The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is a memorial site in France dedicated to the memory of Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during the First World War. It also serves as the place of commemoration for First World War Canadian soldiers killed or presumed dead in France who have no known grave. The monument is the centrepiece of a 250-acre (100 ha) preserved battlefield park that encompasses a portion of the grounds over which the Canadian Corps made their assault during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a military engagement fought as part of the Battle of Arras.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was the first occasion whereupon all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force participated in a battle as a cohesive formation, and thus became a Canadian nationalistic symbol of achievement and sacrifice. In recognition of Canada's war efforts, France granted Canada perpetual use of a portion of land on Vimy Ridge under the understanding that the Canadians use the land to establish a battlefield park and memorial. Wartime tunnels, trenches, craters and unexploded munitions still honeycomb the grounds of the site, which remains largely closed off for public safety. Along with preserved trench lines, there are a number of other memorials and cemeteries contained within the site.
The memorial took monument designer Walter Seymour Allward eleven years to build. King Edward VIII unveiled the memorial on 26 July 1936, in the presence of French President Albert Lebrun, 50,000 or more Canadian and French veterans, and their families. Following an extensive multi-year restoration, Queen Elizabeth II rededicated the memorial on 9 April 2007 during a ceremony commemorating the 90th anniversary of the battle. The memorial site is one of two National Historic Sites of Canada located outside of Canada and is maintained by Veterans Affairs Canada.
was a Canadian offensive launched as part of the Battle of Normandy
during World War II
. Taking place between 4–5 July 1944, the attack was undertaken by the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division
in an attempt to capture the Norman town of Carpiquet
and the adjacent airfield from German forces. The attack was originally intended to take place during the later stages of Operation Epsom
, as a means of protecting the eastern flank of the main assault. It was postponed and launched the following week.
On 4 July 1944, four battalions of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division attacked Carpiquet in conjunction with flanking attacks by armoured regiments of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade. Although the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade succeeded in capturing Carpiquet by mid-afternoon, heavy resistance to the south prevented the airfield from being captured—despite significant Allied armour and air support. The following day, Canadian forces defeated multiple German counterattacks and succeeded in holding Carpiquet in preparation for British attacks on Caen as part of Operation Charnwood.
Three days after Operation Windsor ended, full-scale attacks on Caen were renewed, with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division taking part in Operation Charnwood. On 9 July, the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade succeeded in capturing Carpiquet airfield, as 450 aircraft of the Royal Air Force bombed the town in preparation for a full assault. By 11 July, the northern half of Caen had been seized by British forces, the remainder of the town had been leveled.