How communities choose to remember their friends and neighbours who serve in war can evolve over time. In Kingston, one can find many WW1 memorials to the fallen, erected shortly after the war by the city, service clubs, regiments, churches, schools and other organizations. A WW1 bronze tablet at City Hall lists over 250 names.
Fast forward to October 2012. A new memorial wall was dedicated to soldiers and peacekeepers who “called the Kingston area home through birth, residence or work” and who died in war since the South African War in 1899-1902. Over 500 names are listed from WW1. Broader criteria, more names.*
Names were culled from plaques in local churches and schools, war memorials, the Royal Military College and Veterans Affairs Canada. Residents were asked to contribute more information. Much of the research was led by Peter Gower, whose book Kingston Volunteers: The Thing to Do: Biographies of those from Kingston and Frontenac County Who Died in the Great War was published in 2008.
The memorial wall is the key feature of Memorial Park, at York and Frontenac Streets, part of the renewal of the area around the Memorial Centre arena built after WW2. On the reverse of the wall is a stanza from Laurence Binyon’s poem, For the Fallen:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Ils ne vieilliront pas, comme nous, qui leur avons survécu;
Ils ne connaîtront jamais, l’outrage ni le poids des années,
Quand viendra l’heure du crepuscule et celle de l’aurore,
Nous nous souviendrons d’eux.
Two women are named on the City Hall tablet: Agnes F Forneri and Daisy Fortescue. Six WW1 women are on the memorial wall: Agnes Florien Forneri, Margaret Jane Fortescue (Daisy to her family), Minnie Katherine Gallaher, Anna Mccaul Hiscock, Jessie Mabel McDiarmid and Grace Eleanor Boyd Nourse.
- Forneri’s father was rector of St Luke’s Church in Kingston from 1904 to 1916. She lived with him for at least some of that time. She died of a stomach hemorrhage from multiple peptic ulcers on 24 Apr 1918 in Bramshott, England.
- Fortescue had lived in Kingston. She was mentioned in dispatches for bravery in the May 1918 air attack at Étaples. She drowned when the Llandovery Castle was torpedoed in June 1918.
- Gallaher was born in Kingston. She drowned when the Llandovery Castle was torpedoed in June 1918.
- Hiscock graduated from Kingston General Hospital. Her parents lived in Kingston. She was admitted to the Laurentian Sanatorium in October 1916, shortly after her attestation. She was discharged from the hospital 516 days later (in March 1918) and transported home.
- McDiarmid graduated from Kingston General Hospital. She drowned when the Llandovery Castle was torpedoed in June 1918.
- Nourse graduated from Kingston General Hospital. She attested at Kingston in January 1916. She died of influenza the following month.
Another contemporary memorial is PeaceQuest’s WW1 walking tour of Kingston, self-guided with the podcast and map.
Thanks to Vicki and Linda, kindred spirits on the Kingston tour.
Welcome to new followers … I hope you enjoy the journey. Best wishes to all for 2019.
* Names on the memorial wall include:
- those who died in service and are commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) or the Canadian Virtual War Memorial (CVWM), or in the Ottawa Books of Remembrance, or by their own countries
- civilians who died in war-related activities.