It’s been a century since St. Albert soldiers Pte. Hector Duroche, Pte. Moise Beausoliel, Pte. Daniel Flynn, Pte. William Laurence and Pte. Wilfred Chevigny sacrificed their lives during the First World War.
But for years the five soldiers’ names were missing from St. Albert’s cenotaph, which honours the dead from the First and Second World Wars.
Now their names have joined Pte. Albert Goodman, Pte. Daniel Kennedy, Sgt. John Kennedy, Pte. Clarence Maloney and Pte. Harry Maloney on the First World War plaque, bringing the total to 10 soldiers honoured for their sacrifice.
The plaque was updated on the cenotaph just a few weeks ago. The First World War plaque was replaced entirely and a plaque remembering the Afghanistan War has been installed, joining the Second World War list of dead and a remembrance for the Korean War.
Frank Mostyn is currently the poppy co-chair for the St. Albert Legion, but was serving as chair when the missing soldiers were noticed by the MusĂ©e Heritage Museum.
“We took it from there,” Mostyn said. “So Doug (Delorme) went through the hoops and contacted a couple different people that could do it.”
Doug Delorme is the current poppy chair. For the past couple of years, he and Mostyn have worked to get the cenotaph plaques updated.
In 2014, the MusĂ©e HĂ©ritage Museum had an exhibit highlighting those from St. Albert who served during the First World War. The exhibit honoured the 10 who didn’t return from their service, including the five who were previously missing from the cenotaph.
One of the legion’s main functions is remembrance, Delorme said.
“We realized that we had missing names on the cenotaph, and it was our solemn responsibility to make sure that these people are remembered,” said Delorme. “Even though they perished maybe 100 years ago, they still were from our community and we will remember them.”
It’s not certain how the names were missed when the cenotaph was first erected, but Delorme pointed out there wasn’t the easy access to information there is now in the digital age.
“Somehow these five were missed,” he said.
In addition to remembering community members who sacrificed their lives in the First World War, it’s important to remember participation in Afghanistan after 9/11.
“I think it’s important for us as a legion to add the Afghanistan plaque. We have a close affiliation with CFB Edmonton, a large number of our members have served at CFB Edmonton,” Delorme said. “A large number of these individuals lived in our community.”
While no one born in St. Albert lost their lives in that conflict, two soldiers who had ties to the local legion did and are honoured as part of St. Albert Remembrance Day ceremonies, Cpl. Jordan Anderson and Sgt. Shawn Eades. A number of soldiers from Alberta and CFB Edmonton died in the Afghanistan conflict.
“This is a military town,” Delorme said.
St. Albert contributors to the annual poppy campaign have helped pay for the new plaques. The legion was able to use some of the proceeds to help offset the costs, along with money from a federal Veterans Affairs program aimed at helping defray expenses for cenotaph restoration.
There will likely be a rededication ceremony for the cenotaph later this year that the public will be welcome to attend.