Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Vimy Ridge Grave Markers and Memorials, Vimy and Ottawa

April 9 -12 marks the 103nd anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, part of the Battle of Arras. On a snowy Easter Monday in 1917, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought together for the first (and only) time. Training and tactics won the ridge, but at the cost of about 3,600 Canadian lives.

Visitors to Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries along the Western Front today see neat rows of grave stones in well-groomed garden settings, a stark contrast to the original graves. Those killed were usually buried close to where they fell, in graves marked simple wooden crosses. The three crosses pictured here are from Vimy Ridge, placed to mark a grave or to honour the dead from a particular regiment. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Memorial to Greek Soldiers, Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

This March features the WW1 monuments on L’avenue des Combattants Étrangers Morts pour la France (Avenue of Foreign Soldiers who died for France) in Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.

Between 4000 and 5000 Greeks served in the French army in WW1. The monument to Greek soldiers who died for France in three wars was unveiled on 25 October 1953. A copy of the Winged Victory of Samothrace tops a marble Ionic column. A tablet in front of the column reads: Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Memorial to Garibaldians of the Argonne and Italian Volunteers, Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

This March features the WW1 monuments on L’avenue des Combattants Étrangers Morts pour la France (Avenue of Foreign Soldiers who died for France) in Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.

In November 1914, a regiment of the French Foreign Legion was formed under Giuseppe (Peppino) Garibaldi, comprised mostly of leftist Italian volunteers who were living in France. The regiment fought in battles in the Argonne before being dissolved in March 1915. When neutral Italy joined the Allies in May 1915, the Garbaldi Legionnaires enlisted with the Italian army. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Memorial to Czechoslovakian Soldiers, Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

This March features the WW1 monuments on L’avenue des Combattants Étrangers Morts pour la France (Avenue of Foreign Soldiers who died for France) in Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.

The monument to Czechoslovakian soldiers was dedicated on 19 December 1934. It was designed by architect Josef Gocár, with a bronze sculpture by Karel Dvorak. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Memorial to Belgian Soldiers, Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

This March features the WW1 monuments on L’avenue des Combattants Étrangers Morts pour la France (Avenue of Foreign Soldiers who died for France) in Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.

The Ossuaire et monument aux soldats belges morts en France, 1914 – 1918 (Ossuary and monument to Belgian soldiers killed in France) was designed by architect Henry Lacoste, with a bronze bas-relief door by sculptor Charles Piot. The names of 103 soldiers are engraved on the rounded pillars. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Memorial to Armenian Soldiers, Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

This March features the WW1 monuments on L’avenue des Combattants Étrangers Morts pour la France (Avenue of Foreign Soldiers who died for France) in Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.

The monument in memory of Armenians who died fighting in the French army in WW1 and WW2 is an octagonal shape reminiscent of the bell towers on Armenian chapels. It was unveiled on 15 April 1978. The monument was created by Edouard Utudjian, H. Koutan, Jean-François Djermagian and sculptor, Bernard André. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Cenotaph Park, Port Elgin, ON

Cenotaph Park – at 610 Mill St, east of Goderich St (Hwy 21), in Port Elgin, Ontario – opened in September 2006. War memorials from around town were gathered in the park, surrounded by welcoming gardens and benches to rest and contemplate. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Cross of Sacrifice, Guelph, ON

The cenotaph in Guelph, Ontario had a long gestation period after the end of WW1. A War Memorial Association was struck in 1921 and a plebiscite on the preferred location was held in 1922. Then money and politics delayed the project until 1927.

In the meantime, the local chapter of the Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire – IODE – got on with their own memorial plans. They dedicated a Cross of Sacrifice in May 1925, next to the Guelph railway station on Carden St at Wyndham St. The Canadian National Railways donated the land. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Cenotaph, Sackville, NB

A grey granite Celtic cross stands in Sackville’s Memorial Park, 43 Bridge St at the corner of Weldon St. It was dedicated on 1 October 1922 to commemorate 35 local men killed in WW1. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Ukrainian Canadian internment plaque, Ottawa

Weeks after the declaration of war in 1914, the Canadian Parliament adopted the War Measures Act, giving the Cabinet sweeping powers during “real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection” “for the security, defence, peace, order and welfare of Canada.” The powers included “arrest, detention, exclusion and deportation”.

Thousands were declared “enemy aliens” and forced to register, carry identity papers and report regularly to the police. Over 8500 were interned in camps across the country, their property confiscated. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia: Continue reading