Another week of war memorials close to home in Eastern Ontario.
A statue of a young soldier stands atop the war memorial in Kemptville, Ontario, on the front lawn of the former North Grenville District High School at 304 Prescott Street (County Road 44).
The monument was originally erected in 1922, up the street beside the post office then at the corner of Prescott and Reuben Streets. Sponsors were the local Women’s Institute and the municipal councils of Kemptville, Oxford Township and South Gower Township. It was unveiled on 3 June 1922, in a ceremony planned by the Great War Veterans Association.
The monument is made of Stanstead grey granite from a Quebec quarry. Lettering is inset lead. On the front: Erected to our honoured dead and those who carried on in the Great War 1914 – 1918 from Kemptville, Oxford & South Gower. (WW2 and Korea were added later.) The opening line of In Flanders Fields are on the crosses on the supporting shafts. Fourteen battles are listed on the back of the shafts: Ypres, Festubert, Givenchy, St Eloi, The Somme, Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, Lens, Passchendaele, Amiens, Arras, Cambrai, Le Cateau, Mons.
The 37 WW1 names are on either side of the shafts: Major H Hutchins, Capt JH MacDiarmid, Lieut AE Oakes, Sgt A Dillane, Sgt J Bennett, Sgt RP Barr DCM, Pte G Grey, Pte R Mackey, Pte HJ Carson, Pte H Maxwell, Pte NB Laplante, Pte CD O’Leary, Pte A Arcand, Pte TA Arcand, Pte H Andrews, Pte JE Arcand, Pte W Stewart, Pte CA Hurlbert, Pte ML Carlin, Pte J Moran, Pte TJ Beckett, Pte A Caley, Pte E Davie, Pte G Howey, Pte JE McCrum, Pte HM McCrum, Pte E Hasting, Pte A Irvine, Pte S Hudson, Pte W Copping, Pte JA Jeffrey, Pte J Humphrey, Pte A MacDiarmid, Pte A Worlds, Pte A Scott, Pte I Cooper, Pte JA Stewart.
The monument was moved to its present location in the 1960s. By some accounts, it was in 1961, as it was getting cramped at the post office location. Others say it was in 1969, as the post office building was to be demolished.
In October 1992, vandals damaged the monument, decapitating the statue and chipping off parts of the rifle and rifle sling. The head was recovered and reconnected, saving the cost of carving a new one to match the original.
Great War 100 Reads has seen this young soldier before, in Wiarton. Similar monuments are in Cape Croker and Sunderland, Ontario.
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