It was on Sunday 26th July 1936 that England’s King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. Dedicated to the memory of the Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during the First World War, it also serves as the place of commemoration for First World War Canadian soldiers killed or presumed dead in France who have no known grave. The Memorial bears the inscribed names of 11,168 missing Canadians, killed in action in France but whose remains have not been found or identified.
The monument is the centerpiece of a 100-hectare (250-acre) preserved battlefield park that includes a portion of the grounds over which the Canadian Corps made their assault during the Battle of Vimy Ridge – the first occasion where all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force participated in a battle as a cohesive formation. The memorial had taken monument designer Walter Allward eleven years to build when King Edward VIII unveiled it in the presence of the French President Albert Lebrun together with 50,000 or more Canadian and French veterans, and their families.