Shortly after Thanksgiving, for our third year, Commemorative Banners honouring the fallen soldiers from past wars were hung on the decorative light posts in the business sections of Port Elgin and Southampton.
This year, we honour 48 of those who made the supreme sacrifice. In Port Elgin there are those from Saugeen Township and Port Elgin. In Southampton, there are 24 recognizing the fallen from Southampton and Saugeen First Nation.
In Port Elgin there are 10 from WWII, 13 from WWI and 1 from the Boer War. Hanging in Southampton are 13 banners from WWII and 11 from WWI.
There are three new banners this year (2019).
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. It wasn’t until April, 1918 that he finally arrived in France as a member of the 3rd Engineering Battalion.
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 Engineers 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 29th , 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; six 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” of “pneumonia”.
Ernest John – Saugeen First Nation
William and Lillian John had threesons that 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 Stratford.
Two sons died in uniform. Maurice died in Italy in the major battle for Monte Cassino and his banner was hung on our first year.
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.
We shall remember them
By: G. William Streeter