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In 1964 Melbourne Legion Branch 510 purchased two lots at the Longwood Cemetery to build a memorial stone to honour all those that had fallen in past conflicts. Construction was complete in 1965.  This cemetery is located approximately 2 km north of Melbourne on Melbourne Road.  The Legion members and members of the community would march out to it from the village and have a ceremony every year.

After a number of years the Legion decided to look for land closer to the village.  Mrs. Elsie (Vail) Auld and Mrs. Ina (Vail) Campbell of Melbourne made the new park a reality when they donated a triangle of land to the Melbourne Royal Canadian Legion Branch 510.  This new park would located across the street from the Presbyterian church facing Victoria Street.

The land was donated in memory Mrs. Beatrice McDougall, a long-time resident of Melbourne.  She lived in the red brick house across from the new park. The triangle became separated as a result of everyone taking a short cut across the property that eventually became a road.

The land was deeded as a gift with the intent that the Legion would maintain the park. The Melbourne Legion moved the war memorial to its new location in 1985.  Other additions to the new park included plants, flag poles, lights (1987) and interlocking brick (1988).

With the move the memorial is now more visible and closer to the churches.

Currently Museum Staff are working at adding a Virtual Memorial for the Melbourne Cenotaph that is similar to that of Strathroy and Mount Brydges.

Melbourne Cenotaph

Melbourne Cenotaph

WWI Soldiers that were inscribed on the Cenotaph in 2014 include

Pte John McDougald
L Cpl William Newman
Pte Arthur Stevenson
Pte John Annett

Others from Melbourne area that are honoured on other memorials include

Wilfred James Cooper
John Andrew Dow Elder
Arthur William Good
Joseph Edward Moore
Dougald McNeil

WWII Soldiers names there inscribed on the Cenotaph in 2014 include

F/O John Dewar
Cpl Lorne Evans
                                                                      Pte Warren Kellestine 
                                                                AC2 John Brodie

Information gathered from the following sources
Melbourne WI – Transcript and Free Press pg. 20 November 7 1985
A Split Village by JoAnn Galbraith
Honour Rolls and Cenotaphs of Middlesex County by John Sargeant

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Mount Brydges Soldiers Monument

In the early part of the year 1919 a special meeting of the ratepayers of the Township of Caradoc was called by the Reeve, James Peters.  The town of Mount Brydges was considering erecting a memorial in the form of a building or other structure in honor and memory of the men of the Township of Caradoc who had enlisted in any armed forces during the Great War of 1914-18.  It the desire of the people of Caradoc to honour the memory of those who had made the supreme sacrifice in defence of freedom, so dear to the hearts of all British subjects.  The meeting was presided over by the Reeve while the township clerk, John Brodie, was asked to act as secretary. After long and interesting discussion it was decided to appoint a committee to further consider the matter and report to a later meeting.

At the second meeting the committee recommended that a monument be erected on the grounds in Mount Brydges on which the town hall was located and that the names of all those from the township of Caradoc who had given their lives in the war should be engraved thereon. It was further recommended that a marble tablet be placed in the town hall on which should be inscribed the names of all the men and women who had served in any way.

Early in June 1920 this committee was able to report that the monument was completed. The statue surmounting the pedestal had been obtained from Italy. The names of all those from Caradoc who paid the supreme sacrifice were engraved on the base.

The unveiling was held June 16,1920.

Unveiling Soldiers Monument Mount Brydges

Unveiling Soldiers Monument Mount Brydges

Researched and written by John Sargeant

This week we will be highlighting the monuments that are in Strathroy, Mount Brydges and Melbourne. 

Today we look at the Strathroy Cenotaph.

Strathroy Armoury ca 1909

Strathroy Armoury ca 1909

In 1909, as part of a campaign by the federal government, a new Armoury was built in Strathroy on Frank Street. Before this time the local militia had met and practiced in a shed near the corner of Adelaide and Scott Streets. The local militia unit was the 26th Regiment of the Middlesex Light Infantry.  During WWI the Armoury was the centre for recruitment of soldiers.

After the war it was only fitting that a War Memorial be placed near the building. 

The town initially was going to erect the monument but due to financial constraints was unable to right after the war.  The Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE) Mary Armstrong Chapter stepped up and raised the funds within the community to have the monument built.  They advertised in the local papers including the Strathroy Age Dispatch and asked for names to be submitted.  They updated and published this list over a number of months before it was finalized. 

The Strathroy Age Dispatch published an article on April 10, 1924 stating that “Messrs Hambly Brothers were working on the Soldier’s Memorial and that they hoped to have an unveiling later in the summer”.

Strathroy Memorial ca. 1924

Strathroy Memorial ca. 1924

On August 24, 1924 the community assembled in Alexandra Park and paraded to the cenotaph site in front of the Armouries. Teachers of various Sunday Schools saw that their pupils arrived with flowers.  Cars were provided for the next of kin and seats in the town square were ready.  

The program was as follows
Hymn “O God our Help”
Chairman Judge D C Ross – remarks
Unveiling of the monument by Miss Helen Buchanan of Stratford.
Prayer of Dedication – Rev John Moore
Scripture Reading – Mrs W. B. Lindsay (mother of Capt A. L. Lindsay)
Address General Sir Arthur Currie
Last Post
Reveille
Placing of Wreaths on the monument
Band selections
Hymn “O Canada”
GOD SAVE THE KING

It wasn’t until 1930 that the Cross of Sacrifice and lamps were erected above the monument.  In an article dated July 31, 1930 it states “Strathroy’s Completed Memorial to “the Boys Who Did Not Return” will be unveiled next Sunday afternoon.  May the ornamental lamps at the Foot of the Cross forever burn in loving remembrance of Strathroy’s Fallen Heroes.  Work is a credit to the Daughters of the Empire.” This ceremony coincided with the Old Boys and Girls Reunion being held in Strathroy.

The lamps mentioned above were made at the Corning Glass Works of New York.  Twelve in total were produced for the War Memorial. 

The final monument consists of three large tablets of imperial grey Canadian granite standing side by side on a light grey base.  The centre tablet is inscribed “Our Glorious Dead” with the quotation underneath “To Live in the hearts of those we leave behind, is not to die”.  The rest of the space and the side tablets are occupied by the names of the soldiers whose memory is commemorated.

Strathroy cenotaph Spring 2012

Strathroy cenotaph Spring 2012

Research and information provided by John Sargeant and Museum Strathroy-Caradoc staff and volunteers.

About the Museum

Museum Strathroy-Caradoc opened to the public in 1972. As a community museum we strive to preserve and tell the story of Strathroy-Caradoc, and inspire residents to explore and understand the community around them.

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