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Searching for forgotten names

City looks to update war memorial with names of missing Oshawa war dead

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

war memorial 2 (web)

It has recently come to the attention of city hall that some names of Oshawa war dead may be missing from the commemorative plaques on the cenotaph. (Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express)

The original plaques and names of Oshawa’s war dead may already be set in stone, but the city is looking to find a way to add the additional names of soldiers that may have been missed.

According to Councillor Bob Chapman, residents have come forward through the city’s veteran street naming policy with the news that their relative’s name is actually not included on the monument in Memorial Park.

However, this new information is creating a slight problem.

“This was given to us by National Defence Graves Registration some time after the war and we made up that nice big plaque, but how do you add a name to it without redoing the whole thing?” Chapman says.

Oshawa’s cenotaph was unveiled on Nov. 11, 1924 and included the names of 138 Oshawa soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War set into a bronze plaque. In 1948, a second plaque was added with the 177 Oshawa residents who died during the Second World War.

For the families and loved ones of those that lost their lives in wartime, Chapman hopes the city can set the record straight.

“Our goal is that if they left from Oshawa to go to the war, any of the wars, and they didn’t come back, then their name should be on that plaque somewhere,” he says. “I’m not optimistic that we’ll find every name of everybody, but we’ll get more and they deserve it.”

It’s currently unclear how many names of former Oshawa residents are missing from the memorial, and it could be a hard task to track them all down, especially if that person enlisted somewhere other than Oshawa.

For that reason, the city plans to put a call out for residents that may have information about a former Oshawa resident who died during any of the the wars to contact them.

Along with the cenotaph, the city also honours veterans with its street naming policy, which has seen several streets across Oshawa, and most recently in new subdivisions in the north end, bearing the name of local veterans or war dead.