Deloraine Legion #83 hosted its annual Remembrance Day Service on Sunday, November 11 at the Deloraine-Winchester Theatre. The Colour Party marched from the Legion club room to the theatre and the singing of Oh Canada officially opened the program.
Rick Schoonbaert was the emcee for the program and he gave words of welcome and some history about the significance of this year’s Remembrance Day. He read some excerpts from an article in the Legion Magazine (November/December 2018) by J. L. Granastein — “The symmetry of Mons – Taking Back the City where Britain and Germany first clashed.”
“One hundred years ago on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, WWI ended in Mons, Belgium – where it started four years previous. What a relief to parents of the boys serving! Wrote Lieutenant Walter Thomas Robus of Norwood, Ont., a few days after the first World War ended with Germany’s surrender on Nov. 11, 1918. And what a relief to know the slaughter and suffering are over.
Canada had no army to speak of when Britain declared war on Germany on Aug. 4, 1914. The 1st Division was raised quickly and was still a raw force when it faced the German gas attack at Ypres in April 1915. Somehow, it held the line and began to establish its reputation. As the Canadian commitment grew in size, so did its laurels. The force of two, then three, and finally four divisions fought on the Somme in 1916, captured Vimy Ridge, Hill 70 and Passchendaele in 1917, and then recognized by all as a corps d’elite, fought through the Hundred Days campaign that won the war.
Canada had played its full part and more in the Great War, its citizen soldiers transformed into fierce instruments of war. Their victories were legion; their casualties enormous: more than 66,000 dead, almost 175,000 wounded. Sadly, the open warfare of the last 100 days was terribly costly, with 45,000 casualties — almost 20 percent of the total — occurring in just over three months of bitter fighting. Nonetheless, the results of those battles were crucial to winning the war, and they were almost certainly the greatest of Canadian military achievements. Currie’s Canadian Corps deserves its high place in the nation’s history.
Currie understood that there was important symmetry in the liberation of Mons. Four years and three months after the BEF had been forced to retreat, the Canadians, soldiers from the colony, men whose efforts had forged a nation, had freed the Belgian city. The Great War had changed the world and helped reinvent Canada.”
And from the same Legion Magazine – an excerpt from Last to Fall by John Boileau:
5:12 a.m., November 11, 1918 – “After three days of negotiations, Allied and German representatives meet in a railway carriage parked in a forest clearing northeast of Paris and sign an agreement to end four years of fighting. Germany wants the ceasefire to come into effect immediately, but the Allies want time to get word to front-line troops. As a result, the armistice stats six hours later, at 11 a.m.
10:57 a.m. – meanwhile, on the northern side of Mons, Canadian Private George Lawrence Price, 25, of the 28th Battalion (Northwest) is following the retreating Germans. Price was born in Falmouth, N.S., and raised in nearby Port Williams. AS a young man he moved to Moose Jaw, SK, although his parents, Jim and Annie, remained in Nova Scotia. He was conscripted in December 1917. Price’s patrol is fighting from house to house in the small village of Ville-sur-Haine (near Mons, Belgium). He enters a cottage just as some German soldiers leave through the back door. He exits the cottage and is shot — the last Allied soldier to die in WWII.”
Richard Price’s nephew (now 90 years old) was interviewed on CBC last week. The people of Mons, the city where the war started and eventually ended, have honoured Price and other Canadian soldiers. Presently there is a school and a badge named after price and soon a new stone monument, all to honour the Canadians and Price. Ninety-year old Price (George’s nephew) is in Belgium to view the commemoration of his uncle George Price, the last soldier to die in the Great War. Price went overseas like other Canadian soldiers to liberate the countries of Europe. Price and 66,000 Canadian soldiers died to perpetuate an idea, - Freedom. May they rest in peace and may we never forget!
“To all servicemen and women who died in the Great War, WWII, the Korean War or Afghanistan, all Canadian need to remember the sacrifices our military has made to foster peace and freedom around het globe and adding to our history of this country Canada. They stand on guard for thee!” concluded Schoonbaert.
The program continued with the Opening Prayer by Deacon Murray Teetaert, followed by the hymn Faith of Our Fathers. Cpl. Bob Carlson (Ret’d) read the Roll of Remembrance, followed by laying of the wreaths. Veteran Ross Mitchell placed the wreath on behalf of the Federal Government, Donna Todd, placed the wreath on behalf of Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Cpl. Bob Carlson (Ret’d) placed the wreath on behalf of the Deloraine Legion, Elmer Hunter placed the wreath on behalf of the Masons, Cpl Lee Greenidge placed the wreath on behalf of the RCMP, Kristian Nestibo placed the wreath on behalf of the provincial government and Gord Weidenhamer (Head of Council of Municipality of Deloraine-Winchester) placed the wreath on behalf of the local government.
This was followed by The Last Post, two minutes of silence and Reveille. Ron Keeler gave the Scripture Reading followed by the address by Kristian Nestibo. Please see separate article for this address which was very well organized and read with great poise and dignity.
John King recited ‘In Flanders Fields’ followed by the hymn “Count Your Blessings” and the Offering. Elmer Hunter gave the Prayer of Thanks which was followed by the hymn Amazing Grace. Henry Reimer gave the Prayer of Remembrance and Benediction, followed by God Save the Queen and the parade retiring.
A social time was held at the Deloraine Legion following the service.