GVHS Remembrance Day History
The Gatineau Valley Historical Society has hosted an annual Remembrance Day service at the Chelsea Pioneer Cemetery since 1986, honouring the memory of Private Richard Rowland Thompson, RCR, Queen's Scarf, who is buried in this historic cemetery. See also article Richard Rowland Thompson and his Queen's Scarf - An Historical Investigation by Cameron Pulsifer.
Private Thompson was the recipient of one of the world's rarest awards, the Queen's Scarf, one of eight crocheted by Queen Victoria, awarded for bravery to men who served in the Boer War. Thompson was a trooper with the Special Services Battalion of the RCR, and was recommended for this honour for his daring rescue of a wounded soldier under enemy fire, on the battlefield of Paardeberg in 1900. He died in 1908, and after a military funeral in Ottawa, was buried here. His wife, Bertha Alexander, and her parents are buried beside his grave.
In 2007, on a clear and crisp November 11th, about 300 people remembered Private Thompson and all of the fallen from wars past and present. Wreath laying was led on behalf of the Government of Canada by the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Pontiac MP and Minister of Transport. He was followed by the Royal Canadian Regiment's Lieut. D. Ward; Canadian Forces Health Services Group's Col. Richard Pucci, and Chief Warrant Officer Pierre Fortier; Municipality of Chelsea's Mayor Jean Perras; MRC Public Security's Capt. Michel Regimbald; Regional Association of West Quebecer's John Trent; and Carol Martin for the Gatineau Valley Historical Society.
November 11, 2001, marked the dedication of the Chelsea Cenotaph, a memorial for those from Chelsea/ West Hull who gave their lives in World Wars I and II. Erected on a stone cairn, flanked by flags and a small garden, bronze plaques list eleven names. The cenotaph was unveiled by Jean Perras, Mayor of Chelsea, and Ernie Mahoney, President of the GVHS. Reverend Murray McGlashan pronounced the prayers of dedication, and Robert Martin read the names inscribed on the plaques. The eleven are:
Stephen Thomas Dunn, Allan Sidney Farmer, Richard Gardner and William Patrick Reynolds, who lost their lives in World War I (1914-1918), and John Donald Bates, Richard Neiland Hammond, George Frazer Kingsbury, Robert Edward Lee, Erle Mayne Milks, William Joseph Bernard Murphy and James Reid, who died in World War II (1939-1945).