Vimy Ridge April 1917 – Canadian War Trophies

Field Gun SN 201 captured by 7 Bn CEF at VIMY RIDGE now at NOTL
Field Gun SN 201 captured by 7 Bn CEF at VIMY RIDGE and now restored at Niagara -on-the-Lake (Photo by Colin M. Stevens 2009-06-24)

The capture of Vimy Ridge on April 9-12 1917 was part of the Battle of Arras.

Vimy Ridge is an area of high ground, north of Arras in France. The Germans captured it in 1914 and held onto in in spite of determined attacks by French and later, by British troops. During the first Battle of Arras in 1917, the capture of Vimy Ridge was assigned to the Canadian Corps. For the first and only time, all four Canadian divisions were side by side in battle. They were under command of Lieutenant General Byng, who although he was British, realized that the Canadians had some new approaches and allowed the Canadians to plan the attack. There were some British troops as well who also deserve credit, but generally it is considered a Canadian victory. For many, this victory has come to define the birth of the Canadian national identity. Many of the Canadian soldiers had actually been born in the UK, but at the end of the battle, when they saw what they had accomplished, now thought of themselves as CANADIAN. Lord Byng was later the highly respected Governor General of Canada. 

 Machine Guns captured at Vimy Ridge, April 1917

CAUTION: It is easy to mistake one gun for another due to the numbering system and records that Canadian soldiers created. 

The Canadian soldiers probably did not understand the German numbering systems. The 7 or 8 German manufacturers each used the same serial number sequence starting at “1”, so given the large number of captured guns, duplicate, triplicate and even quadruplicate occurrences of the “same” serial number occur. As well the number sequence often restarted after 9,999 in most cases and a suffix letter was added. These small suffix letters are in old German script and sometimes are very hard to dead. They were rarely recorded by the Canadians. Throw in some captured Russian machine guns and some Austrian MGs into the mix. S/N 544 repeats but there is a reason for that. 

SOURCE: Transcribed by Colin MacGregor Stevens from photographs of the original War Trophies Register in Library and Archives Canada.

Gun Survives SN Suffix SN reoccurence Claimant Consistent Date standard format

YYYY-MM-DD

Place VIMY GUN Fate
  87   Twice 58 Bn. 1918-04-05 Captured by Patrol at ARLEUX LOOP, E. of VIMY, N. of ARLEUX-EN- Yes  
  178   Twice 102 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  269   Twice 5 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  277     18 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  371     2 C.M.R. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE S.28.C 36c S.W. of La FOLIE FARM. Yes  
  422 a   10 Bn. 1917-04-09 Operations at VIMY Yes  
YES 424     10 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes Dealer
  441   Twice 3 M.G. Co. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  486     44 Bn. 1917-04-10 HILL 145, VIMY Yes  
  492     P.P.C.L.I. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  525     9 F. Coy. C.E. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE Yes  
  544     3 M.G. Co. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  544     3 M.G. Co. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  552     19 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE Yes  
  637   Twice 21 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  937   Twice R.C.R. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  1066     21 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  1128     2 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  1213     54 Bn. 1917-04-09 BATTER TRENCH, VIMY RIDGE Yes  
  1262   Thrice 38 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  1262   Thrice 22 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
YES 1268     50 Bn. 1917-04-10 VIMY Yes Museum
  1288     5 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  1318     22 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  1379     4 C.M.R. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE (ZWISCHEN STELLING) Yes  
  1474     5 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  1477   Twice 19 Bn. 1917-04 VIMY Yes  
  1477   Twice 19 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  1488 a   10 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  1514     10 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  1617     102 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE Yes  
  1617     102 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE Yes  
  1666     85 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY CYPRUS TRENCH Yes  
  1769     44 Bn. 1917-04-10 HILL 145, VIMY Yes  
  1834     3 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY FARBUS WOOD Yes  
  1880     33 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  2083   Twice 42 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  2085     44 Bn. 1917-04-10 HILL 145, VIMY Yes  
  2180     P.P.C.L.I. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  2211     22 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  2297     24 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  2299     76 Bde. Can. R.F.A. 1917-04 VIMY Yes  
  2331     2 C.M.R. 1917-04-09 S.W. of FOLIE FARM, VIMY RIDGE Yes  
  2333   Twice 85 Bn. 1917-04-09 BASSO TRENCH, VIMY Yes  
  2356   Twice 1 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
YES ? 2449     22 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  2561 a   44 Bn. 1917-04-17 HILL 145, VIMY Yes  
  2738     P.P.C.L.I. 1917-04-09 Vimy Edge of BOIS de la FOLIE Yes  
  2783 a   7 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  2949   Twice 54 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE Yes  
  2979     5 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  2990     3 M.G. Co. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  2996   Twice 10 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  3030   Twice 85 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  3071     75 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  3089     12 C.M.G. Co. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  3200   Twice? 85 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY (CYPRUS TRENCH) Yes  
  3261     7 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  3266     P.P.C.L.I. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  3335     58 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
YES 3348     21 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  3363   Twice 20 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  3372     87 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  3384     11 TM Bty 1917-04 VIMY Yes  
YES ***** 3581 c   24 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes Collector
  3724 a   5 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  3737 a   7 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE Yes  
? 3930     3 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
?? 3941     27 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  3996   Twice R.C.R. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  4014   Twice 42 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE Yes  
  4104     42 Bn. 1917-04 VIMY Yes  
  4212     16 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
YES 4218     13 Bn. 1917-09-10 VIMY Yes Museum
  4259 a   15 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  4288 a   42 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  4614 e   44 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  4621     44 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  4717 a   22 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  4955     4 C.M.R. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE, 800 yards W. of LA FOLIE FARM Yes  
  4956     8 M.G. Co. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE … Yes  
  4963     85 Bn. 1917-04 VIMY Yes  
  4996   Thrice 24 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  5180     19 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  5667     21 Bn. 1917-04 VIMY Yes  
  5740   Thrice 10 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  5797     21 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  5997     21 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  6089 a     1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  6090     5 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  6438     2 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
YES 6992     38 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
YES 6994     38 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  7015       1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  7068   Twice 29 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE Yes  
  7082   Twice   1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  7086     29 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  7087     4 Bn. 1917-04 VIMY Yes  
  7289     7 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  7357     24 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  7430     85 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY CYPRUS TRENCH Yes  
  7573     58 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY BOIS de la FOLIE Yes  
YES 7623     2 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  7700     22 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  7933     19 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  8075     20 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  8228     4 C.M.R. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE. 800 yards W. of LA FOLIE FARM [?] Yes  
  8256     85 Bn. 1917-04-09 BASSO TRENCH, VIMY Yes  
  8259     44 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  8260     22 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  8291 b ?   22 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  8633   Twice 19 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  8639     5 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  8871     22 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  8993     46 Bn. 1917-04-12 PIMPLE Operation, BOIS DE GIVENCY N.W. of VIMY. [CHECK SPELLING GIVENCHY?] Yes  
  9119     22 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  9217     31 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  9426     22 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  9435   Twice 24 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  9435   Twice 24 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  9471     42 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  9567   Twice 7 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  9575   Twice 3 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  9669     87 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  10063     4 C.M.R. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  10094       1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE S.28.d S.W. LA FOLIE FARM Yes  
  10178     102 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE Yes  
  10201     2 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  10266       1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  10269     5 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  10271     7 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  10275       1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  10277     18 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  10294     14 Bn. 1917-04-09 Vimy Yes  
  10356     47 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE Yes  
  10357     102 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE Yes  
  10363     47 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY RIDGE Yes  
  10888     2 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes  
  11008     2 Bn. 1917-04-09 VIMY Yes

 

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