As the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge gets closer — more local stories are continuing to surface. Mike Postovit has more on a number of artifacts that have very special meaning to those in our community.
The National Memorial at Vimy Ridge — this will be the back drop for many of this weekends commemorations. You don’t however have to travel to France to experience Vimy. In fact — a number of artifacts are right here in Kingston.
This is “The Vimy Cross” — located on the west wall — inside the Princess of Wales Own Regiment on Montreal Street.
Honorary Colonel Arthur Jordan/Princess of Wales Own Regiment
“As every soldier enters the armories — they stop and salute the cross.”
A sign of respect to the 73 members of the 21st Battalion who lost their lives at Vimy Ridge.
Three 18 year olds — Private Archibald Barrow. Private Hawley John Brown. And Private Alfred Tait — all 18 years old. And then there was a Major Horace Hutchins — age 49. That’s just an example of the two extremes of the 73 individuals that paid with their lives.
“It was erected by the officers — they asked one of the members of the battalion — who was a carpenter to fashion a cross and they raised it — and it sat there honouring the dead.”
This picture was taken in June of 1917 — there you can see the cross in this temporary cemetery.
“That cross came back to Canada in the early 1920’s and was erected on the point of the Royal Military College where it was the scene of an annual commemoration right through until the early 1990’s when it was refurbished and moved over here to the armories.”
The other “Kingston piece” of Vimy History or should I say pieces –are located at the Electronics and Communications Museum at the Base.
“These are three of the original 20 plaster models which were actually built by the sculptor Allward in order to build the Vimy Ridge Memorial over in France. So these 20 plaster models — the other 17 are at the War Museum in Ottawa were taken over to France — they’re all half scale and all of the carvers over there would then use these to build the real memorial. At the time they were considered part of the process.”
Both the museum and the PWOR will be holding special events on Sunday — to coincide with those taking place over in Europe. Mike Postovit, CKWS News, Kingston.