Remembrance Day

On November 11th, every year, join us at the Cenotaphs in New Hamburg for a short Remembrance Service, followed by a parade to the Arena for a Full Remembrance Service. Then, all are welcome back to the Branch for a time of comraderie and refreshments.

In 1931, after insistent representation from the Canadian Legion, parliament enacted the Armistice Day Act. The Act ensured that November 11th would be set aside as a day distinct and apart from any other observance upon which the nation could pay special tribute to those “who gave their lives that freedom might prevail”.

In 1970, an act, known as “The Holidays Act”, was passed by Parliament which included, among other holidays, Remembrance Day. An extract of that act reads as follows:

“Throughout Canada in each and every year, the 11th day of November, being the day in the year 1918 on which the Great War was triumphantly concluded by an armistice, is a holiday and shall be kept and observed as such under the name of Remembrance Day.”

New Hamburg, Ontario

The first Cenotaph plans began in 1918 but it was not erected until 1922. On December 6, 1918, interested citizens met at the library hall to discuss the erection of a monument in honour of New Hamburg’s fallen heroes. The committee was appointed to carry out the commendable undertaking: Reeve Fred Debus, Chairman, S. G. Bratlett, Secretary, L. G. Pequegnat, J. F. Katzenmier, Lewis Hahn, Dan Becker, Dr. Anderson, Henry A. Ernst and Thomas Wenzel.

It was indicated at the meeting that the Women’s Patriotic Society, which provided comfort for the overseas soldiers, would join the project. It was proposed that a soldiers’ monument be erected with the names engraved of all New Hamburg men who fell in the battle. On September 8, 1922, the Women’s Patriotic Society meeting was advised that the foundation and base were practically completed by local stone masons, which would be ready for the bronze statue and tablet in short time. Mrs. G. H. Meyers, treasurer was requesting payment of the outstanding subscriptions.

On May 1927, the Women’s Institute invited the members of New Hamburg Council, Board of Trade, Park Board and School Board to discuss a new memorial. In mid-1927, a committee was named to lead in the planning was Leon G. Pequegnat, David Eby, O. H. Becker, Lafayette Hostetler and three members to be named by the Women’s Institute. The committee visited Ayr, Paris, Hamilton and Preston to view memorial monuments and to obtain prices.

The New Hamburg Independent, reported that there are eleven boys who gave their lives for the Empire, namely: Bernie Marty, Albert Merner, Russell Williams, Theodore Shuler, John E. Spahr, John Strauch, Nathaniel Steir, Charles Daniells, Elgin Eby, Glennie Goebel, Wilfred Laschinger

On May 24, 1929, the new concrete memorial was unveiled by Lieutenant Governor D. W. Ross. A procession headed by the New Hamburg Band, followed by the school children, marched to the Cenotaph. Mr. Hostetler was chairman and Colonel F. A. Lister, DSC, of London, Ontario, read the last roll call. The Wreaths were placed by the relatives of the fallen, the Municipality, the Women’s Institute and the Memorial Committee. The Ontario Legislature and the House of Commons were present. The Last Post was sounded by Bugler Richards of Kitchener and the school children sang O Canada.

In 1929, the Cenotaph, suffer the effects of rain and frost. It was felt that repairs were no longer feasible, and the replacement of the memorial should be considered. Many changes had occurred in the intervening years, New Hamburg and Wilmot Township were amalgamated. The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 532 had been formed in New Hamburg, and consultation between Municipal Council and Legion Members resulted in a decision to replace the concrete Cenotaph. It was also agreed that names of Wilmot Veterans who died in service will be included. Another sixteen names are to be added to those on the original memorial. Planning for a new Cenotaph was placed in the hands of a committee composed of Rev. Roy Shepherd, Councillor Dave Scherer and Legion Members Sid Cheeseman and Harold Lautenschlager.

New Hamburg Cenotaph 1929

1929 – 1991

A new Cenotaph of light grey granite was erected by Shuh Memorials of Kitchener, costing $28,000. In 1990, few days before Christmas the granite blocks, precut and polished, were assembled on site on the concrete base poured earlier in the fall. A time capsule was prepared, containing newspaper, photographs, money and legion memorabilia to be enclosed in the base.

Engraved on the Cenotaph are the names of all those who died.

First World War
Captain Rusell Williams
Lance Corporal Elgin Eby 
Private charles Daniells 
Private Herbert Erbach 
Private Alvin Forler 
Private Glen Goebel 
Private Wilfred Lashinger 
Private Leslie Shephard 
Private John Strauch 
Private Nathaniel Steir
Private George Kamel Schmidt
Private Theodor Schuler
Private Clinton Walker
Private Charles Young
Second World War
Captain M. Nile Bier
Flying Officer Robert W. Honderich
Flying Officer Charles W. Hostetler
Flying Officer Russell Saltzberry
Corporal Herbert Ditner
Corporal Donald Milne
MM, Lance Corporal s. W. Foster
Lance Corporal Kenneth Laverne Fried
Signalman Earl yantzi
Leading Air Craftsman Erhardt George Wagner
Private Walter Carl Kurt
Private Albert G. Reinhardth
Private John Henry Stiefelmeyer
Private Burkle Toman

Korean War
Sergeant Gerald W. Koch

In May 20, 1991, the new Cenotaph ceremony was held blessed by bright sunshine and warm temperature. Legion members, the New Hamburg band, and a number of special quest and the general public participated in the ceremony. The service was conducted by Rev. Roy Shepherd and legion President Jack Pearson.