St. Juliaan Canadian Memorial at Vancouver Corner

History (Source: Wikipedia)

The memorial, also known as “The Brooding Soldier”, commemorates the Canadian 1st Division in action on 22 to 24 April 1915. The Canadian division held its position on the left flank of the British Army after the German Army launched the first ever large-scale gas attack against two French divisions on the left of the Canadians. From the start of the battle at 17.00 hours on 22 April and for the next few days the Canadians were involved in heavy fighting.


The memorial is 11 metres high and constructed from a single shaft of granite. The stone was quarried in the Vosges mountains, the scene of bitter fighting in the mountains between the French and the Germans during the early months of the 1914-1918 war. The granite stone block for the shaft was transported directly to St. Julien in Belgium. The stone block for the head and shoulders bust of the soldier was taken to Brussels where it was carved.


The sculpted figure at the top of this tower of granite is the head and shoulders of a Canadian soldier in his steel helmet. His head is bowed and his hands are resting on the butt of his rifle in the position of “reversed arms”, that is, with the rifle barrel pointing down. The ceremonial custom of reversing the order of things occurs at military funerals and is believed to have been done for the first time at the funeral of the Duke of Marlborough in 1722.