Exhibit, Castleton WWI cenotaph, In Memory (detail) Details
Nearly 620,000 Canadians were enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in The Great War (World War I) of 1914-18, an impressive figure given the population of Canada at the time was just under eight million.
Close to 61,000 Canadians were killed, the most Canadian lives lost in any conflict until then or ever since. Another 172,000 were wounded. “The decision not to repatriate the bodies of the servicemen and women who had died overseas had a significant impact in Canada, where almost no community or institution remained untouched by the death toll of the First World War."
"The early 1920s saw monuments erected in cities and towns from coast to coast. Business corporations, educational and religious institutions, and worker's groups also felt the need to commemorate lost colleagues through a monument or a plaque,” Mark Osbaldeson explains in his 2008 book Unbuilt Toronto: A history of the city that might have been.
It was certainly true for the communities of Castleton, a hamlet of the then-Cramahe Township, and the then-municipality of The Village of Colborne. There are three “official” war memorial in Cramahe Township recognized by the federal government: the Colborne Victoria Park WWI, WWII and Korean War site, the Castleton WWI and WWII memorial site and the cairn in front of the Colborne Legion.
The two communities have annual Remembrance Day services at their respective cenotaph’s on November 11th. Up until the year 1931, the date was known as Armistice Day and then became known as Remembrance Day. The Colborne Royal Canadian Legion Branch 187 members, vets and affiliated associations parade to Victoria Square Park for a solemn service. Canadian Armed Forces 429 Squadron, based at CFB Trenton, is twinned with the Colborne Legion branch and is active in the ceremonies.
In Castleton, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 380 of Warkworth leads the Remembrance Day service and eight Wing Trenton service personnel are committed supporters and attendees of the ceremonies.