Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Houghton brothers, St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

For a church established in 1792 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the War of 1812 looms larger in its history than WW1. Yet St Mark’s Church, at 41 Byron St, has several WW1 markers to honour its parishioners who served. The name Houghton figures again and again – all sons of Emma Hadley and Joseph Houghton. Continue reading


Monday Monuments and Memorials – Ernest J Saunders, St Mark’s Cemetery, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

Each soldier tells a story.

An elegant gravestone in St Mark’s Cemetery in Niagara-on-the-Lake marks the final resting place of Earnest J Saunders, 109th Battalion in the Canadian Militia. WW1 personnel records show an Ernest John Saunders served with the non-permanent active militia.

Saunders was born in London, England on 4 January 1879. He worked in the canteen at Niagara Camp, and died of pneumonia in the hospital there on 17 February 1919. Continue reading

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Niagara Township Memorial, Queenston, ON

The Niagara Township war memorial – also known as the Queenston cenotaph – is at the intersection of the Niagara Parkway and Queenston St, now part of the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The monument was dedicated on 11 November 1926 by Ontario Lieutenant Governor Henry Cockshutt. It was “erected to the memory of the men of Niagara Township who gave their lives for freedom in the Great War … whose names are here recorded, and in honour of those who served.” A bronze statue of an infantry soldier tops a granite base. A laurel wreath encircles “lest we forget” on each side. WW1 names are on the right side, WW2 on the left. Seventeen WW1 battles are listed on the back. “To you from falling hands we throw the torch, be yours to lift it high” – a line from In Flanders Fields – graces the front.

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Clock Tower, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

Niagara-on-the-Lake claims the distinction of being the only community in Canada to have a war memorial in the centre of its main street. The memorial clock tower stands on Queen Street between King and Regent Streets. Designed by Toronto architect Charles Wilmott, it was unveiled on 3 June 1922. The cenotaph is dedicated to the memory of Canadians who died in the service of their country.

Reproduction postcards from the Niagara Historical Society show the Clock Tower in earlier times. You can also find some digitized photos in the collection of the Niagara Falls Public Library: the tower had no surrounding plantings in a 1922 photo; a 1943 photo shows the tower almost obscured by ivy. 

Many soldiers in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces stayed under canvas at Camp Niagara before heading overseas. The Polish Army also had a training camp there, with Canadians and Americans of Polish descent.