WATERVILLE, NS - It was a timely discovery of a “marvellous piece of history” with great significance to the community of Waterville.
Waterville Baptist Church clerk Ruby Lawrence said it was by chance that a First World War honour roll was found in the church attic this past August. A man doing insulation work saw it and told local historian Randy Rockwell about the discovery.
Rockwell contacted Lawrence about it and she told one of the church trustees. On investigation, the document, nearly a century old, was located and recovered.
Lawrence said they have an honour roll in the church with First and Second World War veterans named on it. However, the “amazing thing” about the First World War honour roll found in the attic is that it names the soldiers, gives their dates of enlistment, their battalions and ranks. There are asterisks by the names of those soldiers who died in service to Canada.
“It was a great, wonderful piece of history to find,” Lawrence said. “We brought it to the church and it was decided that we would give it to the Acadia Archives so that it can be restored and preserved forever for everyone to see. They were quite ecstatic to get it.”
She said the honour roll had some water stains and other minor damages but overall it was in pretty good shape and every name was legible. This might not have been the case if it had spent much more time in the church attic. Lawrence said the Acadia Archives would restore and preserve the document and give a digitized copy to the church.
“It’s good for your heart to know that it’s being preserved after all these men fought and died, some of them,” Lawrence said.
She said the timing of the discovery couldn’t be better. The centennial of the end of the First World War is next year and the community is in the process of getting a monument in honour of those who served erected by the post office. Pastor Christina Bigelow got the ball rolling on the initiative and a committee has been formed. Lawrence said they hope to have the monument dedicated next year.
Lawrence, who is also a Royal Canadian Legion member, said she hopes everyone realizes the sacrifices made by our veterans and to honour them everyday, not only on Remembrance Day.
As she said at the conclusion of a message she delivered at a Remembrance service at the church on Nov. 5 called Real Heroes, those “five little words” that perhaps mean more than anything to our veterans are “thank you for your service.”
“Maybe we don’t realize it but to them it does mean so much to know that they are recognized for what they have gone through,” Lawrence said.