A place for re­flec­tion

Only tulip bulbs from the Nether­lands planted at North Syd­ney ceno­taph

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS / NORTHSIDE / VICTORIA - BY JULIE COLLINS jcollins@cb­post.com

The ceno­taph in the heart of North Syd­ney is seen as a place of re­spect and re­flec­tion.

“The ceno­taph means a lot to a lot of peo­ple in town and to our le­gion and its mem­bers,” said Armstrong Me­mo­rial branch 19 Royal Cana­dian Le­gion pres­i­dent Carl Wall. “It isn't just a place we go on Re­mem­brance Day. Ev­ery day you see peo­ple stop­ping by to en­joy the gar­dens, read the names on the mon­u­ments or take a mo­ment for quiet re­flec­tion.”

The cen­tre pil­lar of the ceno­taph was built in 1927 by John D. Steele & Sons at a cost of $3,500. It fea­tures the names of sol­diers from North Syd­ney killed in the First World War.

Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal his­to­ri­ans, Mrs. Lawrence Ke­hoe, who lost three sons in what is re­ferred to as the “Great War,” did the un­veil­ing.

“It wasn't un­til around 1975 that the two side pil­lars were built,” Wall said. “It's in­ter­est­ing be­cause the le­gion re­ceived a do­na­tion of the two hon­our roll scrolls with the names of those sol­diers who lost their lives in the Sec­ond World War. The scrolls were in North Syd­ney's town hall be­fore that build­ing was de­mol­ished and are a ma­jor part of the town's history.”

In 1977, the le­gion pur­chased tulip bulbs from the Nether­lands, a welcome ad­di­tion to the ceno­taph.

“Each year a mag­nif­i­cent sea of tulips re­mind us of the im­por­tance of Canada's role in the lib­er­a­tion of the Nether­lands” Wall said. “Any bulbs that have to be re­placed, we get from the Nether­lands. It's im­por­tant to main­tain the bond we have with that coun­try.”

Tr­ish Tay­lor of the North Syd­ney Gar­den Club takes care of the beds and Wall makes sure the grounds are mowed and main­tained.

It isn't just branch 19 that makes the care of our le­gions

and grounds a pri­or­ity,” Wall said. “Le­gions across the coun­try do the same as a way to hon­our those who made the supreme sac­ri­fice and to hon­our all our vet­er­ans.”

Wall wel­comed the op­por­tu­nity to tell the story of his un­cle Ed­ward Wall, who served with the Royal Cana­dian Navy Re­serve as a stoker 1st class on board HMCS Ot­ter.

Wall, who was 29 years of age at the time, was among two of­fi­cers and 17 men who lost their lives when the Ot­ter was de­stroyed by an ac­ci­den­tal ex­plo­sion and fire off Hal­i­fax on March 26, 1941.

Six months af­ter the loss of the Ot­ter, his un­cle's body washed up on the back of Long Is­land in Grand Manan, N.B.

“The le­gion in Grand Manan adopted my un­cle and have been tak­ing care of his grave ever since. That is the le­gion way, it's all about ser­vice to the com­mu­nity and tak­ing care of our vet­er­ans.”

JULIE COLLINS/CAPE BRE­TON POST Main­tain­ing the ceno­taph and grounds is a pri­or­ity for Armstrong Me­mo­rial branch 19 Royal Cana­dian Le­gion and its pres­i­dent Carl Wall.

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