Expect Memorial at Vimy Finished in Two Years (1928)
Premier Suggests Plaster Casts of Carvings from Tunnels for Museums in Canada
Ottawa Citizen, 23 October, 1928
Encouraging reports of the progress made on the Canadian National War Memorial on Vimy Ridge continue to be received by the Dominion authorities here, and its is confidently expected that the whole massive monument will be completed within the next two years. It was visited by the prime minister, Rt. Hon. W.L. Mackenzie King, a few weeks ago. The premier also made a trip through that part of the old front line which is still being preserved on the ridge and inspected the subterranean passages in the vicinity of La Folie farm where Canadian soldiers left carvings on the chalk walls of the tunnels. Mr. Mackenzie King expressed his satisfaction with the work being done and also suggested that he would as parliament at the next session to vote a small sum in order to have plaster casts of the carvings made and deposited in the museums of the country.
A polite exhortation to visitors not to defile these Canadian relics is contained in a notice on the entrance of the tunnel, which reads:
"These walls bear the names of the soldiers who lived here. Kindly omit yours."
At present the base of the memorial, about 200 feet square and 20 feet high, is finished, but several tremendous tasks confront the builders. Huge slabs of stone, some weighing ten tons, have to be hoisted in place at the extremities of the base and out of these will be carved the symbolic figures. This stone comes from Jugo-Slavia and its shipment and handling are matters of great delicacy. Following this the pilons which rise from the base, surmounting the whole thing, will have to be built up and the sculpture work on those groups at the top proceeded with.
The monument, which stands within a park of 25 acres, the gift of the government of France to Canada, is one of the six which the Canadian people are erecting at various parts of the front. The others are now finished. There are two in Belgium and five in France.
In Belgium are the memorials at:
- St. Julien, to commemorate the Second battle of Ypres, April 22nd-25th, 1915, and
- Passchendaele, October and November, 1917.
The French memorials are at:
- Vimy Ridge, April 9th, 1917;
- Dury, September 2nd, 1918—Drocourt Queant Line;
- Courcelette, September 15, 1916—the Somme; and
- Le Quesnel, August 8th, 1918—Amiens.
All are simple in design and totally devoid of any flamboyant inscriptions, merely recording that at these points the Canadian Corps fought and defeated the enemy.