History Of Service of Remembrance
On November 10, 1918 a small group of Manor and Highland Park residents, veterans, and serving personnel gathered together and held the first service of Remembrance at the Church of the Epiphany on the corner of Holborn Ave and Briscoe Street. It is important to note that this first service took place one day before the armistice that ended the Great War. Epiphany has always been a leader in recognizing the contributions of our armed services. The Service of Remembrance for the first few years after the Great War a large wooden cross stood in place of the cenotaph which now stands on church property. The original cenotaph was dedicated on May 31st, 1925. The Manor Park cenotaph preceded the downtown London memorial by 9 years. Every year since 1918 a service of Remembrance has been held here at the Cenotaph. For a time the service was held on the last Saturday in October so as to not conflict with the main Remembrance Day service at the downtown cenotaph. Recently, however it was decided that the service should be returned to November 11 in response to the needs of the local community.
Brief History of Manor and Highland Park Cenotaph
On November 10, 1918 (the day before the armistice ending the Great War) a Service of Remembrance was held in front of a large wooden cross on the lawn of the Church of the Epiphany. The cross was used for several years until the residents of Manor and Highland Park replaced it with a cenotaph as tribute to those Canadians who fell in World War 1 and especially the 15 young men from Manor Park who never came back home. A bronze plaque was affixed on the base at the front under the Italian Marble Statue of a soldier (one of only 8 produced). The statue was produced in Italy and shipped to Manor Park Canada. Cost of the cenotaph was $8,000 in 1925 ($135,700 in 2022 dollars). The names of the 15 local soldiers who never returned were engraved on a bronze plaque affixed on the granite block under the marble soldier. The Manor and Highland Park cenotaph was officially dedicated on May 31st, 1925. Over 2500 people attended that first dedication. It was the first cenotaph in the city of London, preceding the downtown memorial by 9 years. In his remarks at the dedication service, Mayor George Albert Wenige of London said, “Congratulations to residents of this community. Especially since London itself has not managed to erect a monument since the Boer War. (1899).” Mayor Wenige suggested that the people of Manor and Highland Park should show the rest of London how to do it.
Over the years bronze plaques were added to the cenotaph. The first was to honour those who served and those who died in World War II. A third bronze plaque was added to honour those who served and those who died in the Korea conflict.
The cenotaph was rededicated in 1985 after vandals desecrated and destroyed the marble statue. A bronze WW1 soldier replaced the vandalized original sculpture. Cost of the reconstruction was $20-25,000 in 1985 ($55-69000 in 2022 dollars).
On Saturday, October 27, 2018, our cenotaph was dedicated a third time. A new granite block was engraved and installed in honour of the more than 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces personnel who served and the 159 who died in the Afghanistan War. The official unveiling was done by Mrs. Carolyn Wilson London’s silver cross mother and her husband Carl. Mayor Elect Ed Holder was the Honourary Reviewing Officer for the dedication service which was the 101st service of remembrance to take place at this site.