Bienvenue aux voyageurs! Welcome to France!

We're pleased to be able to have you join us for a Rememberance trip to major locations where Canadians
fought during The Great War (1914-1918) such as the Battle of the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Passendale and Ypres.

This is a virtual tour along current principal highways and roads with Canadian war maps showing positions.

We'll start here from Paris and travel first to the Battle of the Somme.

Let's start the trip! Bonne Voyage!

 
En route photography resourced from Google Street View,Vimy Ridge Memorial locality pictures by Dave and isabelle Hayer (April 2013)
We'll be starting close to one of Paris' most famous landmarks! All set? Pull out..!
A right turn at the Effiel Tower to drive west to the perimeter autoroute that goes around Paris. Heading northeast, the route takes us
onto the A1 autoroute that goes to northern France.
Move your mouse over this Michelin map of Paris to see the route through the city.
The trip to Juno Beach also starts here near the Effiel Tower. Click on these signs to turn onto the route to Juno Beach!
The perimeter autoroute. The Perimeter autoroute circles Paris. We're travelling northeast clockwise to a junction with the A1 motorway that travels to Belgium.
The Perimeter Route heading east. Ahead is the turn off to the autoroute which goes north towards northern Frace.
A change of routes, leaving the perimeter autoroute to start the motorway to northern France, the A1.
Near Charles DeGaulle Airport heading north. This is a major north route to Belgium.
Move your mouse over this Michelin map to see the route to Vimy Ridge from Paris.
Continuing north towards Vimy
Oise River. The Oise River begins in Belgium and flows southwest to the River Seine.
Ahead is the turnoff to Compiègne the location where the Armistice ending The Great War was signed. Follow a short virtual road trip to see where the Armistice was signed and a return to the motorway for continuing the trip north to Vimy Ridge.
Click on this picture to leave the A1 motorway to begin the tour to Compiègne and where the Armistice was signed.
Entering the Département of The Somme. The north-central part was the location of the epic Battle of the Somme. The Department - one of 96 in France - is home to 550,000 people.
This area - during the Great War - saw very intensive fighting in 1916.
Largely forgotten in Canadian history, the contributions of the Indian Army in WW I in France was profound. The "Soldiers of The King" fought fiercely in the Battle of the Somme and Vimy Ridge in France. Overall 1.4 million (including about 500,000 Punjabis) answered the call of duty to serve the Empire. More information on this forgotten history can be found at a new historical project by Simon Fraser University. Click on the directional sign to visit the website, use your back button ton return to the trip to Vimy Ridge
River Somme. Here, the Battle of the Somme was fought 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the River Somme in France. The battle was one of the largest of World War I, in which more than 1,000,000 men were wounded or killed, making it one of humanity's bloodiest battles. On the left is a railway crossing over the River Somme, used by high speed TGV trains.
On this map showing the 1st Battle of the Somme, The "X" shows where the highway crossing is.
Another map showing where the highway crosses the river in relation to the battle area.
Mid span over the River Somme looking east. An area of fiendish battle.
Northern end of the crossing of the River Somme.
A side tour to areas where the Canadians fought in the Battle of the Somme is just ahead.
Albert - to the west - was the scene of a fercious battle 1–13 July 1916 the first two weeks of the Battle of the Somme.
Dedication fuels bravery and valour as shown on this map. The Canadians were front and centre here.
The Somme had cost Canada 24,029 casualties, but it was here that the Canadians confirmed their reputation as hard-hitting shock troops .Whenever the Germans found the Canadian Corps coming into the line they prepared for the worst. Click on this sign to exit the A1 Motorway for the side trip to Albert, Courcelette, Poziers, Thievpal and the Newfoundland Memorial nearby.
This area during The Great War saw fierce battle. The sign on the left reads "Tunnel on English Channel, follow Calais"
The A1 continues north, A2 continues on to Brussels, Belgium. Keep to left lanes..
French countryside southeast of Arras, France along the A1 autoroute.
Pour quoi avez-vous besoin? besoin carburants? Une Station Esso et Restaurant est ici.Sur le sortie côté droit.
A turn here onto the A26 autoroute passing near Vimy.
Wel'll be turning off here, following A26 west to Calias and Dunkerque.
A26 is named "Autoroute des Anglais" (The English Motorway)
Heading northeast on A26, Vimy is the next exit.
We'll be leaving this autoroute for Vimy and the Memorial.
Move your mouse over this local area Michelin Map to see the route from the highway to Vimy Ridge
Turn off here.
Move your mouse over this Michelin Map to see the route. But better use it after...
Stopping to pay the toll for the use of the A26 highway we were on. Freedom does have its price..
Right lane to head toward Vimy Ridge
Crossing under the A26 motorway. Ahead beyong is a junction roundabout
Thélus. Thélus is a small town (commune) of about 1200 people. It was at the heart of the conflicts at Vimy Ridge, towards the
northwest (upper left). Thélus was captured by the Canadian Corps on the 9 April 1917, and it remained in British hands until the end of the Great War.
Continuing on to Vimy. On the right is a memorial to the Canadian Artillery units that fought here.
Memorial in Thelus. This is on the east side of the road towards Vimy. It recognises the gallantry of the Canadian Artillery units who fought here. The large plate reads: "Erected in memory of officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the Canadian Corps Artillery who fell during the Vimy operations April 1917"
Unveiling of the Memorial
Just outside of town, at the northern end is the Thelus Military Cemetery where 116 Canadian servicemen who fought at Vimy Ridge are interred.

It's accessible via this field path. In front of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission sign is a place to safety park off the road.

A telephoto view of the cemetery from the road.The view is towards the north towards Vimy Ridge. This area saw a lot of fighting.
The Cemetery. A Cross of Sacrifice marks the resting place of the brave men. The Cross of Sacrifice is used on many Commonwealth
cemeteries. It is one of Celtic measurements, octogonal in column shape, and has a broadsword with blade down.
The interred.
Road to Vimy Ridge is on the left a short distance ahead
Turning left here.
The Vimy Foundation was formed to preserve and promote Canada’s First World War legacy as symbolized with the victory at Vimy Ridge in April 1917, a milestone where Canada came of age and was then recognized on the world stage. The Foundation is an ongoing project, educating young Canadians about the importance of Vimy Ridge in
the development of Canada and our emergence on the world stage.
The map and enlargement show the positions of the Canadians April 9-12 1917. The Vimy Ridge Memorial in relationship to this enlarged map is located just north of "Hill 145" near the 10 April line is shown. The area back then was not dense forest but barren no man's land.
This map shows the local involvement at Vimy Ridge.
Welcome to the Vimy Ridge Memorial site.
Veteran's Affairs Canada has set a website for the 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge (English version).
To the left the pathway leads to two sets of preserved trenches and a section of No Man's Land. There's a car park on the other end
accessible from this road.
A strip of land. beyond and to the left is the Vimy Memoral. Looking north
On the opposte side looking south. The trees were planted this entire area was completely barren and covered with shell craters.
Junction. To the right is the Vimy Memorial. To the left the enterance to the trenches.
Let's go have a look at the trenches first. They are preserved placements
Imagine being here in April 1915. The trees were not here. This entire area was barren. Our local lads were here.
Enterance to the area of the Memorial where the trenches are. There's plenty of parking. An interpretive centre is also here.
On this - the southwest side of No Man's Land - are the Canadian trenches. These were preserved from original sandbags which were replaced with cement filled bags.
No Man's land
Beyond Non Man's Land you see these trenches. These are German trenches.
German Trenches (northeaast side of No Man's Land)
German machine gun pill box and trenches
After our intriguing visit time to continue to the Memorial. Heading along the road to the Vimy Ridge Memorial.
Continuing on to Vimy Memorial. The road on the right is where we came from the village of Thelus. Vimy Memorial is around the corner on the left.
Crater resulting from vigerous hostilities. This area still has buried mines and ordinace. The bumps are shell hole traces.
Vimy Memorial. Red sign warns of unexploded ordinance in the area to the right amongst the shell holes. The red signs are everywhere.
Click on the sign to begin the tour of the Vimy Ridge Memorial. The photos will tell the story.
 
(c) 2014 78th Fraser Highlanders Fort Fraser Garrison, 1st Signal Corps.