A French Town Remembers

 

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Please note that all photos credited to the Givenchy 2017 Anne du Canada Facebook Group unless otherwise noted.

The French town of Givenchy-en-Gohelle is situated adjacent to the Vimy Ridge Memorial and I had the pleasure of taking a coffee at the Leleu Martine Cafe in September 2015 when my sister and I visited the Vimy Memorial and battlefield. The cafe had many mementos reflecting the Canadian presence in the sector of France and it was with a certain pride that I sat in the cafe and reflected on my Grand Father and Great Uncle’s service in the 18th and 4th Battalions.

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My Great Uncle, John Taylor Dewar (left) and my Grand Father, William Robb Dewar. Private J.T. Dewar was not to survive the war and is buried in Arras, France. (Source: Edwards family)

The town is working to further this commemoration and connection with the Canadian soldiers from 100 years ago by actively working on events and displays to promote the remembrance of the Canadian contribution to the war effort and the sacrifice of so many of our native sons on this battlefield.

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The purpose of this commemoration is simply stated:

“Because peace and freedom are the most precious things…
Because we must not forget that our Canadian brothers came and shed their blood in our land, to preserve peace and freedom…”

Source: Livret_evenements_-_Givenchy_2017_Annee_du_Canada_-_version_anglaise_PDF_161026 (PDF format)

The organization has created a “cultural agenda” (click on link for PDF pdf-file-givenchy-2017) outlining the work of the town in commemorating the Canadians at Vimy which is extensive. They have a Facebook Group and it would be wonderful for those Canadians that see this to join the group to show are appreciation for all this town’s efforts to show remembrance to our soldiers.

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Givenchy-en-Gohelle is due north of the Vimy Monument. From the center of town to the monument is 3,700 feet. Note the location of the Leleu Martine Cafe. Source: screen capture of Google Maps.

Givenchy-en-Gohelle was virtually destroyed during the conflict, most likely from Canadian and British artillery, and they rebuilt their lives and instead of feeling malice to this destruction Givenchy-en-Gohelle is working to help future generations respect and venerate the sacrifices of our soldiers.

Having the honour (thanks to my sister) of visiting the Memorial and being in the vicinity of such hallowed ground it is with heart-felt thanks and deep appreciation to the town of Givenchy-en-Gohelle for taking so much time and effort to honour our Canadian soldiers.

Thank you. Your efforts people of Givenchy-en-Gohelle put my pride in my family, our troops and in Canada fore front in my mind.

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