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Bells of peace

By Jenn Watt

Published Nov. 6 2018

On Nov. 11 1918 church bells rang out to mark the end of the First World War. One hundred years later countries around the world including Canada will be coming together to again ring bells to mark the sacrifices made the lives lost and the toll taken by the four-year conflict.

More than 619000 Canadians enlisted during the war with 424000 serving overseas – 66000 of them would die in the war and another 172000 would be injured.

“This was an enormous contribution from a population of just under eight million in 1914. Approximately seven per cent of the total population of Canada was in uniform at some point during the war and hundreds of thousands of additional Canadians worked on the home front in support of the war” materials released by the Legion and Government of Canada state.

Many from this region enlisted.

Companies of Lindsay’s 109th Battalion trained at the Haliburton fairgrounds – what is now the parking lot beside the arena. A recruitment campaign included concerts at schools in Gooderham Minden and Kinmount according to Nila Reynolds’ book In Quest of Yesterday.

The 109th battalion was divided into the 20th Toronto Battalion and the 21st Kingston Battalion.

“Both outfits took part in an engagement near Lens on January 17 1917 which netted 100 prisoners and an equipment cache but casualties were heavy among them was Charlie Welch of Halls Lake. Lieut. Alex M. Scott of Gelert who wrote the family regarding the death was himself killed shortly after. Haliburton casualties at Vimy in dead and wounded were heavy among them was George ‘Rosy’ Logan the first to enlist from Harburn” she writes.

There were daily prayers at St. George’s Anglican Church for the 109th Reynolds wrote.

Across Canada and in Haliburton as well the community’s young people will be finding the graves of First World War veterans and marking them with special flags. They are creating a database of their names and taking time to learn about their service.

And on Sunday Nov. 11 at the going down of the sun the churches will ring their bells together  – 100 times for the 100 years since the war’s end.

If you are near a church at dusk on Sunday (at about 4:49 p.m.) plan to stop what you’re doing and let the sound of the bells sink in.

Imagine the joy of those who may have learned of the war’s end through the same sound. Think of those who were injured physically and mentally by the violence of war. Reflect on what was lost when loved ones were killed in conflict. And pledge to pursue peace for the future.