Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books

Monday Monuments and Memorials – Knox United Church, Calgary

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Several elements in Knox Presbyterian (now United) Church honour congregants who served in WW1. The usual honour roll plaques listing those who died and those who enlisted are there. But it is a colourful stained glass memorial window that dominates the sanctuary.

The window – with almost 10,000 pieces of glass – was designed by A J Larscheid and manufactured at the Pittsburgh Glass Company in Minneapolis. It was dedicated on 2 January 1921.

In the centre panel of the window, Jesus carries a banner of triumph over death. Knights in the adjoining panels represent the virtues of fidelity, nobility, honour, humility, devotion, patience, sincerity, brotherly love and charity. Below the knights are scenes of the horrors of war – wounded, dead and dying soldiers (from both sides of the conflict), a nursing sister, weapons, a shrine, a church in flames.

Scrolls in the base panels dedicate the window “to the glory of God and in loving memory of the heroes of Knox Church who fell in the Great War.” These are bracketed by a beaver and maple leaf for Canada (on the left) and the Alberta shield (on the right).

Jonathan Vance notes that the window “affirms the identification of the infantrymen as soldiers of Christ and draws a direct parallel between the knights and the values they typify, and the Canadian soldiers of the Great War.” (1996, Sacrifice in Stained Glass: Memorial Windows of the Great War, Canadian Military History, vol 5, issue 2, article 3)

The Honour Roll of congregants and adherents who enlisted was designed and executed by Stafford & Kent, Calgary. The bronze tablet and memorial window are “erected in grateful memory” of the congregants “who gave their lives in defence of our liberties in the Great War.” Pillars on either side of the names list the battles: Ypres, Somme, Passchendaele, Vimy, Hill 70, Amiens, Cambrai, Drocourt-Queant, Valenciennes and Mons.

The church is at the corner of 4th St SW and 6th Ave SW in Calgary.

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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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