Shuswap resident Rob Sutherland’s great-uncle William Sutherland was killed in action shortly after the Battle of Amiens, just 43 days before the end of the First World War. (Photo contributed)

Shuswap man selected to represent Canada at Battle of Amiens anniversary

Rob Sutherland will join delegates from other countries to commemorate the battle

It was a turning point of the First World War, a short but intense battle in early August 1918 that marked the beginning of the end for the German Empire.

Delegates from the warring nations will be marking the 100th anniversary of the battle of Amiens in France beginning on Aug. 8 2018. Among them will be Rob Sutherland, the station leader of the Shuswap Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue station.

Sutherland is a veteran of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) Regiment and was deployed on peacekeeping operations in Bosnia, Croatia and Cyprus. He also has a family connection to the PPCLI’s First World War activities. Sutherland’s grandfather, John Stowe, and his great-uncles, Edgar Stowe and William Stowe, served with the Princess Patricia’s in the First World War. His great-grandfather Robert Smylie and great-uncles George Stowe and William Sutherland served in other infantry and support units during the First World War as well.

Sutherland will participate in an official anniversary ceremony commemorating the battle where more than 1,200 Canadians were killed or wounded in only four days of fighting. He said he doesn’t know how many delegates from Canada will be attending the ceremony but says he assumes the invitation went out to the veterans associations for all the military units involved in the Battle of Amiens.

The battle of Amiens is significant because it was the beginning of a counterattack by the Canadians and their allies which followed significant German victories in the spring of 1918 and which was not halted until Germany was defeated and the armistice was signed on Nov. 11.

Related: Did a Canadian shoot down the Red Baron? A century later, debate hasn’t quit

The invitation to the anniversary ceremony provided an opportunity for Sutherland to research his family history more closely. With help from the veterans affairs webpage, which contains an extensive digitized library of records from the First World War, Sutherland was able to piece together the personal experiences of his grandfather, great-grandfather and great-uncles.

In his research, Sutherland uncovered his great-uncle Edgar Stowe’s daring escape from forced labour as a prisoner of the Germans, and stories of his relatives’ involvement in some of the most pivotal battles of the First World War. His great-uncle William Sutherland was killed in action shortly after the Battle of Amiens, just 43 days before the end of the war.

“I’m going to go over and see all the battle sites that they did, there’s quite a few,” Sutherland said.

Veterans Affairs is paying for the first leg of Sutherland’s trip for the ceremony at Amiens, but he is staying an extra week to immerse himself in Canadian military history in Western Europe. He plans to visit Juno Beach, Dieppe and Caen among other significant sites.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Rob Sutherland, station leader of Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 106 in Sicamous, is pictured next to the station’s new 40-foot Titan Rigid Inflatable rescue craft. (File Photo)

Just Posted

Muralist on board for Revelstoke’s LUNA Nocturnal Wonder festival

One of Kris Kupskay’s next projects is a mural on a 22… Continue reading

Chance of showers may not be enough to rid Okanagan of smoke

Wind and chance of thunderstorms competing factors in this week’s forecast

Darke Lake residents under evacuation alert

Fire crews battling wildfire in rural community west of Summerland

Puppies picked up by BC Wildfire crew to be returned to family

They were just leaving the Monashee Complex of fires when they found the cutest creatures.

BC Wildfire crew rescues lost puppies

They were just leaving the Monashee Complex of fires when they found the cutest creatures.

Filmmaker captures the smoke that enveloped the Shuswap

Check out this video of the haze that blanketed the Salmon Arm

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark criticizes feds for buying pipeline

The $4.5 billion purchase of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline second worst decision, she said

Blaze near Olalla grows to 527 hectares

The Old Tom Creek fire that started Aug. 15 is burning near Keremeos

‘Takes more courage to fail’: B.C. ultra-marathon swimmer reflects on cancelled try at record

Susan Simmons halted her swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back because of hypothermia

Animals moved from B.C. Interior shelters to make way for pets displaced by wildfires

The Maple Ridge SPCA houses animals to make space for pets evacuated from B.C.’s burning interior.

$21.5 million medical pot plant to be built in B.C.

The facility is to be built in Princeton

Spokane man enlists 500,000+ box fans to blow wildfire smoke back to B.C.

Spokane man Caleb Moon says he’s had enough with smoky skies from B.C.’s forest fires blanketing his city

Feds agree to look at easing jury secrecy as part of review

At issue is a law that forbids jurors from talking about closed-door deliberations

Forest fuel work needed to slow wildfires, B.C. premier says

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan joins John Horgan for tour

Most Read