Hill 62 Memorial
|Canadian Hill 62 (Sanctuary Wood) Memorial|
Hill 62 (Sanctuary Wood) Memorial
|For the Canadian participation in the Defence of Ypres between April and August, 1916 and commemoration of the Canadian dead of that period.|
near Ieper (formerly Ypres), Belgium
The Canadian Hill 62 (Sanctuary Wood) Memorial is a war memorial that commemorates the actions of the Canadian Corps in defending the southern stretches of the Ypres Salient between April and August 1916 including actions in battle at the St. Eloi Craters, Hill 62, Mount Sorrel and Sanctuary Wood. These battles marked the first occasion in which Canadian divisions engaged in planned offensive operations during World War I. In those actions the Canadians reconquered vital high-ground positions that denied the Germans a commanding view of the town of Ypres itself.
The memorial is located beside Sanctuary Wood on the top of Mount Sorrel, which lies next to 'Hill 62' all of which the Canadians held or recaptured from the Germans during those offensive operations in early June 1916. The British Official History of the war recorded "The first Canadian deliberately planned attack in any force, had resulted in an unqualified success."
At the end of the war, The Imperial War Graves Commission granted Canada eight sites - five in France and three in Belgium - on which to erect memorials. Each site represented a significant Canadian engagement in the war and for this reason it was originally decided that each battlefield would be treated equally and graced with identical monuments. The Canadian Battlefields Memorials Commission was formed in November 1920 and decided a competition would be held to select the design of the memorial that would be used at the eight European sites. In October 1922, the submission of Toronto sculptor and designer Walter Seymour Allward was selected as the winner of the competition, and the submission of Frederick Chapman Clemesha placed second. The commission decided Allward's monumental design would be used at Vimy Ridge in France as it was the most dramatic location. Originally, Clemesha's 'Brooding Soldier' design was selected for the remaining sites but was later, for a number of reasons, erected only at St. Julien in Belgium. The remaining six sites at Passchendaele, and Hill 62 in Belgium and Le Quesnel, Dury, Courcelette and Bourlon Wood in France each received an essentially identical Canadian granite block memorial marker, differentiated only with brief inscriptions that describe the battle they commemorate in English and French on their sides. The blocks are situated in small parks that vary in shape and design and are typically situated on key points of the battlefield they memorialize.
The Canadian Battlefields Memorials Commission competition jury that chose Walter Allward's monument design had originally envisioned Alward's edifice being built atop Hill 62. When they appeared before the committee, Parkdale M.P. Herbert Mowat and Victoria Cross recipient Cy Peck expressed a preference for a distinct memorial at the Vimy Ridge. . Ultimately, Hill 62 received the standard 'granite block' memorial instead of Alward's towering white pylons.
Description and location
The Hill 62 (Sanctuary Wood) Memorial site is located just over three kilometres east of Ypres, Belgium (measured from the Menin Gate) at the end of the Canadalaan (Canada Lane) which runs south off of the N8/Meenseweg road to Menen. The memorial park is made up of a beautiful series of three terraced gardens leading up the hillside to the summit where the grey granite block monument sits in a grassed circle on a low flagstone terrace. From the hilltop, the clear and commanding view of Ieper, just over three kilometres away, clearly illustrates the strategic significance of the hilltop and thereby the importance of the Canadian Corps accomplishment in wresting it and the territories surrounding it from the German Army.
- Busch, Briton Cooper (2003). Canada and the Great War: Western Front Association Papers. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0-7735-2570-X. 205
- "Design Competition". Veteran Affairs Canada. 2007-03-25. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
- Vance, Jonathan Franklin (1997). Death So Noble: Memory, Meaning, and the First World War. Vancouver: UBC Press. ISBN 0-7748-0600-1. p. 66–69
- "Canadian National Vimy Memorial, France". greatwar.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
- "Vimy Ridge: The making of a myth". the Globe and Mail. 2007-04-09. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
- Vance p. 66
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