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Cumberland County Soldiers Memorial Monument being renovated

Work has started on the refurbishment of the century-old cenotaph located in Amherst’s Victoria Square.

A crew from Heritage Grade Architectural Restoration Service of Ottawa began the work on what is formally known as the Cumberland County Soldiers Memorial Monument on Monday, May 9, 2022.

 The $40,000 project will see the monument restored. Cenotaph 1 B

Art conservators Daniela Kolbach and Ed Bowkett will be removing the bronze plaques, cleaning them, restoring the bronze and then refastening them to the monument. They recently finished doing similar work to the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

The sculpture will be ice-blasted using dry ice in the shape of rice kernels, which will be shot out of a gun to remove the debris and patina. Once removed, it will be re-patinaed to make the figure look richer and darker, like it did when it was first unveiled.

While they do this work, Matt McCartney will be repointing and cleaning the granite blocks that form the base of the monument.

Once this work is done, the cenotaph will be hot-waxed with torches in order to provide protection to the monument.

The restoration work is expected to be completed by the end of the week.

Half the cost of the project is being covered by a $20,000 grant from Canadian Heritage.

The cenotaph, located at the intersection of Victoria and Church streets, was unveiled on July 2, 1921, by Col. C.E. Brent following a ceremony that includedcenotaph 2 B an official presentation by Sen. Nathaniel Curry.

It was Curry and his wife, Mary, who had the monument erected “in memory of their son Captain Leon Hall Curry and his brothers in arms from Cumberland County who gave their lives to their country in the Great German War 1914-1918.”

The monument, designed by Italian sculptor Pietro Ghiloni features a granite base and a bronze statue of a soldier dressed in the uniform of the 85th Highlanders. The face of the soldier is said to be a remarkable likeness of Capt. Curry.

The bronze plaques that circle the monument bear the names of 336 Cumberland County men who gave their lives during the First World War. Seventy-nine names of those from the region who died during the Second War were added shortly after the conclusion of that conflict.

Another four names of soldiers who died in the Korean war were added recently.