Saturday 26 February 2022

Uxbridge - Lt.-Col. Samuel Sharpe


Location:  Durham Region     N 44.10888   W -79.12300

On the northwest corner of Brock Street and Toronto Street, beside the CIBC Bank.

This memorial is dedicated to the tragic story of Lt. Colonel Samuel Sharpe, who was born in the nearby village of Zepher in 1873.  The statue was unveiled on May 25th, 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of his untimely death.  The bronze statue was the creation of renowned local sculptor Wynn Walters. 

At the time of the First World War, Sharpe was serving as a Member of Parliament since the election of 1908.  He was authorized to raise the 116th Battalion (Ontario County) of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.   The Battalion arrived in England in the summer of 1916 and, following training, was deployed to the front in France in February 1917.  After suffering devastating losses Lt.-Col. Sharpe was sent home to Canada with a diagnosis of "nervous shock," a condition better know as post-traumatic stress disorder today. The celebrated soldier and sitting MP, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry, was virtually erased from the history books after committing suicide at his Montreal hospital it 1918. The story has been revived in recent years as a cautionary tale around the military’s past treatment of mental injuries suffered by soldiers.The Rotary Club of Uxbridge kicked off a $70,000 fundraising campaign with a donation of $10,000 to the Uxbridge-Scott Historical Society. April 24, 2017. By 2017, Uxbridge-Scott Historical Society organizers had raised nearly $50,000 of the $70,000 necessary to match a grant provided by the federal government.

The statue of Lt-Col. Sharpe is a very poignant figure staring into the streets of Uxbridge, deep in thought of the agony and death of his brave men.  The sign which accompanies this revered statue gives an excellent explanation of the shadows that haunted his mind.



Marker text:



The heroic life, the tragic death, and the poignant legacy of Sam Sharpe.

Samuel Sharpe grew up in a prominent Uxbridge area family, and served as Uxbridge's lawyer for 

a number of years.  He was elected a Member of Parliament in 1908.  When the Great War broke out

in 1914, he recruited a battalion of volunteers from Uxbridge and surrounding areas and led them to Europe.

His 116th (Ontario County) Battalion saw action at Vimy and Passchendaele among other battlefields,

losing many men in the mud and barbed wire of Flanders.  Sharpe led his men personally into battle,

and received the DSO for bravery.  He was re-elected in 1917 - the only MP ever elected from the 


By 1918, Sharpe suffered increasing melancholy and then a mental collapse, the result of losing so many of his men, including John Walton, a close personal friend.  In that era, it was called "shell shock".  Today we know it as PTSD, (post-traumatic stress disorder), and recognize it as a serious mental condition.  Sharpe was invalided to England, and then to Canada.  While on a train home, he suffered a collapse, and was hospitalized in Montreal.  On May 25, 1918 he jumped to his death from a hospital window.  He was 46.  Some said he could not face the prospect of returning to Uxbridge and facing the families of those who had died, many of whom he had recruited personally.  Of the 1,100 men he had recruited, only 160 were on active duty when they returned.

The statue ... and the message

Statues of military heroes usually portray them in a historic pose.  Not so with Sam Sharpe.  He is depicted as he ponders writing a letter, agonizing over how to tell Mary Walton that her husband had been killed.  The letter in his hand begins:  "Dear Mary..."  For almost 100 years, history has forgotten Samuel Sharpe, his name buried with thousands who had succumbed to "shell shock".  In those days, shell shock was considered cowardice, and Sharpe was considered a disgrace to the regiment.

The life and death of Sam Sharpe helps us to understand the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder, and to understand PTSD as a condition requiring treatment, rather than bringing shame.  After 100 years, Sam Sharpe returns as a hero.  The statue was unveiled on May 25, 2018 - the 100th anniversary of his death.

Saturday 19 February 2022

CFB Borden - Major-General Worthington


Location:  Simcoe County     N 44.28714   W -79.89158

In Worthington Park, west side of Dieppe Road.

This memorial is dedicated to the Major-General Frederic Franklin Worthington, the "Father of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps".   "Worthy" or "Fighting Frank", as he was nicknamed, was born in 1899 in Scotland and lived a storied life of adventure until his death in 1967.  He is buried here, along with his wife Clara, at the top of the ridge that runs through Worthington Park in the heart of CFB Borden.  His military career saw him fight in the Mexican Civil War and both World Wars.  After the First World War he was a strong proponent of adopting armoured fighting vehicles.  Thanks to Worthington's determination, Canada acquired its first tanks in 1938: two Vicker light tanks, and ten more the following year.Worthington went on to become the leader of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, setting up training and the procurement of tanks, making CFB Borden the home of the tankers.   Worthington served as General Officer Commander in Chief of Pacific Command from 1 April 1945 to 26 January 1946. Later he was appointed the first Colonel-Commandant of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps. 

 Worthy died on 8 December 1967 at Ottawa's Military Hospital. After his funeral in Ottawa, Worthy's body was flown by a RCAF Caribou aircraft to Camp Borden and in accordance with his wishes, was interred in Worthington Park. Four Centurion tanks fired a 13 gun salute and three RCAF Chipmunk aircraft did a low-level "fly-past", in tribute to a great soldier and Canadian. 

Today Worthington Park remains as a strong reminder of the birthplace of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps and a tribute to its father, Frederic Franklin "Fighting Frank" "Worthy" Worthington. 


Sunday 13 February 2022

Etobicoke - Toronto Scottish


Location:  City of Toronto     N 43.60430   W -79.50218

70 Birmingham Street, in front of the armoury.


This memorial is a dedicated to the Toronto Scottish Regiment and is found in front of their home, the Captain Bellenden Hutcheson, VC Armoury.  The memorial consists of restored Universal "Bren Gun" Carrier from World War II, and two plaques which tell the story of the Regiment and its battle honours.

The Toronto Scottish Regiment is a Primary Reserve infantry regiment with companies in Etobicoke and Mississauga.

As the Army’s primary war-fighters and the core of the combat arms team, infantry soldiers are responsible for closing with and destroying the enemy. Supported by the artillery, regiments of armour and the combat engineers, infantry soldiers are capable of operating anywhere in the world in any environment - arctic tundra, mountains, jungle or desert - and in any combination of arms, including airmobile and amphibious operations.

The following plaques tell their story:





Marker text:

The Toronto Scottish Regiment (M.G.) Monument

During the Second World War, the regiment mobilized a machine gun (M.G.) battalion

for the 1st Canadian Division.  Following a reorganization in 1940, the battalion

was reassigned to the 2nd Canadian Division, where it operated as a Support Battalion,

providing machine-gun detachments for Operation Jubilee, the raid on Dieppe, France

in 1942.  With an additional company of heavy mortars, it operated in support of the

rifle battalions of the 2nd Division in Northwest Europe from July 1944 to VE Day.

Soldiers of the regiment also had the honour of mounting the King's Guard at

Buckingham Palace in April 1940.  Back in Canada a 2nd Battalion served in the

reserve army.  In 2000, the regiment added a second title in recognition of Her

Majesty The Queen Mother's long association a Colonel-in-Chief, a position she

had held since 1937.  The name of the regiment changed to

The Toronto Scottish Regiment (Queen Elizabeth The Queen other's Own).

This monument recognizes all Canadians from the Second World War era who deployed

overseas, sacrificed their lives, suffered physical or mental injury, or were the families

who supported our soldiers from the home front.  In addition, this monument recognizes

the role of the Canadian Armed Forces in the liberation of France, Belgium and The

Netherlands and the triumph of all that is good.  It was made possible with great

appreciation to The Toronto Scottish Regiment Foundation and Senate, Max Franzini

Family, Lieutenant-Colonel Garry Moore Family, Steve Ernewein Family, Michael Carlson

and Family, especially Honorary Colonel Helen Vari, C.M., CLH, OONM, LL.D, LHD,

and the George and Helen Vari Foundation and is dedicated to the

Honourable George W. Vari, P.C., C.M.


The Toronto Scottish Regiment

(Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's Own)

Universal "Bren Gun" Carrier.

Universal Carriers such as the one displayed on this monument were deployed

widely by Canada and British Commonwealth forces during the Second World War.

They were typically employed for transporting personnel, equipment and support

weapons, and were used as machine gun platforms for the .303 calibre Vickers

medium machine gun and the .303 calibre Bren Gun.  The Toronto Scottish Regiment

(Queens Elizabeth The Queen Mother's Own), a machine gun and support regiment of

the 2nd Canadian Division, 2nd Canadian Corps during the Second World War,

employed and relied heavily on these carriers.  They were an essential Allied

resource for the liberation of Northwest Europe against Nazi forces.

The Toronto Scottish Regiment (Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's Own), in the

beginning, was known as the 75th Battalion.  It was raided in 1915 when Lieutenant

Colonel SG Beckett undertook an assignment to recruit a battalion for the Canadian

Expeditionary Force.  The Battalion served in France and Belgium during the Great

War, winning a total of 16 Battle Honours.  Upon its arrival home in June 1919 the

75th Battalion was dismissed and on 1 September 1921 it was designated

The Toronto Scottish Regiment.  On 3 September 1939, two days after the Nazi forces

invaded Poland, The Canadian Government ordered the mobilization of units.

The Regiment was the first complete Canadian unit to land in the United Kingdom

during the Second World War.  With final victory,  the Regiment had earned

a total of 21 Battle Honours, and had suffered 425 casualties.


Saturday 5 February 2022

Cobourg - Afghanistan Memorial


Location:  Northumberland County     N 43.97316   W -78.16068

In front of the St. John's Ambulance building, 700 D'Arcy Street.



The following is taken from the Veterans Affairs website:

" Cobourg’s military history reveals that significant contingents of soldiers participated during the War of 1812, the First and Second World Wars and later it played a role in Canada’s post war defense plan by opening the No. 26 Central Ordnance Depot, in 1953. At capacity, the Depot employed over 700 military and civilian workers and stored over 30,000 items, such as, weapons, munitions and combat vehicles for development and testing. The Depot was later named Cobourg Forces Station in 1966 and is now the location of the Cobourg Afghanistan Memorial. The memorial was unveiled on November 8, 2019.

A LAV III monument is a permanent community symbol of remembrance which pays tribute to our Canadian Armed Forces who served and sacrificed in Afghanistan from 2001-2014. It is constructed from previously used LAV III hulls and remnant parts which have been decommission by the government. They are actual-size, look real, but are not functional. A LAV III is a Light Armoured Vehicle made of steel, supported by an 8-wheel drive suspension and powered by a 6-cylinder 350 horsepower diesel engine. It can weigh as much as 16,000 kg, carry various weapons, hold up to 10 passengers and reach speeds of 100 km/h.

The LAV III Monument Selection Committee, which is chaired by Major General (ret’d) David Fraser, a former Canadian Commander of Afghanistan South in 2006, along with other Afghanistan Veterans, award the Monuments while supplies last. This is a community sponsored monument. Each monument includes a commemorative plaque and costs $17,500, plus applicable sales tax. The original cost of an operational LAV III ranged from $1-4 Million depending upon the configuration. The LAV III is made by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada in London, Ontario, Canada.

The Town also dedicated the Ontario Street overpass to Captain Nichola Kathleen Sarah Goddard, who became the first female soldier killed, in 2006, during combat in Afghanistan."


In addition to the impressive LAV, there is also a stone with a large emblem of the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps, who once operated out of this facility.  There is also a memorial stone and plaque dedicated to Major Michelle Knight Mendes, who died during her service in Afghanistan in 2009.

Cobourg is also the home of the Highway for Heroes movement that saw hundreds of local citizens lining the bridges of the 401 Highway during repatriation ceremonies, to pay their respects for those killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan.  A signboard display tells the story of Canada's role in Afghanistan.  



Marker text:






2001     2014





RCOC plaque:










Major Mendes plaque:




JULY 21, 1978 - APRIL 23, 2009 (AGED 30)