Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Nellie Spindler, Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium

A noble type of good heroic womanhood.

Age 26.

Tomorrow marks the 101st anniversary of the death of Staff Nurse Nellie Spindler of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. She was killed in action in No. 44 Casualty Clearing Station, Brandhoek, Belgium, in the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). Continue reading

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Canadian Battlefield Memorial, Dury, France

Last Wednesday, 8 August, marked the centenary of the first day of the Battle of Amiens, and what would become the 100 Days Offensive that lead to the Armistice. Some refer to this period as Canada’s 100 Days, because of the role of the Canadian Corps during the offensive.

One measure of success is the ground gained by the Canadians. Another is the number of Victoria Crosses awarded for valour: four Canadian VCs on day one of the Battle of Amiens; four more on day two; a total of 29 for Canadians in the last 100 days.* Success came with a heavy cost, however: the Canadian Corps suffered 45,835 casualties.

Of the nine battlefield memorials commemorating the WW1 service of Canadian and Newfoundland troops in France, three mark key milestones in Canada’s 100 Days: Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Prince Edward County War Memorial, Picton, ON

Oh, you again! This guy is a popular stalwart on war memorials by the McIntosh Granite Company.*

The war memorial for Prince Edward County is in a park at 118 Picton Main Street (Hwy 33), at the intersection of Ferguson and Chapel. Erected by the County Council, it was unveiled on 21 September 1920. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – War Memorial Park, Walkerton, ON

War Memorial Park, at the corner of Jane and Colborne Streets in Walkerton, Ontario, started with a monument. Several elements have been added over the years. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Saugeen First Nation Roll of Honour and Southampton War Memorial

Two similar monuments, less than 5 km apart. Five men honoured on both.

Southampton is a vacation town on Lake Huron at the mouth of the Saugeen River in Bruce County, Ontario. Saugeen First Nation is just northeast of the town, an Ojibway community also bordering Lake Huron and the Saugeen. Young men in both the Ojibway and the settler communities enlisted and fought in WW1. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Sun Life Assurance Company Honour Roll, Montreal

The Sun Life Building* overlooks Dorchester Square (on boul René-Lévesque between rue Metcalfe and rue Mansfield) in Montreal. Step inside the main entrance on Metcalfe into a soaring lobby of marble and brass. Look up between the Corinthian columns to check the time as you move into the elevator lobby – beneath the brass clock, the years of WW1 and WW2 and “we will remember them.” Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Royal Newfoundland Regiment memorials, Amiens, France

Yesterday, July 1, was Memorial Day in Newfoundland and Labrador, a solemn day of remembrance of the single greatest disaster in Newfoundland history. At Beaumont-Hamel, the Newfoundland Regiment was virtually wiped out in half an hour on the first morning of the Somme Offensive, July 1, 1916. Of the 780 men who went forward, 233 were dead, 386 wounded and 91 reported missing (later assumed dead). While the casualty rate for many battalions was over 50%, for the Newfoundland Regiment it was 90%. All the officers were killed or wounded. On one of the bloodiest days of the war, only one other battalion had a higher casualty rate.

The City of Amiens was a key Allied base in WW1. Located just behind the lines, many soldiers visited the city. After the war, Notre-Dame d’Amiens Cathedral soon became a site of remembrance, with memorials from several Allied countries, battalions, communities and individuals. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – HMHS Llandovery Castle and Halifax Memorial

The Llandovery Castle served as a hospital ship during WW1, ferrying wounded soldiers from England back to Canada. On 27 June 1918, nearing the end of its voyage from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Liverpool, England, the ship was torpedoed by a German submarine off the Irish coast. The passengers rushed to lifeboats, but the submarine surfaced and destroyed most of the lifeboats. Only 24 survivors lived to tell the tale.

Amongst the 234 dead in Canada’s worst naval disaster of WW1: all 14 of the Canadian nursing sisters on board. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – War Memorial, Beckwith Township, ON

Beckwith Township, population about 7600, forms the easterly part of Lanark County, just west of Ottawa. The war memorial erected by the township remembers 12 names, nine from WW1. The monument has moved over the years. It now stands in Beckwith Park, on the 9th Line about 2 km east of Hwy 15 and Black’s Corners, surrounded by a vast stretch of baseball diamonds and playing fields. Continue reading