One of the most powerful War Memorials in the World. The Battle Exploits Memorial Committee met at the end of the War to allocate sites to build memorials to Battles, that had been fought in WW1. The Canadians were awarded 8 sites, 5 in France; Courcelette, Le Quesnel, Dury, Bourlon Wood and Vimy. 3 in Belgium; Passchendaele, Hill 62 and St. Julien. A competition was held to design the memorial to be built. The winning designer was Walter Allward and his design was so big, it was decided to use it only once at Vimy Ridge. The runner up was 'The Brooding Soldier' designed by Frederick Clemesha, subsequently built at St. Julien. This design was also considered to be so emotive, building a further 6 for the remaining sites would reduce the impact. The other 6 sites therefore have identical granite blocks.
The statue is located at the intersection of the N313- Zonnebeke Road, known as Vancouver Corner during the War. The statue is 11metres tall of granite on a low circle of flagstones. The soldier has his head bowed with reversed arms. To stand in front of this imposing statue is quite emotive and it seems as if it will come to life. The soil and plants used are of Canadian stock with the Cedar trees trimmed to represent the shape of shell fuses. Like all Canadian Memorials, there is an orientation guide at the base with inlaid arrows and names to assist in identifying direction of other local sites. The orientation markers identify, Ypres, Hooge, Zonnebeke, Langemarck, Poelcapelle, Boesinghe and Passchendaele.
There is a layby alongside where you can park. It is well worth a visit in the evening when it is floodlit. If staying local, or passing also worth a visit at sunrise or sunset. A fitting tribute to the Canadians who died and those who withstood the 2nd gas attack in WW1, by the Germans who had already used it against the French.
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