TIP: If you like to learn more about the history and the reasons for this impressive Canadian National Vimy Memorial, please, do read and view first my Photo Impression "Vimy Ridge" and click HERE.
This memorial at Hill 145 is Canada's most impressive tribute
overseas to those Canadians,
who fought and gave their lives in the First World War.
Visitors approach the Memorial from the rear side.
The Memorial marks the site of
one of the main objectives of the Battle of 9 - 12 april 1917.
It stands as a tribute to all,
who served their country in battle in France and Flanders,
and particularly to those who gave their lives.
At the base of the Memorial,
these words appear in French and in English:
Designed by Canadian sculptor and architect,
Walter Seymour Allward,
the monument took 11 years to construct it.
It was inaugurated in 1936.
Years and names of all the battlefields in Flanders and France,
where the Canadians fought during the Great War.
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial overlooks the Douai Plain
from the highest point of Vimy Ridge,
about ten kilometres north of Arras.
This grieving figure of a cloaked woman represents Canada.
It represents a young nation mourning her dead.
I take you with me in a panorama view in 5 steps;
from left (north) of the statue to the right.
Remark the typical slag heaps of Lens. Avion ...
Vimy village ...
A teleview from this point at the sheep,
wandering around on the battlefield in a restricted danger area.
Remark the shellholes.
The shellholes around the Memorial remind us,
that we are on the former battlefield.
From 2004 until 2006 the Memorial was closed
for restoration work,
including cleaning the statues and the recarving of names.
Carved on the walls of the monument are the names of
11.285 Canadian soldiers, who were killed in France,
and who are without a known grave.
The figures were carved,
where they stand now, from huge blocks of limestone.
In a ceremony on 9 April 2007 the restored Memorial
was rededicated by the Queen of Canada, Elizabeth II,
commemorating the 90th anniversary of the battle.
Sometimes you will remark double names, like:
"G.S. Hodkinson served as P. Childs".
The phrase "served as" indicates the soldier's real name .
Canada was a place for escape, a safe haven,
and a place to hide.
Soldiers were using other names also to enlist
for several other reasons.
As my COPD was playing one of it's nasty games with me that afternoon, my Dutch friend, Netperk, who accompanied Christine and me for a few days, offered to take over my camera. The talented Netperk photographed for me the lower east and front side of the Memorial.
It is quite an exception, but from here on this page I give very gratefully room to my friend's pictures .
The front side.
The Memorial rests on a bed of 11.000 tonnes of concrete,
reinforced with hundreds of tonnes of steel.
The two 90 feet high pylons represent France and Canada.
The statue groups on the front from left to right...
The towering pylons and sculptured figures contain
almost 6.000 tonnes of Dalmatian limestone, ...
... brought to the site from an abandoned
Roman quarry on the Adriatic Sea (in nowadays Croatia).
Below the cloaked mourning "Canada" is a tomb,
draped in laurel branches and bearing a helmet and sword.
The Latin inscription on the sarcophagus tells:
"In memory of the 60.000 Canadian soldiers,
who in 1914-1918 were travelling overseas,
and died far away for their fatherland".
View in the direction Lens - Avion.
With Netperk's last picture
we leave the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.
Continue to the next chapter: