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New Monument Dedicated


In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

New 85th monument to be dedicated in Belgium Oct. 31,2000, chairman of the Nova Scotia Highlanders' Heritage Society ,has a brass plaque inscribed with the names of 148 Nova Scotians killed at Passchendaele in Belgium during the First World War.
Almost 85 years ago, a Cape Breton coal miner lost his life in a bloody battle for control of a little piece of farmland in Belgium.
Then history lost his first name.
. Cpl. Alva Carter will become Alvah Carter, spelled the way he wrote it when he signed up to fight in the Great War. And K. Buzan, who left Russia for the coal mines of Glace Bay, only to die on a bloody, muddy field with 147 fellow members of the 85th Canadian Infantry Battalion, will be re-memorialized as Karl Buzan. These are some of the last details to be worked out as an almost three-year project to remember the sacrifices of the Nova Scotia Highlanders at Passchendaele draws to a close. Although members of the Nova Scotia Highlanders' Heritage Society mistakenly believed their feat was almost complete before, their co-chairman is confident the dedication of a new monument in the Belgian countryside will take place Oct. 31. The ceremony will tie in with other special veterans' events in that part of Europe. "It would have been nice if we'd had it done sooner, but things like this take time," said Mr. Kempton, whose grandfather was a member of the 85th and wounded in action just before Passchendaele. "The important thing is to do it right." The dedication has been rescheduled, and the new date has historical significance, commemorating the 84th anniversary of the battle. In fact, of 148 battalion members killed during the battle, 133 died on Oct. 30, 1917. Known as the Neverfails for their tenacity and success, the 85th found itself in rural Belgium on Oct. 28, 1917, fighting for control of a seven-square-kilometre area not far from Ypres. On their way to victory on Nov. 7, 148 Neverfails died, including 18 from Lunenburg, and hundreds were wounded. The Neverfails spent 20 months in France and Flanders and 25 per cent of those who died during that period were killed at Passchendaele. Eighty-five of them have no known graves, their bodies claimed by the muck of the killing fields. In the weeks following the victory at Passchendaele, the 85th's survivors fashioned a simple, concrete monument with a plaque inscribed with the names of their fallen comrades . Because soldiers had erected it, no government agency was responsible for its upkeep. With no one to care for it, the monument fell into disrepair. It became clear in the last couple of years that something had to be done to ensure the survival of the marker, the only remaining privately erected Canadian battalion memorial on the Western Front. So the Nova Scotia Highlanders' Heritage Society appealed to the public for help, and the Belgian army agreed to erect a new monument, a replica of the original, which is being made from a piece of Nova Scotia granite and shipped overseas. In the meantime, the local group has brought the original plaque back to Nova Scotia to make a template for the new one. The original will be displayed in the army museum at the Halifax Citadel. The new plaque, complete with spelling corrections checked against official records, will be attached to the granite marker. Mr. Kempton expects the project to cost about $15,000. The group needs only about $5,000 more to cover the entire tab. (Donations may be sent to the Nova Scotia Highlanders' Heritage Society, c/o Deputy Commander 36 Canadian Brigade Group, P.O. Box 99000, Stn. Forces, Halifax, N.S., B3K 5X5.) However, Mr. Kempton's family has decided that if the project falls short of money, it will somehow find funding to ensure the monument is erected and the bills paid. "It's a small, but significant piece of Nova Scotian history," Mr. Kempton said of the monument. "To have visible reminders of what happened is important. . . . I think anybody would rightfully say this (project) is something that we should do." Back Copyright ©</XMP><XMP> Sunday, August 19, 2001BackThe Halifax Herald Limited New 85th monument to be dedicated in Belgium Oct. 31 Peter Parsons / Herald Photo Steve Kempton, chairman of the Nova Scotia Highlanders' Heritage Society, holds a brass plaque inscribed with the names of 148 Nova Scotians killed at Passchendaele in Belgium during the First World War. By Kelly Shiers / Staff Reporter Almost 85 years ago, a Cape Breton coal miner lost his life in a bloody battle for control of a little piece of farmland in Belgium. Then history lost his first name. Steven Kempton's going to put that right. In the coming weeks, he'll double-check the Mc's and the Mac's. Cpl. Alva Carter will become Alvah Carter, spelled the way he wrote it when he signed up to fight in the Great War. And K. Buzan, who left Russia for the coal mines of Glace Bay, only to die on a bloody, muddy field with 147 fellow members of the 85th Canadian Infantry Battalion, will be re-memorialized as Karl Buzan. These are some of the last details to be worked out as an almost three-year project to remember the sacrifices of the Nova Scotia Highlanders at Passchendaele draws to a close. Although members of the Nova Scotia Highlanders' Heritage Society mistakenly believed their feat was almost complete before, their co-chairman is confident the dedication of a new monument in the Belgian countryside will take place Oct. 31. The ceremony will tie in with other special veterans' events in that part of Europe. "It would have been nice if we'd had it done sooner, but things like this take time," said Mr. Kempton, whose grandfather was a member of the 85th and wounded in action just before Passchendaele. "The important thing is to do it right." The dedication has been rescheduled, and the new date has historical significance, commemorating the 84th anniversary of the battle. In fact, of 148 battalion members killed during the battle, 133 died on Oct. 30, 1917. Known as the Neverfails for their tenacity and success, the 85th found itself in rural Belgium on Oct. 28, 1917, fighting for control of a seven-square-kilometre area not far from Ypres. On their way to victory on Nov. 7, 148 Neverfails died, including 18 from Lunenburg, and hundreds were wounded. The Neverfails spent 20 months in France and Flanders and 25 per cent of those who died during that period were killed at Passchendaele. Eighty-five of them have no known graves, their bodies claimed by the muck of the killing fields. In the weeks following the victory at Passchendaele, the 85th's survivors fashioned a simple, concrete monument with a plaque inscribed with the names of their fallen comrades. Because soldiers had erected it, no government agency was responsible for its upkeep. With no one to care for it, the monument fell into disrepair. It became clear in the last couple of years that something had to be done to ensure the survival of the marker, the only remaining privately erected Canadian battalion memorial on the Western Front. So the Nova Scotia Highlanders' Heritage Society appealed to the public for help, and the Belgian army agreed to erect a new monument, a replica of the original, which is being made from a piece of Nova Scotia granite and shipped overseas. In the meantime, the local group has brought the original plaque back to Nova Scotia to make a template for the new one. The original will be displayed in the army museum at the Halifax Citadel. The new plaque, complete with spelling corrections checked against official records, will be attached to the granite marker.