Remembering Passchendaele

Premier Notley declares Nov. 10 Passchendaele Day

Mud and barbed wire through which the Canadians advanced during the Battle of Passchendaele. William Rider-Rider / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-002165

Premier Rachel Notley issued the following statement on the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Corps taking Passchendaele, Belgium, and declared Nov. 10, 2017 Battle of Passchendaele Day in Alberta:

“By October 1917, British, Australian and New Zealander troops had been fighting to seize the village of Passchendaele and its high ground for more than two months. They had made little progress at the cost of 100,000 casualties.

“In early October, Gen. Douglas Haig ordered the Canadian Corps, including four Alberta regiments, to relieve the ANZAC forces. After careful preparation, the Canadians took Passchendaele in just 14 days, and then held it against determined counterattack. They earned nine Victoria Crosses.

“One of those was Albertan Cecil John Kinross, who served with the 49th Infantry Battalion. With his company under intense enemy artillery and machine gun fire, alone he charged and destroyed the machine gun and killed its six-man crew, allowing his company to advance. He left the field severely wounded, but survived. Mount Kinross near Jasper is named for him.

“Kinross was one of almost 12,000 Canadians wounded at Passchendaele. More than 4,000 died there. They were among the 66,000 Canadians who gave their lives in the Great War, and among the more than 172,000 who were wounded.

“Every one of those soldiers went into battle with lives, loves and hopes for a future. They were sons and brothers, neighbours and friends – people from our own communities. They were heroes.

“Passchendaele has often been called Canada’s second Vimy Ridge, because it solidified Canada’s right to be seen as an equal among nations, and drew wide recognition of our valour and determination.

“In the century since, our armed forces fought other battles in other wars and other countries, and have been called upon to serve as peacekeepers. They have earned the recognition of the world, and we honour them at home with pride and with remembrance.

“Today, as we remember Passchendaele, we thank all who serve.”

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