“The great lesson to be learned from these operations is this: if the lessons of the War have been thoroughly mastered; if the artillery preparations and support is good; if our intelligence is properly appreciated; then there is no position that cannot be wrested from the enemy by well-disciplined and well-lead troops attacking on a sound plan.” Arthur Currie
In April 1917, the Canadian Corps, under General Julian Byng, demonstrated, for the first time in the Great War, that a strongly held position could be taken. His chief planner and successor was General Arthur Currie. Currie went on to become the go to general and the CEF, the go to unit, for when a great assault was required.
In this short booklet, you will find General Arthur Currie’s report on the attack of the First Canadian Division on Vimy Ridge in April and May of 1917.
Until now, this document has only been available in the archives in the UK and in Canada. The intent at the Brome County Historical Society (BCHS), is to make this document widely available to all.
The importance of this document is that it shows, for the first time, the new thinking that ultimately enabled the British Army to find the answers to the stalemate of the Western Front.
This document is laconically titled: 1st Canadian Division – Report on the Vimy Ridge – Willerval – Arleux and Fresnoy Operations – April 9th – May 5th 1917. Dated June 1917. It was written as a tutorial for officers. It is part of the new culture of the Canadian Corps to share hard won lessons immediately.
In this booklet you will find the full text transcribed for easy reading. We have also added a running commentary and end notes that include more detail.
This copy of the document comes from the papers of Canadian Brigadier General Dennis Draper. At the time of Vimy, Draper was the CO of the 5th Mounted Rifles. Recruited in the Eastern Townships in Quebec, the home of the Brome County Historical Society, the 5th CMR served in the 3rd Division at Vimy. After the Great War, Draper donated his military papers to the BCHS.
My work here was to add the commentary to Currie’s document.
You can download the pdf for free here