Between 15 and 25 August 1917, the divisions of the Canadian corps captured and held Hill 70, a defensive position near Lens that had been held by the German Army since October 1914. While the April 1917 offensive at Vimy Ridge was the first time the Canadians fought together, Hill 70 was the first time they did so under Canadian command. Lt-Gen Arthur Currie has just assumed command.
The victory came at a high price. Over 9,000 Canadians were killed or wounded, as were an estimated 25,000 Germans. Six Canadians were awarded the Victoria Cross.
Yet the battle remains in the shadow of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele, little known in Canada. Perhaps that will change with the opening of Hill 70 Memorial Park later this year. The centrepiece is an obelisk on a rise northeast of Loos British Cemetery, about 1.5 km west of the actual Hill 70. This is as close as we got to the monument when we visited earlier this year.
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