Overlooked Abbotsford Soldiers To Be Honoured at Vimy Ridge Day 2016 Ceremony.

The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 15, Abbotsford, is going to hold its sixth annual ceremony to commemorate Vimy Ridge Day on Saturday, April 9 at 6:45 p.m. at the Cenotaph, behind the City Hall.  As always, the ceremony will be a Candlelight Vigil.

There are two major changes this year. Research has determined that a number of soldiers from Abbotsford who lost their lives in World War One have been overlooked and their names are not on the cenotaph. So far eleven soldiers have been confirmed as being Abbotsford and District residents who enlisted and lost their lives serving their country; ten will be honoured for the first time by having candles placed in their memory.

More Abbotsford soldiers will be “found” as the research continues and in the future a new plaque will be made for the cenotaph.

The second change is that students from local schools, namely South Poplar, Mt. Lehman and Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts (A.S.I.A.) [Sumas Mountain], will be placing candles, specifically for these “overlooked soldiers”.

In addition, the choir from A.S.I.A. will be singing “The Maple Leaf Forever” and two hymns. Also a poem will be read by a student from Mt. Lehman.

The active involvement of students from our local schools is most appropriate as many people are now dedicated to wanting to pass on the legacy of remembrance to our younger persons, so that they incorporate remembrance into their daily lives. These sentiments were expressed most clearly by Mr Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools in his blog to the schools last December. His words were the additional catalyst and inspiration for our local ceremony planners to act upon.

As with last year, First Nations and Sikh veterans of World War I will be honoured along with First Nations and Sikh representatives to place their candles.

There is a third change this year: The Reach will be open for hot chocolate after the ceremony, thanks to Kris Foulds and to the Legion Ladies Auxiliary volunteers.  As always, dress warmly and please arrive between 6:15 and 6:40 pm.

Osmond Kidwell photo

Osmond Kidwell Mt Lehman FC

Overlooked soldier Private Osmond Kidwell in army uniform and playing soccer for Mt. Lehman F.C., winners of the Haddad Cup in 1914.

Mt Lehman FC Haddad Cup 1914 photo B cropno cation

Mt. Lehman F.C. (soccer) team posing outside the old building of Mt. Lehman School after winning the Haddad Cup in 1914 (thank you Mr. Abby Chan, Principal of Mt. Lehman School, for recognizing the location).   Photograph credits to Daphne Barclay and her family.

Abbotsford soldier (later in 1914) Sergeant William Arnold Fergusson is either the goalkeeper (front row centre, with Osmond Kidwell front row right), or Fergusson is the player standing behind Kidwell.  Which one is W.A. Fergusson:  the goalkeeper, or the other player, the left half?

WA Fergusson GKWA Fergusson left-half blank restIf anyone has any clues to help solve this puzzle, please contact Peter (via  “contact us” on the home page).  Thank you.