Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Since our memorable 2012 visit to the Canadian National Memorial in Vimy I have posted many of my photographs from that moving visit over the past four years together with my video Lest We Forget made from those photos. To commemorate today’s solemn celebrations I am posting links to two of the posts for those of you who might wish to revisit them and welcome those of my new followers who might be interested in seeing them for the first time.
In this week’s final Weekly Photo Challenge of the year Ben asks us to “share a photo of something that says “resilient” to you. It could be a local landmark that has survived through the decades …. or of a ritual or tradition that you (or people in your community) have successfully preserved. Show us something that has endured.”
What could be more fitting for this final day of the year than this photo from the Remembrance Day Ceremony around the “local landmark” of the Cenotaph in Victory Square here in Vancouver on November 11th this year. It is an event that has been respectfully preserved and attended by many, many thousands each year and is certainly something that has “endured,” as it has all over the world.
If you would like to see more images from this year’s ceremony and read a special story that I wrote about it, open drawer 21 of my New Year’s Eve Retrospecteave that I posted today. No, that is not a misspelling and the reference to the drawer will become quickly evident.
On yet another day of terror our sympathy and thoughts are with those killed and injured in Istanbul today to whom I would like to dedicate today’s post. We will all need to remain resilient in the year ahead.
Private William Teichrib, South Saskatchewan Regiment, R.C.I.C.
I never knew William Teichrib, but I do now. He died at the age of 22 in northern Belgium. I was introduced to him by his proud relatives today at the 92nd Remembrance Day Service at the Cenotaph in Victory Square here in Vancouver.
As always it was a moving ceremony attended by many thousands, young and old, all of us standing reverently listening to the Prayer of Remembrance, the playing of the Last Post, and in quiet thought during the Two Minute Silence; then The Lament played on the bagpipes by Pipe Major Vern Kennedy, The Rouse, the commemorative Flypast by 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron, and the singing of In Flanders Fields by the Vancouver Bach Youth Choir.
Not far from where my wife and I were standing I noticed a family proudly holding the photograph of a loved one together with his medals and regalia.
At the end of the service I made my way over to them and introduced myself. I then asked if they could tell me about their fallen family member, which they were only too happy to agree to as well as allowing me to take their photograph.
It was then that I was introduced to Private William Teichrib by his two great grand nieces Vanessa and Sarah and his grand nephew George. I learnt that he was born in Morton Manitoba and died on October 15th 1944 at the Battle of the Schelte in Northern Belgium serving in the South Saskatchewan Regiment. This was Vanessa and Sarah’s first Remembrance Day Ceremony and it was clear that they were so proud to be there to keep alive the memory of their great grand uncle who like so many died too young.
We attend the Remembrance Day Ceremony in Victory Square every year but meeting Vanessa, Sarah and George made today’s ceremony more meaningful than ever. Just one story among so many, but one that moved us deeply.
Once home I searched William Teichrib’s name and immediately found it on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial of the Veteran Affairs Canada website and learnt that he is buried at the Schoonselhof Cemetery in Belgium located in a suburb in Antwerp. Through the website I was also able to find his name in the Second World War Book of Remembrance on Page 459, which is displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on October 3rd each year.
Now it was time to learn about the Battle of the Schelte, which I am ashamed to confess was new to me. Once again through the Veteran Affairs Canada website I was able to learn about this vital battle which opened up the port of Antwerp to be used to supply the Allies in north-west Europe. The battle took place in northern Belgium and southwestern Netherlands from October 2 to November 8, 1944, with the first convoy carrying Allied supplies able to unload in Antwerp on November 29. At the end of the five-week offensive, the victorious First Canadian Army had taken 41,043 prisoners, but suffered 12,873 casualties (killed, wounded, or missing), 6,367 of whom were Canadians.
Private William Teichrib, now a name and no longer a statistic, was one of them.
This post is dedicated to his memory with thanks and gratitude to all of our fallen heroes on this day of remembrance.
The photographs for the video were taken during our visit to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in 2012. The poppies for the final frames were filmed in our little patio garden where they swayed in the summer breeze as they must have done on the battlefield so many years ago.
…In Vancouver Canada yesterday, November 11th, many thousands came to the Annual Remembrance Day Service in Victory Square, stood silently at the eleventh hour, and then lined the streets to applaud and thank the marching heroes…