The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

November 12th, 2014

Anniversary of Wars    

     2014 marks the 100th Anniversary of the First World War; the 70th Anniversary of D-Day in the Second World War and the 61 Anniversary of the ending of the Korean War.  With that in mind and Nov. 11th coming up I am devoting this column to the men and women who fought and died in these wars.

     During WW1, Springhill had the second highest enlistment per capita in Canada.  The

first contingent of men to go overseas that year saw 9 Officers and 128 men from Springhill, about 500 men in all went overseas and 76 of these men never returned.

     At this time the Y.M.C.A. building at the corner of Main St. and Junction Rd. was used as a temporary Military Station.  Part of the 106 Regiment was mobilized here and the Anglican Parish Hall was used as a Mess Hall and the men were billeted upstairs.  An armed policeman marched between the two places.

     Many Springhill men distinguished themselves in the field and were awarded decorations for bravery.  Harry Danson was the first Canadian to be awarded a medal.  He was given the Distinguished Conduct Medal.  Also receiving this medal were: Ernest Cooper, Alfred Archibald, Archie Potter and Harry Davies.

     The Military Medal was awarded to Harry Davies, James Maddison, James McCallum, Harold Simpson (Bar), William Littler, William Leggett (Bar), Hector Bryan, Michael Cameron, Rod McDonald, George Lysaght, Fred Brown.

     Military Cross went to R.R. Murray (Bar), and Charles Allbon who was given his medal at the front.

     Frank McLellan received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

     Victoria Cross was received by Peter Robertson and the George Medal went to Thomas Corkin.

     After WW1, a War Memorial was erected on the corner of Main St. and Junction Rd.  It was unveiled in 1929 with the names of those who had given their lives for the freedom of others.

     When the 93 Regiment was changed to the 193rd Regiment, the Murray Tartan was chosen in honour of Daniel Murray.

     During World War Two, Springhill had the largest percentage of men from any town to enlist.  This was even when one local recruiting office had a sign that said “If you are a Springhill Miner you are need in the mines, not in the Army.”

    Anthony “Tony” Condy was the first Canadian to receive a medal during the Second World War, receiving the British Empire Medal.

     Springhill had three Padres enlist: Raymond Cunningham, George Hatton and Harold Graven.

     During this war saw women enlist and Springhill women were no exception. The first Springhill woman to enlist was Mabel Newman who joined the CWAF and having trained in Toronto was stationed in Summerside, P.E.I. Others who enlisted were:  Betty Killen, RCAF, women’s division; Ruth (Fawcett) Harrison, joined the Royal Canadian Medical Corps and went overseas in 1943; Florence Merlin, R.N., was in the Nursing service and served in South Africa; Elda Austin, CWAC, serving overseas; Evelyn Boss, CWAC, served overseas; Avis Cox, CWAC, stationed in London; Marjorie Adams, CWAC, served in Germany; Blanche Dill, LCA, served overseas, Margaret Canning, CWAC; Margaret Davies, CWAC, stationed in Aldershot; Jean Howard, stationed in Halifax and Minerva Boran served in Canada.

     During this war four Springhill men were taken prisoners of war.  They were: Murray Cottenden, Wes Fraser, Lloyd Roblee and Jack Russell.

     Bert Chapman and his mates were shot down over enemy territory in June 1944.  He was able to escape with the aid of the underground.

     Dr. Harold Simpson and Harry Fox donated a Red Cross Ambulance which was sent overseas during the war and in 1944 a frigate was commissioned and named after the Town of Springhill.

     Springhill lost 58 men during this war.

     The Korean War started July, 1950 and ended July 27, 1953.

     Trevor Allen of Springhill with Lord Strathcona Horse Guards, was awarded a Military Medal for meritorious action under fire in Korea.

     Some Springhill men who fought in the Korean War were: James Carde, Capt. Raymond Cunningham, Ronald McKay, Everett Cain, Percy Gabriel, Edward Penny, Lynn Brown, William McDonald, Gerald McManaman, Percy Pettigrew, Arthur Clark, Kenneth Pettigrew and Roddie Bryan.

    Harold C. Harrison was the first Springhiller to be killed in action in Korea.  Donald B. Spence and Ralph Turnbull were also killed in this war.

     Following the Korean War, Canada changed to become Peacekeeper and men and women served throughout the world in this capacity for many years, but again served in combat service during the Afghanistan War.

     May we never forget the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom.