The Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915 will always be synonymous with Germany's use of deadly chlorine gas against the Allied troops. For Canadians, Ypres will also be synonymous with the bravery of the Canadian troops who withstood the lethal gas attack.

The Second Battle of Ypres, 22 April to 25 May 1915, by Richard Jack.
Copyright Canadian War Museum (CN 8179).

The Second Battle of Ypres, 22 April to 25 May 1915, by Richard Jack.

At the Second Battle of Ypres, Canadian troops experienced, perhaps for the first time, the true horrors of the First World War. They faced a murderous German offensive that was aided by the use of poisonous chlorine. The Canadians suffered more than 6,000 casualties.

These Canadians were not battle-hardened veterans. They were farmers, shopkeepers, and labourers with little military training or experience. Most were very young, many still in their teens. They had no knowledge of how to survive against poison gas -- although most would have previously felt the terror that would be summoned unbidden by the mere mention of a gas attack.

At Ypres, these young Canadians found the courage to triumph over their fears and hold the line.

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