Nor­folk re­mem­bers

Lt.-gov. Dowdeswell in Sim­coe for Re­mem­brance Day

Simcoe Reformer - - FRONT PAGE - MONTE SON­NEN­BERG

On­tario’s Lieu­tenant-gov­er­nor likes to visit smaller com­mu­ni­ties on Re­mem­brance Day be­cause the sac­ri­fices they made in the great wars are more keenly felt than in larger ur­ban cen­tres.

“Novem­ber 11 is al­ways a spe­cial day,” El­iz­a­beth Dowdeswell said at Gov­er­nor Sim­coe Square Satur­day.

“I like to par­tic­i­pate in these events all week long, es­pe­cially out­side the city. So many of the smaller com­mu­ni­ties ap­pre­ci­ate this day more be­cause so many of your cit­i­zens were dec­i­mated in the wars. I’m de­lighted to be a mem­ber of your com­mu­nity to­day.”

Dowdeswell also chose Nor­folk be­cause Sim­coe is home to only one of two car­il­lon bell tow­ers in On­tario. The other is in Ot­tawa.

The Nor­folk War Me­mo­rial was erected in the early-1920s. Car­il­lon­neurs reg­u­larly visit the tower and play mu­sic on its bells.

The work of the Nor­folk Re­mem­bers Com­mit­tee over the past sev­eral years has also come to the at­ten­tion of the Lieu­tenant­gov­er­nor’s of­fice.

The com­mit­tee has com­piled sev­eral books telling the sto­ries of the 1,500-plus vet­er­ans from Nor­folk who served in the First and Sec­ond World War. Of these, 249 men and one woman made the supreme sac­ri­fice.

The com­mit­tee has com­mis­sioned com­mem­o­ra­tive quilts and plans other events and ac­tiv­i­ties through 1918. Nov. 11 next year will mark the 100th an­niver­sary of the Ar­mistice that ended the First World War af­ter four years of bloody com­bat.

“We talk to peo­ple and we do some re­search,” Dowdeswell said. “We also like to look for Le­gions that are very ac­tive and ac­knowl­edge not only for­mer vet­er­ans but cur­rent vet­er­ans and their need for sup­port in the com­mu­nity.

“And I was in­ter­ested in the Car­il­lon Tower. They are so rare.”

Dowdeswell de­liv­ered a speech at the tower near the end of Satur­day’s ob­ser­vance. She ref­er­enced to the fact that 29 sol­diers from Nor­folk died in Au­gust, 1917, in the bat­tle for Hill 70 in the north of France. That was by far the high­est ca­su­alty count for Nor­folk in any war be­fore or since.

Satur­day’s cer­e­mony in Sim­coe fea­tured a fly-over by a vin­tage Har­vard trainer. As if on cue, the plane made its en­trance right at the end of Last Post.

In his clos­ing re­marks, Sim­coe Le­gion pres­i­dent John Charleau ac­knowl­edged the large num­ber of young peo­ple in at­ten­dance. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of ele­men­tary schools in Sim­coe placed wreaths en masse at the foot of the tower in mem­ory of the fallen. Charleau was also pleased that the Queen’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive in On­tario saw fit to visit Nor­folk on this solemn oc­ca­sion.

“It’s great,” he said. “I look for­ward to these cer­e­mo­nial oc­ca­sions. It’s good for the county to have her here. It’s good to have some­one of her stature as part of our pa­rade.”

The weather for Satur­day’s cer­e­mony was cold but sunny. More than 1,000 peo­ple lined both sides of Nor­folk Street North as well as parts of Wil­son Av­enue nearby.

Dowdeswell was born in North­ern ire­land dur­ing the sec­ond World War. Prior to be­com­ing Lieu­tenant­gov­er­nor in 2014, dowdeswell served as a univer­sity pro­fes­sor and a se­nior bureau­crat in the saskatchewan pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment and at en­vi­ron­ment canada in ot­tawa.

She went on to serve as un­der­sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the united Na­tions en­vi­ron­ment Pro­gramme in Nairobi, Kenya.

In the years im­me­di­ately be­fore her ap­point­ment, dowdeswell served as pres­i­dent and ceo of the coun­cil of Cana­dian Acad­e­mies.

Mson­nen­berg@post­media.com

MONTE SON­NEN­BERG / SIM­COE RE­FORMER

On­tario Lieut-gov. El­iz­a­beth Dowdeswell marked Re­mem­brance Day Satur­day at the Car­il­lon Tower in Sim­coe. Dowdeswell chose Nor­folk County for this oc­ca­sion be­cause the prov­ince’s smaller com­mu­ni­ties paid a com­par­a­tively high price dur­ing the First and Sec­ond World War.

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