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.
|These are letters written by David Reeves from the trenches of the Western Front to his future wife, Laura. Note that one at least had been opened by the official censor.|
|Invitation to a reception at Buckingham Palace for attendees at the Vimy Memorial Opening. This one was issued to Kevin Reeves’ father who was 11 years old at the time.|
|Copy of the special train ticket issued to all veterans returning to the 1936 Vimy Memorial dedication ceremony.|
|Article from the North Bay Nugget reporting on David Reeves’ participation in the 1936 dedication ceremony.|
|Souvenir Booklet from 1936 Vimy Memorial Pilgrimage.|
|First page of a 15 page account written by David Reeves on his return to Vimy Ridge in 1936|
|Another article from the North Bay Nugget, reporting on Laura Reeves’ trip to the Vimy Memorial dedication ceremony.|
|We are grateful to Kevin Reeves for sharing these priceless memories with us. He has written a book entitled “Somewhere in France – Love Letters from the Trenches” in which he shares more insights into the correspondence between his grandfather and future grandmother while David Reeves was serving in France.|