A monument “in loving memory of our fallen comrades” in Acton’s Fairview Cemetery has seen better days.
According to the Acton Legion history, monument dealer John Nicol donated the original Soldiers’ Memorial in May 1920. It was placed by the Great War Veterans Association in front of the Acton Soldiers Memorial Home at 55 Mill St E (now the MacKinnon Family Funeral Home). Six months later, the community cenotaph was dedicated across the street. In 1923, the GWVA monument was moved to the GWVA plot in Section R of Fairview Cemetery.
Two crossed Union Jacks top the list of 17 names on a tablet fixed to the rough cut stone. Below the names, two poppies frame words from McCrae’s poem: If ye break faith we shall not sleep in Flanders fields. A gun and an olive laurel frame the tablet. The year 1920 is carved on the plinth.
All but one of the names on the GWVA monument are repeated on the community cenotaph. Five more are added there and three are spelled differently.
The lettering on the GWVA monument is worn almost to the point of illegibility. The stone is covered with lichens. A ‘lest we forget’ metal plaque (a recent addition that seems to be stuck onto many veterans’ gravestones in area cemeteries) unfortunately defaces some of the carving.
Cemetery records list 21 WW1 and WW2 veterans buried in the three GWVA plots around the monument.
Many thanks to the helpful staff in the Town of Halton Hills Recreation and Parks Department, who kindly shared the cemetery records.