Sunday, 29 March 2020

Arthur - Women Memorial Workers



Location:  Wellington County   N 43 49.943  W 080 32.268
In Memorial Park, at 150 George Street, on the corner with Frederick Street West.

Previously on September 8, 2013, I had featured the outstanding cenotaph in the village of Arthur, known as Canada's Most Patriotic Village due to its high ratio of men and women who served their country in time of war.
Today's memorial is a tribute to the women who worked so diligently to create the cenotaph, after the Great War, in honour of those brave souls who fought and died in our service.  The memorial sits in the walkway in front of the cenotaph, near the base of the original fieldstone memorial.

Marker text:
WOMEN MEMORIAL WORKERS
November 11, 1918.  "The War to End All Wars" was over.  In the Arthur area, 41
soldiers had been killed and many more wounded.  Soon a group of local ladies were
organized under the name Women Memorial Workers.  Their objective was to
honour those men from the area who had enlisted and especially those who had paid
the supreme sacrifice.

The Women purchased the three lots comprising this property and proceeded to raise
sufficient funds to build a Cenotaph Monument on the site.  The project became a
community effort with hundreds making contributions.  The architect was Major
Gibson of Toronto who had commanded some of the local soldiers overseas.  The
contractor was Ed Doherty, a local stone mason, who had built many of the
foundations for the bank barns in the area.  A decision was made to build the
monument with stones gathered from local farms.  It turned out to be the first
fieldstone Cenotaph Monument in the Province.

On August 6, 1923, before the largest crowd ever assembled in the Village, Mrs. David
Brocklebank, President of the Women Memorial Workers, unveiled the monument at
the conclusion of a three-hour ceremony.  The new Cenotaph received many
compliments including one from the Toronto Star that described it as "a memorial
whose beauty and design cannot be equaled in the Province".

After 1923, the Women continued their work landscaping the surrounding grounds
and, in 1930, turned the park and Cenotaph Monument over to the village with a
considerable financial contribution for perpetual upkeep

Funding for this plaque was provided by the Arthur and Area Historical Society and
the Arthur Revitalization Committee.
 







Cayuga - Knisley Boer War Memorial



Location:  Haldimand County   N 42 57.326  W 079 51.514
On the west side of Munsee Street N, in front of the courthouse.

This wonderful monument is a tribute to the brave men of Haldimand who fought in the Boer War, most notably the great hero Corporal William Knisley, from nearby Jarvis.  The memorial features a statue of Knisley, and the names of those lost engraved in the stone.  The original memorial was erected in 1907, and a newer plaque was mounted in front at a later date.  Cannons are also present on the grounds, behind the statue.

The following excerpt is taken from www.couragerewarded.com:
In June of 1900, government of the Transvaal surrendered to British forces and victory celebrations took place. However, these were premature, as the South African War now entered a phase of irregular guerilla warfare with stubborn Boer Kommandos refusing to capitulate. As part of the ongoing operation to suppress these rebels, a column of British and Canadian troops under Major-General Smith-Dorrien set out on November 6, 1900, to destroy farms that had been sheltering Boer forces. On reaching a farm called Lilliefontein, however, the British and Canadian troops found that they had ventured into a countryside where the resistance was unexpectedly strong. The column commander therefore decided to pull back the next day to their safe base .
Mounted troops of The Royal Canadian Dragoons and a battery of Canadian artillery were assigned the task of acting as rearguard to hold off the enemy as the column pulled back. They soon found themselves hard-pressed, however, as hundreds of Boers charged, firing their guns from their saddles. The thin Canadian rearguard, spread out over an arc of one-and-a-half miles, acted with amazing courage, holding off the Boers long enough for the artillery to escape. As a final act of courage in this drama, Private William Knisley, seeing an unhorsed comrade hiding from the hail of fire behind an obstacle, rode forward despite the Boer fire and rescued his friend, although he was seriously wounded in the process.
It had been a remarkable fight, the Canadian troops showing themselves to be more than equal to the Boers in determination and fighting ability. Major-General Smith-Dorrien recognized this in his report to the British Commander-in-Chief, stating that he had "no praise too high for the devoted gallantry "shown by the men of The Royal Canadian Dragoons and Canadian Artillery. Lord Roberts was sufficiently impressed to award three Victoria Crosses for this single action, an unprecedented number for a single action in the war. Lieutenant Richard Turner, Lieutenant H.Z.C. Cockburn and Sergeant Edward Holland, all of The Royal Canadian Dragoons, received this prized decoration. Trooper Knisley of The Royal Canadian Dragoons was also recommended for the Victoria Cross but, instead, received the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Lieutenant E.W.B. Morrison of the Canadian Artillery received the Distinguished Service Order.
On the completion of his term of service, William Knisley returned to his father's small farm in southwest Ontario. However, he had always been a restless youth and, when the announcement was made that another contingent was being recruited, he jumped at the chance to return to southern Africa. The British were still unable to suppress the continuing Boer insurgency and, this time, Knisley joined the ranks of the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles.
West of Pretoria, in an area of low bush and hills with few roads, one of the most skilful Boer leaders, Kroos de la Rey, had gathered a Kommando of almost 4,000 with which he was attacking isolated British posts whenever an opportunity occurred. In order to put an end finally to these activities, a British force of 16,000 men, divided into a number of columns, was gathered and set in motion at the end of March 1901. As part of this campaign, the 2CMR was assigned the role of advance guard for a column of 1,600 men carrying out a reconnaissance to the south-west. At about mid-morning on March 31, the column suddenly came upon a Boer force that was stronger than expected. The British commander began setting up a fortified camp by the Little Harts River but quickly came under attack from three sides, with Boers charging the perimeter on horseback. The Boers continued their attacks on the main body for hours but could not break through the stubborn defence. The Boers finally broke off the action and withdrew before a British rescue force could reach the area. Except for Paardeberg, Canadians that day suffered the highest losses in the war - thirteen killed and forty wounded.
Unfortunately, William Knisley was with the column rearguard that day. When the column had come under attack, he and five other troopers found themselves cut off and unable to get back to the main camp. Instead, they choose to set off overland to try to get back to the main British base at Klerksdorp, over 100 km (60 miles) away. They fought their way through Boer country for, two days' in an attempt to reach their base. The Boers closed in on them, however, pinning them down on a rocky kopje. Here, the little band of Canadians managed to hold off their attackers for another day. The group finally surrendered after they had run out of ammunition but, by that time, Knisley and another man had been killed. The Boers paid their respects to Knisley by burying the Distinguished Conduct Medal he had won at Lilliefontein with his body. 
 


 
Marker text:
Front:
HALDIMAND SONS
KILLED IN THE
SOUTH AFRICAN WAR.
CORP. W.A. KNISLEY, D.S.M.
HART'S RIVER, APR. 2. 1902

LIEUT.
W.H. NELLES, C.E. D.S.M.
DIED OF WOUNDS
BLOEMFONTEIN JAN.29.1901

FAMA. SEMPER VIRAT

KNISLEY
 


Front lower plaque:
KNISLEY MEMORIAL
ERECTED 1907 BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION, IN REMEMBRANCE OF
CORPORAL WILLIAM A. KNISLEY, ROYAL CANADIAN DRAGOONS,
WHO WAS DECORATED WITH THE DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL
FOR GALLANTRY AT LELIEFONTEIN AND WHO GAVE HIS LIFE AT
THE BATTLE OF HART'S RIVER, APRIL 2, 1902.  AND IN MEMORY 
OF THE MEN OF HALDIMAND COUNTY WHO FOUGHT IN THE SOUTH
AFRICAN (BOER) WAR. 
 


 
Rear:
HALDIMAND SONS
KILLED IN THE
SOUTH AFRICAN WAR.
SERGT. FRANK DAVIDSON.
VRYHEID  APR.11.1901

PRIVATE
CHARLES JACKSON
PAARDEBURG  FEB.18.1900

FAMA. SEMPER VIRAT

Burk's Falls - Legion Br. #405




Location:  Parry Sound District   N 45 37.370  W 079 24.267
In front of the Legion at the northwest corner of Centre Street and Mary Street.

Burk's Falls has a proud tradition of celebrating the military and the sacrifices made by those who have served.  The cenotaph on the main street is a classic and the town is decorated year round with yellow ribbons of support.  A few blocks away is the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #405, an active force in the community.
In front of the Legion has been erected a stone of local rock adorned with a plaque to their fallen comrades, as well as separate stone and plaque in memory of Lieut. Donald Wellman.  Lieut. Wellman flew for the 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, born and buried in Belleville, his Twin Huey crashed in October 1991 in the woods to the west of Burk's Falls in a tragic accident.  Two men survived the crash, but unfortunately Lieut. Wellman perished.  A small memorial marks the crash site which is situated on private property and the location remains unknown to me.
A reminder that the good men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces not only lose their lives in times of war, but also in training during peacetime to keep their skills as the best in the world.


 
Marker text:
Main plaque:
In Memory of
All our Fallen Comrades

1914-1918
1939-1945
1950-1953

We will remember them.
 



 
Wellman memorial:
(408 Squadron crest)

IN MEMORY OF
LIEUTENANT DONALD WELLMAN

408 TACTICAL HELICOPTER SQUADRON
15 January 1965 - 10 October 1991

LIEUTENANT DONALD WELLMAN