Revelstoke residents have been gathering each November 11 at the cenotaph since it was first erected in 1923. The marker was created by the Great War Veterans Association, the forerunner to the Royal Canadian Legion. The plaque on the cenotaph listed the names of 91 men from this district who gave their lives during World War I. A second plaque was added after World War II with the names of another 32 men. Revelstoke Museum & Archives created memorial books with a profile on each of the World War I soldiers and we are currently doing the same for the men who gave their lives in World War II. It is important for future generations that the memories of these men are not lost. Ken English researched and wrote the profiles of the World War I soldiers, and he created a summary profile. Here are some of the facts that he discovered. About half of the men who died were born in England and Scotland. Another quarter were born in Eastern Canada and thirteen were born in British Columbia, seven of those in Revelstoke.
The average height of the men was 5’8” with the shortest recruits John Henry and Stanley Janes at 5’3” and the tallest Daniel Montgomery at 6’2”. The average age of the men at the time of death was 28. The oldest was Andrew Lee at 44, and there were six other men over the age of 40. The youngest was Charles Hanbury who was a 16 year old sailor on the HMCS Galiano when it sank off the Queen Charlotte Islands on October 29, 1918. There were four other soldiers who were under the age of 20 when they died. There were several sets of brothers who served overseas, but the only family that lost two sons was the Robinson family. John Robinson was the brother of pioneer sawmill owners Fred and Dan Robinson. John’s three sons Arthur, Walter and Victor all served overseas and only Victor returned home. Walter died on April 22, 1915 during the battle of Ypres at the age of 21. Arthur died on August 11, 1918 at the age of 20. The stories of the men who died are endless and we have only fragments of them. We welcome any additional information and photographs on the soldiers from the two world wars. Any family members of Revelstoke’s fallen soldiers are encouraged to contact us – we would be happy to share whatever information we have as well. The photograph shows a group of Bridge Guards in Rogers Pass. The man at the left is John Collia, who was born in Italy in 1893 and came to Canada around 1907. John died at the age of 24 on April 19, 1917 at the battle for Vimy Ridge. John has many family members still living in Revelstoke.