On March 8, 2018, at the Borden-Carleton Legion, a gathering of family and friends of WWII Pilot Elmer Bagnall MUTTART from Cape Traverse joined officials and non-profit historical organizations to honour his life. This was the initiative of distant relative Lori (Muttart) Eggert. After hearing about the Borden-Carleton Cenotaph Research Project and learning more about her relative, she saw the 100th anniversary of his birth as “an excellent opportunity to celebrate his life, his sacrifice, and raise some donations for the memorial planned in The Netherlands.”
Sponsored by the Cape Traverse Iceboat Committee, the event was embraced by us, the Borden-Carleton Legion, the Tryon & Area Historical Society, and the Lest We Forget Committee. Period music was provided by Roger Sexton and George Ramsay. Borden-Carleton Mayor Dean Sexton, and MLAs Jamie Fox and Dr. Peter Bevan-Baker gave words of remembrance. Senator Mike Duffy was unable to attend, but sent a tribute of remembrance. (Read the tributes by Mike Duffy: Mike Duffy words of Remembrance: Mike Duffy words of Remembrance and Dr. Peter Bevan-Baker: Tribute by Dr Peter Bevan Baker: Tribute by Dr Peter Bevan Baker)
Jack Sorensen, Chair of Tryon & Area Historical Society noted that “One of the defining characters of a nation is the honor it bestows to those who have served in various ways to ensure peace in the country and the world beyond. Today, as a community in this great country of Canada, we carry out this tradition, by celebrating the life of a son, a brother in a family sense, a brother of a community which was his roots, and a Canadian Hero.” (Read the full text of Jack Sorensen’s remarks: Remarks by Jack Sorensen TAHS)
In his remarks, Pieter paid tribute to Lori Eggert for organizing the event. “It’s so heartwarming when a family member of one of the soldiers takes such an interest.” (Read the full text of Pieter’s remarks: Remarks by Pieter Valkenburg)
Pieter also read out a tribute from the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Ottawa. “Canadians were instrumental in our liberation and many gave their lives for our freedom. Our gratitude for those courageous Canadian soldiers will never be forgotten. They were our liberators. Our heroes. Forever.” (Read the tribute by the Dutch Embassy: Netherlands Embassy words of remembrance)
Lori Eggert, who had set up displays of Muttart, shared recollections on Elmer Muttart’s birth by his sister, Helen Coutts, of Toronto. “My brother was born one hundred years ago, on March 14th, 1918, during one of the stormiest March winters of a number of years. There was no doctor at that time in Cape Traverse; the closest doctors were in Bedeque and Crapaud. The officiating doctor was Dr. Bowyer of Crapaud. Everybody loved him. My father drove in the sleigh to Crapaud to get him. He drove there in the late afternoon and brought him back to our house, where he stayed for the night.” (Read the full text of Helen Coutt’s remarks: 100 years ago by Helen Coutts)
Of course, you can’t have a celebration without cake, and there was a beautiful one with a picture of Elmer Muttart embedded in the icing.
Donations were made to the Muttart Memorial Fund, a fundraising project towards the placement of a memorial plaque for Muttart and his crew at the site of the plane crash in Wons, The Netherlands.
If you would like to donate, cheques may be written out to TAHS and mailed to Tryon & Area Historical Society (TAHS), PO Box 38, Crapaud PE C0A 1J0. In the subject line, identify your cheque as being for the “Muttart Memorial Fund”. A charitable donation receipt will be sent to all donors.
If you wish to donate and you live in Europe: Bank transfers may be made to Stichting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation, Bank Account # (IBAN) NL35ABNA0569579856, and state in the subject line “Attn D.S. Drijver for Halifax L9561”.
UPCOMING PRESENTATION: Pieter has been invited to speak about the Cenotaph Research Project at Central Trinity United Church in Breadalbane at 7 pm on Sunday, March 25, 2018. Photos and information about soldiers welcome. Members of the Tryon & Area Historical Association will be present to accept donations to the “Muttart Memorial Fund”.
The Cenotaph Research Project is far from over, and your input is welcome. Please share your photos, comments, or stories by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by commenting on this blog.
© Daria Valkenburg