New mon­u­ment in Car­bon­ear Me­mo­rial Park hon­ours town’s war dead

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BILL BOW­MAN

Thirty-seven sol­diers from Car­bon­ear paid the supreme sac­ri­fice dur­ing World Wars 1 and 2.

To make sure they will never be for­got­ten for that sac­ri­fice, their names have been en­graved on a new gran­ite mon­u­ment in the Car­bon­ear War Me­mo­rial Park.

Stand­ing just feet from the orig­i­nal ceno­taph un­veiled back in 1981, the new­est ad­di­tion to the park was un­veiled last Thurs­day dur­ing the an­nual July 1 Me­mo­rial Day ser­vice.

Shaped like an al­tar, the mon­u­ment is topped off by an open book bear­ing the names of all those who ei­ther died in com­bat or as a re­sult of wounds sus­tained dur­ing their ser­vice over­seas.

Relatives of two of those men were on hand last Thurs­day to per­form the solemn duty of re­mov­ing a blue cloth bear­ing the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion coat of arms from the mon­u­ment for all the world to see. Les Hayter’s brother, Al­lan C. Hayter served in the Royal Navy in World War 2, while Harman Har­ris is the son of Alex Har­ris who served in the Mer­chant Navy in WW 2.

Among the crowd of area res­i­dents who turned out for the cer­e­mony were three vis­it­ing tourists from Win­nipeg, Man­i­toba.

A cou­ple of hours be­fore the 2 p. m. cer­e­mony, they hap­pened by the park and caught a sneak peak at the mon­u­ment be­fore the cloth was placed over it for the cer­e­mony.

They were struck by the num­bers of men who had come from a rel­a­tively small town like Car­bon­ear to fight and die in two World Wars. They were im­pressed by the mon­u­ment, the park and at how quiet and peace­ful Car­bon­ear in par­tic­u­lar and New­found­land in gen­eral is - the same peace for which the men whose names are on the me­mo­rial had fought and paid the ul­ti­mate price so long ago and so far away.

They were im­pressed by the fact that such a large, yet sparsely pop­u­lated is­land like New­found­land, with a pop­u­la­tion less than their own city, and in­deed many large cities, con­tin­ues to send dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­bers of sol­diers to places like Afghanistan.

Deputy Mayor Ches Ash, who headed up the mon­u­ment com­mit­tee on be­half of the town, al­luded to the town’s and prov­ince’s role in war and peace in his re­marks dur­ing the cer­e­mony.

Ash spoke of how tragic it is that, “ through­out... his­tory... so many have been ca­su­al­ties of war. Even in the past few years some 150 Cana­di­ans, some of whom are from... New­found­land and Labrador have been killed and many oth­ers... wounded as a re­sult of the con­flict in Afghanistan.”

Point­ing to this prov­ince’s “ very distin- guished mil­i­tary ca­reer,” Ash said: Our men and women as well as other Cana­di­ans have al­ways served their coun­try with dis­tinc­tion, both in times of peace and...con­flict and dur­ing peace­keep­ing mis­sions. It is be­cause of the will­ing­ness of our men and women to serve in our armed forces through­out the world... that we en­joy the peace and free­dom we have to­day.

“ Let us not take it for granted,” Ash sug­gested. As in­di­vid­ual cit­i­zens and as a com­mu­nity we must grate­fully ac­knowl­edge the ded­i­cated and dis­tin­guished ser­vice of the mem­bers of our armed forces.”

De­scrib­ing the Me­mo­rial Park and ceno­taph as “a com­mu­nity sym­bol of such grat­i­tude,” the com­mit­tee chair­man said, “ it is a fo­cal point of our town and our her­itage.”

Cost shared

In 1982, the year af­ter it was of­fi­cially opened, the Le­gion turned the park over to the town of Car­bon­ear, which has un­der­taken this lat­est project.

Mayor Sam Slade noted the town and Le­gion have al­ways en­joyed good co-op­er­a­tion and a good work­ing re­la­tion­ship.

Spon­sored by the depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs, the Ceno­taph/ Mon­u­ment Restora­tion Pro­gram pro­vided $ 10,370 to­wards the project. The town of Car­bon­ear was re­spon­si­ble for the bal­ance of the $ 20,370 ( to­tal cost) of the project. The town’s share in­cluded cash and in-kind con­tri­bu­tions such as pro­vid­ing town equip­ment and work­ers to com­plete the project.

Aside from the mon­u­ment it­self, the project in­cluded gen­eral site clean up and beau­ti­fi­ca­tion, curb and side­walk re­pair, im­proved ac­ces­si­bil­ity “and pos­si­bly a new and im­proved sound sys­tem,” ac­cord­ing to the com­mit­tee chair­man.

An older plaque orig­i­nally un­veiled in 1950 at the old Car­bon­ear War Me­mo­rial Li­brary on Ban­ner­man Street was moved to the main foyer of the Con­cep­tion Bay Re­gional Com­mu­nity Cen­tre when the new War Me­mo­rial Li­brary opened there. While it con­tains some of the names, the new mon­u­ment in­cludes a more com­plete list­ing as the re­sult of re­search car­ried out by the Le­gion.

Char­lie Piercey, ser­vice of fi­cer with Branch 23 told The Com­pass the Le­gion made ev­ery ef­fort through ad­ver­tis­ing in the paper etc. to en­sure the list of names on the mon­u­ment is com­plete.

The new mon­u­ment was de­signed in the shape of an open book to al­low the ad­di­tion of names that may have been in­ad­ver­tently omit­ted or ca­su­al­ties from the Afghanistan or any other fu­ture con­flict.

Look­ing at the open book just be­fore last week’s cer­e­mony, Piercey noted it is al­ready pretty full with only enough space left for per­haps three or four names. While they are pre­pared to add them, both the town and Le­gion hope, un­less it is the name of a sol­dier who has al­ready paid the supreme sac­ri­fice in a past war, there will never be a need to add an­other name to the ca­su­alty list, nor an­other page to that book.

Bill Bow­man/The Com­pass

AT EASE - Mem­bers of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Branch 23 and the Car­bon­ear Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment stand at ease while colour­ful wreaths lay on a long ta­ble wait­ing to be placed at the ceno­taph in the Car­bon­ear War Me­mo­rial Park July 1.

Bill Bow­man/The Com­pass

ROLL OF HON­OUR - Les Hayter, far left and Her­man Har­ris, right re­move a blue cloth bear­ing the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion coat of arms from a new me­mo­rial in the Car­bon­ear Me­mo­rial Park. The mon­u­ment bears the names of 37 men “con­nected with the town (of Car­bon­ear) who were ca­su­al­ties of World Wars 1 and 2.” Hayter’s brother, Al­lan C. Hayter served in the Royal Navy in World War 2, while Har­ris is the son of Alex Har­ris who served in the Mer­chant Navy in WW 2. Mike Butt, pres­i­dent Branch 23 Royal Cana­dian Le­gion, mayor Sam Slade and deputy mayor Ches Ash look on solemnly as the me­mo­rial is un­veiled. The cer­e­mony took place last Thurs­day as part of the an­nual July1 Me­mo­rial Day ser­vice.

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