“You know Hughie, this is suicide,” were the final words of Talbot Papineau as he lead his men Over the Top into the carnage of battle. Passchendaele was one of the most infamous battles in History. When the Canadians arrived in Flanders, fresh from their great successes at Vimy, Arleux, Fresnoy and Hill 70, they found a devastated battlefield, and the stench of death permeated the air. Their task was to carry-on the fight, and although the Offensive was hopelessly mired down and had cost 200,000 men, they had to take Passchendaele. Against the mud and the Germans the Canadians fought a tenacious battle, driving the enemy out of the village and maybe more miraculously, holding on. Two weeks in the mud of Flanders cost the Canadians 16,000 men. It was a fantastic, but hopeless victory. Asides include; The Body Snatchers, Talbot Papineau, Canadian Indians and Conscription.
by Norm Christie
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