This beautiful canvas faithfully recreates William Longstaff’s The Ghosts of Vimy Ridge. Painted in 1929 while the Vimy Ridge monument was still under construction. The monument is shown at night, the spectres in uniform moving back to the Canadian Lines.
The Battle for Vimy Ridge is arguably Canada’s most remembered battle, and undeniably it’s most important. The Canadian Corps consisted of all four Canadian Divisions and was given the ominous task of taking Vimy Ridge from the Germans. It had been attempted before with disastrous results, but a revolutionary training program was initiated emphasizing the initiative at the platoon level.
On the 9th of April 1917 at 0530hrs, the guns of the Canadian Corps opened fire just in front of the trenches. The soldiers would advance as the guns would adjust the barrage by 100-yard increments, allowing the soldiers to walk behind a wall of exploding steel to the German trenches.
By 0625hrs the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Canadian Divisions reported having reached the Black Line and consolidated their positions before advancing again. The 4th Division would struggle to take its objectives but would finally defeat the Germans on the 12th of April 1917. The Canadian Corps would suffer 10 602 casualties, including 3598 killed, and 7004 wounded.