The 100th anniversary of Canada’s Hundred Days and Sergeant Hugh Cairns earning the Victoria Cross

From: Veterans Affairs Canada

The last three months of the First World War have come to be known as Canada’s Hundred Days. During this period, a series of impressive Canadian Corps victories solidified our soldiers’ reputation as elite shock troops on the Western Front. Canada’s Hundred Days culminated with the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918.

Sergeant Hugh Cairns, V.C., served in the 46th Battalion (Saskatchewan Regiment) of the 4th Canadian Infantry Division. He was the last Canadian to earn the Victoria Cross during the First World War. Sergeant Cairns received this prestigious medal for his brave actions on November 1, 1918, in Valenciennes, France. His Victoria Cross citation reads: “Throughout the operation he showed the highest degree of valour, and his leadership greatly contributed to the success of the attack.” Sergeant Cairns passed away at the age of 21 on November 2, 1918, from wounds he received in the previous day’s battle. He is one of our country’s most highly decorated soldiers.

One hundred years later, we honour his memory with a wreath-laying ceremony at the oldest public artwork in Saskatoon, the Sergeant Hugh Cairns V.C. Monument and Footballers Memorial at Kinsmen Park—a monument dedicated to soccer players from the area who died during the First World War. Dignitaries, school children, Veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members will participate in the event. Guests also include descendants’ of Sergeant Cairns, and Team Canada Invictus Games athlete, Michael Richards.

Following the ceremony, the public is invited to the Hugh Cairns V.C. School for an assembly, which will include a traditional offering by the Vincent Massy School Indigenous Drum Group as well as a musical performance from the school choir and speeches by students.

Join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #CanadaRemembers and #Canadas100days, or visit veterans.gc.ca/100days.

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