Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books


Leave a comment

Monday Monuments and Memorials – Peace Tower, Parliament Hill, Ottawa

We were preparing not Peace only, but Eternal Peace. There was about us the halo of some divine mission. We must be alert, stern, righteous and ascetic. We were bent on doing great, permanent noble things.

Harold Nicolson, British delegate to 1919 Paris peace conference

This is not a peace treaty, it is an armistice for 20 years.

Marshal Ferdinand Foch, at the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, 1919
Continue reading


Leave a comment

Monday Monuments and Memorials – Peace Tower, Parliament Hill, Ottawa

The memory of those who fell in the great war will be reverenced in Canada this year by the wearing of a red poppy on Armistice Day, according to plans now being formulated by the Dominion Command, Great War Veterans’ Association. The inauguration of this custom will, war veterans believe, accomplish three worthy objects: First, the custom of wearing a memorial poppy on Armistice Day; secondly, as the poppies will be sold for nominal sums, it will supply a means of providing relief funds for the unemployed this winter; and thirdly, as the poppies will be purchased from the French war orphans, it will go a long way toward the relief of distress in that country.

Canadian Press dispatch, 19 September 1921. Published in Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Journal, Saskatoon Daily Star, Toronto Globe, Victoria Daily Times and others.
Continue reading


Leave a comment

Monday Monuments and Memorials – Dancy Cant and Helena MacLaughlin, Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa ON

This October, in honour of Women’s History Month, I am visiting the graves of WW1 nursing sisters buried in the National Captial Region.

Sisters Dancy Florence and Helena Augustine MacLaughlin were born in Ottawa, daughters of Thomas MacLaughlin and Augustine Desrochers MacLaughlin. The sisters are both buried in the military section of Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Monday Monuments and Memorials – Laura Gamble, Johnston’s Corners Community Cemetery, Ottawa

Nursing Sister Laura Gamble, Johnston’s Corners Cemetery

For the month of October, I am visiting WW1 Nursing Sisters buried in the National Capital Region.

Laura Adelaide Gamble was born in Wakefield, Quebec in September 1887, the eldest of five daughters of Rev Robert Gamble and Adelaide McGillivray. She graduated from the Toronto General Hospital School of Nursing in 1910. She enlisted in May 1915 with the hospital organized by the University of Toronto (No. 4 Canadian General Hospital) and sailed for England that same month. From there, she was dispatched to the Mediterranean, where she served on a hospital ship and in Salonica. She also served for a time in England and France.

In 1917, she was awarded the Royal Red Cross 2nd class (ARRC): “As Nursing Sister in charge of the officers’ wards she showed the greatest possible tact and extreme devotion to duty” and mentioned in despatches. Gamble’s war diary is now held by Library and Archives Canada.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Monday Monuments and Memorials – Munster Union Cemetery, Ottawa, ON

Continuing summer travels close to home, to the many war memorials in Eastern Ontario.

Munster is a village in the former Goulbourn Township, now part of the City of Ottawa. The Munster Union Cemetery was established in 1886 as a non-denominational burial ground.

In 1925, the local Loyal Orange Lodge (LOL 917) erected a monument in the cemetery, to remember three members of Lodge families killed in WW1. Since then the monument has been the site of Remembrance Day services in the village.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Monday Monuments and Memorials – Vimy Memorial, Centre Block, Parliament Hill, Ottawa

On February 3, 1916, a fire burned the Centre Block of Ottawa’s Parliament Buildings to the ground. The exact cause of the fire was never definitively determined. With the country at war, rumours quickly spread that the fire stemmed from enemy sabotage. Careless smoking and faulty wiring were also suspects.

Rebuilding started immediately, with the cornerstone laid on 1 Sep 1916.

On a snowy Easter Monday, 9 April 1917, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought together for the first (and only) time, in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, part of the Battle of Arras. Training and tactics won the ridge by 12 April, but at the cost of about 3,600 Canadian lives.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Monday Monuments and Memorials – Osgoode Township Cenotaph, Metcalfe, ON

WW1 and WW2 monuments stand in front of the former Osgoode Township Hall at 8243 Victoria St (Regional Rd 6) in Metcalfe, now part of the City of Ottawa.

The WW1 monument was erected by the Metcalfe Red Cross Society in 1921. It is dedicated “in memory of the men of Osgoode Township who gave their lives in the Great War.” Nineteen names are in lead inset letters on the front panel and seven more names on the back of the monument. These seven and four more were carved into the granite plinths on the front when the monument was restored in 2012.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Monday Monuments and Memorials – Brantwood Place Gates, Ottawa

Travelling along Main St in Old Ottawa East, large stone pillars form a distinctive gateway at the corner of Beckwith Rd. A closer look shows they are “dedicated to the memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice and to the honour and glory of those men and women of this community who served in the armed forces” in 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. A landmark in the area, the gates were not always a war memorial. Continue reading


6 Comments

Monday Monuments and Memorials – West Carleton War Memorial, Carp, ON

West Carleton hasn’t existed as a township for 20 years, having been amalgamated as part of the City of Ottawa in 2001. Nonetheless, it lives on as a community and on 18 June 2016 the community dedicated a memorial to locals who died in war. The memorial is located in Carp village, at Donald B Munro Dr and Falldown Lane, across from the Fire Hall. It is a more visible remembrance than the plaque in the nearby Memorial Hall.   Continue reading