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Holding the front near Vimy

First World War Audio Archive

Holding the front near Vimy

In the winter of ‘17, we were holding the front near Vimy. It was

Soldiers eating and drinking coffee.

Two soldiers sorting and handing out mail.

a quiet time. We got there in October and there wasn’t any, much action. In the place called (inaudible) we were going over

Soldiers reviewing map of the area.

Many soldiers looking over a large map model.

the tapes preparing for Vimy day. And Vimy day was at 5:30 in the morning of April the 9th when the barrage started and such

Artillery being fired.

a noise I’ve never heard and hope I never will again. It snowed that night. We didn’t even have our great coats. We left our great coats out on the line. We were in a little hole that night I remember with another soldier. And he got wounded and I didn’t.

Soldier's silouttes.

I was there alone when it happened. Boy, it was cold, it was

Wounded soldier being carried as other men leave the trench.

awful cold that night. But what affected me was the noise when the barrage broke out. You couldn’t hear anybody within a

More artillery fire.

hundred, ten feet of you. It just started like this, all at once and nothing first. Terrible, I went over, you see. And the Battle

Soldiers running and jumping into trenches.

of Vimy came over and it was quite successful, you see. And then after the Battle of Vimy we were stayed around there. And then the next battle was Hill 70 which wasn’t too far away, that was

Captured German soldiers being marched.

in August 1917. And then after that, we went up to Belgium

More shells being fired.

Horses and men walking through thick mud.

and prepared for the Passchendaele battle in November 1917.

Men wearing their rain coats walking on wet, heavy mud.

Then after that, I was appointed company clerk. They thought

Men marching on country road

I shouldn’t march so much. And then I had looking after the mail.

Men resting and eating.

And boy, those men. You know the comradeship was just simply wonderful, you know, and I used to sometimes take the mail up to

Mail being passed around along the trench.

them and I had more praise from those soldiers in the 26th

Soldier sitting alone, reading his mail.

and I had the role of looking after them, you see.

Mr. Ganong gives a brief description of his service in Europe with emphasis on Vimy. In particular, he discusses the weather and the barrage preceding the Vimy assault.

Whitfield Ganong

Whitfield Ganong was born August 1, 1895 at Snider Mountain, New Brunswick. A second cousin to the Ganong chocolatiers of nearby Saint Stephen, he and his family lived on a mixed farm. Mr. Ganong enlisted in the 64th New Brunswick Battalion, having been accepted despite a bad leg and transferred to the 104th Battalion. He then joined the 26th Battalion as a Private and Lance-Corporal, and saw action in three major battles: Vimy, Hill 70 and Passchendaele. Mr. Ganong later worked as a teacher, shopkeeper and accountant, and married Katherine Ellen Herbert in 1924. He took part in a pilgrimage to France, and was shocked by the number of graves, yet awed by the work of the War Graves Commission. Mr. Ganong died on January 5th, 1989.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Whitfield Ganong
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War
104th Battalion

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce


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