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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

Here at Museum Strathroy-Caradoc we have had a very busy summer so far even though it seems like it just started!  We are working on two projects right now that have created much interest in the community.

Sir Arthur Currie Project:  As some of you already know, we were awarded a grant from the federal government in order to fund the creation of a travelling exhibit about one of Strathroy’s most famous natives, General Sir Arthur Currie.  This exhibit will highlight Currie’s life as he lived it in Strathroy, his efforts in World War One and his life in Montreal.  We are currently working with our partners to create a semblance of a “creeping barrage,” one of the military tactics for which Currie was reknowned.  A creeping barrage is an artillary barrage that slowly “creeps” up the field of  battle towards the enemy lines. The primary usage of the creeping barrage is to  create cover for the soon-to-be advancing soldiers rather then kill enemy  troops.  For a history of how the creeping barrage was used, click here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

R.S. Williams Collection: As mentioned previously in a blog posting in November, the R.S. Williams Collection was discovered above a local business in Strathroy, ON.  Since its discovery, we have received $1000 from the provincial government in order to help clean and properly store the negatives.  Using guides from the Canadian Conservation Institute, we will be cleaning and storing the first 1000 negatives.  Varying in size, these negatives will be cleaned using a 4-step process.  Using three wash tubs, the neagtives will be placed in three different solutions: distilled water, distilled water and ethanol, and distilled water and PhotoFlo.  The distilled water is used so that minerals from regular do not damage the emulsion on the glass.  The ethanol helps to remove any dirt or grime that has affixed itself to the emulsion and/or glass over the years.  Finally, the PhotoFlo helps to prevent streaking.  Once the negatives have been treated in all three formulas, they are placed vertically in a drying rack, being careful to lean only the glass side of the negative against the rack.  This whole process will take about 8 1/2 hours per negative.

All week I will be blogging about horses. 

Today we will be talking about Brock, Sir Arthur Currie’s horse.  Recently we had an exhibit from the Canadian War Museum that featured items related to Currie.  One of the pieces was a saddle, and to properly display it, the War Museum sent along a horse statue that represented Brock. 

Brock displayed in the Library

Brock – Sir Arthur Currie

Extract taken from a Letter from Currie to Lieutenant Colonel D Tamblyn 8 March 1923 – Published in The Selected Papers of Sir Arthur Currie, Mark Osborne Humphries, LCMSDS  Press of Sir Wilfred Laurier University, 2008

Currie on Brock

The horse, as you will remember, was a very tall animal, strong shouldered , good carriage, red bay in colour. He was really not an officer’s charger but a large hackney. I always called him “Brock” short for Brocklebank, but as a matter of fact, that was not his registered name.

I can only say that he stood the rigours of the campaign in the most splendid fashion. I do not know of his being ill at any time. No horse stood the trip across the Atlantic or from England to France (and you know how rough that trip was) any better and few as well. He was a horse with a mind of his own, but we usually got on very well together. The only peculiarity that I remember was that if we disagreed while I was riding him he undertook to rough ride me for the next five minutes or so, but he didn’t sulk long. I rode him at all the principal parades which I attended—the reviews by the King in England and France, the Field Marshal’s reviews and also when we crossed into Germany when I rode at the head of the 3rd Battalion and also when we crossed the Bonn Bridge.

I brought the horse back to Canada , where he now finds a home on my brother’s farm in western Ontario . I visit my old home about there times a year and am always glad to know the he recognizes me. He immediately comes up    to me, smells around my pockets for apples or some other sweet and kisses me very frequently.

With all good wishes, I am yours faithfully

A W Currie

As the letter points out Currie brought Brock back to his brother’s farm, which was located near Napier. 

As we said goodbye to Brock last week, I thought I would dedicate a blog post to him but going through some research I came across other horses that were famous locally and internationally.  Come back all week to discover famous horses and the all the ways Strathroy-Caradoc celebrated them. 

For more information on Currie and Brock visit The Currie Project.

Cyril Lowe 823791

Cyril was born in Nottingham England on 4 July 1893.  When he signed up for the war on April 15, 1916 he is listed as a labourer from 140 Ridout Street in London. 

He was 5’3 with brown hair and brown eyes.  He arrived in England on the S.S. Southland on November 11, 1916 and was killed in action in the attack west of Thelus on April 9, 1917 at the age of 23.  Cyril is buried at the Nine Elms Military Cemetery, France. 

He is honoured on the Strathroy Cenotaph and on the Memorial Window in St John the Evangelist Church in Strathroy.  This is the only Strathroy-Caradoc connection to date.  He may have visited or lived in the area for a short time or had family here.  If anyone has information on Cyril Lowe please contact Museum Strathroy-Caradoc.

For more information on Cyril’s service records please visit the Strathroy Cenotaph website created by John Sargeant.

John Brown 54333

The Brown brothers, Walter, John and Leonard — were members of Mount Carmel Methodist Church who served in the First World War. Of these three Caradoc natives, only Walter and Leonard would return home.

John was born on December 18, 1895 in Mount Brydges to Elizabeth and Robert Brown.  His enlistment forms, signed in January 1915, state he was a farmer with no previous military experience.

By April 18, 1915 he was sailing from Halifax on the S.S. Grampian, on his way to England.  He had only been in England for one month when he came down with the measles and had to stay at Moore Barracks Shorncliffe Kent to recuperate.  By September of the same year he was en route to France to serve in the Machine Gun Corp 4th Company.  After fighting for more than a year he was admitted to # 18 General Hospital in Camiers France in November 1916, where he stayed until January of the following year with P.U.O. (pyrexia or fever).  

He re-joined his unit January 17, 1917 and was promptly promoted to Corporal.  He continued fighting until that fateful day on April 9, 1917 when he was killed at the age of 21. 

He is listed on the Vimy Memorial in France.  His mother received a copper ‘death penny’ and scroll from King George in honour of John’s service. These pennies were a standard token of appreciation given to family members of those who perished in the war.  His mother also received a Memorial Cross and a C.E.F. Mothers in Sacrifice Medal.  He is honoured in the community on the Mount Brydges Honour Roll, and both the Strathroy and Mount Brydges Cenotaph.

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 For more information please visit the Strathroy Cenotaph website created by John Sargeant

Asa John Patterson 802074

Asa John was born on October 21, 1895 to Martha Patterson, and he lived at R.R. #2 Longwoods Road.  He enlisted on November 26, 1915 and his attestation papers state that he was a student. He also had prior military training with the 26th Regiment (Middlesex Light Infantry) whose headquarters were in Strathroy.  He left Halifax for Liverpool, England in August 1916 with the 135th battalion on the S.S. Olympic

During his time overseas he was transferred to two different battalions, the 134th and the 15th. 

He was killed in action in the attack at Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917 and buried at the Nine Elms Military Cemetery  in Thelus, France.

After his death his mother received a memorial plaque and scroll, and the memorial cross. He is honoured on the Memorial Wall at the Caradoc Community Centre, and on both the Mount Brydges and Strathroy Cenotaphs. He also is commemorated on the Memorial Window at St. John the Evangelist Church in Strathroy.

For more information please visit the Strathroy Cenotaph website created by John Sargeant.

Below is a comment from John Sargeant requesting information on Asa John Patterson.

Charles Perring 802719 

Charles was born to Mrs. Amelia Perring of Walworth South East England on March 4, 1895. When he enlisted on January 14, 1916 he was living in Mount Brydges as a farm labourer.    

On August 22, 1916 he embarked from Halifax to Liverpool England with the 135th battalion on the S.S. Olympic.  During his time overseas he was transferred to a number of different battalions, including the 134th and the 15th

The photo to the left shows Perring on the left with other Strathroy Boys in the 135th.

To further his skills as a soldier he was sent to Grenade School in February 1917.  He continued fighting until that fateful day on April 9, 1917 when he was killed in action in the attack southwest of Thelus, France. He was 22. 

He is buried at the Nine Elms Military Cemetery in Thelus, France.  After his death his mother received a memorial plaque and scroll, and the memorial cross (see below).  He is also honoured in the community on the Mount Carmel Church Shield – Our Heroes, the Mount Brydges and Strathroy Cenotaph, and the Memorial Wall in the Caradoc Community Centre.

 
 

Museum Strathroy Caradoc Collection
For more information please visit the Strathroy Cenotaph website created by John Sargeant.
 
 

Last Saturday was the 94th anniversary of Vimy Ridge.  This First World War battle was fought between April 9 and 12, 1917, in the west of France, with 3,598 Canadian soldiers killed and 10,602 wounded.  This year’s anniversary of the battle at Vimy Ridge is the end of an era, with no surviving WWI veterans in Canada.  Vimy marked the first time all four Canadian divisions fought on the same battlefield.  They were led by Strathroy-native Sir Arthur William Currie, who was the first Canadian-appointed commander of the Canadian Corps.  For the month of April there will be a display on Vimy associated with the Currie items on loan from the Canadian War Museum.

 

All this month we will honour 5 Strathroy area soldiers who lost their life at Vimy; John Brown, Charles Perring,  James Kellestine, Asa John Patterson, and Cyril Lowe.

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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