Thousands of Canadians flock to France for major WW1 centenary commemorations at Vimy Ridge

Canada is preparing major commemorations to mark the centenary of World War One's Battle of Vimy Ridge in northern France this Sunday, April 9th.

On that day in 1917, more than 3,000 Canadian soldiers, many of them not even 20 years old, lost their lives in a hard-fought battle as part of the former British Empire against the German forces in which they successfully captured the ridge.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the country's Governor-General David Johnston, and French President Francois Hollande as well as the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry are all due to attend.

The ceremony is expected to be attended by 25,000 people, according to Veteran's Affairs Canada.

Around 17,000 Canadians have registered for the event, many of whom have arrived in France in recent days.

The surrounding landscape is ridden with craters, alongside preserved trenches and multiple cemeteries, all now acting as surviving proof of the battle that took place there. The ridge provides sweeping views over the region, highlighting its strategic significance.

The Battle has gained national prominence in Canadian history for being the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces fought together.

Towns and villages surrounding Vimy have been adorned with the flags of France, Canada and Britain, as locals honour those who gave their lives one hundred years ago.