Vimy Ridge at 100
By Galt Guest Curator Glenn Miller
This year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and is one of Canada’s signature events of commemoration taking place this year. Activities will be mainly focused at Vimy Ridge in France but back here in Canada activities will be taking place from coast to coast to coast. Lethbridge can be proud that there will be local pilgrims in France as a number of students from Catholic Central High will be in attendance for the historic event.
During the battle Lethbridge was represented by the 20th and 39th Field batteries. Lethbridge also raised their own infantry Battalion the 113th Lethbridge Highlanders but the unit were broken up for reinforcements upon arrival in England. Today the 20th Battery is perpetuated by the 20th Independent Field Battery housed near the airport inside the Vimy Ridge Armoury. Annually they recognize this famous battle with a military function. This year they will be conducting a parade on the 8th of April in the morning in front of City Hall. In Waterton National Park, a climbing group will be ascending Vimy Ridge along with several military personnel to commemorate this anniversary on the 9th.
The capture of Vimy Ridge by all four divisions of the Canadian Corps marked the first time all of the Canadians were grouped as a fighting unit. Canadians should also recognize a British Division and other groups were attached to the Canadian Corps in the taking of Vimy Ridge. That victory has given us a legacy of which we should be very proud of. In 2003, the Federal Government decreed by an Act of Parliament that 9 April each year will be called Vimy Ridge Day. The Canadian Flag on the Peace Tower will also be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset in honour of those who made the ultimate sacrifice at this momentous battle. It is the only battle that has been recognized in this manner by an Act of Parliament.
To learn more of Vimy Ridge you are invited to take in the display on the lower level at the Galt Museum & Archives running 11 Feb to 27 May.