It was 100 years ago that Canadians fought alongside the British Empire in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
And after three days of fighting, Canadians claimed victory in a decisive moment in the First World War.
We remember the battle, but battles are won by people.
During the war, three brothers from the Coldstream era enslited, and all three died in battle. Alexander Smith, George Smith, and Duncan Smith, were sons of John “Scotty” and Maggie Smith, a well-known crofter in the area.
In the Valley, they farmed the Catt Ranch in Lumby, the Antwerp farm in Lavington and the Crerar farm, also on the way to Lumby.
Alexander, age 26, died at the Battle of the Somme. George, age 23, died at the Battle of Ypres. Duncan died at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
“Until I read Pierre Berton’s book Vimy, I never understood that until the Canadians took Vimy Ridge, people in Canada thought of themselves as being from the Old Country or somewhere in Europe,” said Jacqui Wills, a descendant of the Smiths. “Our national identity was built (that) day.
“We need to remember that these thousands who died lived in the chalk mud of Vimy.
“Canadians had made history and had done what the British and French generals thought was impossible.”