May 15th, 1915 to May 27th, 1915

The Battle of Festubert (1915) took place just south of Ypres. With the Allied elements composing of the 1st British Army and two Canadian Brigades (2nd and 3rd Infantry), the battlefield was set for a strategic assault on German-occupied defense trenches. In the opening sequence of the battle, the 1st British Army suffered too many casualties, resulting in the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigades to carry on the attack. The attack, in all its efforts,  was a strategic failure; a failure that came at the price of blood.

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If the assault had been successful, the Allied forces could create a gap in the German frontline. However, the unforgiving terrain left the assaulting forces with almost no cover when maneuvering. Also, the lack of both artillery support and preparation time meant the Canadian Infantry units would be running straight into German machine gun fire, with no help.

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Both sides lost many soldiers during the battle. The battle demonstrated the efforts of both sides to succeed in their objectives. The war had just begun and many more battles would be fought.


In total, the Canadians suffered over 2500 casualties at Festubert. This would result in over 9000 Canadian lives lost in total. The attack was a colossal failure. However, it also proved that under the worst of circumstances, the Canadians would go to hell and back, no matter the odds.

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Private Vernon Elderkin

Born in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Vernon Elderkin was the only boy of Lucy and Albert Elderkin. Prior the Great War, Vernon Elderkin moved to Montreal to study engineering at McGill University where he received a Bachelor of Science. After his graduation he became a mining engineer but quickly answered the call of arm in September 1914. 

Vernon Elderkin joined the 14th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a private. In May 1915, he was tasked to capture a German trench Richebourg near Givenchy, France. He was killed instantly by a shrapnel of an explosive enemy shell at the age of 27.