With its Vimy Program, the Brome County Historical Society reinforces its role as an authority on the Great War.
This month, many Canadians are remembering the Battle for Vimy Ridge, April 9th, 1917.
The BCHS Vimy Exhibit, “The Road Past Vimy”, opened on April 8th with a lecture by Michel Italien on the war experience of a young French Canadian soldier, Oliva Cinq-Mars, from Sherbrooke. Cinq-Mars served for much of the war with the 9th Toronto Battery. The lecture was given in both languages to a very appreciative and knowledgeable audience.
The main BCHS exhibit honouring Vimy, “The Road Past Vimy” runs until June 20th 2017. The exhibit focuses on the stories of local men. Some were very young, like Private Albert Hapgood, a Home Boy, who volunteered at age 16 and was only 17 when he fell.
Some, like Sergeant Sydney Vokes, aged 48 from Sutton and married with children, were much older. As you read their stories, the war moves out of history into our own reality.
The exhibit also extends beyond the walls of the museum. Only a month after the battle had ended, Arthur Currie, then the General in charge of the First Division, wrote a report about how the attack had been planned and carried out.
This report, “On the Vimy Ridge-Willerval-Arleux and Fresnoy Operations, April 9th – May 5th 1917”, represents the most complete first-hand record of the battle. The document comes from the General Dennis Draper archive at BCHS. They have put it online and so have made it accessible to everyone. This is the first time that this critically important record has been made so public.