Canadian armoured cars going into action at the Battle of Amiens – Supplied Photo
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On August 8th, we acknowledged the 105th anniversary of the Battle of Amiens – a crucial engagement that opened the door to victory in the final phase of the First World War. It was the start of three months of stunning battlefield achievements that became known as “Canada’s Hundred Days,” where the actions of our soldiers helped define the Canadian Corps as one of the most effective fighting forces on the Western Front.
The Germans launched a series of offensives in March 1918 aimed at breaking a stalemate following years of bitter trench warfare. In August 1918, the Allies launched their own offensive, with the Canadian and Australian Corps leading an attack at Amiens, France, on August 8. Led by Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Currie, the Canadians advanced a remarkable 12 kilometres that day, and they had captured more than 5,000 German prisoners and 161 guns by the time the battle ended on August 11.
“I join people across our country in saluting the Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served during the First World War, said The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence. “During the Battle of Amiens and Canada’s Hundred Days, our troops demonstrated immeasurable courage and bravery – and I encourage all Canadians to learn more about this important part of our military history. Together, let us honour their memory, and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Lest we forget.”
Three months later, the Canadian Corps had taken ten times that ground, capturing some 32,000 German prisoners and almost 3,800 enemy artillery pieces, machine guns and mortars. The Victoria Cross, the highest military award, was given to 30 Canadians and Newfoundlanders for their efforts.
The Allies’ success on the battlefield finally forced Germany to negotiate for an armistice, which ended the war on November 11, 1918. Over those closing three months of fighting, approximately 39,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders were wounded, and more than 6,800 made the ultimate sacrifice.
On this 105th anniversary, we honour those who fought in the Battle of Amiens and during Canada’s Hundred Days. We also remember the many others who have served Canada at home and abroad, and recognize military families and communities across Canada for their support to our armed forces.