Chilliwack War Memorial Now Online

As the flags slipped away from the granite memorial the names of Chilliwack’s fallen soldiers became synonymous with this communities’ loss of innocence. The 99 names were neither the Townships’ nor the Cities’ they belonged to everyone. The memorial’s location, in a small park behind City Hall (now the Chilliwack Museum), was along the then, main highway where it would attract the attention of all visitors. Unveiled on the sixth anniversary of Vimy Ridge, April 9, 1923 it seemed fitting to be within a week of Easter. Chilliwack’s fallen soldiers, its youth, had risen, reborn unto the community.

Many of us are familiar with Chilliwack’s War Memorial. However, the horizontal lead letters of initials and names though once familiar too many have unfortunately faded from current memory, except perhaps to those whose families are there inscribed, and to the veterans who served in these conflicts. The Chilliwack Historical Society using documents and newspapers from their archival collections has produced biographical sketches of nearly all those commemorated on the monument. These sketches of memory, 99 from the First World War and 85 from the Second World War, are now available to the public online through the museum’s website.

Here we can learn of the MacLeods, Stevensons, Thompsons, Tingles and others and in several instances we discover their interests, their friends and family. Perhaps they visited the British Museum, sailed to the Black Sea, taught at the local High School, or were successful amateur boxers? Many lived and worked in Chilliwack, their families were known throughout the valley and so their loss was shared amongst the community.

Not all those commemorated on the memorial lived in Chilliwack, but their names were submitted by family members who lived in the area.  Hence we have Piper James Richardson V.C. of Vancouver whose parents and siblings lived in Chilliwack, and with his death James became Chilliwack’s son. We have Saskatoon’s Leslie Warr, lost at Hong Kong with the Winnipeg Grenadiers and whose parents moved into the area following the Second World War. In submitting their son’s name to the Canadian Legion War Memorial Committee, Leslie Warr also became Chilliwack’s son.

Several individual’s names, with connections to Chilliwack were, however, not submitted to the authorities when the names were complied. Some of their names were discovered in the pages of the Chilliwack Progress or revealed to us through research elsewhere. They are included here in a separate section along with the names of those killed in a local training accident in 1988, and one casualty from Croatia. Though the memorial also commemorates the Korean War, no names are inscribed on the memorial from that conflict.

The website concludes with stories of former Chilliwack resident Thomas Herbert Goodland, who became the Deputy Controller of the Imperial War Graves Commission, Chilliwack’s participation in the 1936 Vimy Pilgrimage, Villers Station Cemetery, where seven Chilliwack soldiers of the First World War are buried and the Great War Veterans Association who first sold poppies in Chilliwack in 1922, an example of which is featured throughout the website.

As visitors view this online exhibit, recall the horizontal lead letters and names upon the memorial, return to a day in 1923 when a community gathered to remember and has gathered ever since. And just perhaps visit the memorial this year, where families, veterans and this community continue to remember, their fallen soldiers reborn unto the community.



Chilliwack Museum and Archives 45820 Spadina Avenue, Chilliwack, BC, Canada V20 1T3 [604.795.5210]