The Lake Superior Scottish Regiment Senate has announced plans for the construction of a memorial to the First World War's “52nd (New Ontario) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force” to be built in Current River Park off North Cumberland Street in Thunder Bay.
Once the funds have been raised, construction will begin this spring. Currently, fundraising has achieved $75,000 toward the $100,000 budget for the monument.
In addition to the funds committed to this project by the members of the LSSR Senate, significant contributions to the development of this monument have already been made by: Parks and Open Spaces Division of the City of Thunder Bay; Veterans Affairs Canada; five Branches of the Royal Canadian Legion; Alumni Association of Lakehead University; Lakehead University; The Paterson Foundation; TransCanada Corporation; Thunder Bay Horticultural Society and; Ontario Power Generation.
The LSSR Senate is looking for further support from other persons and organizations across Northwestern Ontario.
Many citizens from Northwestern Ontario volunteered for service in World War One with the various branches of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and the Royal Canadian Navy.
The infantry battalion raised in the region was the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion. The Battalion went overseas with about 1,000 officers and men. During the War, they suffered so greatly and were reinforced so often that by the end of the War about 4,100 troops had passed through its ranks.
The Battalion was awarded 13 Battle Honours and 380 personal awards including one Victoria Cross. Of those volunteers, about 800 still lie in “Flanders Fields”.
The new civic monument will permanently acknowledge the sacrifices made during
The Great War by all of the citizens from the Northwestern Ontario, army and navy, by erecting a memorial to the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force as an example of the sacrifice of just one unit in the hope that all citizens, now and in the future, appreciate the price paid back then for the Rights and Freedoms we enjoy today.
The monument will show the official list of 800 officers and men of the Battalion that died overseas.
Charitable donations toward completing this monument's fundraising can be made in cash or cheque at the Royal Canadian Legion's Polish Branch 149 on Simpson Street 10 AM to 4 PM Monday to Friday, by mailing a cheque payable to the LSSR Charitable Fund to 176 South High Street, Thunder Bay P7B 3K6 or by using a credit card or PayPal to LSSR Charitable Fund at www.canadahelps.org.
“Remembering those who served before us, is very important to all members of the Canadian Armed Forces,” said LCol D.K. Ratz, CD, PhD
Commanding Officer, Lake Superior Scottish Regiment.
“Thunder Bay and region has a long history of military and naval service and the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion from the First World War is a significant part of it,” he added.
“Currently serving part-time reservists from this community travel and see similar monuments in other communities, often not realizing we have our own heritage to commemorate,” noted LCol Ratz.
“This monument will be a physical manifestation linking us to our past, and a reminder that others have made the commitment to risk their lives for their fellow Canadians.”
“This memorial is important because it acts as a historical touchstone,” said HCol Cliff Friesen, Honorary Colonel, Lake Superior Scottish Regiment.
“It's important to link the past to the present. We need to enable people to remember and respect the sacrifice of those who died, fought, or were affected by the Great War,” he added.
“This memorial can be an important source of information for young people in understanding the sacrifices made by past generations.”