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Hill 145

This is a special post about an important day in history and one that we in IRON KINGDOM feel should always be remembered.

On any given day it is hard to imagine what it would have been like to live 100 years ago, but today gives us special cause for wonder. Today marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, forever a seminal point in Canadian history. Vimy Ridge was the first time in Canada’s short life that her soldiers fought, not only together but also under one of their own. Over the course of 3 days a brilliant, carefully planned, and studiously practiced plan was carried out and saw the Canadian Corps victorious, even if the wider British-French offensive was not.

At 5:30 am, April 9th, 1917, members of the Canadian Corps marched behind the creeping wall of death made by their own artillery shells, and surprised the Germans entrenched on the ridge. The shelling had started a week previous to soften up the enemy positions, and when the attack came in earnest the Germans could not stand their ground. Many acts of insane bravery were carried out as single men charged fortified dugouts and forced surrender at bayonet point. Hill 145, the tallest and most fortified position on the Vimy Ridge, was captured by bayonet charge against machine gun nests. The courage and determination needed for such a task is staggering. Can YOU imagine charging directly into a hail of machine gun fire with naught but a blade fixed to your gun?

100 years ago. One hundred years. Not a single soul still lives from the First War and the precious few remaining from the Second World War won’t be around much longer. What happens then? With each year we get further removed from the trials and atrocities of the past century, with no living veterans to bring these histories to life, will we let these events be buried in the past? Will we allow ourselves to become increasingly more distracted by seemingly unlimited entertainment, or bogged down by the mud-slinging tactics favoured by today’s politicians and internet trolls? Or will we take the time to remember the courage and sacrifice shown by the brave men and women who volunteered their lives to serve?

I implore everyone and anyone who reads this to do some research into war history, educate yourself on the sacrifices made. Look up Beaumont-Hamel (Battle of the Somme) and what happened to the Newfoundland Regiment. Within 30 minutes of going “over the top” the 780 man regiment was wiped out nearly to a man. 68 survived at roll call the next morning. Look into the Battle of Yprés, which forms the factual basis for Iron Maiden’s song ‘Passchendale.’  Men and horses really did drown in mud.

I know what you might be thinking right now, “the world is changing and is a much different place now, there wont be a repeat to the World Wars!” In some way you would be correct, but it’s going to be much much worse. In 1915 chlorine gas was used against Allied soldiers, in fact the 1st Canadian Division. Just days ago in 2017 sarin gas was used on Syrian civilians. More and more we see the targeting of non-combatants in atrocious and deadly attacks and long drawn out wars that continue, even a hundred years after the “War to end all Wars.”

They say that those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, and maybe we are. 100 years is like the blink of an eye in Human History. Educate yourself and reflect on the lessons those who have come before us have left us. I have to hope somewhere in those lessons is a way to a better tomorrow. What will history tell of us a hundred years from now?

Lest We Forget,

Leighton Holmes

(Bass Guitar)

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