We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved…

“In Flanders Fields”, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

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The 54th Kootenay Battalion was authorized by the Militia Dept. in Ottawa in May 1915 and the Battalion was organized at Vernon, BC. The Commanding Officer was Lt. Col. Arnold H G Kemball, a previously retired military officer from India, whom had made his home in Kaslo, BC some years earlier.

A recruitment call was sent out and, in August of that year, a recruitment officer named Capt. Travers Lucas visited Hedley. He personally enlisted 16 men from Hedley. An additional four Hedleyites joined the 54th

Battalion, for a total of 20 Hedley men belonging to this fighting unit.

The 54th Battalion organized its companies by region and the Hedley boys were mostly assigned to “C” Company and, further, to its No. 10 Platoon. Capt. Lucas - later promoted to Major - was made OC of “C” Co. and hence served closely with the Hedley soldiers.

Six of these Hedley men never came home, having paid the ultimate price for their country’s freedom. They are buried in military cemeteries in France, Belgium, and England, or, memorialized on on the Vimy Memorial in France (having no known grave). These six fallen men of the 54th are also memorialized on the Hedley Cenotaph.

The Storey Continues…

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