100 on 100: Remembering Canada’s Hundred Days in WWI

Sunday's Remembrance Day will be the 100th anniversary of the end of The Great War
hundred days world war i A World War I memorial in Smiths Falls, Ontario. (© Matthew Benoit - Dreamstime.com)


This Sunday, November 11 will mark 100 years since the end of World War I. For many countries around the world, it is a time to reflect on the sacrifices made by the soldiers who fought in the great conflict. This is especially true for Canada.

No war took the lives of more Canadians than World War I. According to Veterans Affairs Canada, of the approximately 650,000 soldiers from this country who served in the war, around 250,000 were wounded and over 68,000 of them died. That's more than one death for every ten soldiers. It's also about 21,000 more deaths than Canada experienced in World War II—even though that war was two years longer and featured over one million Canadian soldiers.

A great sacrifice

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Prime Minister Robert Borden led Canada during the First World War. (Getty Embed)

Even more inspiring? All of this sacrifice was made without Canada really being directly threatened. At the time, the country still had strong political ties to Britain—this meant that it was brought into the conflict as soon as Britain declared war. But it still had the right to choose how much it wished to be involved. And generally, it chose to commit itself fully.

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Canadian troops taking shelter while fighting in Arras during the Hundred Days. (William Rider-Rider/Wikimedia Commons)

Nowhere was this truer than in the final days of the war. The Hundred Days Offensive was the last push by Allied Forces that finally brought about the collapse of the German and Austro-Hungarian forces and end the war. For Canadian military, it is also known as Canada's Hundred Days. Why?

Because between August 8 and November 11, 1918, the Canadian Corps of the British First Army made a massive contribution. In the Battles of Amiens, the Scrape, the Canal du Nord, Cambrai and so many others, they defeated dozens of German divisions. To many historians, these hundred days represent the greatest ever military achievements by Canadian forces.

Test your knowledge of Canada's Hundred Days

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A memorial service on August 8, 2018 to honour the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Amiens, the beginning of The Hundred Days Offensive. (Getty Embed)

Part of the reason that a day like Remembrance Day is so significant is because it is so easy to forget facts such as this. Let's face it. Modern life comes with its own issues-to-know list. And it's kind of long!

But taking a moment to learn histories like this do help us understand the present. If for no other reason than to appreciate how much we never want to be involved in a war where nearly half of all soldiers are either wounded or killed.

To help get you started, Veterans Canada has teamed up with Google Earth to put together a quiz that takes you on the journey the soldiers took on Canada's Hundred Days. We definitely think it's worth your time!

*This quiz does require the use of a web browser such as Chrome that enables Google Earth.

 


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