Artifacts – War Diaries
War diaries – Attack on Vimy by 1st Army | Source: Library and Archives Canada/Online MIKAN no. 2006041 | This 18 page document is a little hard to follow, but it contains information regarding the artillery preparations for the BAttle of Vimy Ridge as well as ammunition expenditure reports (how many shells of each different type were fired during the battle.)
War diaries – 1st Canadian Division at Vimy April 7 – 13 | Source: Library and Archives Canada/Online MIKAN no. 2005564 | An 11 page “intelligence summary” containing the official war diary covering the basic actions of the First Canadian Division (under the command of General Currie) between April 6th and April 13th. Contains details on the assaults, situation reports, accounts of “prisoners and booty” captured during the offensive, and the contents of various communications.
Documents Relating to Battle Preparations
4th Canadian Infantry Brigade Operation Order | Source: Cooper, J. A. (1919). Fourth Canadian Infantry Brigade; history of operations, April, 1915, to demobilization. London: Charles. | A 4 page book excerpt that contains the 4th Infantry Orders for the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Andrew McNaughton: His influence on artillery and intelligence during the First World War | Citation: Phillips, J. (2010). Andrew McNaughton: His influence on artillery and intelligence during the First World War. Geoffrey Brooks Memorial Essay Competition. Link. | A 17 page paper about Andrew McNaughton and his work on sound ranging and flash-spotting – techniques he worked on with civilian scientists that helped to locate and take out enemy artillery.
Canadian Plans and Preparations for Vimy | Source: Nicholson, Colonel G.W.L. (1964). Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919: Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War. Authority of the Minister of National Defense, pages 247-252 | A six page book excerpt that addresses the planning and preparations that preceded the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Canadian Plans and Preparations for Vimy | Source: Nicholson, Colonel G.W.L. (1964). Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919: Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War. Authority of the Minister of National Defense, pages 247-252 | A 5 page extract that looks at the preparations that were undertaken before the battle took place.
The Underground War: Military Mining Operations in Support of the Attack on Vimy Ridge, 9 April 1917 | Citation: Boire, M. (2012). The Underground War: Military Mining Operations in Support of the Attack on Vimy Ridge, 9 April 1917. Canadian Military History, 1(1), 3. | A 10 page article that, in the author’s own words, “…aims briefly to describe the significance and evolution of military mining as a battlefield tactic during the Great War, with special reference to the role these underground operations played in the greatest success of Canadian arms – the capture of Vimy Ridge.”
Documents Containing Accounts of the Battle of Vimy Ridge
An account of the Battle of Vimy Ridge | Source: Nicholson, Colonel G. W. L. (1964). Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919: Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War. Authority of the Minister of National Defense. | A 17 page book excerpt that provides a detailed accounting of the actions of the battle itself from the wee hours of April 9th, until the final objective (capturing “the Pimple”) was reached on April 12th. It ends with a final accounting of the yardage, spoils, prisoners, and losses.
Canada remembers: The Battle of Vimy Ridge | Citation: Veteran’s Affairs Canada / Canada remembers: The Battle of Vimy Ridge. (2011). Retrieved from http://laughton.ca/documents/ww1/pub5.pdf | A 3-page document produced by Veterans Affairs Canada that provides a broad overview of the battle.
Battle of Vimy Ridge pitted Canadian planning against German fortress | Ward, John. (4 April 2007). Battle of Vimy Ridge pitted Canadian planning against German fortress. The Canadian Press. | A four page newspaper article that provides an account of the battle set against a backdrop of the horrors of the First World War.
Vimy changes hands again | Source: McKenzie, Frederick. A. (1918). Through the Hindenburg line: Crowning days on the Western Front. London: Hodder and Stoughton. | A 17 page book extract that provides a detailed account of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in plain language. However, nothing is broken into sections, so the text is a little dense. Published in 1918, one strength of this piece is that it provides a window into how the battle was perceived in the immediate post-war period.
Vimy Ridge | Source: Goodspeed, D. J. (1967). The Armed Forces of Canada, 1867-1967: A Century of Achievement Retrieved from http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/his/docs/AFC_e.pdf | A six-page illustrated account of the battle published in a military retrospective for Canada’s Centennial.
Vimy Ridge and beyond | Source: Duncan-Clark, S. J., & Wallace, W. S. (1919). Pictorial history of the great war. Toronto. | A six-page book chapter devoted to the Battle of Vimy Ridge that begins with battle preparations, discusses actions of each of the four days of battle, and ends with a discussion of the significance of the battle (as it was perceived in 1919).
Stories About Men Who Earned the VC at Vimy
Story of how Major MacDowell earned the VC at Vimy | Source: Canada. War Records Office, Roberts, T. G., Richards, R., & Martin, S. (1918). Thirty Canadian V.Cs, 23rd April 1915 to 30th March 1918. London,: Skeffington.
Story of how Pvt. Milne earned the VC at Vimy | Source: Canada. War Records Office, Roberts, T. G., Richards, R., & Martin, S. (1918). Thirty Canadian V.Cs, 23rd April 1915 to 30th March 1918. London,: Skeffington.
Story of Pvt. Pattison earning the VC at Vimy | Source: Canada. War Records Office, Roberts, T. G., Richards, R., & Martin, S. (1918). Thirty Canadian V.Cs, 23rd April 1915 to 30th March 1918. London,: Skeffington.
Documents Relating to Vimy and Canadian Nationalism
Vimy Ridge: A watershed moment in Canada’s history | Ward, J. (1999, November 4). Vimy Ridge: A watershed moment in Canada’s history, canoe.ca. Retrieved from http://www.canoe.ca/RemembranceDay/991104_vimy.html An 8-page article that lays bare what we now know about the experience of soldiers in the First world War and then it turns to the Canadian experience at Vimy. It is not terribly detailed, but it presents a basic sketch of things.
Bringing Canada’s history to life; How Vimy Ridge made us into a country of heroes | O’Connor, Joe (9 April 2013). Bringing Canada’s history to life; How Vimy Ridge made us into a country of heroes. The National Post | A two page newspaper article that suggests that the Battle of Vimy Ridge is the kind of interesting and exciting topic that brings Canadian history to life.
Vimy Ridge: Can a war massacre give birth to a nation? | Citation: Masse, M. (2002, April 13). Vimy Ridge: Can a war massacre give birth to a nation? Le Quebecois Libre, 102. | A four page editorial presenting a French Canadian perspective on the significance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
On Vimy Ridge, Canada came of age | Granatstein, J. L. (2002, April 9). On Vimy Ridge, Canada came of age, Times Colonist. A clear and concise 3-page article written by a prominent Canadian historian and the former head of the Canadian War Museum. Granatstein writes, “Vimy was a costly battle that mattered little in terms of the overall conduct of the war….Nonetheless, the battle was so perfectly planned and executed that it deserves its place in our military history.” After laying some ground work, Granatstein explains why the battle has been and continues to be considered significant.
Significance of Vimy Ridge | Morton, Desmond. The significance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. (Original source: https://www.vimyfoundation.ca/significance) A roughly 1-page document, written by a prominent Canadian historian, that discusses the national significance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge for Canadians.
The battle that shaped Canada: Forget 1867. The real birth of an independent Canada… | Hume, S. (1997, Apr 05). The battle that shaped Canada: Forget 1867. The real birth of an independent Canada took place 80 years ago next week when 97,000 men from all corners of Confederation won the horrific battle of Vimy Ridge, The Vancouver Sun. | A 4 page article from the Vancouver Sun that discusses the battle and explores the “Birth of a Nation” thesis with respect to the battle.
The Growth of Canadian National Feeling | Source: Wallace, William Stewart. (1920). The growth of Canadian national feeling. Canadian Historical Review, 1(2), 136-165. A 30 page article – written immediately following the war in 1920, this piece allows the reader to understand the immediate post-war perspective on what the war meant in terms of increasing a sense of unity and national spirit among Canadians. Several sections are highlighted – including: “In the Great War the maple leaf badge came to be recognized as the symbol of a strong national, spirit which never failed before any task with which it was confronted, and which contributed in a substantial measure to the breaking down of the German defences in the latter half of 1918. Canada’s war effort was distinctly a national effort, the extent and quality of which was determined by the national will; and the direct result of this effort has been that Canada has been assigned not only a place in the Assembly of the League of Nations, but has been pronounced eligible for election to the Council of the League. This means if it means anything, that Canada has now not only achieved a national consciousness, but has won from the rest of the world–with the apparent exception of the United States–the recognition of this national consciousness” (p. 138-339).” BE ADVISED – the text is a little dense and the language is difficult in places. Important sections have been highlighted, making it easy to get the most out of this document in a hurry.
The Making of a Myth: The victory at Vimy has become inseparable from the Canadian identity… | Valpy, M. (2007, April 7, 2007). Vimy Ridge: The making of a myth, Focus, Globe & Mail, p. F4. Retrieved from link
The myth and reality of Vimy Ridge | Source: Looking at the myth and reality of Vimy Ridge Griezic, Foster J.K. (1997, April 12). Looking at the myth and reality of Vimy Ridge, The Vancouver Sun. | 2 page response to the article by Hume, “Stephen Hume’s The battle that shaped Canada (April 5) is consistent with the work of military mythologists and revisionists. They ignore Canadian history and contend Vimy produced Canadian independence.”
The use and abuse of battle: Vimy Ridge and the Great War over the history of the First World War | Grodzinski, Major J. R. (2009). The use and abuse of battle: Vimy Ridge and the Great War over the history of the First World War. Canadian Military Journal, 10(1), 83-86. | A 4-page opinion piece that presents ideas about how the Great War has been remembered and sheds some light on why. By the 3rd page, the author turns his attention to the Battle of Vimy Ridge where he presents the opinion that the Battle of Vimy Ridge, “…did not mark a ‘turning point’ in the war, as Passchendaele and the German Spring Offensive of 1918 demonstrated. It did not establish Canadian nationhood – that came through a sense of confidence developed during the entirety of the war itself, where a self-governing colony gave much of itself to a cause, and, in the process, changed. The notion of soldiers coming down Vimy Ridge as Canadians was not expressed in 1917, but it was fabricated by a series of leading questions directed to Great War veterans during the 1960s” (p. 85).
Vimy, April 1917: The Birth of Which Nation? | Source: Martin, Jean. (2011). Vimy, April 1917: The Birth of Which Nation? Canadian Military Journal, 11(2), 32-38. http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/vo11/no2/images/print_pdf-eng.gif . | A simple, straightforward article (7 pages) that presents a compelling argument against the “Birth of a Nation” thesis regarding the Battle of Vimy Ridge and suggests that the battle’s vaunted status in Canadian history likely has much to do with the placement at Vimy of a the Allward’s impressive Canadian National Memorial. Martin wonders near the end of the piece if the monument had instead been placed at Passchendaele as orginally planned, if that battle might have superseded all others as the iconic First World War battle for Canadians.
Vimy: World War I battle ‘created’ Canadians. | Pierre Berton Special to The, Star. (1986, 1986 Apr 06). Vimy: World War I battle ‘created’ Canadians, Toronto Star, p. A12. | A 3 page newspaper article that looks at the national significance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge for Canadians.
Why it’s important to reflect on Vimy Ridge | Editorial. (9 April 2007) Why it’s important to reflect on Vimy Ridge. The Globe and Mail. | A one page newspaper article looking at why Canadians should reflect on and remember the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
A Proper Slaughter: The March 1917 Gas Raid at Vimy Ridge | Source: Cook, Tim. (1999). ‘A proper slaughter’: The March 1917 gas raid at Vimy Ridge. Canadian Military History, 8(2), 7-23. Available at: http://scholars.wlu.ca/cmh/vol8/iss2/2 | A 17-page article that explores the Canadian experience with chemical warfare and especially their use of it in a trench raid just prior to the Battle of Vimy Ridge which turned out to be an utter calamity. “The Gas Raid was a powerful lesson which drove officers and soldiers to hone their hard won skills in order to never repeat such a disaster.71 When the Canadians went “over the top” at Vimy, they would not be blind cattle mounting the slaughterhouse ramp like the men of the 4th Division five weeks earlier; they were to be thinking soldiers, whose commanders relied on the ever-refined doctrine of soldiers leaning into massive artillery barrages, rather than a nebulous gas cloud” (p. 20).