. Wilson|