lest We For­get

In Flan­ders Fields

Shoreline Beacon - - Front Page - by Colonel John Mc­crae

In Flan­ders fields the pop­pies grow Be­tween the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns be­low. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sun­set glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flan­ders fields. Take up our quar­rel with the foe: To you from fail­ing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though pop­pies grow In Flan­ders fields.

With his­tor­i­cal sleuthing, Southamp­ton’s Bill Streeter, Chair of the Saugeen Shores Mu­nic­i­pal Her­itage Com­mit­tee, cham­pi­oned a Re­mem­brance Day pro­gram to hon­our the 82 men - The Glo­ri­ous Dead - who died in bat­tle in the Boer War, WW1 and WW2 in this area with com­mem­o­ra­tive ban­ners at­tached to street poles in the com­mu­ni­ties.

Forty-five ban­ners have been mounted to date, in­clud­ing all but two from Saugeen First Na­tion, of the 45 men who died in WW11. Twenty three of the ban­ners have been in­stalled in Port El­gin, and the lat­est six were re­leased mid-Oc­to­ber.

“The WW1 in­for­ma­tion is get­ting very hard to find,” Streeter said in a re­cent in­ter­view, adding many of the dead had no ties in the com­mu­nity.

“There have ben many dead­ends, but some­times in­for­ma­tion just pops up - I had one photo come from Ore­gon, an­other from Kitch­ener - some come from fam­ily mem­bers and I had one sub­mit­ted by a mu­seum.”

Each ban­ner, about four-feet high and two-feet wide, in­cludes the vet­eran’s name, photo and their ser­vice (army, navy or air force), in a suc­cess­ful ini­tia­tive to put a face with a name, and to re­mind the pub­lic of the vet­er­ans who came home, their sac­ri­fices and the debt we owe them.

The lat­est ban­ners in­clude:

Daniel Nawash

Nawash, the son of James and Liza Nawash, was born on Saugeen First Na­tion in 1893.

Prior to vol­un­teer­ing in the 160th Bruce Bat­tal­ion he served with the 32nd Bruce Mili­tia for two years.

He en­listed in Jan­uary 1916 and sailed to Eng­land that Oc­to­ber. He ar­rived in France with the 18th West­ern On­tario Bat­tal­ion in March of 1918.

It was five months later, Aug. 27, 1918, that he died in bat­tle - one of the blood­i­est of the 100 Days Of­fen­sive at near Ar­ras, France where many Cana­di­ans died.

Melvin Graham France

France was born in Southamp­ton in Septem­ber 1915, one of six chil­dren of Ge­orge and Ethel France.

Af­ter leav­ing school France moved to Toronto and mar­ried Gla­dys in Au­gust 1940.

He en­listed in the Hast­ings and Prince Ed­ward Reg­i­ment July 1943 and went to Eng­land for train­ing. Sept. 3, 1943 The Hasties landed un­chal­lenged in Italy, but fought a vi­cious run­ning bat­tle with sea­soned Ger­man Troops.

The Al­lies pushed the Ger­mans fur­ther and fur­ther north through­out 1944, and by De­cem­ber were at the city of Ravenna, south of Venice and east of Bologna. The Bat­tle for Ravenna was a ma­jor win for the Al­lies as they con­tin­ued to drive the Ger­mans out of Italy.

It was here, Dec. 5, 1944, that France died along with a large group of al­lied sol­diers. He is buried in the Ravenna War Ceme­tery with 925 Com­mon­wealth graves, mostly Cana­di­ans.

France’s nephew lives in Sauble Beach, and his niece in Kitch­ener sub­mit­ted his pic­ture.

Charles Mor­ris Gilbert

Gilbert was the youngest re­cruit from this area, born in Port El­gin in April 1898. Af­ter leav­ing school he worked in Toronto and then re­turned home to en­list in the 160th Bruce Bat­tal­ion in March 1916. He was one month shy of his 18th birth­day, but got a cer­tifi­cate so he could train with the Port El­gin pla­toon.

He left for Eng­land that Oc­to­ber and trained at Whitely and was soon pro­moted to Cor­po­ral. In July 1917 he was hos­pi­tal­ized for colic and then as­signed to cler­i­cal du­ties at the Ash­ford Com­mand of­fice.

His health prob­lems con­tin­ued and fol­low­ing fur­ther hos­pi­tal­iza­tions in April 1918 he was awarded a good con­duct medal and pro­moted to a po­si­tion as Class 1 Clerk.

Sadly, in Oc­to­ber 1918, he re­turned to hos­pi­tal again with se­vere pneu­mo­nia and died Oct. 18, age 20 years and six months.

Gilbert is memo­ri­al­ized on a bronze plaque along with 3,327 Ea­ton’s em­ploy­ees that en­listed in the war. It is in the foyer of the Ea­ton’s Cen­tre in Toronto.

Gor­don Cum­mings

Cum­mings was born De. 13, 1875 in Saugeen Town­ship to Bar­bara and Patrick Cum­mings - the Reeve of Saugeen Town­ship and Bruce County War­den.

Cum­mings sailed to Eng­land in 1900 when the British were at war with the Bo­ers in South Africa. When the British in­vaded Pre­to­ria in June 1900, the Boer troops com­menced guer­rilla war­fare through­out the re­gion that con­tin­ued un­til war ended in 1902.

The bat­tle at Nootigedacht was a suc­cess for the Bo­ers The British camped at a farm owned by a British fam­ily, and were led by Gen­er­alMa­jor R. A. P. Cle­ment with 1,500 men, nine canons and more than 100 wag­ons of sup­plies.

The Bo­ers had a force of 2,100, which ex­ceeded the 1,500 British, who, un­der the dark of night, at­tacked the British out­looks - an at­tack his­to­ri­ans say was one of the most able and coura­geous at­tempts in the war. The com­man­dos forced the British into a gorge and trapped them.

Gor­don Cum­mings died at­tempt­ing to pro­vide the out­looks on the moun­tain with ad­di­tional am­mu­ni­tion from the base camp.

In that bat­tle, the British lost 650 men, ei­ther killed, wounded or cap­tured out of a to­tal of 1,500. The Bo­ers lost only 30 men.

The bat­tle was fought Dec. 13, 1900, Gor­don Cum­mings 25th birth­day.

Gor­don Lewis Saun­ders

Saun­ders was born in Southamp­ton Aug.16, 1909 to An­gus and Kate. He also had two broth­ers, Bill and Ver­non, who were well known in town through­out their lives.

Saun­ders mar­ried He­lene Mur­ray from Stokes Bay in 1932, and had two chil­dren; Don­ald in 1933 and Sheila Anne born 1940

Saun­ders en­listed in the Royal Cana­dian Army Ser­vice Corps and joined the 1st Am­bu­la­tory Com­pany. In 1943 with the in­va­sion of Italy, Gor­don found him­self in the ac­tion.

On the march through Sicily he died in the mid­dle of the large is­land close to the city of Agira. His fam­ily is not aware of the de­tails of his death.

He is buried in the Agira Cana­dian War Ceme­tery in Sec­tion D, Row F, Grave 461, on a high hill over­look­ing a lake.

Al­bert Henry Meyer

Meyer – known as Bert - was born in Southamp­ton in Jan­uary 1895, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Meyer.

He and friends from the lo­cal 32nd Bruce Mili­tia trav­elled to Val Cartier Que­bec to en­list in the 1st Bat­tal­ion shortly af­ter war was de­clared in Au­gust 1914.

In early Oc­to­ber they sailed to Eng­land in the largest ar­mada that had ever crossed the At­lantic de­liv­er­ing thou­sands of Cana­dian sol­diers that had rushed to sign up in the Cana­dian Ex­pe­di­tionary Force.

They trav­elled to Sal­is­bury Plain for ex­ten­sive train­ing be­fore leav­ing for France in Fe­bru­ary 1915. Meyer went into bat­tle in the area close to the city of Givenchy.

March 5 that year he re­ported to the Field Hos­pi­tal with a mi­nor wound and then re­turned to bat­tle to again be wounded; this time with a gun­shot wound to the head on May 15th. Af­ter a short time in the Con­va­les­cent Hos­pi­tal in Rouen, he re­mark­ably re­cov­ered and went back to bat­tle.

The third time he was shot was fa­tal and he had a bat­tle­field burial, be­hind trenches east of Duck’s Bill near Givenchy France.

His body was never re­ported as found for proper burial and he is re­mem­bered on the Vimy Memo­rial as one of the many thou­sands WW1 Glo­ri­ous Dead that the lo­ca­tion of their re­mains can­not be iden­ti­fied.

suB­mit­ted pho­tos

Com­mem­o­ra­tive ban­ners hon­our­ing the war-time deaths of Melvin Graham France of Southamp­ton and Saugeen First Na­tions Daniel Naswash were dis­played by Southamp­ton Le­gion Branch #155 Sgt. of Arms Charles Sch­malz and Branch 155 Pres­i­dent John Wil­letts

Port El­gin Le­gion Branch #340 Pres­i­dent Dan Kelly (left) and Saugeen Shores Her­itage Com­mit­tee mem­ber Bill Streeter dis­played the ban­ners com­mem­o­rat­ing Port El­gin’s Charles Mor­ris Gilbert, who died of pneu­mo­nia in Oc­to­ber 1918.

Along with a com­mem­o­ra­tive street ban­ner, Port El­gin na­tive Charles Mor­ris Gilbert, a for­mer Ea­ton’s em­ployee, is also hon­oured on a plaque at the Ea­ton’s Cen­tre in Toronto.

Gor­don Cum­mings 1875-1900

Forty-five ban­ners hon­our­ing The Glo­ri­ous Dead have been mounted to date through­out Port El­gin, Southamp­ton and Saugeen First Na­tion to com­mem­o­rate the men who died in WW11. Twenty three of the ban­ners have been in­stalled in Port El­gin, and the lat­est six were re­leased mid-Oc­to­ber.

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