By Tim Kalinowski on April 12, 2017.
Soldiers with British Army Training Unit Suffield paid tribute to their Canadian comrades-in-arms with a heart-felt ceremony at CFB Suffield on Tuesday morning.
Despite blustery and chilly weather, members of the British Army were well-turned out in original First World War uniforms to honour the Canadian Army’s heroic efforts at Vimy Ridge 100 years ago.
BATUS commander Col. Marcus Evans reminded his soldiers of the commonalty of their experience with Canadian soldiers of a century ago.
“The conditions of the battle were just like this. It was snowing, it was cold and it was men of your age and your rank which were fighting in it,” he said.
Prior to the parade, Evans also spoke of Canada and Britain’s shared military history at Vimy and on many other battlefields.
“Vimy is a really seminal moment for Canada, and the Canadian Army, and we wanted to celebrate that because we are hosted so well at CFB Suffield,” said Evans. “I have been to the Vimy Ridge Memorial. It’s a very moving place. I have also been to Juno Beach, and to Falaise, where the Canadians crushed the German army with an allied pincer. And I have been to Afghanistan and served in the neighbouring province to Kandahar where the Canadians were. The British and the Canadians have fought side by side for 100 years.”
Evans praised the continuing relationship between the two close allies, highlighting Canada and Britain’s ongoing efforts with NATO and through training together at CFB Suffield.
“This is the best training range in the Commonwealth,” concluded Evans.
CFB Suffield base commander Lt. Col. John Scott said he also greatly appreciated Canada and Britain’s shared military history, and had particular praise for the British Army units which fought alongside Canadian soldiers at Vimy Ridge.
“Today, we are really highlighting that partnership between the U.K. and Canadian militaries,” said Scott. “The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a turning point for Canadian history, with all four Canadian divisions fighting together for the first time, but what we can’t forget is there was a British division which fought with us in that battle, and was a key component of the victory.”
Between 60,000-70,000 Commonwealth soldiers died in the Second Battle of Arras, which included the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
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