The Battle (Arras)

The Great War: Vimy Ridge
George Van Wyck Laughton, M.C.

Canadian - Serving in the British 3rd Army, 34th Division,  
26th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (Tyneside Irish)

                               


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This page last updated on February 01, 2013

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Vimy Ridge 1
Vimy Ridge 2
Arras Photos


THE BATTLE OF ARRAS (Vimy Ridge April 9, 1917)

As this part of the web site has again grown past the "one page" size, it has been split into two (2) sections, one dealing with general issues and research related to Vimy Ridge and the second to the specific records of Grandfather Laughton, recording his first hand experience at Vimy that fateful day of April 9, 1917.

In July 2010 I adjusted these pages (see index page correction as well) to reference that Grandfather Laughton was a participant in the great Battles of the Scarpe (Arras 1917). Although a Canadian, George Laughton was a soldier of the British 3rd Army, thus he did not participate in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. On that fateful day in April 1917, the 26th Northumberland Fusiliers were on the immediate right (south) border of the 1st Canadian Division (the south border of Vimy Ridge). The British refer to Canada's action at Vimy Ridge as a diversion to draw away German forces from the more important action at the River Scarpe. The Canadians refer to it as a parallel assault, all part of a well orchestrated and combined action. In the end, the Canadians and British did fight as a unified force in the 3rd Battle of the Scarpe in May 1917.

There is a good short description of the difference between the parallel battles in the documents "Battle Honours of the Canadian Forces". Links to these documents are as follows:

Battle Honours: Vimy Ridge April 1917
Battle Honours: Arras April 1917

The links to the sub-pages that related to the specific action of George Van Wyck Laughton, are as follows (titles now adjusted to "Arras"):

Page 1: Battle of Arras, April 9-12, 1917

Page 2: George Van Wyck Laughton. M.C., Battles of the Scarpe

You will find that the records of Grandfather Laughton add a lot to the history of the Scarpe Battles (at Arras and Vimy Ridge), as I was fortunate to be left his original maps and field notes of that famous battle.

A specific aspect of this information now deals with the topic of what we call "The Other Canadians at Vimy" as it tells the story of the members of the initial Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) that left the CEF as privates or NCO's (Non Commissioned Officers) to take on an Officer's role in the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).

A great deal of information has come from colleagues that are researching the Great War on the new Internet Forums, as well as from texts that have been historically and recently published.  Where possible, we have directed the reader to the source of the text, so you can further your own research.  We are also pleased to provide the research links to the Internet Forums, as follows:

Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group

Great War Forum

Lost Generation Forum 
(this site has since been discontinued - you can find the archive version here which is on the web site of http://archive.org and in the "Wayback Machine)

The CEF Study Group is the premier research board for those studying or researching the role of the Canadian's in the Great War.  The Great War Forum deals more with the history of the battlefields and the role of soldiers from the BEF in the Great War.  The Lost Generation Forum (see note above), the newest to the field (circa 2005) is where we have been discussing the role played by "The Other Canadians at Vimy".

You will also want to visit the web pages that explain how to retrieve records about CEF and BEF soldiers.  For this information, please refer to these pages on this site:

Library and Archives Canada

UK National Archives

London Gazette

Additional information is now also available on the web pages of my second project, as it details the exploits of my maternal grandfather Josiah Alexander Chancellor Kennedy who served with the CEF Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (P.P.C.L.I) and later with the BEF Royal Irish Rifles (R.I.R.).

 

 

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