In April 1916 my grandfather signed up to fight in WW1.
A year later he found himself at the battle of Vimy Ridge. This is Canada's most celebrated military victory — an often mythologized symbol of the birth of Canadian national pride and awareness. The four divisions of the Canadian Corps, fighting together for the first time, attacked the ridge from 9 to 12 April, 1917 and captured it from the German army. It was the largest territorial advance of any Allied force to that point in the war – but it would mean little to the outcome of the conflict. More than 10,500 Canadians were killed and wounded in the assault. Today an iconic white memorial atop the ridge honours the 11,285 Canadians killed in France throughout the war who have no known graves.
Grandpa would tell me stories about this battle when I used to sit at his feet listening to his tales as a child. he was a 'sapper' in the war and his role in this battle was to help build and repair rail lines to the front to ensure a steady supply of supplies. He told me how at Vimy the burrowed into the ridge itself to provide natural protection to the lines. I am sure his experiences in the gold mines of northern Ontario helped him with this.