This upcoming April, 15 local Army Cadets will be retracing the steps of the 15 Chilliwack soldiers that served our country in the battle of Vimy Ridge, nearly 100 years ago.
Cadets from the 1725 Royal Canadian Engineer Cadet Corps will have a great opportunity to learn more about Canada’s part in the First World War. They’ll be accompanied by four staff and parents, and taking the trip with an established touring company.
“We’ve learned about this in school,” says Sgt. Cameron Howden, age 16. “But it’s not often that people actually have the opportunity to visit the site, to learn not only more about our history but to also pay our respects to the Canadian soldiers who fought or lost their lives during this battle.”
Their nine-day educational adventure will take place April 5-13, 2017. It will allow the cadets to not only tour Vimy, but to visit other cities filled with history, like Paris, Passchendaele, Ypres, and Brussels. The group will fly into Paris and explore the city for three days, before moving on to the Vimy Region, where on day five of their trip, they will join an anticipated 25,000 fellow Canadians for this once-in-a-lifetime ceremony, celebrating Canada’s victory at Vimy Ridge.
Participating cadets, including Corporal Kai Gough, 13, are understandably excited and proud to be going on this trip.
“I feel honored to be able to attend the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in my cadet uniform in order to pay my respects to the men that fought for the freedoms I have today,” Gough says.
A trip of this magnitude is quite expensive, costing $3,400 per cadet. The cadet corps, sponsoring committee and parents have all been busy fundraising for the trip and they are asking for the public’s help. So far, the cadet group has raised $11,000 and needs an additional $50,000 to make the trip cost-free for their parents.
The corps has already completed several different campaigns to raise money, and there are several fundraisers planned over the coming months to help them reach their goal.
They’ll hold a bottle drive on Jan. 14. Cadets will be handing out flyers and bags around their neighbourhood on Jan. 7 and will come to collect bottles on Jan. 14.
They are also planning a Legion Dinner and Dance for Feb. 24 at the Chilliwack Royal Canadian Legion. That will include roast beef dinner with all the trimmings, a 50/50 draw, door prizes, a live band, and poet, Tony Peneff, who will be displaying part of his Vimy Collection. Tickets for the evening are $20 each and only 100 will be sold. For more information and to purchase your tickets, email email@example.com.
After that, they will hold a community wide Vimy Pin Sale, March 4 and 5.
They are asking everyone to watch for cadets selling Vimy pins around town. They will be set up inside the Cottonwood Mall, Superstore, Save-On-Foods, and a few will be for sale at the Legion Branch 280 on Vedder Rd. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase one today. Pins are $5 each.
For those that would like to donate more, the corps is accepting cheques, for which tax receipts can be provided.
Nearly 800 travellers associated with cadets will be travelling to Vimy in April, including 65 corps and squadrons across Canada.
Cpt. Brandon Banks, CD, Commanding Officer of the 1725 Army Cadets wants to thank all those that have supported the corps’ efforts in making this trip possible.
“The opportunity that these local members of Chilliwack Army Cadet Corps will experience as they participate in 100th Anniversary ceremonies at Vimy Ridge, will be something they will remember for the rest of their lives,” he says. “It will truly be a proud moment for these folks as they represent the Canadian Cadet Organization and the City of Chilliwack in Vimy this upcoming April.”
Reflecting on Chilliwack efforts:
Those from Chilliwack reflect the earlier dates of battle in France from 1915 through to the last German offensive of March 1918. Their names are Harry Ayres, Louis James Barrett, Orville Hubert Boucher, Alfred Bunnett, Charles Edward Clapp, George Allan Evans, Trueman Hamilton, Geoffrey Hornby, Albert Leslie Knight, Samuel Andrew Love, Allen McDonnell, Alexander Robertson, James Stronach, Arend Van Der Knaap, and Hayward Vernon Wedrick.’
More information can be found on the Chilliwack Museum website.