100th anniversary of the Battle of Moreuil Wood

Backgrounder / March 29, 2018 / Project number: 18-0113-bk

The Battle of Moreuil Wood is considered a key event of the First World War. It was part of the wider Allied effort to halt the German Offensive (called Operation Michael) of spring 1918 in the area of Amiens, France.

The battle occurred on March 30, 1918 on the banks of the Arve River in France, which saw the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), as part of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade, headed by Lieutenant (Lt) Gordon Flowerdew, force the withdrawal of the 23rd German Division from Moreuil Wood. Lt Flowerdew led his 100-man squadron on a charge that defeated a superior German force of 300 men supported by machine guns. This victory, however, came at a great price as Lt Flowerdew was wounded and 24 of his troops were killed in battle. He later died from the wounds he received that day and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his leadership.

Since the end of the First World War, March 30 has been recognized and celebrated as the ‘Regimental Day’ by successive generations of Strathconas, both serving and retired. For the 2018 centennial of the battle, a variety of events are taking place in Canada and in France throughout the month of March. Notable events taking place in Moreuil, France, include the re-enactment of the famous cavalry charge led by Lt Flowerdew, as well as a Freedom of the City ceremony, during which the mayor will hand over the keys of the city to the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) as a sign of gratitude for their involvement during the First World War.

About the Regiment: Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) was raised and funded by Donald Alexander Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal, in 1900 for service in the South African (Boer) War. It was one of the last regiments in the British Empire to be created and raised by a private individual. Today, the regiment is part of the 3rd Canadian Division's 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group. Members of the regiment are commonly called ‘Strathconas’ or ‘Strats’ as a short form. Formerly a cavalry and later a tank regiment, the Strathconas have served in all major wars of the 20th century, and most recently in Afghanistan. The Regiment was headquartered in Calgary until 1996, when it moved to its current station at Steele Barracks, Edmonton. The regiment’s motto is ‘perseverance.’

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