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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
Placing of Wreaths on the monument
Band selections
Hymn “O Canada”

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.


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

After reading this poem by Lieu-Col. John McCrae, Moina Michael, an American professor, was inspired and took action to make the poppy an international symbol of Remembrance Day.  Along with Madame Anna E Guérin, who was part of the the American and French Children’s League, the act of wearing poppies on Remembrance Day spread throughout the world and by 1923 poppies were being massed produced.

Memorial Poppy

Cloth Poppy with Sir Arthur Currie

The Museum is proud to have a donation of an early representation of a ceremonial poppy with a local hero attached to it.  This cloth poppy with the image of Sir Arthur Currie is accompanied by a calendar dated 1919 with Currie also pictured.  Currie played a prominent role in the First World War becoming the first full Canadian General.  He has been commemorated in a number of ways within the community; including naming of the Royal Canadian Legion, a marker at his home, murals at the site of the Armoury and this is just to name a few.  To find out more about Sir Arthur Currie and other tributes to him visit the Currie Memorial Project.

Other sites of interest
The Remembrance Poppy 
John McCrae

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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