Canadian National Vimy Memorial

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial was restored between 2004 and 2007. The memorial, which bears the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who died in France and who have no known grave is inscribed with the following dedication:

À la vaillance de ses fils pendant la Grande Guerre et en mémoire de ses soixante mille morts, le peuple canadien a élevé ce monument.

To the valour of their countrymen in the Great War and in the memory of their sixty thousand dead this monument is raised by the people of Canada.

Canadian National Vimy Memorial, 9 April 2007
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial with the Mourning Mother at the left of the steps, 9 April 2007

Queen Elizabeth II rededicated the memorial on 9 April 2007 during a ceremony commemorating the 90th anniversary of the battle.  Among the approximately 25,000 people expected at Vimy that day were almost 5,000 Canadian Students, many of whom had researched a soldier whose name was engraved on the memorial.

Column of students marching to the Vimy Memorial for the re-dedication ceremony
Column of Canadian students marching to the Vimy Memorial for the re-dedication ceremony

French Veterans were present before, during and after the ceremony to direct visitors and to hand out poppies. In the image below a French Veteran with a handful of poppies stands at the front of the memorial at the base of the two pylons representing Canada and France.

A Handful of Poppies; a French Veteran in front of the two pylons representing Canada and France
A Handful of Poppies

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial, designed by Walter Seymour Allward, took eleven years to build. The memorial was unveiled on 26 July 1936. Situated on the highest point of Vimy Ridge, the memorial contains 20 stylised human figures, some of which are shown in the slide show below.

After the ceremony I met Pipe Major Roger McGuire who was making a documentary about the missing pipers of World War I. As Roger pointed to the name of John Park on the memorial (he was a Piper missing on the same day that Piper James Richardson was killed) I took a photograph of him with his pipes in silhouette. Roger McGuire was instrumental in identifying James Richardson’s bagpipes, which were believed to have been lost in the mud of the Somme. For more information see The Pipes of War

Pipe Major Roger McGuire, 9 Apr 2007
Pipe Major Roger McGuire, Vimy Memorial 9 Apr 2007