April 10, 2017
The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador:
Honouring the 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge and Monchy-le-Preux
Mr. Speaker, I stand in this Honourable House to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917 and Monchy-le-Preux on April 14, 1917.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge saw four Canadian divisions fighting together as a unit for the first time and resulted in an impressive victory over German forces. By April 12, the Canadians captured Vimy and, as many historians say, forged a new sense of national identity.
Mr. Speaker, despite their gallantry and determination, over 3,500 soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice, and for this, we owe our gratitude.
To honour the fallen, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial stands in France as a tribute to all Canadians who served during the First World War. The French government granted use of the land for the Memorial and battlefield site to the people of Canada ‘freely and for all time.’
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is one of only two National Historic Sites located outside of Canada; the other being the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial, a tribute to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who served during the First World War.
Mr. Speaker, this week will also mark 100th anniversary of Monchy-le-Preux which occurred on April 14, 1917.
Arguably the Newfoundland Regiment's greatest victory, the ‘10 men who saved Monchy’ stand among many heroes of the Great War. These 10 men held off the enemy for over 11 hours before relief arrived, keeping the Germans from advancing into a vital battlefield position.
Afterwards, a British commanding officer declared 40,000 men would have been required to recover Monchy had the Germans captured it.
In honour of this valiant act by the Newfoundland Regiment, a bronze caribou stands steadfast guarding the French village.
As part of the events related to this year’s anniversary, the Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation is in France to commemorate and remember the Newfoundland Regiment’s involvement in the Great War. He also joins his federal colleagues, including Prime Minister Trudeau, to honour the role that Canada played in these significant events.
Mr. Speaker, I invite all Honourable members to join me in honouring all our soldiers, on the centennial anniversaries of Vimy Ridge and Monchy-le-Preux.
2017 04 10 1:50 p.m.