Remembering the Battle of Amiens
Today, members of DND and the Canadian Armed Forces acknowledge the 105th anniversary of the Battle of Amiens – a crucial engagement that opened the door to victory in the final phase of the First World War. It was the start of three months of stunning battlefield achievements that became known as “Canada’s Hundred Days,” where the actions of our soldiers helped define the Canadian Corps as one of the most effective fighting forces on the Western Front.
The Germans launched a series of offensives in March 1918 aimed at breaking a stalemate following years of bitter trench warfare. In August 1918, the Allies launched their own offensive, with the Canadian and Australian Corps leading an attack at Amiens, France, on August 8th. Led by Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Currie, the Canadians advanced a remarkable 12 kilometres that day, and had captured more than 5,000 German prisoners and 161 guns by the time the battle ended on August 11th.
Three months later, the Canadian Corps had taken 10 times that ground, capturing some 32,000 German prisoners and almost 3,800 enemy artillery pieces, machine guns and mortars. The Victoria Cross, the highest military award, was given to 30 Canadians and Newfoundlanders for their efforts.
The Allies’ success on the battlefield finally forced Germany to negotiate for an armistice, which ended the war on 11 November 1918. Over those closing three months of fighting, approximately 39,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders were wounded, and more than 6,800 made the ultimate sacrifice.
On this 105th anniversary, those who fought in the Battle of Amiens and during Canada’s Hundred Days are honoured. The many others who have served Canada at home and abroad are also remembered, and military families and communities across Canada are recognized for their support to our armed forces.
“I join people across our country in saluting the Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served during the First World War. During the Battle of Amiens and Canada’s Hundred Days, our troops demonstrated immeasurable courage and bravery – and I encourage all Canadians to learn more about this important part of our military history. Together, let us honour their memory, and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Lest we forget,” said The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence.
Associate Minister of National Defence, The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, said “Canada’s Hundred Days represents the last three months of the First World War, when the Canadian Corps on the Western Front solidified their reputation as elite shock troops. The price they paid for victory cannot be overstated. As Canadians, we recognize the importance of keeping the memory of those who fought during the First World War alive and passing the lessons that their actions have taught us on to our nation’s youth.”