Ypres, the Cost of Valour

A speaker at the Armistice Banquet in 1927 referred to a battle at a place called St. Julien.  I looked it up and found that St. Julien was one of four separate battles that made up the second Battle of Ypres (calgaryhighlanders.com).  Between 1914 and 1918, five battles were fought around Ypres, with over a million Allied casualties.  The battles were fought to deny the Germans a route across Belgium to the English Channel and protect coastal ports.  It was at St. Julien that “for the first time a former colonial force (1st Canadian Division) defeated that of European power (the German Empire) on European soil.”  This was the first mass use by Germany of poison gas on the Western Front, and when a 7 km gap opened in the line, the raw Canadian troops reformed the line and prevented a German breakthrough.  The Canadian Division’s trial by fire at Ypres earned them the reputation of tough and dependable troops, but they paid a high price.  “In the forty-eight crucial hours that they held the line, 6035 Canadians – or one man in every three who went into battle – became casualties; of that number, approximately 2000 (or one man in every nine) were killed.  (Quotes taken from Wikipedia)

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ November 18, 1927

Grande Prairie Herald ~ November 18, 1927