Home Community Alliston Vimy Ridge Day 2024: Victory That Came With a Price

Vimy Ridge Day 2024: Victory That Came With a Price

Members and guests exploring the trench restoration site (Caleb Hooper/Citoyen Borden Citizen)

Welcoming the Borden Community to remember fallen troops of The Battle of Vimy Ridge

Members dressed in WWI uniforms standing atop the restored trench site on CFB Borden (Caleb Hooper/Citoyen Borden Citizen)

A day of remembrance and appreciation, 9 April 2024 is Vimy Ridge Day and CFB Borden invited members, veterans, public servants and special guests such as Rear-Admiral (Retired) The Honourable Rebecca Patterson and Honorary Lieutenant-General Richard Rohmer to commemorate the sacrifices of this key historic victory with a ceremony and breakfast.

Surrounding the outskirts of CFB Borden’s forested perimeter lies nearly 18 kilometres of trench dug by troops who prepared for trench warfare before the First World War. With a small portion of it being restored in 2011 as a historical site featuring plaques and historical information, the same location is used to commemorate The Battle of Vimy Ridge each year.

CFB Borden Base Commander Colonel Jonathan Michaud addressed all in attendance by providing a brief recount of the immense loss Canadians faced between 9 to 12 April 1917. The allied attack began on what was Easter Monday at 0530 hrs.

“The first troops in Borden practiced trench warfare right here and many of them saw their first action at the Battle of Vimy Ridge,” Col Michaud said. “In April of 1917, the 4th Canadian Division’s Army Corps fought together to win Vimy Ridge for the allied forces.”

Colonel Jonathan Michaud providing guests with the historical significance of Vimy Ridge, and the losses faced by Canadians following the battle (Caleb Hooper/Citoyen Borden Citizen)

The Canadian Corps and the British 5th Infantry Division together used every piece of available artillery to begin the assault and eventually captured their first objective. By 12 April 1917, the Canadian Corps had control over the ridge, but not without loss.

“It was not a victory without cost though, as more than 10,000 casualties made the ultimate sacrifice to achieve one of the first major victories on the Western Front,” Col Michaud said. “The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a key moment in the development of the Canadian Corps and the nation.”

Members saluting during the playing of the Last Post (Caleb Hooper/Citoyen Borden Citizen)

Chaplain Captain Graham Ware spoke during a time of reflection and aimed to strengthen small connections to Vimy Ridge through tangible things, like the trenches or the button of his great grandfather’s World War I uniform which he held for all to see.

“A button may seem insignificant at first glance, but a little over 100 years ago this button was on the uniform of my great grandfather while he served in France,” Capt Ware said. “This button or this segment of trench where Canadians prepared for war help us to connect and appreciate. May our eyes, ears and minds be attuned to the meaning of this day; to the heaviness and the cost paid by Canada at Vimy Ridge.”

Captain Graham Ware giving the moment of reflection speech and benediction (Caleb Hooper/Citoyen Borden Citizen)

“May all 30,000 who trained here and especially those who did not return home and the 3,600 Canadians who died in the push to take Vimy be honoured today and always. May they rest in peace but remain in memory of a grateful nation,” said Capt Ware.

After the moment of reflection was the playing of the Last Post, followed by a moment of silence in which all were invited to offer their thoughts and prayers of remembrance.

Shuttle busses took guests back to the Waterloo Officers Mess where breakfast was served and special guest Senator Patterson spoke.

“As we leave this space and proceed to a time of food and sharing of stories may our hearts be encouraged, with a sense of purpose and direction strengthened and our knowledge and appreciation of ourselves and our history deepened,” Capt Ware concluded.

By: Caleb Hooper