Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence and Minister of National Defence announce Government of Canada plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele and the contributions of Canadians in the First World War.
OTTAWA, Oct. 19, 2017 /CNW/ - November 10 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Passchendaele. Some 100,000 members of the Canadian Corps took part in the Battle of Passchendaele. Victory came at a great cost, with more than 4,000 Canadian soldiers being killed and almost 12,000 wounded. Fighting slowly but steadily forward through the mud, Canadians displayed great bravery, with nine of our soldiers earning the Victoria Cross.
In early November, the Government of Canada will send an official delegation to Belgium to attend ceremonies and events commemorating Canadian contributions in the First World War. The delegation will include Veterans, youth, and representatives of regimental and Indigenous organizations. A contingent of the Canadian Armed Forces made up of units and branches that fought in the battle, along with the band of the Royal 22e Regiment, will also participate.
The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and Sherry Romanado, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, made the announcement today.
On November 9, the Canadian Armed Forces will lead a Sunset Ceremony and vigil at the Passchendaele Canadian Memorial. A Ceremony of Remembrance and a torchlight procession from the Passchendaele Canadian Memorial in Belgium to the Passchendaele Church will take place November 10. Other events planned during the visit include, a Canada-themed Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, ceremonies at the St. Julien Canadian Memorial, the John McCrae Memorial, Hill 62 (Sanctuary Wood) Canadian Memorial and Tyne Cot Cemetery, and the opening of the new Canadian Passchendaele Memorial Garden in the Passchendaele Memorial Park. The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence will attend the ceremony at the Tyne Cot Cemetery on November 10.
"Reflecting on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, we recall the valour shown by our service men and women throughout the First World War. We remember their sacrifices and bravery and pay tribute to those who served our nation, both overseas and in Canada, when they were needed. It is important, during this solemn centennial, that Canadians take the time to share stories of the Battle of Passchendaele and the Canadians who served there. This anniversary is a time to remember those who gave so much. "
The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
"As we look back at Canada's proud military heritage, the incredible courage and bravery demonstrated 100 years ago by our troops during the Battle of Passchendaele underscores why we continue to honour and pay tribute to all Canadian Armed Forces members. Each and every day, the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces – and their families – display their talent, dedication, perseverance and sacrifice, all in service to Canada and their fellow Canadians. We remember generations of brave Canadian women and men who put themselves in harm's way for peace and freedom."
The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
"During the First World War, more than 650,000 Canadians, like my great-grandfather Leonard William Elliott, served in uniform, around 100,000 of whom participated in the Battle of Passchendaele. It was a hard won victory, and nine Canadians earned the Victoria Cross there, fortifying Canada's reputation as a highly skilled offensive fighting force on the Western Front. It is for these courageous efforts and those of all our men and women in uniform, and the families that support them, that we pay tribute and ensure Canadians never forget their selfless service and sacrifices in the cause of peace and freedom."
Sherry Romanado, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
- The Allies launched the campaign on July 31, 1917, to capture strategic railroads and ports that the Germans were using in occupied Belgium, as well as to relieve pressure on French forces farther to the south. Canadian soldiers went on the attack at Passchendaele on October 26, 1917, after being sent there to relieve the battered Australian and New Zealander forces that had been fighting since the summer.
- On November 6, the village of Passchendaele fell to the 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion and on November 10, the Canadian Corps cleared enemy defenders from the eastern edge of Passchendaele Ridge in the final actions of the long, arduous battle.
- Canada's success at Passchendaele added to our nation's reputation as the best offensive fighting force on the Western Front. This status meant that our military would be at the forefront of the advance that eventually won the war for the Allies a year later.
- Canadian soldiers in the Battle of Passchendaele were among the more than 650,000 Canadian men and women who served in uniform during the First World War.
- Inaugurated on July 24, 1927, the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, Belgium, honours British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealander and other Commonwealth service members who lost their lives in Belgium during the First World War and have no known graves.
- The 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele coincides with Canada 150—a pivotal milestone for Canada to connect with our past, celebrate who we are, honour our exceptional achievements and build a legacy for tomorrow.
- For more information on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, visit Canada.ca/Canada-Remembers
- Share your thoughts at facebook.com/CanadaRemembers
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468, Vac.email@example.com; Alex Wellstead, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649