Decoration Day held once again at Volunteer Memorial

Last week, for the first time in decades, citizens gathered to lay flowers on the National Volunteer Memorial which was created to remember those militiamen who served and died in the service of their country at and following the the Battle of Ridgeway (or Limeridge) on June 2, 1860.

Nine of those were members of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada – 7 killed in action and 2 more died shortly thereafter of wounds. Several others were wounded – two requiring amputations.

KILLED

Rifleman William D. Smith No. 2 Company
Lance-Corporal Mark B. Defries No. 3 Company
Ensign Malcolm McEachern No. 5 Company
Rifleman Christopher Alderson No. 7 Company
Rifleman William Fairbanks Tempest No. 9 Company
Rifleman Malcolm McKenzie No. 9 Company
Rifleman John Harriman Mewburn No. 9 Company

WOUNDED

No. 1 Company Ensign William Fahey knee
No. 1 Company Rifleman Oulster leg (calf)
No. 2 Company Sergeant Hugh Matheson thigh
(died June 11)
No. 2 Company Corporal Francis Lakey mouth
(died June 11)
No. 2 Company Rifleman William Thompson neck
No. 3 Company Captain J. B. Boustead contused
No. 3 Company Lieutenant J. H. Beaven thigh
No. 3 Company Rifleman Chas. Winter thigh
No. 4 Company Chas. Lugsdin lung and arm
No. 5 Company Chas. Bell knee
No. 5 Company Rifleman Capp wrist
No. 6 Company Lieutenant W. C. Campbell shoulder
No. 6 Company Corporal Paul Robins knee (since
amputated)
No. 6 Company Rifleman Rutherford foot
No. 7 Company Sergeant W. Foster side
No. 9 Company Rifleman E. T. Paul knee
No. 9 Company Rifleman R. E. Kingsford leg
No. 9 Company Rifleman E. G. Paterson arm
No. 9 Company Rifleman W. H. Vandersmissen groin
No. 10 Company Colour-Sergeant F. McHardy arm
No. 10 Company Rifleman White arm (since
amputated)

You can read more about the battle here.

Thanks to journalist, author and educator, Peter Vronsky for organizing the ceremony. Participants included QOR Skirmishers, bugler and padre; and period soldiers from the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry who fought at Ridgeway as the 13th Battalion.

Photos below are courtesy of retired Captain Larry Hicks, CD.

2 thoughts on “Decoration Day held once again at Volunteer Memorial”

  1. John, thank you, for the update….it is encouraging to see these fallen members recognized.

    I’m not sure if I mentioned to you in the past, however, my wife’s great-grandfather, James Bedley was QOR at the Battle of Ridgeway. Does the records at the Museum have any info on him….or can you suggest where I can check. If it meant coming to the Museum to look through records myself that would be fine.

    Please advise.

    Thanks, Harry McCabe

    On Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 8:42 PM, The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Regimental

    1. Thanks Harry – we don’t have a lot of records from that period but we do have a nominal roll book which we’ve scanned and uploaded to this website: https://qormuseum.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/queens-own-rifles-of-canada-nominal-rolls-1866-to-1882.pdf

      The earliest roll is Mar 15, 1866 and J. Bedley is listed in No. 5 Company but under the heading “on Detachment” – not sure to where though.

      There was no roll for June 2 – I suspect they were probably too preoccupied with everything else to record one…

      The next roll is Jun 7, 1866 taken in Stratford where the were sent immediately after Ridgeway. I can’t find any listing for him there however the writing is very faint so you might want to double check.

      By August they were in Thorold and in that roll he is shown with No. 3 Coy and is in the same Coy in the roll taken in Toronto on January 1867. I haven’t checked any further rolls after that.

      I’m afraid that’s the best we’re probably able to help with. If you have any personal details about him and his service with the QOR, I’d be very happy to create a “rifleman” profile page for him.

      Cheers,
      John

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