A piece of Vimy planted in Jog­gins

Com­mu­nity plants oak tree in hon­our of sol­diers killed at Vimy Ridge

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAR­RELL COLE CIT­I­ZEN-RECORD JOG­GINS dcole@amher­st­daily.com Twit­ter: @ADN­dar­rell

Five young men from Jog­gins lost their lives at Vimy Ridge dur­ing the First World War.

The com­mu­nity rec­og­nized that sac­ri­fice 100 years ago on Mon­day with the plant­ing of a Vimy Oak tree near the ceno­taph.

One of those killed was Gwen Archibald’s great un­cle, LCpl. Fred­er­ick Bel­liveau.

“I think this is a very spe­cial day for Jog­gins. It’s a lit­tle com­mu­nity, but the com­mu­nity spirit is alive and well here,” Archibald said fol­low­ing the cer­e­mony. “We’re thrilled with this. It’s a bit of a bit­ter­sweet day for me be­cause it’s on my dad’s side of the fam­ily but he’s not here to­day, but I know he’s watch­ing.”

“We have a con­nec­tion to Vimy in that five young men from this com­mu­nity died in the pe­riod lead­ing up to Vimy, dur­ing Vimy and af­ter the bat­tle. This is a com­mu­nity tree.”

Le­gion sec­re­tary Dara Legere said it’s fit­ting for one of the trees to be planted in Jog­gins.

“We have a con­nec­tion to Vimy in that five young men from this com­mu­nity died in the pe­riod lead­ing up to Vimy, dur­ing Vimy and af­ter the bat­tle,” Legere said. “This is a com­mu­nity tree.”

Along with Bel­liveau, who died on April 9, 1917, Pri­vates James Como (who was killed in the days lead­ing up to Vimy), Frank For­rest, Ge­orge Liv­ingston and James Lloyd all were lost.

The Jog­gins Branch of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion pur­chased the tree from the Vimy Oaks Legacy Cor­po­ra­tion, which is work­ing in part­ner­ship with the Vimy Foun­da­tion to bring oak trees back to the bat­tle site and cre­ate a liv­ing me­mo­rial at Vimy to pre­serve Canada’s First World War legacy.

The tree is a de­scen­dant of an oak tree at Vimy Ridge, whose acorns were gath­ered in days fol­low­ing the bat­tle by sol­dier Lt. Col. Les­lie Miller.

Miller, know­ing some­thing spe­cial had hap­pened at Vimy Ridge, col­lected the acorns from the tree that had been de­stroyed by ar­tillery fire. He sent the hand­ful of acorns home to Scar­bor­ough, Ont., where he would plant them on his farm, he aptly called Vimy Oaks Farm.

Pam Harrison saw a news story on the Vimy Oaks pro­ject and con­tacted the Jog­gins le­gion about it.

Legere con­tacted the foun­da­tion and helped ar­range the plant­ing at the ceno­taph and Harrison made a fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion to make it hap­pen.

“When I think of that young sol­dier pick­ing up those acorns from blood-soaked soil and then bring­ing them back to Canada it’s re­ally heart-touch­ing,” she said. “It’s very spe­cial for us to have one of th­ese trees in Canada.”

Legere said the le­gion is also work­ing on im­prov­ing the ceno­taph grounds and will be adding seven more names of Jog­gins’ res­i­dents who were killed dur­ing the First World War.

Le­gion pres­i­dent Doug Legere said the plant­ing is timely on the 100th an­niver­sary of the bat­tle. He and his brother Dara’s grand­fa­ther fought at Vimy Ridge and took part in the cleanup in the weeks fol­low­ing the bat­tle.

“This is a liv­ing tes­ta­ment to the com­mu­nity and what those young men, who were re­ally boys, did 100 years ago,” he said. “Hope­fully when the bi­cen­ten­nial of Vimy is cel­e­brated a hun­dred years from now we’ll have a ma­jes­tic oak here.”

DAR­RELL COLE/CIT­I­ZEN-RECORD

Pam Harrison helps Dara Legere (left) and Doug Legere plant a Vimy Oak tree near the Jog­gins ceno­taph in memory of five sol­diers from the com­mu­nity who were killed at Vimy Ridge in France dur­ing the First World War.

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