April 9-12 marks the 100th 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.
Opinions differ on the importance of the battle itself, ranging from minor battle to a mythical moment when Canada symbolically became a country. The point of agreement is that Vimy Ridge is an important site of Canadian remembrance: a 250-acre memorial park on the former battleground is the site of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. The monument commemorates Canadian WW1 soldiers killed or presumed dead in France who have no known grave. Walter Allward’s soaring design is a motif seen on other Canadian memorials.
Case in point: this window in the stairwell of the Soldiers’ Tower at the University of Toronto. On the left, a WW1 private holds his hands on rifle reversed in tribute to the fallen, the ghostly images on the right. The Vimy Memorial looms over them in the background.
This is one of the eight stained glass windows in the stairwell leading to the memorial room. The windows were designed by Christopher Goodman and Angela Zissoff of Goodman Zissoff Stained Glass Studios, Kelowna, BC, and dedicated in 2005.
Thirteen U of T students and alumni were killed at Vimy Ridge:
- Albert Edward Bright, d. April 9, 1917. University College 1913-16, Knox College, Canadian Officers Training Corps
- William George Butson, d. April 9, 1917. Education 1912-13
- Walter Henry Cooper, d. April 12, 1917. Trinity College School, Trinity Medical College 1886-87
- Arthur Ramsey Creighton, d. April 12, 1917. University College 1910-11. Law student
- Douglas Dickson, d. April 14, 1917. Victoria College 1915-16
- William Henderson Gregory, d. April 9, 1917. University College 1908-11, 1912-13 BA, Wycliffe College. Anglican Ministry
- Reginald Heber Manning Jolliffe, d. April 9, 1917. Victoria College 1913-14, Canadian Officers Training Corps
- Ernest Reece Kappele, d. April 9, 1917. University College 1910-12, Law school
- Sidney James Luck, d. April 9, 1917. Victoria College 1915-16
- George Geoffrey May, d. April 9, 1917. University College 1911-15, BA (Pol Sc), Canadian Officers Training Corps
- Norman Howard Pawley, d. April 12, 1917. Ontario Agricultural College (U of T) 1909-11, 1913-15, BSA
- Reginald David Turnbull, d. April 9, 1917. University College 1909-13, BA (Phil) Knox College, preparing for Presbyterian Ministry
- Thomas Newell Vickers, d. April 9, 1917. Applied Science 1908-11