Five years ago, my father and his buddies (probably while sitting around and telling airplane stories) came up with a plan to fly a bunch of replica World War One biplanes at the 100 year anniversary of Vimy Ridge. This did not surprise me in the least; pilots never stumble upon their career by mistake. It seems to be a passion that never fades and I have remarked several times that my dad never had to grow up and get a job. He simply went from playing with model airplanes as a youth to flying them as an adult. It only made sense that, as a retired pilot, he would seek to continue having fun in the clouds.
Like most military pilots, their heroes were those who came before them. The Battle of Vimy Ridge, from what Wikipedia tells me, was a three day battle which started on April 9th, fought between the Canadians and Germans. The Germans failed to implement a proper defense and the Canadians used intense planning and training to push through to victory. Even though there were approximately ten thousand Canadian causalities, with 3,598 killed, the victory became a moment which defined Canadian Identity. It was the first instance where all four Canadian divisions fought together and the victory showed that men from all over our great nation were a force to be reckoned with. Fast forward to the present and one can understand why the centennial anniversary would provide Dad and Co. with an opportunity to both fly some really cool biplanes and pay tribute to their heroes.
Over the past five years, I have listened to updates regarding the building of the Neiuport 11’s as well as the quest to obtain funding for this expensive adventure across the pond. I knew from the conception of the plan that I would be standing at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial on April 9th to honor those who fought all those years ago and to also honor those who are my current heroes: my dad and his friends.
If you are interested in learning more about this awesome adventure, please visit their Facebook page called Vimy Flight or their webpage. The photo above is my father inside of a C-17, standing in front of his biplane. Aviation sure has come a long way in the last century!
Although the purpose of this trip is centered around the history of World War One, I am a medieval enthusiast who loves learning about the Plantagenet era. I decided to plan my trip in three parts. The first week of the trip will be a tour of medieval France to explore the haunts of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry II, and their brood. The second part will consist of four full days in Paris. Although I plan to visit several medieval sites, I am fully aware that my twenty-one year old daughter does not share the same obsession in as I do. We will enjoy the more contemporary Paris. Finally, our trip will culminate when we meet up with my father the day before the anniversary.
I hope you enjoy my posts but please keep in mind my target audience will be my teenage students. If you are looking for in-depth analysis, you will be sorely disappointed.