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from the Telegraph 26 April 2001

Prince pays tribute to Canadians who fell at Vimy Ridge
By Caroline Davies
in Ottawa


TO a piped lament, the Prince of Wales paid personal tribute to Canada's war dead yesterday laying a specially commissioned "Wreath of Remembrance" on the tomb of Canada's Unknown Soldier in Ottawa.
In a poignant gesture at the foot of the city's dramatic war memorial, the Prince stood in silence as the strains of the Last Post and The Fallen Leaves of Maple, a uniquely Canadian lament, wafted over a huge crowd.

Beneath the tomb lie the remains of a soldier who fell at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in this month 84 years ago. His body was repatriated last May to lie in the tomb that has now become one of Canada's most important monuments.

Accompanied by Jean Chretien, the Canadian Prime Minister, the Prince stood to attention in tribute to the 68,304 young Canadian lives claimed by the Great War and in memory of victory by Canadian forces at Vimy.

At his side stood nine-year-old Ryan Hreljac, representing the spirit of young volunteers in Canada, and Col Ernest Adolphe Cotte, 88, a veteran from the Normandy landings.

Made of dried grasses and plants from the northern French battlefield, the wreath of remembrance, especially commissioned by the Canadian Government, was borne from Westminster Abbey. It had been placed there on the tomb of Britain's unknown warrior on April 9, the anniversary of the commencement of the five-day battle for Vimy Ridge.

Just one Canadian Vimy veteran survives today. He is Paul Metivier, 100, who lied about his age to enlist at 16 and joined the Canadian field artillery in Europe.

He was too unwell to attend yesterday's ceremony but the Prince was joined by a group of veterans from the Second World War, the Korean conflict and peace-keeping actions as the British and Canadian national anthems were played.

This is the Prince of Wales's 13th visit to Canada but before he even landed the trip hit problems when a pay-related strike by hotel workers forced him out of his 450-a-night suite at a hotel in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Local officials, anxious that he should not cross the picket line, have organised less salubrious accommodation at a 99-a-night hotel nearby.

He was welcomed to Ottawa as a Canadian citizen and heir to the Canadian throne. Thousands of well-wishers lined Ottawa's city centre to cheer and wave Canadian flags as the Prince conducted a walkabout.

During his visit he will take in the Province of Saskatchewan, which is prairie land and ancient home of the Plains Indians.

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