RMC to unveil monument to honour ex-cadets who served at Vimy Ridge

The monument, formed of sandbag walls reminiscent of First World War trenches, features a white Oak sapling descended from fallen oaks that once grew on the battlefield at Vimy Ridge.
The monument, formed of sandbag walls reminiscent of First World War trenches, features a white Oak sapling descended from fallen oaks that once grew on the battlefield at Vimy Ridge. Photo: Lt(N) Blake Patterson, RMC PAO

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A new monument to honour the graduates of the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) who served in the First World War and contributed to Canada’s victory at the Battle of Vimy Ridge will be unveiled on Sunday, September 16, in front of the Kingston harbour on Lake Ontario.

Formed of sandbag walls reminiscent of First World War trenches, the monument features a white oak sapling descended from fallen oaks that once grew on the battlefield at Vimy Ridge. Leslie H. Miller, a Canadian soldier, gathered acorns from the oaks after the victory. He later sent them home to his Ontario farm, where they were planted and grew into a “Vimy Oak” woodlot.

As part of RMC’s annual Reunion Weekend celebrations, the Vimy Oak will be located on the shoreline near the College’s iconic Memorial Arch on Valour Drive.

“The 142-year history of RMC and the proven valour of our graduates is something in which we can all take pride,” said RMC Commandant, Brigadier-General Sébastien Bouchard. “This Vimy Oak will long stand as a physical link to that proud history, and it will provide today’s officer cadets with a constant reminder of the sacrifice, duty and expectations that come with being an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces.”

A plaque at the memorial notes the significance of the contribution of RMC graduates to the war effort and the victory at Vimy Ridge. In fact, at the time of the battle, nearly 23 percent of the Canadian Corps were graduates of the College.

Approximately 81 000 Canadian soldiers were involved in the battle. Of these soldiers, 3598 were killed in action or died of wounds after the battle, while 7000 others were injured.

The new monument was made possible through contributions from RMC graduating classes of 1967 and 1973, the RMC Foundation of Canada, and the Vimy Foundation—a Canadian charity whose mission is to preserve and promote Canada’s First World War legacy.

“We are grateful to the classes of 1967 and 1973 for making this memorial possible,” said Nancy Marr, Executive Vice-President of the RMC Foundation of Canada.

“This white oak sapling from a time and place where Canada came of age may be small, but we hope it will live and grow here at RMC as the centre of a contemplative and accessible space where people can sit, relax, enjoy the view of the city, and consider history.”

For more information about the Vimy Foundation and the Vimy Oak Project, please visit the Vimy Foundation’s website.

Image gallery

  • The monument, formed of sandbag walls reminiscent of First World War trenches, features a white Oak sapling descended from fallen oaks that once grew on the battlefield at Vimy Ridge.
  • The monument, formed of sandbag walls reminiscent of First World War trenches, features a white Oak sapling descended from fallen oaks that once grew on the battlefield at Vimy Ridge.
  • Vimy Oak
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