Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books


Monday Monuments and Memorials – Nursing Sisters window, Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver

A window on the west wall of Christ Church Cathedral, at the corner of Burrard and Georgia Streets in Vancouver, is dedicated “to the Nursing Sisters of Vancouver in both war and peace.” The window was made by Abbot & Co Ltd, Lancaster, England. It was dedicated at a special service held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Canadian Nurses Association on Sunday 25 June 1950.

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Harold Heber Owen, Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver

Harold Heber Owen memorial window, Christ Church, Vancouver

Every soldier tells a story. Harold Heber Owen was born in Toronto on 2 July 1893, the only son of Rev Cecil Owen and Alice Grundy Owen. They had four daughters, Winnifred, Margaret, Alice and Beatrice. The Rev Owen moved the family to Vancouver when he became rector of Christ Church. Harold attended Vancouver College and then Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto. He studied medicine and was preparing to be a medical missionary.

At the outset of WW1, father and son enlisted. Rev Owen was chaplain to the British Columbia regiment of the CEF. Harold served in Flanders first with the 7th Battalion, then the 3rd Staff Ambulance, then again with the 7th Battalion as a lieutenant. He survived the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915. A few days later he wrote to his mother: “I have lost nearly every personal friend within the contingent.” He was killed around midnight on 30/31 January 1916 at age 22.

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Private Norman Hughes, Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver

Every soldier tells a story. Norman Vincent Hughes was born in New Westminster, British Columbia on 17 November 1897, the only son of J Henry and Mary (Thompson) Hughes. In 1914, he entered the arts program at the University of British Columbia. He attested in March 1916 at age 18, enlisting with the BC Company of the 19th Western Universities Battalion. He sailed from Halifax and arrived in England in November 1916. He arrived in France Feb 1917, seeing battle at Vimy Ridge and Lens.

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Commonwealth Memorial Tablet, Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver

Starting in 1923 and through to 1936, the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission erected memorial tablets in several French and Belgian cathedrals, in memory of the British Empire dead of WW1. A similar tablet was unveiled in Westminster Abbey, London in 1926.

Other countries wanted one. Two replica tablets were purchased in Canada. One (pictured here) was unveiled in Christ Church Cathedral on 11 November 1928, the 10th anniversary of the Armistice. The original inscription has since been revised to include WW2 and the Korean War, and to update “British Empire” to “Commonwealth.” Continue reading

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Christ Church Cathedral, Fredericton, NB

Christ Church Cathedral, at 168 Church St in Fredericton, New Brunswick, was built in the gothic revival style in the mid-1800s and rebuilt in 1911-1912 after lightning struck and fire gutted the spire and choir.

The memorial to the members of the congregation who fell in WW1 takes the form of a bronze tablet below a cross of stones set into the southwest tower pier. The stones were from ruined altars in the Cathedrals of Arras and Ypres, brought by the Rt Rev J A Richardson, Bishop of Fredericton at the time. Continue reading