Boer War Page 91v
Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries
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Below are some of the key items the Canadian Boer War Museum has added to its collections in its ongoing efforts to preserve important Canadian heritage memorabilia from this period.

Rare Great Boer War Discoveries (Feb. 2006)


Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Memorial Plaque, JE Higgins 1914-1918
Orig. bronze - Size - 16.5" x 19.75" wt 23 lbs
Found - Dundas, ON
Memorial Plaque: Right is a fabulous bronze memorial plaque to one of the fallen of World War I, which we found recently at a public auction.

Many Boer War veterans were among the first to sign up for duty in World War I, a dozen years later. But this time it was different.

Only some 300 men died in the Boer War; over 60,000 Canadians died in World War I. So devastating had the technology of killing become that thousands of the fallen were never found, so completely were their bodies churned into the mud of France. For these "missing" soldiers their only memorial was being listed on the Menin Gate in France.

Back in Canada, many large businesses and corporations put up their own memorial markers for their dead employees, affixing them to walls inside and outside the buildings in which the departed had once worked.

Right is one such marker, erected by the Bank of Nova Scotia,

"IN MEMORY OF JE HIGGINS, AN OFFICER OF THIS BRANCH WHO GAVE HIS LIFE IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918"

It is a large and very heavy bronze plaque that hails from the days when many corporations treated employees like family and honoured their sacrifice for King and Country.

It is not known how and why this rare monument to a man's ultimate sacrifice, has ended up on the trash heap of history.

Was the bank, to which it was once fastened, torn down? If so, why was the memorial plaque not saved for a Bank of Nova Scotia Hall of Remembrance, or museum, instead of simply being discarded as refuse, like the rest of the demolished bricks and mortar to which it was once attached?

How many countless thousands of Canadians once walked by this plaque, glanced at it, and remembered JE Higgins, a cheerful local boy, who died way too young. It now reminds people of the modern face of the corporation which, apparently, could care less...

Dead Man's Penny

Dead Man's Penny: Every family who lost a loved one during the war received a personal memorial plaque from the Government for their loss. It was cast in bronze, and simply listed the name, without rank, of the fallen.

The Roscoe family received this one in honour of Joseph who was killed on Nov. 1, 1917. He had signed up with the Infantry in Hamilton, and arrived in France on Aug. 22, 1917.

Five weeks later he was dead; said the plaque,

"HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR."

How the family came to give up this precious memento of a departed son is not known. More than a few of these are showing up at auctions, shamefully cast aside, for a few dollars, by descendants of men who gave up their youth, their future, their lives for their country.

Memorial Plaque to One of the Fallen of World War I

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Memorial Plaque, Joseph Roscoe 1917
Orig. bronze - Size - 4.75"
Found - Orangeville, ON

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