Hill 62 (Sanctuary Wood) Canadian Memorial
The Battle for Mount Sorrel took place in June 1916. The 1916 British Front Line south-east of Ypres was situated on this high ground of the Ypres ridge at Zillebeke known to the British Army as Mount Sorrel and the double summits of Hill 61 and Hill 62 (called Tor Top). Three divisions of the Canadian Corps were involved in the defence of the line here when the German Army made an attack on 2nd June 1916.
Having lost the high ground on the first day of the attack, the Canadians put up a determined fight to recapture the ground, which they did for the most part after 13 days of fighting.
Casualties on both sides were heavy. The Canadians suffered just under 8,500 casualties; of those 1,000 men were killed and another 1,900 were missing. Many Canadians killed in this battle are buried in the nearby cemeteries of Hooge Crater Cemetery and Maple Copse Cemetery. Those who are missing in action and whose discovered remains cannot be identified are commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres.
Site for the Canadian Memorial
The memorial at Hill 62 (Sanctuary Wood) is one of five memorial sites to commemorate Canadian forces in the First World War in Belgium. There are also three Canadian World War One memorial sites in northern France.
The total of eight memorial sites were given to Canada by the Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission) for the commemoration of its war dead and in memory of all those who fought in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.
There are five other sites which commemorate major Canadian actions in the war which have the same stone block design on a circular terrace.
The illustration is marked up with modern details on a section of British Army trench map Number 28 N.W.4 (Edition 6A) with trenches corrected to 16-4-16, scale 1:10,000. Sancutary Wood and the Canadian memorial at Hill 62 are marked. The German trenches in red are marked to the date of 16th April 1916, approximately six weeks before the attack on the Canadian line at Hill 62 to Mount Sorrel.
The memorial is a white granite block situated on a circular flagstone terrace. The memorial, its grass lawns and paths are situated on the high ground of Hill 62, which affords good views of the surrounding countryside and and the spires of Ypres. In summer there are roses blooming in the terraced gardens.
Inscribed text on the monument is:
HERE AT MOUNT SORREL ON THE LINE FROM HOOGE TO ST. ELOI, THE CANADIAN CORPS FOUGHT IN THE DEFENCE OF YPRES APRIL - AUGUST 1916
The Hill 62 Canadian Memorial is located south-east of Ypres. It is located at the end of a maple tree-lined avenue called Canadalaan, which turns off the Meenseweg N8 (known by the British Army as The Menin Road) and leads directly to the Hill 62 Memorial.
Latitude N 50° 50' 4" ; Longitude E 2° 56' 50"
There is parking and a turning circle at the memorial.
Military Operations: France and Belgium, 1916, Volume I: Sir Douglas Haig's Command to the 1st July: Battle of the Somme, Brigadier-General Sir James E. Edmonds, 1932
Veterans Affairs Canada. Website: www.veterans.gc.ca