Mons is a Walloon city and municipality, the capital of the Belgian province of Hainaut. The Mons municipality includes the former communes of Cuesmes, Flénu, Hyon, Obourg, Ciply, Harveng, Havré, Maisières, Nouvelles, Saint-Denis, Saint-Symphorien and Villers-Saint-Ghislain. Together with the Czech city of Plzeň, Mons was the European Capital of Culture in 2015; the first signs of activity in the region of Mons are found at Spiennes, where some of the best flint tools in Europe were found dating from the Neolithic period. When Julius Caesar arrived in the region in the 1st century BC, the region was settled by the Nervii, a Belgian tribe. A castrum was built in Roman times. In the 7th century, Saint Ghislain and two of his disciples built an oratory or chapel dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul near the Mons hill, at a place called Ursidongus, now known as Saint-Ghislain. Soon after, Saint Waltrude, daughter of one of Clotaire II’s intendants, came to the oratory and was proclaimed a saint upon her death in 688.
She was canonized in 1039. Like Ath, its neighbour to the north-west, Mons was made a fortified city by Count Baldwin IV of Hainaut in the 12th century; the population grew trade flourished, several commercial buildings were erected near the Grand’Place. The 12th century saw the appearance of the first town halls; the city had 4,700 inhabitants by the end of the 13th century. Mons succeeded Valenciennes as the capital of the county of Hainaut in 1295 and grew to 8,900 inhabitants by the end of the 15th century. In the 1450s, Matheus de Layens took over the construction of the Saint Waltrude church from Jan Spijkens and restored the town hall. In 1515, Charles V took an oath in Mons as Count of Hainaut. In this period of its history, the city became the target of various occupations, starting in May 1572 with the Protestant takeover by Louis of Nassau, who had hoped to clear the way for the French Protestant leader Gaspard de Coligny to oppose Spanish rule. After the murder of de Coligny during the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, the Duke of Alba took control of Mons in September 1572 in the name of the Catholic King of Spain.
This spelled the arrest of many of its inhabitants. On 8 April 1691, after a nine-month siege, Louis XIV’s army stormed the city, which again suffered heavy casualties. From 1697 to 1701, Mons was alternately Austrian. After being under French control from 1701 to 1709, the Dutch army gained the upper hand in the Battle of Malplaquet. In 1715, Mons returned to Austria under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht, but the French did not give up easily. After the Battle of Jemappes, the Hainaut area was annexed to France and Mons became the capital of the Jemappes district. Following the fall of the First French Empire in 1814, King William I of the Netherlands fortified the city heavily. In 1830, Belgium gained its independence and the decision was made to dismantle fortified cities such as Mons and Namur; the actual removal of fortifications only happened in the 1860s, allowing the creation of large boulevards and other urban projects. The Industrial Revolution and coal mining made Mons a center of heavy industry, which influenced the culture and image of the Borinage region as a whole.
It was to become an integral part of the industrial backbone of Wallonia. On 17 April 1893, between Mons and Jemappes, seven strikers were killed by the civic guard at the end of the Belgian general strike of 1893; the proposed law on universal suffrage was approved the day after by the Belgian Parliament. This general strike was one of the first general strikes in an industrial country. On 23–24 August 1914, Mons was the location of the Battle of Mons—the first battle fought by the British Army in World War I; the British were forced to retreat with just over 1,600 casualties, the town remained occupied by the Germans until its liberation by the Canadian Corps during the final days of the war. Within the front entrance to the City hall, there are several memorial placards related to the WW1 battles and in particular, one has the inscription: During the Second World War, as an important industrial centre, the city was bombed and several skirmishes took place in September 1944 between the American troops and the retreating German forces.
After the war, most industries went into decline. NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe was relocated in Casteau, a village near Mons, from Roquencourt on the outskirts of Paris after France's withdrawal from the military structure of the alliance in 1967; the relocation of SHAPE to this particular region of Belgium was a political decision, based in large part on the depressed economic conditions of the area at the time with the view to bolstering the economy of the region. A riot in the prison of Mons took place in April 2006 after prisoner complaints concerning living conditions and treatment. Today, the city is commercial centre; the Doudou is the name of a week-long series of festivities or Ducasse, which originates from the 14th century and takes place every year on Trinity Sunday. Highlights include: The entrusting of the reliquary of Saint Waltrude to the mayor of the city on the eve of the proc
Battle of Vimy Ridge
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was part of the Battle of Arras, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, during the First World War. The main combatants were the four divisions of the Canadian Corps in the First Army, against three divisions of the German 6th Army; the battle took place from 9 to 12 April 1917 at the beginning of the Battle of Arras, the first attack of the Nivelle Offensive, intended to attract German reserves from the French, before their attempt at a decisive offensive on the Aisne and the Chemin des Dames ridge further south. The Canadian Corps was to capture the German-held high ground of Vimy Ridge, an escarpment on the northern flank of the Arras front; this would protect the Third Army farther south from German enfilade fire. Supported by a creeping barrage, the Canadian Corps captured most of the ridge during the first day of the attack; the village of Thélus fell during the second day, as did the crest of the ridge, once the Canadian Corps overran a salient against considerable German resistance.
The final objective, a fortified knoll located outside the village of Givenchy-en-Gohelle, fell to the Canadians on 12 April. The 6th Army retreated to the Oppy–Méricourt line. Historians attribute the success of the Canadian Corps to technical and tactical innovation, meticulous planning, powerful artillery support and extensive training, as well as the inability of the 6th Army to properly apply the new German defensive doctrine; the battle was the first occasion when the four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force fought together and it was made a symbol of Canadian national achievement and sacrifice. A 100-hectare portion of the former battleground serves as a memorial park and site of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Vimy Ridge is an escarpment 8 km northeast of Arras on the western edge of the Douai Plain; the ridge rises on its western side and drops more on the eastern side. At 7 km in length and culminating at an elevation of 145 m or 60 m above the Douai Plains, the ridge provides a natural unobstructed view for tens of kilometres in all directions.
The ridge fell under German control in October 1914 during the Race to the Sea as the Franco-British and German forces continually attempted to outflank each other through northeastern France. The French Tenth Army attempted to dislodge the Germans from the region during the Second Battle of Artois in May 1915 by attacking their positions at Vimy Ridge and Notre Dame de Lorette; the French 1st Moroccan Division managed to capture the height of the ridge but was unable to hold it owing to a lack of reinforcements. The French made another attempt during the Third Battle of Artois in September 1915 but only captured the village of Souchez at the western base of the ridge; the Vimy sector calmed following the offensive with both sides taking a live and let live approach. In all, the French suffered 150,000 casualties in their attempts to gain control of Vimy Ridge and surrounding territory; the British XVII Corps, commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir Julian Byng, relieved the French Tenth Army in the sector in February 1916, permitting the French to expand their operations at Verdun.
The British soon discovered that German tunnelling companies had taken advantage of the relative calm on the surface to build an extensive network of tunnels and deep mines from which they would attack French positions by setting off explosive charges underneath their trenches. The Royal Engineers deployed specialist tunnelling companies along the front to combat the German mining operations. In response to increased British mining aggression, German artillery and trench mortar fire intensified in early May 1916. On 21 May 1916, after shelling both forward trenches and divisional artillery positions from no less than 80 out-of-sight batteries on the reverse slope of the ridge, the German infantry began operation Schleswig Holstein, an attack on the British lines along a 2,000 yd front in an effort to eject them from positions along the ridge; the Germans captured several British-controlled tunnels and mine craters before halting their advance and entrenching their positions. Small counterattacks by units of the 140th and 141st British Brigades took place on 22 May but did not manage to change the situation.
The Canadian Corps relieved the British IV Corps stationed along the western slopes of Vimy Ridge in October 1916. On 28 May 1916, Byng took command of the Canadian Corps from Lieutenant-General Sir Edwin Alderson. Formal discussions for a spring offensive near Arras began, following a conference of corps commanders held at the First Army Headquarters on 21 November 1916. In March 1917, the First Army headquarters formally presented Byng with orders outlining Vimy Ridge as the Canadian Corps objective for the Arras Offensive. A formal assault plan, adopted in early March 1917, drew on the briefings of staff officers sent to learn from the experiences of the French Army during the Battle of Verdun. For the first time the four Canadian divisions would fight together; the nature and size of the attack needed more resources than the Canadian Corps possessed. In January 1917, three Canadian Corps officers accompanied other British and Dominion officers attending a series of lectures hosted by the French Army regarding their experiences during the Battle of Verdun.
The French counter offensive devised by General Robert Nivelle had been one of a number of Allied successes of 1916. Following extensive rehearsal, eight French divisions had assaulted German positions in two wa
Canadian war memorials
Canadian war memorials are buildings and statues that commemorate the armed actions in the territory encompassing modern Canada, the role of the Canadian military in conflicts and peacekeeping operations, Canadians who died or were injured in a war. Much of this military history of Canada is commemorated today with memorials across the country and around the world. Canadian memorials commemorate the sacrifices made as early as the Seven Years' War to the modern day War on Terror; as Newfoundland was a British Dominion until joining Confederation in 1949, there are several monuments in Newfoundland and Labrador and abroad which were dedicated to Newfoundland servicemen and women. There are 6,293 war memorials in Canada registered with the National Inventory of Military Memorials, under the Canadian Department of Veterans Affairs. There are war memorials across the world, some of which are operated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which are dedicated to Canada as well as the Commonwealth members.
There are 17 in France, six in Belgium, four in the United Kingdom, two in Afghanistan and in South Korea and one each in Egypt, Hong Kong, Malta, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates. The war memorial sculptors at work in Canada in the years following the Great War include: Emanuel Hahn, George W. Hill, Frank Norbury, Walter Allward, Hamilton MacCarthy, Coeur de Lion MacCarthy, Alfred Howell, Sydney March, Elizabeth Wyn Wood, Henri Hebert, J. Massey Rhind, Hubert Garnier, Nicholas Pirotton, Charles Adamson, Frances Loring, Ivor Lewis; the 31 paintings of Canadian War Memorials by F. A. Dawson were unveiled just outside Currie Hall in the Mackenzie Building at Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston on Wednesday 7 April 2010. Jack Pike, the chairman of the Royal Military College of Canada Museum's board of directors, said they had found a permanent and appropriate home. "We are delighted to have these paintings," he said in front of the assemblage of paintings, each representing a different memorial in a different setting and different seasons.
"These are symbolic of sacrifice and remembrance and they do the whole thing so well." Canadian War Museum List of Canadian Victoria Cross recipients List of Royal Military College of Canada Memorials and traditions List of conflicts in Canada Philip Longworth, The Unending Vigil: A History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 1917–1967. Robert Shipley. Herbert Fairlie Wood and John Swettenham, Silent Witnesses. Memorials to Canadians' Achievements & Sacrifices National Inventory of Canadian Military Memorials
The Canadian Corps was a World War I corps formed from the Canadian Expeditionary Force in September 1915 after the arrival of the 2nd Canadian Division in France. The corps was expanded by the addition of the 3rd Canadian Division in December 1915 and the 4th Canadian Division in August 1916; the organization of a 5th Canadian Division began in February 1917 but it was still not formed when it was broken up in February 1918 and its men used to reinforce the other four divisions. The majority of soldiers of the Canadian Corps were British-born until near the end of the war, when the number of those of Canadian birth who had enlisted rose to 51 percent, they were volunteers, as conscription was not implemented until the end of the war. Only 24,132 conscripts made it to France before 11 November 1918. In the stages of the war the Canadian Corps was regarded by friend and foe alike as one of the most effective Allied military formations on the Western Front along with the First Australian Imperial Force and New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
Although the corps was within and under the command of the British Expeditionary Force, there was considerable political pressure in Canada following the Battle of the Somme, in 1916, to have the corps fight as a single unit rather than have the divisions spread out through the whole army. The corps was commanded by Lieutenant General Sir E. A. H. Alderson, until 1916. Political considerations caused command to be passed to Lieutenant-General Sir Julian Byng; when Byng was promoted to a higher command during the summer of 1917, he was succeeded by General Sir Arthur Currie, the commander of the 1st Division, giving the corps its first Canadian commander. Currie was able to reconcile the desire for national independence with the need for Allied integration, he resisted pressure to replace all British officers in high-ranking positions, retaining those who were successful until they could be replaced by trained and experienced Canadians. British staff officers made up a considerable part of the Corps – although by 1917, 7 of 12 infantry brigades were commanded by Canadians trained during the war, British regulars were the staff officers of the divisions and British officers held two-thirds of senior appointments across the infantry and Corps headquarters with only four of the most senior appointments being Canadian.
Among the British officers were William Ironside. Both held the position of Chief of the Imperial General Staff; the Canadian Corps captured Vimy Ridge in April, 1917, in a daring attack, a turning point in the war, as Currie called it, "the grandest day the Corps had". During the German Spring Offensive of the spring and summer of 1918, the Canadian Corps supported British and French soldiers while they held the Germans back. Between August 8 and 11, 1918, the corps spearheaded the offensive during the Battle of Amiens. Here a significant defeat was inflicted on the Germans, causing the German commander-in-chief, General Erich Ludendorff, to call August 8 "the black day of the German army." This battle marked the start of the period of the war referred to as "Canada's Hundred Days". After Amiens, the Canadian Corps continued to lead the vanguard of an Allied push that ended on 11 November 1918 at Mons where the British Empire had first met in conflict with Imperial German forces in 1914. At the end of war the Canadian 1st and 2nd Divisions took part in the occupation of Germany and the corps was demobilized in 1919.
Upon their return home the veterans were greeted by large and welcoming crowds all across the country. Total fatal battle casualties during the war was 56,638, 13.5% of the 418,052 sent overseas and 9.26% of the 611,711 who enlisted. Following its formation in late 1915, the Canadian Corps readied to fight major battles as a unified entity, beginning in 1916. Additional actions were fought by one or more units of the corps. Major battles fought by the corps were the following: Battle of Mount Sorrel: June 2–13 Battle of Flers-Courcelette: September 15–22 Battle of Morval: September 25 Battle of Thiepval Ridge: September 26–28 Battle of Le Transloy: October 1–18 Battle of the Ancre Heights: October 1 – November 11 Battle of Vimy Ridge: April 9–12 Battle of Arras: April 9 – May 16, 1917 Battle of Arleux: April 28–29 Third Battle of the Scarpe: May 3–4 Battle of Hill 70: August 15–25 Second Battle of Passchendaele: October 26 – November 10 Battle of Cambrai: November 20 – December 3 Battle of Amiens: August 8–11 Second Battle of the Somme: August 21 – September 2 Battle of the Canal du Nord: September 27 – October 1 Battle of Cambrai: October 8–9 The military effectiveness of the corps has been extensively analyzed.
The corps evolved following the 1915 summer campaign. As Godefroy notes, the Canadian Expeditionary Force "worked ceaselessly to convert all of its available political and physical resources into fighting power." One striking feature of the corps' evolution was its ability to exploit all opportunities for learning. This was a corps-wide activity; this ability to learn from allied successes and mistakes made the corps successful. Doctrine was tested in limited engagements and, if proven effectual, developed for larger scale battles. Following each engagement, lessons were recorded and disseminated to all units. Doctrine and tactics that were ineffective or cost too many lives were discarded and new methods developed; this l
Canada's Hundred Days
Canada's Hundred Days is the name given to the series of attacks made by the Canadian Corps between 8 August and 11 November 1918, during the Hundred Days Offensive of World War I. Reference to this period as Canada's Hundred Days is due to the substantial role that Canadian Corps played during the offensive. During this time, forming part of the British First Army, the Canadian Corps fought in the Battle of Amiens, Second Battle of the Somme, Battle of the Scarpe, Battle of the Canal du Nord, Battle of Cambrai, Battle of the Selle, Battle of Valenciennes and at Mons, on the final day of combat before the Armistice of 11 November 1918. In terms of numbers, during those 96 days the Canadian Corps' four over-strength or "heavy" divisions totalling 100,000 men and defeated or put to flight elements of 47 German divisions, which represented one quarter of the German forces faced by the Allied Powers fighting on the Western Front. However, their successes came at a heavy cost; the Canadian Corps suffered 45,835 casualties during this offensive.
The German Spring Offensive, which began with Operation Michael in March 1918, had petered out by the Second Battle of the Marne in July 1918. By this time the German superiority of numbers on the Western Front had sunk to a negligible lead which would be reversed as more American troops arrived. German manpower was exhausted; the German High Command predicted they would need 200,000 men per month to make good the losses suffered. Returning convalescents could supply 70,000–80,000 per month but there were only 300,000 recruits available from the next annual class of eighteen-year-olds; the German failure to break through at the Second Battle of the Marne, or to destroy the Allied armies in the field, allowed Ferdinand Foch, the Allied Supreme Commander, to proceed with the planned major counteroffensive at the Battle of Soissons on 18 July 1918. By this point in time, the American Expeditionary Force was present in France in large numbers and invigorated the Allied armies; the British Expeditionary Force had been reinforced by large numbers of troops returned from the Sinai and Palestine Campaign and the Italian Front and replacements held back in Britain by the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George.
Foch agreed on a proposal by Field Marshal Douglas Haig, the commander of the British Expeditionary Force, to strike on the Somme, east of Amiens with the intention of forcing the Germans away from the Amiens–Paris railway. The allied command had developed an understanding that the Germans had learned to suspect and prepare for an attack when they found the Canadian Corps moved in and massed on a new sector of the front lines. British Prime Minister David Lloyd George reflected this attitude when he wrote in his memoirs: "Whenever the Germans found the Canadian Corps coming into the line they prepared for the worst." A deception operation was devised to misrepresent the Canadians position in the front. A detachment from the Corps of two infantry battalions, a wireless unit and a casualty clearing station had been sent to the front near Ypres to bluff the Germans that the entire Corps was moving north to Flanders. Meanwhile, the majority of the Canadian Corps was marched to Amiens in secret.
Allied commanders included the notice "Keep Your Mouth Shut" into orders issued to the men, referred to the action as a "raid" rather than an "offensive". To maintain secrecy, there was to be no pre-battle bombardment, only artillery fire prior to the advance; the plan instead depended on large-scale use of tanks to achieve surprise, by avoiding a preliminary bombardment, a tactic employed at the Battle of Hamel. The battle began in dense fog at 4:20 am on 8 August 1918. Under Rawlinson's Fourth Army, the British III Corps attacked north of the Somme, the Australian Corps to the south of the river in the centre of Fourth Army's front, the Canadian Corps to the south of the Australians; the French 1st Army under General Debeney opened its preliminary bombardment at the same time, began its advance 45 minutes later. The operation was supported by more than 500 tanks, which helped to cut through the numerous barbed wire defences employed by the Germans; the first day of the attack, August 8, saw the attacking forces break through the German lines in dramatic fashion, with the Canadians pushing as far as 13 kilometres from their starting points.
In many places the fog provided good cover for their advances in and through the furrows of the valley of the Luce river which ran through the centre of the Canadian's portion of the battlefield. The tanks were successful in this battle, as they attacked German rear positions, creating panic and confusion; the swift advance led to a spreading collapse in German morale that led Erich Ludendorff to dub it "the Black Day of the German Army" when he was told of the psychological impact on his men. Continuing to press the advantage gained on Day One, the advance continued for three more days but without the spectacular results of August 8, since the rapid advance outran the supporting artillery that could not be repositioned as as the infantry advanced. By the 10th of August, the Germans had been forced to pull out of the salient that they had managed to occupy during Operation Michael in March, back towards the Hindenburg Line. Left without an enemy to fight or a plan to pursue the retreat the Allied advances in the Amiens sector including those of the Canadians petered out by 13 August and the Amiens operation was halted.
The Canadians remained on the scene at Amiens until 22 August, consolidating their gains and prepared to defend against counter-attack. On the 23rd they were summoned to pull out and go into the line east of
Battle of the Canal du Nord
The Battle of Canal du Nord was part of the Hundred Days Offensive of the First World War by the Allies against German positions on the Western Front. The battle took place in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, along an incomplete portion of the Canal du Nord and on the outskirts of Cambrai between 27 September and 1 October 1918. To prevent the Germans from sending reinforcements against one attack, the assault along the Canal du Nord was part of a sequence of Allied attacks at along the Western Front; the attack began the day after the Meuse-Argonne Offensive commenced, a day before an offensive in Belgian Flanders and two days before the Battle of St. Quentin Canal; the attack took place along the boundary between the British First Army and Third Army, which were to continue the advance started with the Battle of the Drocourt-Quéant Line, Battle of Havrincourt and Battle of Epehy. The First Army was to lead the crossing of the Canal du Nord and secure the northern flank of the British Third Army as both armies advanced towards Cambrai.
The Third Army was to capture the Escaut Canal, to support the Fourth Army during the Battle of St. Quentin Canal. Construction of the Canal du Nord began in 1913 to link the Oise River to the Dunkirk–Scheldt Canal; when the First World War began, work stopped with the canal in varying stages of completion. During their retreat, the Germans made the area along the canal north of Sains-lès-Marquion impassable, to dam and flood the swampy ground; the only passable ground was to the south, where a small 4,000 yd section of the canal between Sains-lès-Marquion and Mœuvres remained dry, on account of its incomplete state. In a excavated state, the dry section of the canal was still a serious obstacle; the canal was 40 yd wide, with a western bank, between 10 and 15 ft high and an eastern bank about 5 ft high. The British First Army was forced to stop its offensive; the British assault on the Drocourt-Quéant Line on 2 September 1918 resulted in the Germans being overrun along a 7,000 yd front. Several formations in the German forward line yielded to the British advance but the British met more resolute opposition from regiments of the German 1st Guards Reserve Division, 2nd Guards Reserve Division and the 3rd Reserve Division.
To gain observation of all bridges over the Sensée River and the Canal du Nord, the British attack was supposed to continue the following day but the Germans forestalled the British by withdrawing along a wide front. Oberste Heeresleitung had ordered the 17th Army to retreat behind the Sensée River and the Canal du Nord on the night of 2 September and the 2nd Army to withdraw to the Hindenburg Line the following night. Further to the south, the 18th and 9th Armies were to follow in succession, resulting in the abandonment of the salient gained during the Spring Offensive by 9 September. In the north the 4th and 6th Armies retreated between Lens and Ypres, abandoning the Lys salient and the gains made during the Battle of the Lys. British air patrols on the morning of 3 September reported seeing no Germans between the Dury Ridge and the Canal du Nord; the Third Army was able to occupy the towns of Quéant and Pronville unopposed and saw that the Germans were withdrawing on a wide front. As the British advanced to the new German front line they reported that the east bank of the Canal du Nord was held and that the canal crossings had been destroyed except at Palluel, where the Germans held a bridgehead on the western side of the canal.
On 3 September Supreme Commander of the Allied Armies Généralissime Ferdinand Foch outlined the future course of the Allied offensive campaign along the Western Front. To avoid the risk of having extensive German reserves massed against a single Allied attack, Foch devised a plan for a general offensive between Verdun and the Belgian coast; the plan called for Allied attacks at four separate points in the German line, to be launched on four successive days. Army Group Flanders under King Albert I of Belgium would conduct the most northern operation and attack German positions in Flanders and move towards Ghent and Bruges; the British First and Third Armies would attack and cross the Canal du Nord, move across the northern extension of the Hindenburg Line and capture the city of Cambrai, a crucial German communications and supply centre. The British Fourth Army and French First Army would attack the Germans along the Saint-Quentin Canal in an effort to breach the Hindenburg Line between Holnon and Vendhuile.
To the south, the First United States Army and French Fourth Army would mount the Meuse-Argonne Offensive between Reims and Verdun, moving along the Meuse River and through the Argonne Forest. The Canal du Nord defensive system was the Germans' last major prepared defensive position opposite the British First Army, it was a significant obstacle as the Germans had taken measures to incorporate the unfinished canal into their defensive system. Beyond the damage done to make crossing the canal as difficult as possible, north of Mœuvres a lesser arm of the Hindenburg Support Line, the Canal du Nord Line, ran directly behind the east side of the canal; the greater arm of the Hindenburg Support Line crossed the canal at Mœuvres and thus remained well established on the eastern side of the canal south of Mœuvres. This was supplemented by the Marquion-Cantaing Line which ran along a north-south axis one mile east of the canal and the Marcoing Line located just west of Cambrai; the attack on the Canal du Nord was to begin on 27 September 1918, a day after the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, one day before the offensive in Flanders and two days
The Courcelette Memorial is a Canadian war memorial that commemorates the actions of the Canadian Corps in the final two and a half months of the infamous four-and-a-half-month-long Somme Offensive of the First World War. The Canadians participated at the Somme from early September to the British offensives end in mid-November 1916, engaging in several of the battles-within-the-battle of the Somme, including actions at: Flers-Courcelette, Thiepval Ridge, the Ancre Heights, the Ancre as well as a small role in providing relief to the First Australian Imperial Force in the final days of the Battle of Pozières; the battles on the Somme were the first in which all four Canadian divisions participated in the same battle, although not together in a cohesive formation. The Canadian divisions suffered over 24,000 casualties; the Canadian Battlefield Monument Commission established after the Great War was appointed to select the location and design of the memorials to commemorate the Canadian participation in the First World War.
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial at Vimy Ridge was selected as the national memorial site and seven other locations at Hill 62, St. Julien and Passchendaele in Belgium, as well as Le Quesnel, Dury and Bourlon Wood in France were chosen to commemorate significant battles the Canadian Expeditionary Force had engaged in; each of the seven sites were to have an identical granite block inscribed with a brief description of the battle in both English and French. The particular location of the memorial corresponds to the position the Canadians reached by the end of the first day of fighting during the Battle of Flers Courcelette two kilometres from their starting point on the outskirts of Pozières; the Courcelette Memorial sits beside the D929 roadway, just south of the village of Courcelette itself. The site is a small square park with a variety of maple trees; the choice to not have a wide variety of colours in the gardens is a conscious attempt to help the visitor focus their visit on contemplating the considerable sacrifice and cost the Canadians shouldered during the battle.
A'Y' shaped pathway leads from the entrance to stone seats at several places around the outer edge looking out at the former battlefield. In the centre of the park the grey granite block monument is set on a low circular flagstone terrace. Courcelette Memorial - Veteran's Affairs Canada Wikimapia satellite image of the Canadian Courcelette Memorial site