By Justin Seward
On April 11, the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) held a parade at CFB Suffield to commemorate the 100th memorial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, which had taken place from April 9-12, 1917. The weather for the march was fitting because there was a wintry feel in the air and the soldiers who battled in the war had to endure similar conditions.
“I’ve been trying to convey to the British Soldiers what Vimy Ridge means to Canada,” said BATUS commander Col. Marcus Evans. “I’ve been trying to convey to them that young men their age of their rank, wearing uniforms as the ones they’re going to wear this morning, sacrificed their lives so that Canada could become this autonomous sovereign nation.”
Canada became that autonomous sovereign nation because the Battle of Vimy Ridge marked the first time that all four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought together as one.
“It’s a real seminal moment for Canada and the Canadian Army, and we wanted to celebrate that because we’re hosted so well here at CFB Suffield,” said Evans. “But it’s also a battle remembered by British Army, about 60,000- 70,000 British soldiers on the flanks and over the course of the entire battle, which took about two months we lost about 160, 000 people, so it’s something worth celebrating in the United Kingdom as well.”
Ian Newby, a soldier for 28 years , supplied the BATUS with the opportunity to wear authentic World War I uniforms during the parade that were collected over the decades from all over of the world. The uniforms have been in many films and television show such as “The Legends of Tomorrow,” and in a two part episode of “The Battle of the Somme.” He said he has nine crew members in a warehouse who work hard to keep the uniforms in good condition and it’s all a part of a joint effort.