Port Aux Basques Memorial Park

Photo by Lemonte Squibb.

World War I, World War II, Caribou Memorial Royal Canadian Legion Memorial Park, Channel Port aux Basques, Newfoundland

The Royal Canadian Legion, Channel, Branch #11, Memorial Park, was dedicated on July 6th, 1986. The Memorial consists of a monument to the victims of the S.S. Caribou, and a monument each for the casualties of the two World Wars.

On July 1st, 1929, the HMS Capetown visited Port aux Basques for the official unveiling and dedication of the World War I monument, which was situated near the Court House in town. This monument contains all of the names of those from Port aux Basques who paid the supreme sacrifice in World War I.

The S.S. Caribou was the link between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, and a very well-known ship. She was torpedoed on October 14, 1942, with a loss of 137 lives. This tragedy left 21 widows and 51 fatherless children. Three of the crew members were unmarried. Twenty-five of the crew members lived in Channel-Port aux Basques. The Railway Employees' Association decided to erect a monument in memory of the S.S. Caribou and this was done through a public subscription and the Railway Workers donating a full day's work towards the cost of this monument. On October 14 of each year, a memorial service was held at the Caribou monument. Over time, the site was found to be unsuitable for the annual memorial service so the monument was moved to the C.N. Marine premises and the original shape of the monument was changed to resemble an open book.

Photo by Lemonte Squibb.

Over the years it became evident that a new site would be needed for the World War I monument. When a new site was being chosen, there was a proposal to have a monument installed in the memory of those who gave their lives in World War II. It was then suggested that permission be sought to have the Caribou Monument included so that the three monuments would be on the same site. Permission was granted by the C.N. Marine and the old site was demolished. It was decided to have a whole new monument in memory of the S.S. Caribou. All that remains of the original monument are the four bronze plates which contain the names of the 137 people who lost their lives. The World War II monument is an exact replica of the World War I monument and all three now stand in Memorial Park, along with three flag poles and two anchors of former C.N. Marine ships, the S.S. Patrick Morris and the M/V William Carson, both of which are now gone. Memorial Park was officially dedicated on July 6th, 1986.

November 11th is the day of remembrance, and the memorial service for the sinking of the caribou has been combined with the usual November 11th memorial service.

Memorial Park

Monument on left: "1914-1918"
Monument in Centre: "Caribou Memorial"
Monument on Right: "1939-1945"
The two small black items shown, one on either side, are the two anchors.
The three flag poles are shown on the right.

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