Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Goulbourn's 100th war dead honoured at memorial service

Photo by Kurt Johnson
Military and civilian representatives break ground Saturday for a War of 1812 memorial monument to honour the war dead from the 1813 Battle of Sackets Harbor.

We could feel the emotion of the moment all the more strongly as a Canadian piper played a lament Saturday for the war dead from the Battle of Sackets Harbor. The names of those 49 Canadian and British soldiers who were killed in the War of 1812 raid and buried on the battlefield were read aloud during the special memorial service attended by military re-enactors, regular armed forces and civilian representatives.

Grenadiers of Goulbourn’s 100th Prince Regent’s Regiment of Foot had participated in the May 29, 1813 raid on the strategic military target. The 100th soldiers killed in action included Sgt. William McGarry, Pte. John Carvin, Pte. James Murphy, Michael O’Brian, Pte. Michael Quinn and Pte. John Short. Goulbourn Museum sent me as our representative while William Sinka represented the Friends of the 100th, a proposed living history re-enactors group.

Other regiments include 1st Regiment (Royal Scots), 8th Regiment, 104th (New Brunswick) Regiment, Glengarry Light Infantry, Royal Newfoundland Fencibles, Voltigeurs Canadiens, Nova Scotia Fencibles and Royal Navy.

Saturday’s memorial service was very much an international affair, between friends across the border, as officials from Canada and United States attended the event organized by the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site; the Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance Inc. and the community of Sackets Harbor. A ground-breaking ceremony was also held to mark commencement of the construction of a granite monument and individual soldier’s stones to honour the sacrifices of the Crown Forces in the battle.

Standing at the site in a farmer’s clover field, I was struck by the solemn nature of the service that paid tribute to the sacrifice of these soldiers for king and country. I was also touched by the congeniality of the Americans and Canadians who have shared 200 years of peace.

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