Friday, June 10, 2016

Family History Friday: WWI Service Flag at Backus-Page House Museum

Cultural Manager Angela Bobier with Elgin County Museum curator Mike Baker
    This past Wednesday, a replica First World War service flag was unveiled at the museum as part of the upcoming centennial celebration of the 91st Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force. Another is being displayed at the St. Thomas Armouries on Wilson Ave., which is to be the site of the weekend-long commemoration events later this month.

     During the war, families would display the flag in their front window to indicate that they had a loved one fighting overseas. While the practice was more popular in the United States, the Canadian version still became a known symbol on the home front. As a 1918 Maclean's magazine ad reads, "Make sure to secure the duly registered design: red border-- white field-- blue maple leaves-- red leaves for the fallen."

     Elgin County Museum curator and commemoration committee member Mike Baker is hoping the community will participate in the centennial by displaying their own service flags in support and solidarity. A printed insert of the iconic symbol can be found in the June 8 special 91st Battalion edition of the St. Thomas Times-Journal. 

     To find out if you live in the home of a 91st Battalion volunteer, you can check your address in the Nominal Roll of the 91st found at by looking for the column headed "address of next-of-kin". Also at is the Elgin County Book of Remembrance, which contains the names of all WWI servicemen and women from the county.

     Baker and the rest of the organisers, including committee chair Hon. Lt.-Col. Mark Sargent, are anticipating hundreds of people will descend on St. Thomas to take in the monumental two-day event. On Saturday June 25, members of The Elgins will parade from city hall to the CASO station, where a commemorative plaque will be unveiled to honour the 91st Battalion. There will also be a picnic at Pinafore Park and historic re-enactments taking place at the armouries.  
Each evening, the individual names and photos of each member of the 91st Battalion will be projected on the north wall of the historic building.

If you go...
91st Battalion 100th Anniversary

When: Friday June 24 to Sunday June 26
Where: Various St. Thomas locations
Highlights: Parade, historic re-enactments and community picnic
     Be sure to stop in at the Museum to see our flag, as well as the special First World War commemorative content featured at our upcoming July Living History Event.

1 comment:

Argyle Museum said...

What a great idea!
Our museum here in argyle Manitoba is home to Canada's 2nd largest flag collections in the country.