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OGS Members:The Archives of Ontario Seeks Real Genealogy Stories of WWl

Do you have an ancestor who fought during World War I?

The Archives of Ontario is offering OGS Members a chance to share their WWI family research through two exhibition cases (34″ x 58″ in size) located in their Reading Room.

More information and application forms are available in the OGS Members Only Area.

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2 Responses to “OGS Members:The Archives of Ontario Seeks Real Genealogy Stories of WWl”

  1. rose Imbeault says:

    I am not yet a member of OGS but I do have an uncle “Fred Ambo” who dies of his wounds and is buried in France. He was a resident of Hamilton Ontario.
    Hisregimental no is 174439. He was hit on April 12, 1917 Easter Weekend.

    Cemetery notes and/or description:

    Aubigny-en-Artois is a village approximately 15 Kms north-west of Arras on the road (N39) to St. Pol. From the N39 turn onto the D75 towards the village of Aubigny-en-Artois. The Cemetery lies south on a road leading from the centre of the village, and the Extension is behind it.

    Before March, 1916, Aubigny was in the area of the French Tenth Army, and 327 French soldiers were buried in the Extension to the West of what is now Plot IV. From March 1916 to the Armistice, Aubigny was held by Commonwealth troops and burials were made in the Extension until September 1918. The 42nd Casualty Clearing Station buried in it during the whole period, the 30th in 1916 and 1917, the 24th and 1st Canadian in 1917 (during the capture of Vimy Ridge by the Canadian Corps) and the 57th in 1918.

    The Extension now contains 2771 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and seven from the Second World War. There are also 227 French burials made prior to March 1916, and 64 German war graves. The Extension was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.
    Nom : Fred Ambo
    Date de décès : 30 Apr 1917 (30 avr. 1917)
    Unité : 1st Canadian Divisional MG Co
    Grade : Private
    Numéro de service : 174439
    Emplacement du cimetière : 8 1/4 Miles North West of Arras, France
    [Aubigny Communal Cemetery]

    Voir l’image

    War Diaries
    The Battle of Vimy Ridge

    April 9-12, 1917

    “Canada will be proud”
    Vimy Ridge, April 9-12, 1917

    Vimy Ridge, April 9-12, 1917

    Pack horses taking up ammunition to the guns of the 20th Battery Canadian Field Artillery, Neuville St. Vaast, April 1917.

    Advancing through “No Man’s Land,” April 1917.

    Gun emplacements, Farbus Wood, Vimy Ridge, 1919.

    “The whole Empire will rejoice at the news of yesterday’s successful operations. Canada will be proud that the taking of the coveted Vimy Ridge has fallen to the lot of her troops. I heartily congratulate you and all who have taken part in this splendid achievement.”

    His Majesty the King to Field-Marshall Sir Douglas Haig, April 10, 1917. War Diary, 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade. RG 9, series III, vol. 4881, folders 236-239.

    “Out of the mist,” wrote the diarist for the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles, “exploded a curtain of fire from 983 guns and mortars.” At 5:30 a.m. on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, attacking battalions from four Canadian divisions crept forward behind this wall of flame and smoke up the gentle slope leading to the “coveted Vimy Ridge.” Shells burst along a 6.4-kilometre front as far as the eye could see. The first artillery barrage lifted and the infantry pushed forward through sections of uncut barbed wire, over ground churned up beyond recognition. Close on their heels swept the stretcher bearers searching for the wounded. The Canadians, with guns often jammed with mud, faced determined German soldiers firing machine guns, rifles and revolvers at point-blank range. It was the first time all four Canadian divisions had fought together. Intense training, thorough planning and coordination, superior intelligence gathering and determination carried Byng’s Boys forward-at times through driving sleet-to take the Ridge. When the battle was over on April 12, there were 10,602 casualties.

    While the Ridge would never again fall to the Germans, the victory was not the long-awaited western front breakthrough to end the war. For Canada, Vimy proved the mettle of her men, the value of preparation and what Canadians could achieve on the battlefield when they fought as a unit for a common cause. Anglophone, Francophone, Black, First Nations, Métis and Asian soldiers: the victors of Vimy took the Ridge as Canadians.

    By the spring of 1917, the Allies were desperate to break through the deeply entrenched German line, which zigzagged over 800 kilometres from the North Sea to the Swiss border. Planning began for a new offensive in the Arras Sector of the western front. Here, the Canadian Corps spent the winter of 1916-1917 below Vimy Ridge-the only significant height of land in northeastern France. Since October 1914, the Germans had transformed the ridge into an impregnable fortress which guarded the valuable Lens coal mines below it. In 1915, the French suffered an estimated 140,000 casualties attempting to retake the Ridge.

    The Canadian role in the new Allied action was to secure the Ridge and protect the flank of the British 3rd Army attacking simultaneously immediately south of Vimy. The combined Canadian and British assaults were to provide a diversion for what would prove to be an unsuccessful French drive against the German line some 90 kilometres farther south in the Reims-Soisson area.
    Battleground: The Ridge

    The eight-kilometre Ridge rose before the Canadian line like the spine of a great beast. Its western shoulder leaned towards the Canadians, gently sloping upwards (to a maximum of 110 metres) through three lines of German trenches. These forward defences were pockmarked with deep dugouts and a treacherous network of concrete machine-gun emplacements and barbed wire. The Ridge’s eastern shoulder dropped precipitously into a tangle of forests with hidden German machine gun nests and mortars.

    Moving south to north, three crests pushed through the “spine”: Hill 135, named for the number of metres it stood above sea level; Hill 145, the highest and best-defended of the three; and Hill 120, dubbed “The Pimple” at the northernmost tip of the Ridge. The unusual presence of buried chalk beds beneath the Ridge created extraordinary tunnelling opportunities for engineering and pioneer units.
    The Plan: A Four Division Attack

    Fifteen thousand well rehearsed fighting men would attack along a 6.4-kilometre front, in side-by-side two-brigade formations, under Lieutenant-General Sir Julian Byng, the Commander of the Canadian Corps. Behind a forward-moving curtain of blistering artillery fire from 850 guns, Byng’s Boys were to fight their way through two main enemy lines (the first, west of the Ridge; the second, east) in just under eight hours. Twenty-four hours later, 4th Division’s 10th Brigade would storm and secure “The Pimple.”

    Because the German front line angled southwest from the Ridge itself, the northern 3rd and 4th Divisions prepared to fight upwards across the 700-metre thin edge of the enemy “wedge” to take Hill 145. The southern 1st and 2nd Divisions would be forced to travel nearly six times the distance (4,000 metres)-albeit over more level ground for the southernmost 1st Division-to the heavily fortified town of Farbus, well east of the Ridge.
    The Keys: Artillery and Tunnels, Timetable and Intelligence

    The first key to success lay in crippling German forward defences with artillery and mortar fire; the second, in finding a way to bring Canadian troops unharmed to the forward lines. In what has been described as one of the great engineering feats of the war, tunnelling companies excavated or extended 11 main subways (7.6 metres below the surface) to protect men from enemy counter-bombardment as they made their way to the front.

    Furthermore, men exiting these tunnels were required to follow dangerously close to the moving wall of fire. This was so that at the moment the artillery curtain lifted and the guns began to roll forward, troops were in position to overpower German soldiers who emerged fighting from dugouts. Thus, the third key was exceptional co-operation between the infantry and artillery. A strict timetable-specifically addressing position and speed of attack-needed to be rehearsed and learned by every soldier. The Canadian Corps pioneered the distribution of maps to platoon sections. Battalions were rotated to the rear to practice on a full-scale battle course.

    The final key was intelligence. Daring and sometimes bloody raids were mounted into “No Man’s Land” to gain critical intelligence about enemy defences. Aerial photographs from observer balloons and No.16 Flying Squadron assisted the Canadian Corps Counter-Battery officer and the men under his command to destroy 83 percent of German guns prior to the attack.
    Battle Objectives: Black, Red, Blue and Brown Lines

    Taking the first objective or the Black Line meant that all four divisions had to fight through the German forward trenches in 35 minutes. The final objectives for the northern divisions were to secure the Red Line and capture Hill 145, as well as enemy terrain east of the Ridge.

  2. rose Imbeault says:

    Frédérick Ambo was the son of my first great grandfather known as Fred Ambo in Hamilton Ontario. He was born in Québec city under the name of Ferdinand Imbeault. He eventually followed his brother and mother to Hamilton and resettled with his third wife how gave him a son named Frederick. His fourth wife was a charming educated English Lady. She did no speak french and her new older husband could not read and write, they married in 1910. Ferdinand became known as Fred Ambo and the son Frederick was also named Fred. It is under that name that he signed up with the Canadian expeditionary force.

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