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Although covering the period January to July 1917, much of this book concentrates on the events of April—the month of the Battle of Arras, including the capture of Vimy Ridge by the Canadian Expeditionary Force and the fighting for possession of the fortified villages of Monchy le Preux and Gavrelle. It extends to include the successes of the Commonwealth Forces at Bullecourt and Messines Ridge in May and June. The first member of the British Expeditionary Force to win the Victoria Cross on the Western Front in 1917 was Sergeant Edward Mott of the Border Regiment, on January 27; six months later, on July 27, the eve of the Passchendaele offensive, Private Thomas Barratt of the South Staffordshire Regiment, who had spent much of his childhood in the workhouse, won Britain and the Commonwealth’s highest award for valor. By the end of July, on the eve of the Third Battle of Ypres, a total of 50 Victoria Crosses had been awarded, including many to troops from the Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand Forces who fought alongside the British Army. The courage, determination, and sacrifice of their generation should be never forgotten.

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