An Honourable Sacrifice
Ever since the end of World War I, November 11th has been observed throughout New Brunswick in different ways. As children in school, we drew and coloured poppies and memorized the poem, “In Flanders Field”.
Members of the Legion sold poppies. Gramp bought not only one for his lapel but also a large poppy to stick on the windshield of his car. Gram would bring out a chocolate box filed with clippings and tell us of the young men and women who went to war. One of her stories was about Roy Moody of Passakaeg, the son of Joseph and Hannah, whose sister also went overseas in World War I. He was only 26 when he lost his life in 1916.
Gram was adamant that we should know something about all of these men who made the ultimate sacrifice.
On the November 11th that Aunt Ethel took us to town, we watched, with hundreds of others, as the Veterans of both World Wars marched along Charlotte Street to the Cenotaph in King Square To us it was the coldest and windiest day of the year. The firing of the cannon at 11 AM signaled the beginning of two minutes silence, and silence there was.
The firing of the second cannon again put the pigeons to flight but we listened attentively to the bugler playing, first the Last Post, and then the Reveille. It was extremely moving and brought the sadness and reality of war to us.
Schools, churches, synagogues and many companies have plaques memorializing those who had given their lives in the service of King and Country. But what do the plaques tell us of these men and women? If only there were enough Grams around we would certainly be better informed.
Gram would definitely be pleased to see the 12 page booklet, An Honourable Sacrifice, recently available from Centenary-Queen Square United Church concerning the 29 men who lost their lives in the military service of Canada. Rather than just seeing the names on the plaque you can now read about the men. A few of the stories are as follows:
- Eugene Clarke was born in 1889 in Carbonear, Newfoundland. Husband of Selina Bright whom he had married in the Queen Square Methodist Church in 1913. He was a private in the New Brunswick 26th Battalion and died on Oct 5th of blood poisoning from gunshot wounds on Aug 15th 1917 during the fight for Hill 70 in France. He was only 28 years old and left a wife and two sons.
- James Coleman Jordan, the son of William C. and Margaret P. (Henderson) Jordan was an engineering student who lost his life in 1918 at age 23.
- Harold McCabe was only 19 when he lost his life in 1916. He is commemorated in the Menin Gate Memorial, West Flanders, Belgium.
- John Joseph Weatherhead was 23 years old when he died in 1943, leaving his wife, the former Jean May Birnie and a son John. He is buried in Ortona, Italy.
- Harold Melville Rogers, the son of Rev. Alfred Seymour and Mabel Gertrude Rogers was a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force, 421 Squadron who died at age 28 in 1943.
The 2005 publication, “An Honourable Sacrifice” by Graeme F. Somerville can be purchased from Centenary-Queen Square United Church, 215 Wentworth St., Saint John, NB, E2L 2T4. Telephone 506-634-8288 or viewed at the Saint John Free Public Library, or the New Brunswick Museum, or the New Brunswick Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, all of which are in Saint John. It can also be seen in the Legislative Library or the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick both of which are in Fredericton.
2005 is The Year of the Veteran. Perhaps a good way to recognize this year would be for your organization to prepare and publish a mini biography of each person on your Veterans' Honour Roll. Gram would approve of that!
Archibald - Walters - Geddes - Horton: I am searching for information on students who attended Saint John High School and who died during their service in the Armed Forces and Merchant Navy in the two world wars of the 20th century. Can anyone provide me with information on Douglas Archibald and James W. Walters of World War I and Henry S. Geddes and Jack M. Horton of the Second World War?
M. M. SOMERVILLE
New Brunswick for sale.
Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in New Brunswick, Canada. Send your New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name and mailing address for the benefit of the readers of the newspaper who do not have access to E-mail but could have information to share with you. Please put "Query" followed by the surnames in your query. For more information on submitting queries, visit http://www.rubycusack.com/Query-Instructions.html
Ruby contributes a "Family History" column to the Telegraph-Journal on Tuesdays
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