PRIVATE RICHARD VIDAL
CANADIAN CORPS CYCLIST BATTALION
2ND SEPTEMBER 1918 AGE 38
BURIED: TIGRIS LANE CEMETERY, WANCOURT, FRANCE
Richard Vidal, a farmer from Manitoba, was one of his parents nine children. He enlisted on 14 February 1916 and served with the Canadian Cyclists Corps. Trained as an elite to carry out intelligence work, members of the corps underwent an intensive course that included musketry, bombing, bayonet fighting and the use of Lewis guns, as well as signalling and range-finding. Despite this, cyclists tended to be used for traffic control or as trench guides, ambulance drivers or even for burying the dead. However, during the last one hundred days, as the war became a war of movement, the cyclists came into their own and were finally able to do the intelligence work for which they had been trained. They could be sent in advance of the infantry to keep in touch with the retreating enemy, they were used for reconnaissance and scouting and some of them took part in direct combat.
All this was far more dangerous than their earlier work had been and they became known as the suicide battalions. Richard Vidal was killed near Wancourt just outside Arras on 2 September 1918 during the Second Battle of Arras.
His mother chose his inscription, acknowledging that the price of victory had meant the loss of her son.