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