Korean War veteran Hal Patterson helped unveil a plaque on the cenotaph in Amherst on Nov. 4, 2020, that commemorates the names of four Canadian soldiers from Cumberland County who died as a result of the conflict.
The names of privates Harold Carlen Harrison, Ralph Elvin Turnbull, Borden Bruce Brown and Emerson Edward Patterson are now included among the names of dozens of fallen soldiers, sailors and airmen from the First and Second World Wars who are memorialized on the Cumberland County Soldiers Memorial Monument, which was originally unveiled in Victoria Square on July 2, 1921.
“Council, after receiving a request from the public, felt it was important to recognize the supreme sacrifice these soldiers from the Cumberland region made during the Korean War,” Mayor David Kogon said of council’s decision to add the names to the cenotaph.
“We felt it was important to honour these men in the same manner as we did those who perished in the First and Second World Wars.”
Patterson, who spent 13 months fighting in Korea with the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, welcomed the town’s decision to place the plaque of the cenotaph.
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful that the plaque is now on the cenotaph,” Patterson, who was 19 years old when he landed in Korea in October 1951, said.
“The Korean War has not been as well commemorated as it should have been. It was a forgotten war. To see the plaque on the cenotaph means the supreme sacrifices they made and the sacrifices made by all who served during the war will not be forgotten. To us veterans of that war, the true heroes are the ones, like the men named on the plaque, who are still there.”
Harrison, Turnbull, Brown and Patterson were among 516 Canadians who lost their lives as a result of the Korean War, which was fought between June 25, 1950, and July 27, 1953.
More than 26,000 Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen served during the conflict that started when North Korea invaded South Korea. The war ultimately pitted North Korea and China against a United Nations force that saw 18 UN member nations – including Canada – contribute units the to a multinational force that served alongside American and South Korean forces during the war.
The town worked with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Museum, Veterans Affairs Canada and Canadian Virtual War Memorial staff to ensure it had all the names of those from the Cumberland region who died as a result of the Korean War on the plaque.
Pte. Harrison, a native of Springhill, was 31 years old when he died on Feb. 3, 1952, while serving with the Royal Canadian Regiment. A veteran of the Second World War, he was married and the father of three girls. He is buried in the United Nations Cemetery in Busan, South Korea. His name is commemorated on Page 30 of the Korean War Book of Remembrance that is located Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower of the Canadian Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.
Pte. Turnbull, also of Springhill, was 29 years old when he died on Jan. 1, 1954, while serving with The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada. A veteran of the Second World War, he is also buried in the United Nations Cemetery in Busan, South Korea. His name is commemorated on Page 75 of the Korean War Book of Remembrance.
Pte. Brown of Joggins was 24 years old when he died on Feb. 23, 1951, while serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, R.C.I.C. A veteran of the Second World War, he too is buried in the United Nations Cemetery in Busan, South Korea. His name is commemorated on Page 8 of the Korean War Book of Remembrance.
Pte. Patterson of West Apple River was 23 years old when he died on March 26, 1952, while serving with the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, R.C.I.C. Like his peers, he is buried in the United Nations Cemetery in Busan, South Korea. His name is commemorated on Page 57 of the Korean War Book of Remembrance.
The plaque was made by Liberty Enterprises Ltd. of Brookdale. It was placed on the west side of the cenotaph, the side facing the courthouse and the direction in which Canadian soldiers would have travelled in order to reach Korea. Besides the names of the fallen, the plaque is inscribed with the words: Korean War 1950-1953 – In memory of our fallen comrades.
The unveiling of the plaque marked the beginning of Remembrance Week, which culminates with Remembrance Day on Nov. 11, 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s memorial service will be different. The local legion will be holding a small commemorative gathering with only their members and invited guests in attendance. However, the provincial and national legion command are asking citizens to refrain from attending cenotaph services because they cannot guarantee social distancing as required by provincial public health orders.
Instead, the legion is asking people to gather at the end of their driveways for two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2020. They are also asking people to watch the national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa, which can be viewed at: www.facebook.com/CanadianLegion/.
Anyone with questions about this year’s Remembrance Day service is asked to call the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 10 at 902-667-8487.