Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Battle Of Vimy Ridge

 Another harrowing image from the Great War. A cutaway of an artillery shell is at left, while the diagram at right shows the difference of what a bullet might do to a leg versus what artillery shrapnel would do.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge is one of the defining moments in Canadian history. The Ridge had been taken by the Germans early in the war, and successive Allied efforts to retake it had failed. It fell to the Canadians to have a go at it, and they would do it together.

For months, they trained and prepared.

And in the course of four bloody days in April 1917, they did what no one else could do, storming the ridge, defeating the German army stationed there, and achieving victory, at the cost of ten thousand killed and wounded.

The war in the air was another aspect of that war- and one new to the world of battle. Flight had only been around for a decade, and new tactics were literally being invented by the day by young men on both sides.

Airmen had their stories to tell. Canadians flew for the British, as there was no Canadian Air Force until after the war. Artifacts here include a portion of a plane's petrol gauge- with a piece of a femur still embedded in it- and a good luck charm.

These are the service medals of Canadian William Barker, one of the greatest fighter aces of the war.

Raymond Collishaw was another of the aces, and his plane, depicted here in battle, was called the Black Maria.

Another of the great Canadian aces had his own place in history. Captain Roy Brown dueled Manfred von Richthofen, the German ace known to history as the Red Baron. Their duel also involved Australian soldiers firing from the ground, and there is still question to this day as to who's responsible for the fatal wounds that brought down the Baron.

This dramatic painting shows artillery at work during the war- a deafening process

A panel looks at the importance of Vimy Ridge in the context of Canadian history. The expressions of the soldiers who had won that battle speaks volumes. They had gone and done things that others said were impossible, but they did it anyway.

I'll come back to this series after the theme day.


  1. I'm sure the soldiers were proud of their medals. Great exhibit. Take care, have a great day!

  2. Replies
    1. They really did. Everything else developed gradually.

  3. Seeing the inside of that shell is quite emotional for me. The reality of war!

  4. The first photo is startling! Brings things into perspective. Your visits to these exhibits have been very educational.

  5. Sue's grandfather was at Vimy and went back for the anniversary, maybe the 50th.

  6. Good to know the history of this terrible war, and the costs in human life.

  7. Yet another great history exhibit ~

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  8. A German English-teacher taught us "great = wonderful". Sad, isn´t it.

    1. In this case, that aspect of the word great does not apply.

  9. There is no end to the horrors people create with war.

  10. Just think if the troops around the world hadn't defeated the german army, where would we be?

  11. It's interesting contemplating the nature of how war with and without planes.

  12. Horrible to get such shrapnel in your body. Not to mention removing it without actual anesthesia.

  13. You share these exhibits well William, thank you.

    All the best Jan