New head­stone hon­ours WW1 vet­eran

Head­stone erected for un­marked grave of Pte. Wil­liam J. His­cock

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON TC ME­DIA ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­

It took a group ef­fort from a few res­i­dents of New Per­li­can to get a head­stone in place for a pre­vi­ously un­marked gravesite be­long­ing to a First World War vet­eran from the Trin­ity Bay com­mu­nity. This task was part of a larger project to help re­mem­ber those whose burial plots had for what­ever rea­son been lost to time.

The pre­vi­ously un­marked gravesite of a First World War sol­dier now has a proper head­stone, thanks to the en­ter­pris­ing work of some New Per­li­can res­i­dents.

Wil­liam J. His­cock, who died in Hal­i­fax in 1969 at the age of 70, served with the New­found­land Reg­i­ment.

Sev­eral years ago, Sheila Piercey vol­un­teered to cre­ate a ceme­tery plot plan for St. Au­gus­tine’s church vestry in New Per­li­can. Piercey even­tu­ally pho­tographed every head­stone in the three Angli­can ceme­ter­ies and shared them with Heritage New Per­li­can.

There re­mained many gravesites without head­stones, so Piercey and Heritage New Per­li­can chair­woman Eileen Matthews got to work try­ing to fig­ure out who those peo­ple were.

Get­ting ahold of govern­ment sta­tis­tics, Heart’s Con­tent par­ish archival books, St. Au­gus­tine’s school jour­nals and Trin­ity Church records, Piercey and Matthews spent four years por­ing through in­for­ma­tion. They feel the in­for­ma­tion col­lected for the two St. Au­gus­tine’s ceme­ter­ies is 90 per cent ac­cu­rate. They are still work­ing on gravesites at the St. Mark’s ceme­tery.

To help fig­ure out who was buried where, Matthews and Piercey con­sulted Susie Smith, an el­der res­i­dent of New Per­li­can who’s lived there all her life. Her hus­band served as sexton of the church and dug many of the graves by hand.

As they were iden­ti­fy­ing gravesites, Matthews re­ceived a call from an of­fi­cial with Vet­er­ans Af­fairs in­quir­ing about the ex­is­tence of burial plots for those who served. Funds of $200 per grave were avail­able to cover per­pet­ual care. Vet­er­ans Af­fairs was aware of just over a dozen ex­ist­ing in St. Au­gus­tine’s sec­ond ceme­tery.

Matthews and Piercey con­tin­ued work­ing on their own list and iden­ti­fied a few more gravesites be­long­ing to vet­er­ans, bring­ing the fi­nal count to 22.

With help from Smith, they also found the burial site for His­cock. The pri­vate’s ser­vice num­ber was 6263. His first wife, Lilly Con­stance, died in 1941. They had one daugh­ter, Emily, who later lived in Hal­i­fax. His­cock mar­ried a sec­ond wife named Louise who is buried in the Catholic ceme­tery in Turk’s Cove. Ac­cord­ing to Matthews, peo­ple who re­mem­ber His­cock say he had a limp re­lated to a war in­jury.

Work­ing with The Rooms, Vet­eran’s Af­fairs and the of­fice of lo­cal MP Judy Foote, a new head­stone was erected, with fi­nan­cial sup­port com­ing from the Last Post Fund.

His­cock’s head­stone was un­veiled Sun­day, July 10 at the an­nual Flower Ser­vice in New Per­li­can. New crosses built by lo­cal car­pen­ter Kevin Roberts now stand at the pre­vi­ously un- marked gravesites.

A spe­cial cross was erected to hon­our Cor­bett Legge, the first light­house keeper at the Jean’s Head Light­house from 1915 to 1926. Smith is the grand­daugh­ter of Legge, who was also rec­og­nized along­side the sec­ond light­house keeper, Al­lan Ghent, through spe­cial heritage plaques. Ghent manned the light­house 1926-1931.

Those plaques, which will be placed in Ocean View Me­mo­rial Park, were un­veiled on New Per­li­can Heritage Day, July 9.


The new head­stone for Pte. Wil­liam J. His­cock was re­cently un­veiled in New Per­li­can.

A few ex­am­ples of the new crosses adorn­ing gravesites that were pre­vi­ously un­marked in New Per­li­can.

Mem­bers of the Ghent and Legge fam­i­lies pose with plaques honour­ing the first two light­house keep­ers at the Jean’s Head Light­house — Cor­bett Legge and Al­lan Ghent.

Susie Smith (nee Legge) stands next to the gravesite of her late grand­fa­ther, Cor­bett Legge, the first light­house keeper at Jean’s Head Light­house in New Per­li­can.

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