March 30, 2018, will mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Moreuil Wood, a small but important First World War battle that has the unique distinction of witnessing the first and last great Canadian cavalry charge.
In the proud annals of our nation’s military history, cavalry charges are admittedly rare. But that is not to say that we do not have a long and proud cavalry tradition. In 1759, the Corps de Cavalerie, the first Canadian mounted unit, and perhaps the first in North America, was raised by Montcalm to help repel Wolfe’s invasion of Quebec. Canadians fought on horseback in the War of 1812 and in Crimea. Canadian horsemen played a crucial role during the westward expansion of the late 19th century, and in one single action during the Boer War, the Battle of Leliefontein, three Royal Canadian Dragoons won Victoria Crosses for fighting off an enemy attack.
The Canadian charge at Moreuil Wood occurred at the height of the Kaiserschlacht, the German Spring Offensive of 1918, a massive assault on the Western Front that the German High Command hoped would split apart the Allied armies and drive the British out of Europe.