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Vimy 44 Project – Report and Thank You from the OSBA President

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with sincere gratitude that I pen this follow-up report to you on the “Recover Our Vimy Heros” or “Vimy 44 Project” that the Ottawa Service Battalion Association undertook as a fund raising campaign in support of the local Ottawa Historian, Mr Norm Christie, and his search for up to 44 soldiers of the 16th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) (The Canadian Scottish Regiment), who perished as part of the attack on Vimy Ridge, 09 April 1917 and were lost due to a clerical error in reporting their burial.

The campaign began with a Media Event followed by a sold-out fund-raising dinner at our sponsoring Restaurant, Il Primo on Preston St, Ottawa – www.ilprimo.ca. The media event had military re-enactors, provided through our OSBA History and Heritage Director and Regimental Collection (Museum) Curator, Mr Morley Verdier; dressed in period uniforms, build and man a Vicker’s Machine Gun Post just outside the restaurant during the afternoon; and to be on station to welcome our guests that evening. Mr Norm Christie, as the Guest of Honour, briefed the assembled diners on the plan, preparations and attack on Vimy Ridge; the immediate aftermath of hasty burials, and why he believes that after the war some of the soldiers were lost track of due to a clerical error. That evening we were able to donate $3,500.00 directly to Mr Christie for his project.

Subsequently we held our first ever Social Media Campaign in partnership with the Ottawa Media Group and teesforthepeople. Under the watchful eye and firm hand of our former Vice-President, Mr Doug Hickey; the whole campaign was designed, developed and executed over a six week period including the twenty-one day live sales portion. The design of the art work for the products, their quality, sizes and distribution methodology including media advisories, bilingual information. The entire Campaign was orchestrated by Doug, and clearly demonstrated his well-honed planning and organizational skills. We quickly blew through the initial goal of 100 pieces and achieved 62% of our interim goal of 500 pieces when the campaign ended in Mid-November. A total of $1,550.00 was raised by the campaign and directly deposited with Mr Christie in support of his project; that effort means a total of more than $5,000.00 was raised directly by the OSBA and at least another $1,000.00 raised indirectly through challenges with other similar Military Associations across Canada.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported our efforts throughout this campaign, those who participated and contributed and those who passed on our message through social media and other platforms. You have all made a difference, and we appreciate your support.

As a Post-Script, Mr Christie was able to deploy to France the end of November to conduct further actions in Recovering Our Vimy Heros. He was accompanied by a film crew (TV Ontario for the History Channel?) who documented his actions; the results will be revealed in an upcoming episode sometime in the New Year. The money we raised helped to make that trip a reality and bring us closer to Recovering our Vimy Heros! Thank-you all for enabling our success!

John B. Page, CD, PLog
OSBA President