The federal government and Vimy Foundation hope to launch a new national custom—the wearing of a Vimy Pin on Vimy Ridge Day, April 9. On that day 95 years ago, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought side-by-side for the first time and captured Vimy Ridge, at a cost of 10,600 casualties, including more than 3,000 dead. Others had tried to capture the ridge, and had failed.
After that battle, the Canadians never lost a significant offensive operation in the First World War. The achievement helped forge the identity of Canada, then only 50 years old and still a dominion of Great Britain. Some call the event ‘the birth of a nation.’
The pin features an image of the two towers of the Vimy Memorial, designed by Walter S. Allward. Tens of thousands attended the dedication of the Vimy National Memorial in France in 1936, including 8,000 First World War veterans and family members. Also there was Canada’s first Silver Cross Mother, Charlotte Wood, who lost five of her 11 sons who fought in the war: one aboard HMS Hogue, and one in each of the battles of the Somme, Gallipoli, Passchendaele and Vimy Ridge. Two other sons were seriously wounded. Her meeting with King Edward VIII at the dedication ceremony at the memorial was reported in the Winnipeg Free Press — and on her headstone.