1922 - 1928
New Hamburg, Ontario
The first Cenotaph plans began in 1918 but it was not erected until 1922. On December 6, 1918, interested citizens met at the library hall to discuss the erection of a monument in honour of New Hamburg's fallen heroes. The committee was appointed to carry out the commendable undertaking: Reeve Fred Debus, Chairman, S. G. Bratlett, Secretary, L. G. Pequegnat, J. F. Katzenmier, Lewis Hahn, Dan Becker, Dr. Anderson, Henry A. Ernst and Thomas Wenzel.
It was indicated at the meeting that the Women's Patriotic Society, which provided comfort for the overseas soldiers, would join the project. It was proposed that a soldiers' monument be erected with the names engraved of all New Hamburg men who fell in the battle. On September 8, 1922, the Women's Patriotic Society meeting was advised that the foundation and base were practically completed by local stone masons, which would be ready for the bronze statue and tablet in short time. Mrs. G. H. Meyers, treasurer was requesting payment of the outstanding subscriptions.
On May 1927, the Women's Institute invited the members of New Hamburg Council, Board of Trade, Park Board and School Board to discuss a new memorial. In mid-1927, a committee was named to lead in the planning was Leon G. Pequegnat, David Eby, O. H. Becker, Lafayette Hostetler and three members to be named by the Women's Institute. The committee visited Ayr, Paris, Hamilton and Preston to view memorial monuments and to obtain prices.
The New Hamburg Independent, reported that there are eleven boys who gave their lives for the Empire, namely: Bernie Marty, Albert Merner, Russell Williams, Theodore Shuler, John E. Spahr, John Strauch, Nathaniel Steir, Charles Daniells, Elgin Eby, Glennie Goebel, Wilfred Laschinger
On May 24, 1929, the new concrete memorial was unveiled by Lieutenant Governor D. W. Ross. A procession headed by the New Hamburg Band, followed by the school children, marched to the Cenotaph. Mr. Hostetler was chairman and Colonel F. A. Lister, DSC, of London, Ontario, read the last roll call. The Wreaths were placed by the relatives of the fallen, the Municipality, the Women's Institute and the Memorial Committee. The Ontario Legislature and the House of Commons were present. The Last Post was sounded by Bugler Richards of Kitchener and the school children sang O Canada.
In 1929, the Cenotaph, suffer the effects of rain and frost. It was felt that repairs were no longer feasible, and the replacement of the memorial should be considered. Many changes had occurred in the intervening years, New Hamburg and Wilmot Township were amalgamated. The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 532 had been formed in New Hamburg, and consultation between Municipal Council and Legion Members resulted in a decision to replace the concrete Cenotaph. It was also agreed that names of Wilmot Veterans who died in service will be included. Another sixteen names are to be added to those on the original memorial. Planning for a new Cenotaph was placed in the hands of a committee composed of Rev. Roy Shepherd, Councillor Dave Scherer and Legion Members Sid Cheeseman and Harold Lautenschlager.
1929 - 1991
A new Cenotaph of light grey granite was erected by Shuh Memorials of Kitchener, costing $28,000. In 1990, few days before Christmas the granite blocks, precut and polished, were assembled on site on the concrete base poured earlier in the fall. A time capsule was prepared, containing newspaper, photographs, money and legion memorabilia to be enclosed in the base.
Engraved on the Cenotaph are the names of all those who died.
In May 20, 1991, the new Cenotaph ceremony was held blessed by bright sunshine and warm temperature. Legion members, the New Hamburg band, and a number of special quest and the general public participated in the ceremony. The service was conducted by Rev. Roy Shepherd and legion President Jack Pearson.