About The ‘On The War Memorial Trail’ Research Project

Lest we forget.”  That’s what we hear every November 11 as we gather by the various cenotaphs and memorials for the Remembrance Day services.  Lest we forget.”  It’s true that we don’t forget to buy a poppy, or give a minute of silence on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  We may attend a service, lay a wreath, or attend a special church service.  But if you look at the list of names on the cenotaph or memorial you’re at, do you have any idea about the service and sacrifices made by the people listed on those various memorials?  Unless it’s a family member, the answer is probably not. Pieter Valkenburg is trying to change that story. 

He began in Prince Edward Island, and over the years, this research project has expanded in scope many times and now encompasses soldiers from across Canada, with a particular focus on WWII soldiers buried in The Netherlands and Belgium.

….How the research project began…..

This research project started in 2014 when Pieter volunteered to help find photos of PEI Soldiers buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands.

The research project expanded in scope in 2015 when Pieter’s attention turned to the Cenotaph located outside the Borden-Carleton Legion. Forty-eight names are listed on this memorial, requiring research to uncover each story, along with pictures and family information.

….Research began on 48 names listed on a Cenotaph in Borden-Carleton…..

Cenotaph outside Borden Carleton Legion by Pieter Valkenburg

Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

This blog began as the Borden-Carleton Cenotaph Research Project, part of a wider project to document all the persons mentioned on the Cenotaph for a historical record, and to make a Wall of Remembrance in the Legion with their photos.  

Over the years, all 48 names were identified, each of their stories researched and told on this blog and in the County Line Courier newspaper.  For most of the names, families and photos were found, and the Wall of Remembrance is in place. 

A few photos remain elusive, however, and Pieter hopes you can help.  Do you have some family stories, photos, letters, postcards, diaries?  This is a chance to participate in a history project that your family may be a part of.  Email us at memorialtrail@gmail.com  or tweet to @researchmemori1

….The names on the Cenotaph in Borden-Carleton…..

Here are the names on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion:

WWI                                                                                              WWII

Patrick Raymond Arsenault                                   James Arthur Affleck

Kenneth John Bell                                                  Albert Eugene Arsenault

Charles Benjamin Buxton                                      Joseph Francis Arsenault

James Cairns                                                           Frank Lewis Arsenault

James Ambrose Cairns                                           Leonard Stephen Avery

James Lymon Cameron                                          George Ashley Bartlett

Leigh Hunt Cameron                                              Austin Harry Boulter

George Albert Campbell                                         Harrison William Craig

William G. Campbell                                              George Alfred Dunn

Vincent Carr                                                            John Daniel Ferguson

Arthur Leigh Collett                                                Everett Samuel Francis

Basil Cormier                                                           Ernest Ramey Gallant

Patrick Philip Deighan (Deegan)                             James Emmett Hughes

Joseph Arthur Desroches                                          Singleton Charles Jeffrey (Jeffery)

James Graham Farrow                                              Harold Lloyd Lefurgey

Percy Earl Farrow (Farrar)                                      Elmer Allister Mabey

Ellis M. Hooper                                                           Elmer Bagnall Muttart

John Goodwill Howatt                                               Joseph Charles McIvor

Charles H. Lowther                                                    George Martin McMahon

Bruce Sutherland MacKay                                       Ernest Murray Norton

Arthur Clinton Robinson                                           William Douglas Sherren

Harry Robinson                                                           George Preston Smith

Henry Warburton Stewart                                       Arnold Dudley Taylor

John Lymon Wood                                                    Post WWII – William Ness (1955)

….The research project soon increased in scope…..

While researching the 48 names listed on the Cenotaph, we soon began getting information on other soldiers from the South Shore area of Prince Edward Island who returned home, or who lost their lives in war but are not on the Cenotaph.  So their stories are now also told on this blog.

In 2017, Pieter received photo wish lists from Dutch researchers of soldiers from various battles or regiments who came from outside Prince Edward Island.  No problem, he was happy to keep going with his research.

20210220_111030 Feb 20 2021 Pieter with photo wish lists

Pieter surrounded by some of the photo wish lists from the Canadian War Cemeteries in The Netherlands.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

In 2019, the research project took on a life of its own when Pieter received photo wish lists from the three Canadian War Cemeteries of WWII soldiers from Atlantic Canada who are buried in The Netherlands.  These stories also were documented on this research blog.

Following a TV interview in January 2021, the project expanded again to include a feature called Atlantic Canada Remembers, to document soldiers who lost their lives in WW2, as remembered by Atlantic Canadians. 

Since May 2021, following an interview with APTN, an additional component was added to the research project to highlight stories about Indigenous soldiers from WWII who are buried in The Netherlands. 

In the fall of 2021, photo wish lists from Manitoba were added to Pieter’s research file. In the spring of 2022, parts of Ontario were also added.

….A YouTube Channel and a book…..

Media coverage from newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations, have helped publicize the request for photos and families of those names being researched. Volunteers also help in researching many files in which it has been a challenge to find family members.  We are grateful for all this assistance and interest in ensuring that our Canadian soldiers are not forgotten.

poster He Died That We Might Live

Poster for the documentary ‘He Died That We Might Live’. (Poster design: Oli Nattress)

In 2019, we made a short documentary about the installation of a memorial panel in Wons, The Netherlands to commemorate the sacrifice made by one pilot from Prince Edward Island named on the Cenotaph.  He lost his life, but not before ensuring all his crew safely parachuted out, and the burning plane was steered away from the village, thereby saving it.  This resulted in a YouTube Channel, administered by post-production editor Wendy Nattress.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel: On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ591TyjSheOR-Cb_Gs_5Kw

Front cover OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEurope

In 2022, ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever be Forgotten’ was published and is available in both print and ebook formats.  The book highlights a 2017 war memorial tour to visit cemeteries and memorials in 4 European countries – France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany – to commemorate names on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion in Prince Edward Island.  For more information see https://nosoldierforgotten.com/.

The research work continues.  Please join us on our journey of remembrance along the war memorial trail….

Note: this project is done by volunteers and is self-funded.

© Daria Valkenburg