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Manitoba History: Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba’s Military Monuments

by Gordon Goldsborough
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Number 76, Fall 2014

The MHS is compiling an inventory of historic sites around Manitoba as an encouragement to tourism and management. Some sites in that inventory are featured in issues of Manitoba History. Eds.

A monument in the village of Foxwarren, guarded by a stone soldier, contains the names of fifteen First World War and nine Second World War casualties from the local area.
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

When I find a war monument in my travels in search of historic sites, I stop and reflect on what that monument means to the community. It is always sad to think that so many young Manitobans lost their lives just as they were reaching adulthood. As the parent of young adults myself, it is especially sobering to think how people just like me would have coped with the news that their child was gone forever. And the mourning was not just personal. Erection of this monument was a public expression of grief for friends who would not be returning and, in some symbolic way, for the community itself that lost a vibrant and contributing member.

Now that information on Canada’s war dead is made readily available on the Internet—by Library and Archives Canada and Veterans Affairs Canada—one can dig more deeply and learn about the lives of those whose sacrifices we commemorate: when and where they were born, their occupation at the time of their military enlistment, the unit in which they fought, their date of death, and often their place of burial.

A natural extension of this online information is an inventory of the military monuments that exist around Manitoba. For the past year, we have worked with the staff of the Manitoba Historic Resources Branch and Patrick Morican to make sure that our inventory of historic sites includes all the monuments listed in the 1996 Morican report—the instigating factor for an article elsewhere in this issue of Manitoba History—as well as other monuments unveiled since then. Several people helped us in this project, most especially Morden school teacher Darryl Toews. He took on the daunting task of researching the hundreds of names listed on the monuments. Despite being hampered by numerous misspellings, Darryl was able to compile basic biographical data for most of them.

The result is that we now have a comprehensive resource describing 211 military monuments around Manitoba. In nearly all cases, we provide a photo of the monument, a map showing its precise location, and lists of the names of those commemorated. If you are able, we encourage you to visit a monument in person. Otherwise, go to the MHS website and travel “virtually” around the province to pay your respects to those whose sacrifices made possible the freedom that we enjoy today.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba’s Military Monuments

Page revised: 11 November 2014

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