Monday, April 12, 2010

Vimy Ridge: The Original Coverage

Stewart Lyon, The Canadian Press

Lyon was the managing editor of the Globe. He was the first Canadian war correspondent in France, arriving in March, 1917. Lyon missed the attack at Vimy Ridge, and no other Allied reporters were on the battlefield.

Canadian Headquarters in France, April 12 (via London) – From the last position held by them on Vimy Ridge the Germans were swept this morning (Thursday) after one of the most fiercely contested engagements in which the Canadians have recently taken part. This morning at 5:30 o’clock during a blinding snowstorm, an assaulting column was dispatched to drive the enemy from the height known as “The Pimple,” occupying a dominating position on the ridge, to the northeast of Souchez. Though wearied by the constant struggle against the enemy and elements the last four days, the men responded splendidly. Swarming up the height, they attacked the enemy garrison, which included troops specially brought up to hold the position, among them the Fifth battalion of the Prussian Grenadier Guards.
The Germans fought under the peremptory orders to hold the position at all costs. The Canadians were not to be denied, however. Over the shell-plowed land and machine gun-fire, they climbed to the summit, and by 7 o’clock the flower of the German army were fleeing to the east and sought shelter in the village of Givenchy. This victory, the second within a week, gives our army absolute command of the entire ridge. Monday’s success opened the way by the capture of Hill 145. That hill is the highest point on the ridge. It had to be secured before the attack on “The Pimple” could be made with any hope of success.
By today’s win on the part of the Canadians, and the victory of the British, who carried Bois en Hache, on the west side of the Souchez River, the entire valley of Souchez is in our hands and we can look down on the enemy’s positions in the plain of Cambrai.

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