Three WW1-related plaques are found in Dominion-Chalmers United Church, at the corner of O’Connor and Cooper Streets in downtown Ottawa.
Plaques from the Chalmers Presbyterian Church and the Dominion Methodist Church are a clue that two congregations came together after 1919 to form the current one. Each of the original churches honoured all the members of their congregations who served as well as those who died. Women are listed on both plaques—all together in the first column of the Chalmers plaque, mixed alphabetically with the men on the Dominion plaque. Of the women, only Gamble and West from Dominion, and Eagleson, Kingston and Scott from Chalmers are listed (as nursing sisters) in the CEF service files. Were the others VADs or Red Cross volunteers? Did they serve with another country?
The third plaque honours Dominion congregation member Alexis Helmer. Helmer’s death inspired John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields. The text on the plaque is the same as that on the family gravestone in nearby Beechwood Cemetery. From the look of this older photo (click through, then scroll down), the plaque has been repaired and remounted. Helmer’s name is also on the Menin Gate in Belgium.
Dominion-Chalmers is built in a Neo-Byzantine style, unusual for Canadian churches. The building is square, but the pillars, dome and shape of the balcony give the impression inside that it is an octagon. The acoustics make the church a popular concert hall. At this time of year, it is one of the venues for the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival.
I’ve been housecleaning at Great War 100 Reads … broken links fixed, more cross-references, an easier-to-read serif font, and the like. All to add to your reading pleasure.