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Vimy Ridge


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#1 U311reasearcher

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 12:45 AM

Even though I realize that this is a WW2 forum...................

92 years ago this April 9, Canada did basically in 1 day what her allies could not accomplish in almost 2 years.

After 3 days of intense battle, Vimy Ridge was in the hands of the Canadians.

My great-grandfather fought in WW1, not sure if he was at Vimy, but I do know he suffered from a gas attack in the trenches in France and was blinded for life. :poppy: It is for him and many many others who fought in WW1, that I felt that this thread should be shared with you all.

Click here for Vimy video


The Story Of Vimy Ridge:

One of the greatest battles in Canadian history was the battle at Vimy Ridge, which began on 9 April 1917. Canadian bravery and valour led to the tremendous victory for the entire Allied Force and was considered the turning point of WWI.

Vimy Ridge was a formidable stronghold to breach. It was here that the Germans’ heavily fortified Hindenburg Line met with their main trench lines leading north from Hill 70 near Arras, France. The German fortifications consisted of three layers of trenches, barbed wire and deep tunnels. The natural slope of the hill provided little cover for attacking Allied troops. French attempts to wrest control of the ridge throughout 1915 were rebuffed, resulting in some 150,000 French casualties. When the British army relieved French operations in March 1916, they were driven back before they could plan a major attack. The crucial goal of the battle at Vimy Ridge was to break through the impenetrable German lines.

For the first time in World War I, all four Canadian divisions fought on the same battlefield. They were led by Sir Arthur William Currie, who was the first Canadian-appointed commander of the Canadian Corps. Currie determinedly kept the Canadian divisions together rather than having them mixed in with various British units. It was the first time the Canadians fought together, and they achieved a magnificent victory, sweeping the Germans off the ridge.

Early in the morning of 9 April 1917, 20,000 soldiers attacked in the first wave of fighting. By that afternoon, the two front lines had been taken by the Canadian Corps. By 12 April, the entire ridge was under Allied control. When Hill 145, the highest feature on the ridge, fell, the operation was considered to be a resounding success. The ridge remained in Allied hands for the duration of the war.

The victory of the battle of Vimy Ridge did not come without cost: Canadian casualties reached 10,602, of which 3,598 were killed. The opposing German force sustained a further 20,000 casualties. During this single campaign, four Canadians were awarded the Victoria Cross and the entire Canadian contingent was commended for their bravery.

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Memorial to men of the 2nd Canadian Division who were killed at Vimy Ridge.

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Canadians searching captured German trenches for hiding Germans at Vimy Ridge, during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

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Stretcher bearers and German prisoners bringing in wounded at Vimy Ridge, during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

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Canadians searching captured German trenches for hiding Germans at Vimy Ridge, during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

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Canadian advanced reserves digging themselves in under shell fire during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

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The Canadian Light Horse going into action at Vimy Ridge.

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Shrapnel bursting over Canadian troops in the act of digging themselves in at Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.

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A German soldier beyond human aid. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.

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Tending a wounded German on the battlefield. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.

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Light Railroad truck with wounded on board. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.

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Stretcher cases waiting to be loaded on light Railway. Vimy Ridge. April, 1917.

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Examining a skull found on battlefield of Vimy Ridge.

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Canadian soldiers returning from Vimy Ridge.

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29th Infantry Batallion advancing over "No Man's Land" through the German barbed wire and heavy fire during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

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The taking of Vimy Ridge. Canadians advancing with a tank over 'No Man's Land'. July, 1917.

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17th Battery C.F.A. firing a German 4.2 on the retreating Boche. Photograph taken during Battle of Vimy Ridge.

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Canadian machine gunners dug in shell holes in Vimy advance. April, 1917.

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Happy Canadians wading through muddy road. April, 1917.


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Tank advancing with Infantry at Vimy. April 1917.


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28th Battalion establishes a Signalling HQ and gest into communication with aeroplanes.


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Bringing in wounded Canadian soldiers from the battlefield.


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View over the crest of Vimy Ridge showing the village of Vimy , which was captured by Canadian troops.




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Vimy Memorial To Canada.

Edited by U311reasearcher, 05 April 2009 - 01:10 AM.

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#2 Drew5233

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 01:08 AM

Cheers for that, a great and worthy post.

I passed through Vimy Ridge a few years ago. Here's a couple of pics I took when I was there.

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If someone speaks French and wouldn't mind doing the honours?

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Regards
Andy
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#3 cash_13

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 01:08 AM

Many thanks for them brilliantly cleat photos amazing.....

As you said certainly needed to be mentioned, I have been there with my wife and children so awe inspired were we that we went 3 times in a two week holiday...

Awesome tunnels and the view from the Memorial of Lille and the surrounding area you can see why they needed to be on the plateau......the wooded area around there just seemed so peaceful as well hard to believe that there was so much carnage....

I loved the description about the sheep on top as being called mine detectors, as several have gone up in a puff of smoke where they have disturbed a shell or grenade.
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Wifes Great Grandfather Major Charles Spurling

#4 U311reasearcher

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 01:15 AM

Cheers for that, a great and worthy post.

I passed through Vimy Ridge a few years ago. Here's a couple of pics I took when I was there.

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If someone speaks French and wouldn't mind doing the honours?

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Regards
Andy



Andy.. great photos, hard to imagine a battle ever took place there when seeing the beauty in your photos.
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#5 U311reasearcher

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 01:17 AM


I loved the description about the sheep on top as being called mine detectors, as several have gone up in a puff of smoke where they have disturbed a shell or grenade.



I chuckled at this also...wonder if any of the men from either side ever took advantage of free meat?
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#6 Drew5233

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 01:25 AM

And no WW1 thread would be complete without one of these I took in the area
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#7 U311reasearcher

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 01:54 AM

Amazing! Do the poppies grow wild there? What a great pic!

I just created a thread about John McCrae, author of "In Flanders Field"

see the thread about Mr. McCrae
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#8 Drew5233

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 02:18 AM

Yes mate they grow wild there...The picture of the poppy above was taken at Wormhoult.
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#9 canuck

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 03:09 AM

Yes mate they grow wild there...The picture of the poppy above was taken at Wormhoult.


They do indeed. My most prized possession is a poppy picked from the crest of Vimy Ridge, after the battle, by my great uncle. He sent it to my grandmother in a letter dated August 11th, 1917. He had been badly wounded on May 3rd and wrote the letter from a hospital in Arras. What really makes it great is his reference, in the letter, to picking the flower and also the battle.

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Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

Mark Twain

#10 Kieron Hill

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 06:34 AM

Fantastic post I know a man who will appreciate
this post...Mr Read.

thanks for sharing I thought the pictures were
amazing.

Cheers
Kieron
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#11 jwp59

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 06:54 AM

great thread and pictures, thank you, my grandfather was in action on the 9th april too, with the kings own yorkshire light infantry at telegraph hill in the arras area, i visited the area last year,also went to vimy, a very moving expierience, these brave lads will be in my thoughts.
regards,
John.
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(avatar)In Memory of my father,J.R.Pearcy,RASC, 78 th Div., North Africa and Italy.

#12 Owen

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 08:05 AM

Been to Vimy many times, also new a Canadian Veteran of the battle , Roy Henley.
I've even slept in the woods just outside the park on my first visit back in 1989.
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#13 Paul Reed

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 09:19 AM

Funny enough was at Vimy Ridge last week, and am taking a group there on Tuesday. A fascinating place, and the Vimy Memorial is one of the most impressive on the Western Front.
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#14 U311reasearcher

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 02:12 PM

They do indeed. My most prized possession is a poppy picked from the crest of Vimy Ridge, after the battle, by my great uncle. He sent it to my grandmother in a letter dated August 11th, 1917. He had been badly wounded on May 3rd and wrote the letter from a hospital in Arras. What really makes it great is his reference, in the letter, to picking the flower and also the battle.



That is something that I hope you treasure forever... I am sure that you may be the only person in the whole world who can say that they have an actual poppie from the actual battlefield, from the actual time of battle.

Did your uncle survive the war?
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www.castlearchdale.net :poppy:

The Story Of Coastal Command Squadrons

#15 canuck

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 03:45 AM

That is something that I hope you treasure forever... I am sure that you may be the only person in the whole world who can say that they have an actual poppie from the actual battlefield, from the actual time of battle.

Did your uncle survive the war?


Thanks, I do treasure it. I've put it in a display box and will get around to taking a picture for you. It has lost the colour and some damage from being in an envelope for 70+ years but as you said, it is quite unique. My great uncle returned from the war with a steel plate in his head and the loss of vision in one eye. Sadly, he was one of those cheerful, bright eyed lads who went off to war but saw and experienced too much. From all accounts, he was never the same person afterwards and died in his late fifties.
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Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

Mark Twain

#16 DoctorD

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 09:52 PM

Cheers for that, a great and worthy post.

I passed through Vimy Ridge a few years ago. Here's a couple of pics I took when I was there.

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If someone speaks French and wouldn't mind doing the honours?

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Regards
Andy




This is the best I can do at the drop of a hat, U331

For the dead of the morrocan division
without fear without pity
to the memory
of colonel in chief of the 1st brigade of colonel (Cros?) of the 2nd brigade
of the officers, nco's and soldiers of the Morrocan Division
who fell here gloriously on the 9, 10 & 11 May 1915
on the 9th May 1915 the regiments of the morrocan division
launched themselves at 10 a.m. from the Berthanval trenches
breaking with sheer force the resistance of the Germans
attaining their objective (Side 140?) with one bound
breaking through the enemy front for the first time

School report: "Could do better"

Wondeful photo's of another very bloody political war!
Les

Edited by DoctorD, 06 April 2009 - 10:13 PM.
Couple of typos

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#17 militarycross

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 10:08 PM

Great post. It was awesome to stand on Canadian Soil in France. The tunnel tour was a particularly spectacular moment with the carvings in the walls. Shivers up the spine bearly describe the physical response to the emotion of that place.

One of my most precious treasures of my collection is a tunic from a chap who was a stretcher bearer there and at Passchendaele with the 52nd. Charlie Wellard is his name.

cheers,
phil

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Edited by militarycross, 06 April 2009 - 10:09 PM.
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:poppy: The face of Sacrifice is a Mother's Face -- streaked with tears.

#18 Drew5233

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 10:12 PM

Les (Doctor D),

Many thanks for the translation-Quite nice words indeed.

Regards
Andy
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#19 CROONAERT

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 10:13 PM

I've even slept in the woods just outside the park on my first visit back in 1989.



you should have slept in the actual concreted trenches, Owen....then you could have said that you'd slept where the Bn HQ for 9DLI was on 21st/22nd May 1940!

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#20 DoctorD

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 10:23 PM

Thanks Andy
You'll see I did a bit better on second view
Cheers
Les
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#21 Owen

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 10:27 PM

U311reasearcher
My great-grandfather fought in WW1, not sure if he was at Vimy, but I do know he suffered from a gas attack in the trenches in France and was blinded for life.

Aren't Canadian WW1 Service Records on-line?
You could look them up & then you'd know if he was there or not.
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#22 CROONAERT

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 10:46 PM

It's just the attestation papers, Owen. i think that you've to apply for the actual service records.

Dave.
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#23 Ashman2

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 11:11 PM

I'm new so forgive me if I make a mistake. I also visited the beautiful memorial at Vimy Ridge and it always amazed me that, although the Germans, and supposedly Hitler, visited it they never destroyed it. Was it just respect for a memorial to fellow soldiers?
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#24 militarycross

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 11:40 PM

I seem to remember reading that the Corporal had an appreciation for architecture which is why he didn't trash Paris or the Vimy Memorial.

He was there as this 1940 photo capture. I understand that it was said that the monument was destroyed simply as a ploy to get the ire of the Canadian troops inflamed. I will see if I can find a photo that a friend took from his Dak as he flew over in '44. Clearly from the image, the monument stand intact.

Welcome to the forum Ashman2.

cheers,
phil

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:poppy: The face of Sacrifice is a Mother's Face -- streaked with tears.

#25 canuck

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 01:56 AM

I seem to remember reading that the Corporal had an appreciation for architecture which is why he didn't trash Paris or the Vimy Memorial.


Did Hitler ever face Canadian troops during WW1?
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Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

Mark Twain

#26 RJL

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 04:27 PM

Hi. Great thread. Thanks for sharing the pics. The Canadian Corps and Vimy have a place close to my heart. I had a G-G-Uncle killed in action on 9th April 1917. He is remembered on the Arras Road Memorial in Nine Elms Military Cemetery, Thelus.
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#27 Owen

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 06:46 AM

Called in at Vimy on Saturday on the way back from holiday, last time I was there was November 1995.

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#28 canuck

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 12:19 PM

A very significant day in the life of a young country!

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a military engagement fought as part of the Battle of Arras, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, during the First World War. The main combatants were the Canadian Corps against three divisions of the German Sixth Army. The battle, which took place from 9 April to 12 April 1917, was part of the opening phase of the British-led Battle of Arras, a diversionary attack for the French Nivelle Offensive.
The objective of the Canadian Corps was to take control of the German-held high ground along an escarpment at the northernmost end of the Arras Offensive. This would ensure that the southern flank could advance without suffering German enfilade fire. Supported by a creeping barrage, the Canadian Corps captured most of the ridge during the first day of the attack. The town of Thélus fell during the second day of the attack, as did the crest of the ridge once the Canadian Corps overcame a salient of considerable German resistance. The final objective, a fortified knoll located outside the town of Givenchy-en-Gohelle, fell to the Canadian Corps on 12 April. The German forces then retreated to the OppyMéricourt line.
Historians attribute the success of the Canadian Corps in capturing the ridge to a mixture of technical and tactical innovation, meticulous planning, powerful artillery support, and extensive training, as well as the failure of the German Sixth Army to properly apply the German defensive doctrine. The battle was the first occasion when all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force participated in a battle together, and thus became a Canadian nationalistic symbol of achievement and sacrifice. A 250-acre (100 ha) portion of the former battleground now serves as a preserved memorial park and site of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.[5]

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Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

Mark Twain

#29 militarycross

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 11:27 PM

:poppy:Lest we forget:poppy:

Remembering 39 men from our community named on the Memorial.

DArche & Dark who died on this day.
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:poppy: The face of Sacrifice is a Mother's Face -- streaked with tears.

#30 Tom Canning

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 04:22 AM

And the Vimy spirit was also evident in the many battles of the 1st and 5th Divisons in Italy as Tank support to the 1st Div - I often thought how devil may care the lads were - no matter the situation and the casualties of which there were nearly 6000 - I often think that just three V.C.'s in that campaign was way too low for what many did - and I think of "Smokey" Smith V.C. often and his lack of fear in facing up to three Panther PZ V's and more than 50 Pg"s - and still walking away - no doubt with a grin all over his face ! Or Stan Scislowski of the Perth's scrounging away at every opportunity - MacDonald of Montreal - the medic from "A" company Seaforths who always seemed to be at my side when l opened the turret. Great men all and carried the same spirit of Vimy Ridge - on Coriano Ridge !

Cheers
Cheers
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