Canada’s Military Sacrifices



Canada has one of the richest military histories in the world being involved in most major conflicts since World War 1. Notable conflicts Canada has been involved in are both World Wars, the Korean War, South Africa, and Afghanistan. Since 1914 Canada has lost over 109,500 lives due to combat, and both World Wars accounting for over 108,600 casualities.

Sydney Harbour, being the port where countless Canadians crossed the Atlantic to fight for their country, with some never coming back home, is the perfect place to remember our history.

The sacrifices of Canadian soldiers are often regarded as a major pillar of our national identity, and the Canadians who lost their lives for our freedom must never be forgotten.

 

 Vimy Ridge

The Battle of Vimy Ridge is widely considered to be one of the most historic, and celebrated military contributions by our country.

For the first time in Canadian history, from April 9-12, 1917, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps had come together in battle in an attack for control of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais area of France, and this resulted in allied forces capturing Vimy from the German. Previous French attacks before the Battle of Vimy Ridge had left over 100,000 casualities.

It was considered the largest territorial advancement of any allied force in that point of the war. In the end, more than 10,500 Canadian soldiers were killed, and wounded during the assault on Vimy. Today an iconic memorial rests at the ridge, honouring the 11,285 Canadians killed in France throughout the war.

The proposed monument will be designed to reflect that of Vimy and would face the ocean in the direction of the Vimy Memorial. Taking into consideration that most Canadians would never be able to visit the memorial in France, this project would be much more accessible.

Canadian soliders conducting in trench warfare during the Battle of Vimy

 

 Sinking of The Caribou

On October 13, 1942, at approximately 9:30 PM, transportation ferry, the S.S. Caribou left Sydney for Newfoundland carring 73 civilians (which included 11 children), 113 military personal, and a crew of 46.

Custom at the time, before departure, the passengers were urged to familiarize themselves with the lifeboat stations by the captain, so they would be prepared in the event of the attack of a German U-Boat. At 3:21 AM, 60 kilometeres from Newfoundland, the Caribou had been spotted, and mistaken for a grain convoy heading for Montreal. Shortly after, at 3:40 AM, the S.S. Caribou was struck by a lone torpedo on her starboard side.

Passengers were thrown from their bunks from the force of the explosion, some life boats were destroyed, and many were forced to jump overboard into cold waters. Only 136 of the 237 who boarded would survive after the torpedo had struck.

The S.S. Caribou during service

 

 Korea

It is often forgotten that Canada took part in the Korean war, because of the two World Wars that preceded it. In 1950, North Korea had invaded South Korea. As a result, the newly formed United Nations supported South Korea, and sent troops from member nations, including Canada.

During 1950-1953, Canada had sent 26,000 Canadians to serve during the conflicts, and 516 Canadians had lost their lives, 312 during combat. No contribution made by our people should be forgotten, especially when Canadas military contribution was larger than most other UN participants.

Canadian soldiers attending to their equipment.

 

 Battle of The Atlantic

A seldom discussed part of the Second World War was the Battle of the Atlantic. The Allied and German forces were struggling for control of the Atlantic with German U-Boats sinking Allied merchant ships.

The battle lasted for six years (1939-1945) making it the longest military campaign during the Second World War. In the end, the enemy forces lost over 700 U-boats, over 30,000 seamen, while the allied forces lost more than 3,500 ships (175 warships), and over 70,000 seamen (4,600 Canadian).

It will forever be remembered as the time the war was brought to Canada’s doorstep.

The HMCS Esquimalt, last Canadian vessell sunk in 1945.