Poilievre Launches “Fallen, but not forgotten” Initiative
Local historian discovered missing names of WWI fallen on Metcalfe cenotaph –
MP to raise funds and develop plans to add them
Metcalfe, ON —Pierre Poilievre, Member of Parliament for Nepean-Carleton, announced a project to honour several fallen World War I soldiers whose names are missing from their local cenotaph in Metcalfe, Ontario. Joined by Osgoode Village Community Association (OVCA) Director, Rob Brewster, and local historian, Coreen Atkins-Sheldrick, Poilievre announced an effort to raise funds, develop a design plan and seek government matching funds to instate the missing names on the cenotaph.
“This issue first came to my attention through a constituent of mine, Coreen Atkins-Sheldrick. Coreen has spent a number of years researching the history of Osgoode and the soldiers who enlisted from that village,” said Poilievre. “Her extensive research resulted in the discovery that several soldiers, who had connections to Osgoode and the surrounding villages, were not included on the monument which sits here in Metcalfe. We cannot properly remember them as long as their names are invisible. They died for Canada and they must be remembered by Canada.”
Atkins-Sheldrick explained that the project began in 2000 at a Remembrance Day Ceremony while listening to three veterans share their personal stories. As a volunteer at the Osgoode Township Historical Society, as well as an avid Genealogist and ex-Air Force ‘brat’, the collection of these stories became her full-time occupation. “As a result of my research, I found that several names had been omitted from the local cenotaph,” she said. “The reasons for their omission are irrelevant. It is important that their names be remembered and that is why we are here today to address those omissions.”
One of the names that Atkins-Sheldrick discovered was Private Ernest Lytton Bonsall whose family lived in the Osgoode Township for a number of years. Bonsall was killed in action during WWI and his name appears today in Canada’s Books of Remembrance at Parliament Hill but is not included on the WWI monument in Metcalfe.
“The OVCA is very excited to be helping with this important project,” Brewster added. “History is an important part of where we have come from and it is integral that all veterans from Osgoode and the surrounding areas be remembered here at the Metcalfe cenotaph. With the addition of these newly discovered names, we have kept our word ‘never to forget.’” Brewster also has a personal connection to this project as he used to be Executive Officer and Bar Manager for the Osgoode Legion, Branch 589. Over the four years that Brewster was in that position, he and Poilievre worked together on veterans’ issues numerous times, including hosting an event to present local resident, Dorothy Brownrigg, with a silver cross medal to honour her family’s contributions to Canada.
“I am hoping that as we finalize the details of this project, members of the community will step up to donate to this worthy cause,” said Poilievre. “This is also a wonderful opportunity to invite the community to submit additional names of fallen soldiers who we may not be aware of. It is important that we remember and honour all of our veterans for their contributions to this great nation.”
The Cenotaph and Memorial Restoration Program offers funding to assist communities across Canada to properly preserve cenotaphs and monuments as places of remembrance, reflection and thanks to those who have served Canada. The program provides up to fifty percent of the final cost, while local community groups are required to provide the funding for the remaining portion.
Fallen, but not forgotten: MP Pierre Poilievre with Rob Brewster and Coreen Atkins-Sheldrick stand beside the Metcalfe WWI monument which is missing several names from soldiers who lost their lives in battle.