Hillsburgh Soldier Remembered

Date: Apr 11 - 16, 2017

On Sunday, May 13, 1917, about 500 people filled St. Andrew’s Church in Hillsburgh to celebrate the life of Harold McConnell, a local man who had died in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

On the front page of the previous week’s Erin Advocate, there was a poem in his honour, reproduced below. It shows both a passionate loyalty to the British empire and a strong feeling of community pride.

Rev. R.S. Scott gave a powerful address at the service. He appealed to the young men and women of the community to live in such a way that they would show themselves worthy of the sacrifice that others were making for them.

That advice remains powerful today. This Sunday we will gather at 2 pm for a service at the Erin Cenotaph.

McConnell’s neice Marion Goegan will lay a wreath, and there will be a reception at the Legion Hall. Thanks to the Legion for organizing this tribute, which marks 100 years since the start of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a victory that earned Canada respect, and has become of symbol of our emerging nation. The cost was high: 3,598 Canadians killed and 7,000 wounded.

This week the Town of Erin is flying the Red Ensign, the flag under which our forces fought.

The Vimy event will not  only celebrate the skill, courage and sacrifice of our soldiers, but inspire us all to work together for the common good.

By Phil Gavelle

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