Thursday 11 November 2021

Remembrance Day 2021 ~ Mahone Bay

This morning we attended the Remembrance Service at the Soldiers Memorial in Mahone Bay.

This tranquil town is located on the northwest shore of Mahone Bay in Nova Scotia’s South Shore. Throughout its pleasant surroundings are many vibrantly painted Victorian homes and shops, colourful heritage gardens and the world-famous three churches, all of which sit at the water’s edge forming an iconic image of Nova Scotia, a scene frequently captured in photographs featured on postcards and calendars.

The Soldiers Monument in Mahone Bay was completed on May 24, 1923 in memory of the men of the town and district who laid down their lives in the great conflicts of the 20th century. The monument is situated in the centre of town at the meeting point of the roads from Halifax, Bridgewater and Lunenburg.

The monument was designed by Rev. Canon E.A. Harris, Rector of St. James Parish, Rural Dean of Lunenburg, and was executed, carved and erected, according to his plans by Mr. A.T. Dauphnee of the Shelburne Granite Works. Resting upon its rough-hewn base of granite, is the Stone of Remembrance with its four polished sides bearing the inscriptions and names, which is surmounted by a Celtic Cross.

Remembrance Day, gives us opportunity to pause and remember the gallant service and sacrifice made by those men and women who served our country. As the years move on, the living memory of those who bore witness too and fought in the great conflicts of the 20th century is fading into the past. It is now the duty of the present and future generations to always acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of those who served their country, and recognize it is their responsibility to work for the peace that others fought so hard to achieve. The acknowledgement of “courage and sacrifice” should not be limited to only November 11th, it should be with us every day of our lives. This year my thoughts extended to another relative I discovered recently during some research, who was killed in war ~ he was George Maxwell my 2nd great-granduncle who was born 13 May 1852 in Leith, Midlothian, Scotland.

On February 24, 1916, George a Chief Engineer in the Merchant Navy was aboard the coaster SS Arbonne, when it was torpedoed and sunk in the Thames Estuary (United Kingdom), three nautical miles off the Kentish Knock Lightship, by the Imperial German Navy U-Boat SM UB-2, captained by Kapitänleutnant Werner Fürbringer, with the loss of all fourteen aboard. None of the crew of SS Arbonne were recovered for burial ashore and therefore are all memorialised at the impressive Tower Hill Memorial in London, along with the names of 36074 others who gave their lives to the sea during WWI and WWII.

George Maxwell, my second great granduncle

My other family members killed in war are ~

Hugh Wright ~ (first cousin once removed), 2003820, Royal Engineer, died 21 October 1944, buried Leopoldsburg War Cemetery, Limburg, Belgium.

John Kerr ~ (granduncle), Clyde Z/4980, Drake Battalion, Royal Naval Division, died 4 February 1917, buried Hamel Military Cemetery, Beaumont~Hamel, Somme, France.

Hugh Wright ~ (granduncle), 4511, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), died 30 June 1916, buried Southern Necropolis Cemetery, Glasgow, Scotland.