Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Remembrance Day

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you with failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

John McCrae

Vimy Ridge

Canada’s most significant victory of the First World War was the battle of Vimy Ridge on 9th April 1917. Vimy Ridge was part of the Hindenburg Line near Arras, France and was a heavily fortified German stronghold. There were three layers of trenches; barbed wire and deep tunnels. Previous attempts by the French in 1915 and the British army in April 1916 had been driven back.

All four Canadian divisions fought on the same battlefield and the cost was high: there were 10,602 casualties of which 3,598 were killed. Four Canadians were awarded the Victoria Cross and the entire Canadian contingent were commended for their bravery.

In the early morning of 9th April 1917 some 20,000 soldiers attacked and by the afternoon the two front lines had been taken. By 12th April 1917 the entire ridge was under allied control.

The bravery and valour of the Canadian soldiers was considered the turning point of the First World War.



the flour loft said...

My eldest has been memorising this poem for a school.
It is so powerful.
xx ginny

Gingham and Flowers said...

A lovely post. 'Flanders Fields' is one of my favourite poems. When Simon and I go to Ieper(which we're doing again this weekend) we usually go to Essex Farm Cemetery which is on the area of battlefield where John McCrae wrote the poem. Such a moving place as is all the countryside and Cemeteries in that area. This weekend we're taking my Mum and Dad to see it all.

Sal said...

I chose the very same poem to put on my blog on Sunday...one of my favourites too. A lovely post ;-)

Heidi said...

I watched the memorial service with laying the wreaths on the BBC today and it was so touching. Three men who fought in WWI laid a wreath each. One man is 112 years old. It was so touching to see them being helped by active military personnel. I wish I could say we learned out lesson from WWI but as we all know, we did not.

I love this poem!

Hugs ~