Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books

Monday Monuments and Memorials – Geneva Presbyterian Church, Chesley ON

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Several Rolls of Honour hang in the vestibule of Geneva Presbyterian Church in Chesley. These WW1 broadsheets are an example of pre-printed scrolls onto which names could be written.

The Scrolls

A frame of falling maple leaves is topped by the provincial crests of Canada. Flags of the Allied countries are arrayed at the bottom. A sword separates the columns of names. Unusually, the designer is named at the bottom: “Designed by R.F. Fleming, Ottawa” (perhaps Roy F Fleming, an art and applied art teacher at the Ottawa Normal School).

The 1914-1915 scroll sports a line from Psalm 20:5, “In the name of our God we will set up our banners.” The 1914-1919 scroll adopts the more familiar line selected by Kipling from Ecclesiasticus 44:14, “Their name liveth for evermore.” An indication of how popular feelings evolved over the course of the war.

Large windows make for a bright entrance to the church, but create an inhospitable climate for the scrolls. The paper has yellowed and the artwork faded over time. The names are lettered in a more lightfast medium.

The Names

Both scrolls list those who served, in order of rank. Silver adhesive stars mark those who died. The names on the 1914-1915 scroll are not repeated on the 1914-1919 scroll. The church seems to have had an expansive view of who to include as an adherent, not limited to those living in the community and attending the church. Dr. Armand A Halliday is listed in the Harvard University Unit, for example, and the declaration papers of dentist Richard Ross list his birthplace as Teeswater ON and his address as Regina SK. Others named Halliday and Ross on the scrolls may hint at a family connection in the community.


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Author: greatwar100reads

Canadian crusader for equality and justice. Connoisseur and creator of the written word. Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books and monuments. Read more at greatwar100reads.wordpress.com.

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