Canada comes of age
In all, the Canadians had sustained just over 11,000 casualties. Of these 3,598 were fatal. They had also captured Vimy Ridge, taken more than 4,000 prisoners and many guns, and achieved one of the greatest victories of the war up to that time. It is said that Vimy was where Canada was born as an independent nation. In the attack, four Victoria Crosses had been won: by Captain Thain Wendell MacDowell; Private William Johnstone Milne; Lance-Sergeant Ellis Wellwood Siftton; and Private John George Pattison. Major-General Arthur Currie was knighted on the battlefield by King George V. Later that summer, Currie was promoted to Lieutenant-General and assumed command of the Canadian Corps - its first Canadian commander.
Around the world the international press hailed the Canadian victory. The New York Tribune carried an editorial entitled "Well Done Canada" and stated "no praise of the Canadian achievement can be excessive." Banner headlines in Britain proclaimed "CANADIANS SWEEP VIMY RIDGE."
Yet the victory at Vimy was not decisive. The Allies were unable to exploit their success and the Germans were able to build a new, strong defensive line. How different it might have been had the Allies been able to bring their artillery forward immediately to continue the bombardment of the enemy. The British were exhausted, however, and unable to exploit the success. When the French put in their attack on April 16 to the south between Soissons and Reims it was a complete and costly failure, and a further 25,000 men were lost in the space of five days. Nivelle was removed, and there were widespread mutinies in the French Army. The Vimy offensive had not led to the major breakthrough always hoped for, but Canadians could be justifiably proud of their achievement and an eloquent testimony to the sacrifice made at Easter 1917.
Lest we forget
Lest we forget