Fredericton Cenotaph
Fredericton, New Brunswick

Dedicated on Nov. 11, 1923, in memory of those who died during W.W.I.

Very shortly after the end of World War I, a group of public-spirited citizens decided that some form of lasting memorial should be erected in Fredericton to honour those members of the community who laid down their lives for their country during the conflict. A committee was formed, called the Fredericton War Memorial Committee, under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice O. Crocket of the Supreme Court of Canada, formerly Member of Parliament for York-Sunbury, to study the matter and to transform the thought into action.

A tall shaft of stone, suitably based and landscaped, was decided upon as being appropriate, and the site favoured was the triangular plot of land bounded by Church, King and Queen Streets. This land, the property of the Cathedral, was assigned to the Committee by the Rt. Rev. John H. Richardson, Bishop of Fredericton, on behalf of the Cathedral, for use as the memorial site.

Plans submitted by a Quebec firm were selected and the necessary funds were raised by public subscription. The site was surveyed by Mr. Andrew MacVey, Chief Bridge Engineer of the Provincial Department of Public Works, who had been approached by the Committee for consultation and advice on positioning and erecting the memorial. As specifications and plans did not convey a realistic picture to the Committee, Mr. MacVey constructed a cardboard model of the memorial so that, when opinions within the committee differed as to which way the memorial should face - up river, down river, toward the Cathedral or whatever - he was able to demonstrate with his model just how it would appear from any particular direction. Mr. MacVey also designed the layout of the lettering. The erection of the Cenotaph of Quebec stone was proceeded with at a cost of approximately $20,000 - a sizable sum of money in those days.

It was dedicated on November 11, 1923, in a ceremony in which Frederictonians paid fitting tribute to their townsmen who had made the supreme sacrifice, and during which were called out the names of each of the one hundred and nine "Men of Fredericton Who Laid Down Their Lives in the Great War and Whose Names are Here Gratefully recorded by Their Fellow Citizens."

In later years, the Cenotaph was floodlighted and bronze plaques were added commemorating those who fell in World War II and the Korean War. A beautiful memorial, it is an honour and a credit to those citizens of bygone days who regarded it as a solemn duty to perpetuate the memory and the deeds and sacrifices of the fallen. The City authorities have been diligent in keeping the Cenotaph clean and well-landscaped.

With its classic dignity and fine surroundings, it evokes a poignancy which is ever present but which seems almost physical and bayonet sharp on Remembrance Day when the haunting notes of Last Post, the supreme trumpet call, the saluting guns reverberate across the river to fade among distant elms into a silence that suddenly seems even deeper than before.

"At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We will remember them."

Momentarily, there is a unity of resolve, a tightening of flesh, an ineffable loneliness as the ringing words rekindle a host of memories among the hushed assembly.

In the first few years following World War I the Armistice Day (later redesignated as Remembrance Day) ceremonies in Fredericton were organized by The Imperial Order, Daughters of the Empire (Sir Howard Douglas Chapter) but, since 1928, Fredericton Branch of the Canadian Legion has always made the arrangements. The standard bearers of the various I.O.D.E. Chapters have continued to attend as a body.

The following were members of the Fredericton War memorial Committee which raised the monument:

Hon. Mr. Justice Crocket, Chairman
The Countess of Ashburnham
Lt. Col. T.G. Loggie
His Lordship Bishop Richardson
His Worship, Mayor J.A. Reid
Lt. Col. C.J. Mersereau
Alderman George H. Clarke
Hon. Mr. Justice Barry
R. FitzRandolph, Esq.
R.B. Hanson, K.C., M.P.
G.N.C. Hawkins, Esq.
U.New Brunswick Chancellor C.C. Jones, LLD

Mrs. N. Dougherty
C.A. MacVey, Esq.
J. Stewart Neill, Esq.
Alderman J.A. Cain
Alderman F.L. Cooper
Alderman Harry A. Smith
J.J.F. Winslow, K.C.
W.D. Gunter, Esq.
John T. Jennings, Esq.
E. Allison MacKay - Secretary

In recent years, a plaque commemorating Merchant Seamen was added.

A History of the Fredericton Legion

Back Main Menu