Centennial of the Battle of Hill 70: 20 August 2017, from 10:45am to 12:00pm
This event is organized by the 4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment to mark the centennial of the Battle of Hill 70. A forgotten battle during the First World War, it saw Canada’s only Muslim casualty, Private Hasan Amat of 1st Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, be killed-in-action on 20 August 1917.
The Battle of Hill 70 was fought by all four divisions of the Canadian Corps between 15 and 25 August 1917. It was the follow-up task of the corps following their victory at Vimy Ridge in April of the same year. Significantly, Hill 70 marks the first time the Canadian Corps was led by a Canadian officer, Lieutenant General Arthur Currie. He convinced higher headquarters to focus on capturing Hill 70, a dominating high feature to the north of Lens (France). Having captured Hill 70, the Canadians could effectively control Lens and force the Germans to commit to recapturing the hill at great cost.
With devastating artillery barrages and rapid infantry assaults, the Canadians quickly secured the hill on the first day and made ready for German counter-attack. The Germans conducted numerous counter-attacks over the next 10 days, using mustard gas shells and flamethrowers for the first time. Despite the fury of the German attacks and huge Canadian casualties, the Canadian Corps held the hill and won a staggering victory. In total, the corps lost 8,700 casualties to an estimated 25,000 German casualties. The valiant Canadians also won a total of 6 Victoria Crosses in 10 days, one of the highest rates of gallantry ever displayed by any formation in a single battle.
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