Annapolis Royal observes Vimy 100th anniversary with town hall dedication


Published on April 6, 2017

Annapolis Royal Mayor Bill MacDonald, right, and council at a recent historic event on the steps of Town Hall. On April 9 they will rededicate building in honour of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. A display will be set up in the foyer that will be a visual reminder of the costly battle that many say was Canada’s coming of age.

©Lawrence Powell

ANNAPOLIS ROYAL - The Battle of Vimy Ridge may have been 100 years ago, but people in Annapolis Royal haven’t forgotten about it – or the men who died there.

On April 9 they will rededicate their town hall with Vimy in mind and set up a display that will be a visual reminder of the battle that many say was Canada’s coming of age.

The six local soldiers who died at Vimy will be remembered.

"The battle of Vimy Ridge was both triumph and tragedy,” said Annapolis Royal Mayor Bill MacDonald. “A victory achieved at great cost - with thousands wounded and dead. It was the first time that all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force had fought as a unified force, and the Battle of Vimy Ridge has been characterized as our nation's coming of age." 

MacDonald said Annapolis Royal's town hall was dedicated as the ‘Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Town Hall’ on May 22, 1922 by Colonel C. E. Bent who was then President of the Great War Veterans Association.

“Col. Bent lead the 15th Battalion at the Somme, Vimy, Hill 70, and Amiens,” said MacDonald. “He won a Croix de Guerre and was awarded a DSO and bar for leadership in the field.”

Bent brought the battalion home in 1919 and then returned to Nova Scotia where he was a fruit farmer in Paradise.

 

Ceremony

The commemorative ceremony will be held Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. and those who attend will see the newly installed exhibit in the front foyer with artefacts that include a kilt recovered at Vimy Ridge.

MacDonald said the dedication service will acknowledge six local men who died at Vimy Ridge - with granddaughters of Col. Bent and a representative from the 15th Battalion offering some comments on the service record of Col. Bent. The rededication will be followed by a parade to Port-Royal Legion for wreath-laying at the cenotaph followed by a reception.

 

Those Who Died

The six local soldiers who died at Vimy Ridge or of injuries sustain in battle there were:

-- Private Eugene Thomas GALLAGHER, born March 14, 1891 in Lequille, Annapolis County.

-- Private Eldon LeRoy MORINE, born on October 10, 1890 in Bear River Annapolis County.

-- Private Harry Herbert ROBBLEE, born August 26, 1879 at Lower Granville Annapolis County.

-- Private Frederick Clayton BARTEAUX, born June 18, 1885 in Moschelle Annapolis County.

-- Captain Walter Willett PICKUP, born April 15, 1893 in Granville Ferry, Annapolis County.

--Sergeant John Bernard HARRIS, born November 16, 1891 at Bear River in Annapolis County.

Injured at Vimy Ridge were Private Charles Augustus Spears of Lequille, and Private Kenneth Leander Oliver of Granville Ferry.