Mystery photos of Vimy Ridge

Robin Rowland 

A week or so ago, I was going through box and box of old photos in the collection of my late mother, Catherine Rowland (nee Hill).  Almost all of the images are people photos, my mother, her brother, parents and friends from 1914, when she was born, until the Second World.

I was surprised to find among all those photos two small shots of the Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge in France.

It commemorates the battle where the Canadian Corps assaulted German lines at Vimy Ridge during the offensive of the Battles of Arras in 1917.

The memorial was planned in the early 1920s to mark the Canadian contribution in the horrors of the First World War. It was built on a foundation 11,000 tonnes of steel reinforced concrete with 6,000 tonnes of Seget limestone brought from Crotia to create the twin pylons.

Now here is the mystery, as far as I know my mother had no known connection to Canada until our family moved to Canada in 1951.  It is likely that either my mother, or her brother, John Hill, took the photos on a trip to France, perhaps soon after the memorial’s completion in late 1935 and before the official opening by King Edward VIII, French President Albert Lebrun and Prince Arthur of Connaught on July 26, 1936 (which also would have been my mother’s 22nd birthday).

The original photos were small, probably direct prints from the (lost?) original negatives, about two inches on the longest side.   The original prints were enlarged, enhanced and restored in PhotoShop.  Restoration copyright 2023 by Robin Rowland.

The cloudy day creates an interesting atmopshere to the shots of the twin pylons.

The twin pylons at Vimy Ridge. (Catherine or John HIll, restored by Robin Rowland)
A 1930s image of Vimy Ridge. (Catherine or John Hill, restored by Robin Rowland)
The original photo (Robin Rowland)

 

 

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