July 28, 2017. The cenotaph research project began in summer 2016 quietly by enlarging a photo of the cenotaph and showing it to Islanders in the hope that someone would recognize a name. In the meantime, Pieter started searching the surnames at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial (www.veterans.gc.ca) and Library and Archives Canada Military Service Files (http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/Pages/military-heritage.aspx) to try and identify the names. We didn’t have first names, only surnames and an initial.
The search was made more difficult as we soon learned that many Islanders were known by their second name. The initial on the Cenotaph sometimes referred to the second name or a nickname. For example, Alfred became Fred and F was the initial he was identified by.
We had no luck with photos until one day Helen Carr mentioned that her husband’s uncle, Vincent CARR, was listed on the memorial. Did we want a photo of him? We did, and went to visit Helen’s husband Delbert. With that photo, Pieter delved into Carr’s military records and learned that he died at Passchendaele.
We had the basis of an article to write, and decided to include someone from WWII whose photo we didn’t have. Pieter chose Everett Samuel FRANCIS, who died off the coast of Newfoundland when the ship he was on, SS Caribou, was torpedoed.
After the article ran, Helen Carr came to the rescue once again, by finding a relative of Francis, who then was able to put us in touch with Francis’s daughter Greta, who lives in Ontario. We learned that Francis was on his way to Newfoundland to meet his three week old baby daughter Greta for the first time when he died. Luckily, Greta had photos of her father and shared them.
We hope you enjoy this first article that ran in October 2016, “Putting A Face And Story To The Names On The Cenotaph” in the County Line Courier. CLC Page 6-7 Putting a Face and Story to the Names on the Cenotaph
If you have photos or documents you’d like to share, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments or stories? You can share them by email or by commenting on this blog.
© Daria Valkenburg