Plans un­der­way for Vimy Ridge cel­e­bra­tion

Cape Bre­toner played key role in First World War bat­tle


Plans are well un­der­way for lo­cal com­mem­o­ra­tions to mark the 100th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Vimy Ridge.

The 85th Bat­tal­ion Nova Sco­tia High­landers cap­tured Hill 145 where the Cana­dian Na­tional Vimy Me­mo­rial now stands. Givenchy en Go­helle has also des­ig­nated 2017 the Year of Canada and plans are un­der­way for the twin­ning of the re­gion with Dis­trict 8 of the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity. The ef­forts of the High­landers will be marked and trib­ute will be paid to Maj. Per­ci­val An­der­son with the events that will take place in Cape Bre­ton and France be­tween the end of March and be­gin­ning of April. An­der­son of Big Bad­deck served as com­mand­ing of­fi­cer of com­pa­nies “C” and “D” of the 85th Bat­tal­ion.

It has yet to be con­firmed, but plans are be­ing worked on to twin the French Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Givenchy en Go­helle with the CBRM’s Dis­trict 8, noted An­toine Hirsch, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the French Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Givenchy en Go­helle (Vimy Ridge) in Canada. Both re­gions share com­mon his­tory, coal-min­ing tra­di­tions and folk­lore and some school ex­changes have al­ready be­gun be­tween the two re­gions.

“In Port Morien, you have got the first coal mine in North Amer­ica, dat­ing from 1720, Givenchy en Go­helle-Vimy Ridge is just in the mid­dle of a coal mine re­gion, which means that the two re­gions are shar­ing 300 years of coal-min­ing tra­di­tions, they are also shar­ing about 300 years of his­tory with the Fortress of Louis­bourg,” Hirsch said. “They are shar­ing folk­lore tra­di­tions.”

He noted he is work­ing with CBRM Dist. 8 Coun. Amanda Mc­Dougall on that ini­tia­tive.

A num­ber of his­to­ri­ans and some de­scen­dants of the veter­ans of the 85th Bat­tal­ion from the Cana­dian as­so­ci­a­tion will be present at Vimy Ridge in April to tell the story of the bat­tal­ion. Dur­ing that con­fer­ence, two copies of the map stained with Vimy Ridge mud used by An­der­son dur­ing the at­tack of Hill 145, which is now the site of the Cana­dian na­tional Vimy Me­mo­rial, will be pre­sented to the new vis­i­tors cen­tre in Givenchy en Go­helle and to the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Givenchy en Go­helle. A dig­i­tized copy of the map made by the Nova Sco­tia Com­mu­nity Col­lege will be avail­able for down­load by all vis­i­tors to the Vimy Me­mo­rial.

“It will give an ex­po­sure to Cape Bre­ton re­ally on al­most a world­wide ba­sis,” Hirsch said.

He stressed that that the French group is com­pletely in­de­pen­dent from the Cana­dian ef­forts.

The French del­e­ga­tion is ex­pected to be in Cape Bre­ton, March 19-25.

“They will be walk­ing from Cheti­camp to Dis­trict 8,”said Hirsch, who added that those plans will be de­pen­dent on weather con­di­tions. “There are (plans for) sym­bolic walks and sym­bolic vis­its be­tween Cheti­camp, Bad­deck, Syd­ney-Glace Bay, Glace Bay-Port Morien, Port Morien-Main-A-Dieu … then Louis­bourg … I know they have or­ga­nized vis­its to the dif­fer­ent le­gions on the way.”

The com­pa­nies led by An­der­son were com­prised mostly of men from Cape Bre­ton and main­land Nova Sco­tia. An­der­son be­came a ma­jor af­ter Vimy, but he died in the bat­tle of Pass­chen­dale in Oc­to­ber 1917.


An­toine Hirsch, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the French Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Givenchy en Go­helle (Vimy Ridge) in Canada, speaks dur­ing a con­fer­ence held at the Bell mu­seum in Bad­deck last year, rec­og­niz­ing Per­ci­val An­der­son of Big Bad­deck, who served as com­mand­ing of­fi­cer of com­pa­nies “C” and “D” of the 85th Bat­tal­ion of “Overseas” Nova Sco­tia High­landers who took Hill 145, where the Cana­dian Vimy me­mo­rial now stands.

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