The Second Battle of Ypres was, by any definition, a brutal event in a brutal war. The already terrible conditions of trench warfare, punctuated by the unimaginable horror of shell fire that turned men into "pink mist," became even worse when the Germans introduced chlorine gas. But despite the terror, the battle marked a key moment in the formation of Canadian identity and pride. After the Germans' initial gas attack opened a 12-kilometre-long hole in Allied lines, it was the heroic 1st Canadian Division—men who had been in the trenches for just over a week — who rushed to fill the gap and block the enemy advance.
Drawing on never-before-published material, Nathan M. Greenfield, author of The Battle of the St. Lawrence, presents a gripping new account of the Second Battle of Ypres. Here are the voices of the soldiers themselves — both Canadian and German — reaching across more than 90 years with a stunning immediacy.