Atlantic Canada and the Battle for Vimy Ridge

Canadian infantry advancing over No Man’s Land during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

April 9, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Canadian battle to capture Vimy Ridge.

Thousands of Atlantic Canadians participated in the attack on Vimy Ridge and the wider battle for Arras between April 9-14, 1917. The Atlantic provinces were represented by the following units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF):

In addition to the Atlantic Canadian units, thousands of men from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland served with infantry, air, artillery, engineer and various support units in the Canadian Expeditionary Force between 1915-1918.

The Diverse Atlantic Canadian Contribution

The story of Atlantic Canada’s contribution to the First World War would not be complete without a mention of the voices and peoples often left out.

Little research has been done on individual African Canadians who served in a variety of Canadian units. The best-known concentration of serving African Canadians is No. 2 Construction Battalion formed at Pictou, Nova Scotia.

Acadians also signed up in support of the war effort. In New Brunswick, the 165th (Acadian battalion) was formed in Moncton, NB. Once overseas, it was broken up to reinforce other battalions, like many other battalions raised after the initial contingents. Other Acadians were transferred to the Canadian Forestry Corps.

Many Aboriginal Canadians also served with the Canadian forces. Close to 4,000 members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force were of Aboriginal descent.

Meet some of the Atlantic Canadians who lost their lives during the Battle for Vimy Ridge in April 1917.