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1917: The Battle of Passchendaele

Type: Film and Video

On Nov. 6, 1917 Canadian troops captured Belgium's Passchendaele ridge, ending a gruelling offensive that had begun on July 31, 1917. The Battle of Passchendaele is remembered for its atrocious conditions, heavy casualties and Canadian valour. Canadians, instrumental in securing victory, earned a total of nine Victoria Crosses for their courage. In this CBC Radio documentary marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, survivors describe feeling a sense of pride at having succeeded where those before them had failed.

Site: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Battle of the Somme

Type: Film and Video

By 1916, the First World War has become a stalemate. The battlefields of Europe have been dug into 800 kilometres of trenches. Men are dying, but no ground is being won or lost. On July 1, 1916, 150,000 Allied troops - including thousands of Canadians and Newfoundlanders - go over the top in an attempt to open up the western front. The result is a bloodbath. In this clip from the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, historian Martin Gilbert describes the futility of "The Big Push."

Site: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Remembering the Last Canadian Combat Veteran

Type: Film and Video

Clare Laking was 18 when he defied his father's wishes and left the family farm to enlist. He arrived in France just after Vimy Ridge, serving as a signaller who ran telephone wire along the trenches. Though he was wounded by a German shell, he believes he was the only farm boy from his area to return alive. Clare Laking died on Nov. 26, 2005, at age 106. He was the last of over 600,000 Canadians to fight in the Great War.

Site: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Maple Leaf Legacy: A Global Memorial

Type: Film and Video

It began with one photograph of a tombstone, with the carved maple leaf indicating a fallen Canadian soldier of the Great War. To Steve Douglas of Kitchener, Ont., the image was more than keepsake, it was inspiration. Douglas embarked on an ambitious project to photograph and upload images of all 117,000 Canadian war graves around the world. As we hear in this clip, the photographs bring a sense of closure, described by one family as "a heart cord reattached."

Site: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

First World War: Gas! Gas!

Type: Film and Video

Belgium's Ypres is a scene of carnage and ruin, throbbing with murderous machine gun and artillery fire and littered with unburied corpses. As if this vision of hell on earth isn't bad enough, a new innovation is turning the very air to deadly poison. In April 1915, the Germans unleash the horrific weapon of chlorine gas on Canadian troops. As we hear in this item from CBC Radio's Ideas, the new weapon is terrifying, but the Canadian line does not break.

Site: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Vimy Ridge 75th Anniversary

Type: Film and Video

They called it "The Great War" and "The War to End All Wars" – though of course it didn't. When hostilities erupted in Europe in 1914, Canadians rushed to Britain's side. But the cost was terrible: more than 60,000 were killed, 172,000 wounded. There are no more Canadian combat veterans alive to recall the horrors of the First World War, but their voices and memories live on in the archives of the CBC. Lest we forget, here are some of their stories.

Site: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Newfoundland Remembers Beaumont-Hamel

Type: Film and Video

They called it "The Great War" and "The War to End All Wars" – though of course it didn't. When hostilities erupted in Europe in 1914, Canadians rushed to Britain's side. But the cost was terrible: more than 60,000 were killed, 172,000 wounded. There are no more Canadian combat veterans alive to recall the horrors of the First World War, but their voices and memories live on in the archives of the CBC. Lest we forget, here are some of their stories.

Site: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Return to Vimy Ridge

Type: Film and Video

They called it "The Great War" and "The War to End All Wars" – though of course it didn't. When hostilities erupted in Europe in 1914, Canadians rushed to Britain's side. But the cost was terrible: more than 60,000 were killed, 172,000 wounded. There are no more Canadian combat veterans alive to recall the horrors of the First World War, but their voices and memories live on in the archives of the CBC. Lest we forget, here are some of their stories.

Site: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

The Murderous Mud of Passchendaele

Type: Film and Video

At one time, Passchendaele, Belgium, was a pleasant crossroads village surrounded by rich farmland. But heavy bombardment and heavier rains turn the reclaimed marshland into a nightmarish sea of mud and muck, which the British called "The Slough of Despair." In this clip from CBC-TV's Their Springtime of Life, Canadian veterans recall what it was like trying to stay alive in the deadly mud of Passchendaele.

Site: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Going Over the Top at Vimy Ridge

Type: Film and Video

For Canadians, Vimy Ridge is now a place of legend, the site of this country's defining military victory. But in 1917, the French battlefield was a seemingly impregnable fortress, a killing field of tunnels and trenches constantly watched by Germans occupying the high ground. But after weeks of preparation, and the biggest artillery bombardment in history to that point, the Canadians succeed where the British and French failed: they take Vimy Ridge.

Site: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation