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Today is Vimy Ridge Day
The following is from our exhibition “A War Without End” and details Len Bertram and Charles Mitson’s involvement in the battle of Vimy Ridge.
In early April 1917 the 20th Battalion, part of the 2nd Division, was training in the Thelus sector located between Vimy and Arras. The arterial barrage that preceded the offensive had begun and Len – recently promoted to Captain — reported that until the 9th “there was only the usual trench routine except that our guns were very busy smashing up the Hun”.
Len was at HQ for most of the engagement, but Charlie worked with the Signal Section, manning the Brigade Report Centre overnight on April 8. After that they were held in reserve, except for three unnamed signallers who were assigned to the Scout Section. Perhaps Charlie was one of these three.
The cold and wet weather created miserable conditions for the men of the 20th who, through the night of April 9, remained outside consolidating the gains they had made during the day. April 10 saw them continue their advance.
By April 11 the 20th were in the Main Resistance Line in support of the 18th and 21st Battalions. They worked improving trenches, connecting rifle pits, and digging funk holes.
By nightfall on April 12, the Canadian Corps had control of Vimy Ridge. The cost: 3,598 killed and 7,004 wounded. The dead included Len’s friend and Gimme Club pal, Campbell Gwyn.