On Remembrance Day in Revelstoke, there are many people to remember. The cenotaph carried the names of over 100 people from this city and district who died in World War I, and over 30 who died in World War II. This city was deeply affected by both world conflicts. During World War I, twelve men from Revelstoke and district died at the battle of Vimy Ridge alone. Here is a brief biography of each of those men.
John Henry Anderson was a well known young man in both Revelstoke and Malakwa. His name is etched on the Malakwa Cenotaph as well as the Revelstoke Cenotaph.
George Edward Bell had lived in Revelstoke since 1902, working as an engineer on the CPR. He had a sister who worked as a nurse here and is the great uncle of Gordon Robinson of this city.
John Collia came to Canada in 1907 with his father and sisters to join his brother, Bruno Collia. Bruno died here at the age of 101. There are numerous relatives still living here in Revelstoke.
Thomas Copeland was born in North Bend, B.C. and came here as a young man and worked as an engineman on the CPR.
Owen Harold Davies was born in Wales and worked as lineman for the CPR. During his service he earned a Military Medal.
Thomas Fleming was born in Revelstoke in 1893 and was working as a teamster in his father’s business. Thomas may have perished on his birthday or close to it.
Harold Freeman was the son of a Methodist minister who served in Revelstoke during the latter part of the war years. He was a student when he joined up.
Edwin Ibbotson was a bank clerk with the Canadian Bank of Commerce in Revelstoke. His family had close ties in the Salmon Arm area and his name is also etched on the Salmon Arm Cenotaph.
Reginald Lorraine Johnson was born in England and was working as an electrician in Revelstoke when he joined up.
James Alfred Kirk lived in Arrowhead with his parents and had a brother, Henry Kirk, who died shortly after the war and is now buried in Arrowhead. James was buried in France.
Leo McKinnon was the brother of the Mayor of Revelstoke at the time, Hector McKinnon. Mayor McKinnon had the sad duty of dedicating the newly planted maple trees around the Courthouse in honour of the Canadian soldiers one month after the death of his brother Leo. Many family members still reside in Revelstoke.
John Donald (Rory) McLennan was a champion amateur wrestler before the war and was working as a railway conductor prior to joining up.
Vimy Ridge was just one of many battles the Canadian forces fought in during World War One. All told 60,000 Canadians lost their lives in this conflict, 100 of them from Revelstoke. This “Great” War affected Canada and Revelstoke profoundly and the world is still dealing with its consequences. The Canadian Army’s victory at Vimy Ridge helped to form the nation of Canada as we know it today. Ordinary men (and women) from Revelstoke participated in these great events and helped to shape the city and country and world we live in.