At 0530 on 9 April 1917, the Canadian Corps launched its attack against the previously impregnable Vimy Ridge. Three days later, as a result of meticulous preparation and planning, but at the cost of 10,602 casualties, four Divisions of the Canadian Corps had advanced along a front of 7,000 yards for a distance of about 4,500 yards and were in command of the heights. This victory cemented the reputation of the Canadians as being among the elite on the Western Front and heralded an unbroken string of victories.
Among those victorious Canadian soldiers was Pte David Reeves (1894-1975) originally from Saskatchewan. He was wounded later in the war and returned to Canada for rehabilitation. While there he met and married his wife Laura and they settled down in North Bay, Ontario.
In 1936, he and Laura returned to Vimy for the opening of the Vimy Memorial. The following artifacts, provided by his grandson, Kevin Reeves, are memories of Vimy from one who was there.
On June 28, 1918 the City of Vienna departed Montreal carrying 1400 Canadian troops en route to England via Halifax. She also carried over 1000 metric tons of munitions. My father, Horace Patrick Nugent, was one of the soldiers.
On July 2, 1918, the ship ran aground and was stranded and sinking on the Sambro Island ledges near the entrance to Halifax harbour. All 1400 troops and the crew were rescued by a flotilla of fishing boats, lifeboat crews, a pilot boat and an American merchantman which took 700 on board.
My grand-mother Anna Guttadauria (née Leroux) had never talked about the brother she had lost. I learned of my great-uncle’s First World War service while visiting her daughter, my aunt on Remembrance Day. That day on her table were arranged as a display the following items: a photo of Joseph in his uniform, his memorial cross, the letter from the King, the disk shaped bronze plaque showing Britannia standing with a lion and the inscription “He died for Freedom and Honour”, a poppy pin, a small Canadian flag and a copy of the poem “In Flanders Fields”. She arranged this display every Remembrance Day although I had never previously visited her on that particular date. I questioned her to learn as much as possible about him and continued my search online to try to find other information.
On April 4th, 1908, at the age of 9, James departed Glasgow, Scotland, on the ship, SS Grampian, and arrived in the port of Halifax on April 14, 1908. He came to Canada by himself as a Quarrier's Boy, (orphan), and therefore he would have been sent to the Fairnowe Home in Brockville. From there he went to Croydon, Ontario where he stayed on the Samuel Doupe farm. He later worked as a farm labourer on James Leslie Keller's farm near Croydon.