Commemorative banners continue to grow and every soldier has a story

Shortly after Thanksgiving, for the third year, Commemorative Banners honouring the fallen soldiers from past wars will be hung on the decorative light posts in the business sections of Port Elgin and Southampton.

The project was initiated by Bill Streeter of the Municipal Heritage Committee who has worked tirelessly to research each name to get the project to where it is today and to keep it going.

This year, 48 of those that made the supreme sacrifice will be honured. There will be 24 in Port Elgin for those from Saugeen Township and Port Elgin. In Southampton, there will be 24 recognizing the fallen from Southampton and Saugeen First Nation.

Port Elgin – 10 from WWII, 13 from WWI and 1 from the Boer War.
Southampton – 13 banners from WWII and 11 from WWI.

There are three new banners this year in Port Elgin.

Harvey McArthur – Port Elgin

Harvey McArthur was born in Bruce Township in 1895. He
enlisted in the 160th Bruce Battalion in February 1916 and sailed
to England in October 1916. It wasn’t until April 1918 that he
finally arrived in France as a member of the 3rd Engineering
Harvey’s battalion entered the fray during the most aggressive
actions to remove the German army from France. By August 1918
the push was on and the 3rd Engineering Battalion was a major
part of the action.
He died on the 29th of August in the Battle of the Scarpe, near the
French City of Arras when a bomb fell near his section. The story
is told in the book “Heroes in Waiting” by Allan Bartley as told by
Andy Robinson who was present at the battle.

Rueben Plant – Southampton

Rueben was born in Arran Township on August 19, 1898 in Arran
Township on what is known as the “B” Line. He attended school in
Southampton and was working in Stratford as a Machine Helper
when he enlisted in London on April 29, 1918 in the Western
Ontario Regiment.
He quickly had his training and arrived in England on July 22, 1918.
Rueben arrived in France on October 20, 1918 and soon found
himself in the middle of the bloody conflict. His military records
show that he was shot and wounded in the back and right hand on
November 1 and arrived at a field hospital close to Valenciennes.
At that time he was also found to be suffering from bronchial
pneumonia. Sadly, he passed away on November 17, 1918; 6 days
after the war ended. His medical records have a variety of notes
indicating that there was some debate about whether his death
was from “gun-shot wounds” or “pneumonia”.

Ernest John – Saugeen First Nation

William and Lillian John had three sons who enlisted in WWII.
Father William served in WWI. Maurice and Ernest both
joined the Grey and Simcoe Foresters out of Owen Sound. The
third bother Arthur served with the Perth Regiment out of
Two sons died in uniform. Maurice died in Italy in the major
battle for Monte Cassino and his banner was hung on our first
Sadly; Ernest was killed when hit by a motor vehicle near the
French Bay road exit on Highway 21 on Feb. 21, 1941, while
home on weekend leave during training at Camp Borden.
Son Arthur did return home