Canadian machine gunners dig themselves in, in shell holes on Vimy Ridge. April, 1917. Canada. Credit: Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001017

Ottawa, Ontario - April 9, 2018

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Vimy Ridge Day:

“On this day, 101 years ago, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought for the first time together. They came from all corners of Canada – Francophones, Anglophones, new Canadians, and Indigenous Peoples. In the early hours of April 9, they united as one, achieved what no Allied army had done – and defined a country.

“Years of war had battered and transformed Vimy Ridge – once a gentle rise in the French countryside – into a formidable maze of enemy bunkers, trenches, and gun batteries. For three days, Canadian soldiers battled uphill, braving a sleet storm, constant shelling, and withering machine gun fire. They did not stop until they had victory.

“The capture of Vimy Ridge was one of the Great War’s most decisive victories, but success came at a steep cost. Nearly 3,600 Canadians lost their lives and over 7,000 more were wounded.

“Over the course of those three days, the Canadians proved themselves as an elite force. They also helped pioneer new fighting techniques that would contribute to the final Allied victory a year and a half later.

“On this day, we honour the great courage and sacrifice of those who fought at Vimy Ridge, and pay tribute to every Canadian who has answered the call to serve. Our men and women in uniform have given so much. They have our unwavering respect and gratitude.

“Lest we forget.”