Monuments In and Around Thélus

September 20, 2017.  When we first entered the town of Thélus on our way to Vimy Ridge, we passed by the Canadian Artillery Memorial, built to remember the sacrifice of Canadians from Artillery battalions who died in the battle for Vimy Ridge and the surrounding area.

When we were at the Vimy Ridge Visitors Centre, we saw a large photograph of this monument, taken when it was actually dedicated during the war.  The monument was built on top of a dugout.  The steps leading up to the monument marks the original entrance to the dugout.  The monument was unveiled by General Currie on April 9, 1918, a year after the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

IMG_20170905_112407215 Sep 5 2017 Photo of Cdn Artillery Memorial in Thelus at Vimy Visitors Centre

Photo of the Canadian Artillery Memorial as it was unveiled in Thélus on April 9, 1918. (Photo taken by Pieter Valkenburg of a panel at Vimy Ridge Visitors Centre)

After learning about the monument at the Visitors Centre, we made a stop to see the real one.

CIMG8308 Sep 5 2017 Pieter at Cdn Artillery Memorial in Thelus

Pieter at the Canadian Artillery Memorial in Thélus. The shell shaped columns surrounding the monument have actual fuses from shells attached to their tops! (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

IMG_20170905_121853669 Sep 5 2017 Inscription on Cdn Artillery Memorial in Thelus

The inscription reads “Erected in memory of officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the Canadian Corps Artillery who fell during the Vimy operations April 1917.” This is followed by the units: Canadian Field Artillery, Canadian Garrison Artillery, Royal Field Artillery, Royal Garrison Artillery and the South African Heavy Artillery. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

CIMG8303 Sep 5 2017 Rue des Artilleurs Canadiens in Thelus

The road leading out of Thélus towards Bailleul Sir Berhoult is called Rue des Artilleurs Canadiens (Street of the Canadian Artillery). (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

CIMG8304 Sep 5 2017 Sign directions across from Cdn Artillery Memorial in Thelus

Across from the Canadian Artillery Monument is a sign leading to Bailleul Sir Berthoult. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

We then followed the road between Thélus and Bailleul Sir Berthoult.  Only 4 km separate these two towns, but it was the scene of much fighting on April 9, 1917 during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Not far down the road was a monument to the people of Thélus who perished during two world wars, a vivid reminder that not only soldiers are war casualties.

cimg8310-sep-5-2017-monument-to-thelus-war-dead-in-two-world-wars.jpg

Thélus memorial to its war dead in two world wars. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Halfway between the two towns, in a farmer’s field, is a memorial to the First Canadian Division, on the spot where they were opposite the First Bavarian Reserve Division.  By April 9, 1917 there wasn’t much left of the villages!

CIMG8314 Sep 5 2017 Pieter by sign directing you to Memorial to 1st Cdn Division

Pieter by the sign leading across a farmer’s field to the 1st Canadian Division Monument, about halfway between Thélus and Bailleul Sir Berthoult. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

We stopped at this monument to honour John Lymon Wood and Patrick Raymond Arsenault, both of whom were in the 1st Canadian Division during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, and whose names are inscribed on the Vimy Memorial.

After an article about these two men was published in the County Line Courier in April 2017, we heard from a Ernesto Brucker of Buenos Aires, Argentina, who noted that his father, Georg Brucker, had been part of the First Bavarian Reserve Division and had been captured as a prisoner of war on April 9, 1917, likely at or very near this exact spot.

CIMG8318 Sep 5 2017 Memorial to 1st Cdn Division halfway betwen Thelus & Bailleul

Pieter at the 1st Canadian Division Monument, about halfway between Thélus and Bailleul Sir Berthoult. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

IMG_20170905_123258340 Sep 5 2017 inscription on memorial to 1st Cdn Division

Inscription on the 1st Canadian Division Monument, about halfway between Thélus and Bailleul Sir Berthoult. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

CIMG8316 Sep 5 2017 lone poppy along path leading to memorial to 1st Cdn Division outside Thelus

A lone poppy was growing on the path towards the 1st Canadian Division Monument, about halfway between Thélus and Bailleul Sir Berthoult. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

In the next blog entry we continue to visit the cemeteries in France where soldiers on the Borden-Carleton Cenotaph are buried.  Comments or stories?  You can share them by emailing us at dariadv@yahoo.ca or by commenting on this blog.

© Daria Valkenburg

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