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.
After learning about the monument at the Visitors Centre, we made a stop to see the real one.
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.
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!
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.
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 email@example.com or by commenting on this blog.
© Daria Valkenburg