April 5, 2024
K. A. Boehmer

At Vimy, Still


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To mark Vimy Ridge Day let us remember three Okanagan soldiers that died at Vimy Ridge in France. This battle on April 9, 1917, became a cornerstone of Canadian identity after the First World War ended in 1919. That identity was paid for in blood, sweat, and scars by men from across Canada.

Albert James, WINSLOW, Sergeant, 443906, 54th Battalion (Kootenay), Canadian Expeditionary Force, was born on February 17, 1894, to Albert and Amelia Winslow in London, England. He was listed as a blacksmith from Kelowna when he was serving in the 102nd Regiment (Rocky Mountain Rangers) before the war. Albert enlisted in C Company, 54th Battalion (Kootenay) in Vernon on September 8, 1915, and after training in England landed in France on 9 September 1916. Part of the 4th Canadian Infantry Division, the 54th suffered losses in a tragic raid on the Ridge in March that weakened the unit before its role in the battle on April 1, 1917. Albert was killed in action that day and is buried in the Givenchy Canadian Cemetery, Neuville-St-Vaast, France. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal which were sent to his sister. He is remembered on the Kelowna Cenotaph.1

Kelowna Public Archives 2005.117

CWGC certificate2

His brother, Charles Arthur WINSLOW, Private, 107628, in the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles (British Columbia Horse), received a gunshot in the right thigh in June 1916 and returned to Canada on Hospital Ship Llandovery Castle in September 1917. Their sister, Mrs. Gertrude A. Pettman, lived in Kelowna.3

Lewis Tynedale Nicholl, MORGAN, Sergeant, 687011, 72nd Battalion (Seaforth Highlanders of Canada), Canadian Expeditionary Force, was born December 13, 1893, the son of Nicholl Morgan in Molesey, England. He was a carpenter and builder in Penticton when he enlisted with A Company, 172nd Battalion (Rocky Mountain Rangers) in Kamloops. He had previously served in the 102nd Regiment (Rocky Mountain Rangers). After training in England, he arrived in France on February 13, 1917, to join the 72nd Battalion of the 4th Canadian Infantry Division in the field. Lewis died during the attack south of Givenchy near Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial and the Penticton cenotaph.4

CWGC certificate5 found online

Thomas Robert, SPEERS, Private, 645302, 7th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, was born June 11, 1882, to James and Esther Speers of Barrie Ontario. He served in the Royal Canadian Regiment before moving to Enderby, British Columbia. He enlisted in the 158th Overseas Battalion (Duke of Connaught’s Own) on January 6, 1916, at age 33 citing his occupation as a broker. He went to England on November 20, 1916, and landed in France on March 19, 1917, where he joined the 7th Battalion in the field on the 25th as part of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division. Thomas was killed in action at Vimy Ridge on 9 April 1917 and has no known grave. His name is memorialized on the Vimy Memorial and Enderby cenotaph. His brother in Enderby, Sydney, received his British War Medal and Victory Medal.6

CWGC certificate7

These are just three examples of the many men involved in the battle, reflecting Vimy’s impact on families and communities throughout the Okanagan.

Rest in Peace.

1] https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=325047;
3] https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=325051
4] https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=203966;
5] https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/1572090/lewis-tyndale-nicholl-morgan/
6] https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=243429;
7] https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/1576035/thomas-robert-speers/

Researching military history?

Schedule a visit to the Vince Bezeau Military Library and Archives. CLICK HERE for more information.

About Us

This website is run and managed by the Okanagan Military Museum, part of the Kelowna Museums Society. The Okanagan Military Museum Society [OMMS] formed in 1987 and opened the Okanagan Military Museum on November 11, 1999.


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