April 1917: The Battle of Vimy Ridge

Greg Scott focuses on a pivotal point in history for Canadians.

Canadian machine gun units dug in at Vimy Ridge.

April 6, 1917

The United States today accepted Germany’s challenge to war and formally abandoned its place as the greatest neutral of a world in arms.

President Woodrow Wilson this afternoon signed the resolution of Congress declaring the existence of a state of war and authorizing and directing the chief executive to employ all the resources of the nation to prosecute hostilities against the German government to a successful termination.

The act was done without ceremony. By proclamation the President announced the state of war, called upon all citizens to manifest their loyalty and assured Germans in this country that they would be unmolested as long as they behaved themselves.

Orders were issued soon afterward for the arrest of 60 ringleaders in German plots and intrigues.

April 9, 1917

The crest of Vimy Ridge has been carried. The strongest defensive position of the enemy on the Western Front has been captured by the army of Sir Douglas Haig, and the Canadian Corps had the place of honour in the great event, being strongly supported by some of the most famous British formations.

The attack was preceded by a bombardment that continued for several days, and in which guns of the heaviest calibre formally only used on only the biggest battleships took part.

This morning came the supreme moment, when our infantry was called upon to go out and reap the fruits of months of preparation. Such was the spirit of the infantry who in the gray preceding the dawn, sprang from their shelters when the appointed time came.

It was a great occasion and greatly they met it. By 12:30 o’clock, seven hours after the battle began, no organized body of the enemy remained on Vimy Ridge, except the most concealed of the machine guns on Hill 145.

Our men were splendid, and are proud that they were counted worthy to furnish a striking force in so important an operation as the recapture of Vimy Ridge.

April 11, 1917

Gertrude Sarah Annable, daughter of Mayor J.E. Annable, was the first Nelson woman to take advantage of the extension of the franchise to British Columbia women by making declaration and having her name registered upon the provincial voters list yesterday.

The woman suffrage bill containing amendments for the extension of first registration and for appointing woman commissioners passed third reading in the provincial legislature and was assented to on April 5 by Lieutenant Governor Barnard.

According to the provisions of the new act, declarations of women voters may be taken at the office of the government agent in the court house until 5 o’clock May 14. S.S. Jarvis, acting government agent, declared that the form of the declaration papers was clear and left no doubt as to its intention to exclude all women not British subjects by birth and that if any such declarations should appear before the court of revision, the court would have no option but to throw them out.

April 24, 1917

Nelson canines are due for a veritable “dogs life” in the near future as the result of drastic measures to be put in force by the civic authorities.

Considerable discussion of the dog question took place at city council last night, it being the general opinion that Nelson’s “kloodles” were sufficiently numerous to control the municipal elections — if properly organized — and therefore a menace to the peace and prosperity of the community.

A motion was laid on the table to raise the dog tax from $2 to $5 per year hopefully making it too expensive a matter to keep a useless dog.

Ald. Macdonald quoted a friend of his who had visited the city as saying that Nelson had more dogs than Shanghai, which, he said was supposed to have the largest canine population in the world and, speaking for himself, said that he had never been in a city where so many dogs were to be seen on streets at one time.

The condition was explained by the city clerk, who stated that the city did not really have a great many dogs, but that, its main street being a short one, all the dogs congregated in one place, just like its citizens.

It is evident, however, from the attitude of the members of council present that the hey-days of dogdom are on the wane in the city of Nelson and that the cost of keeping a dog will keep pace with the high cost of living generally, or else many a promising young pup will be cut off in its prime via the incinerator route.

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