Tag Archives: canadian-legion

My First Memory Of Remembrance Day — The Legion Kettle

My First Memory Of Remembrance Day — The Legion Kettle

by Linda Knight Seccaspina

For Marjorie Gaw

Someone asked me why I post so much about Remembrance Day. Yes, I do post for days, and believe you me; it’s full of love. I was raised by former military men from the past wars that taught me that yes, there was crying, lots of crying, on Remembrance Day, but absolutely no shirking. NO siree! You had better be ready at dawn to march in the Cowansville, Quebec parade where your grandfather was one of the dignitaries, and your father marched in the parade with the other World War 2 vets.

I was raised on pomp and circumstance- pointe finale, as they say in French.

Every Saturday morning I would awake to rousing military marching tunes by John Philip Sousa being played on the old Hi Fi in the family living room. John Philip Sousa was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era, known primarily for American military and patriotic marches.  I have no idea how my father Arthur J. Knight found this musical passion, but he got it from somewhere. He loved the military so much that he joined the Canadian Army during WW II, but never made it past the training session in Georgia because the war ended. I often wondered if he wanted to follow my Grandfather Fred Knight’s footsteps as he returned from the  trenches in France after WW1 with medals and and a lifetime encyclopedia full of stories.

I never remember asking my father to turn the death defying volume down as he chose to crouch next to the Hi Fi speaker with his ear glued to whatever was being played. I figured if he kept it up for enough years he was going to lose his hearing– and then there was the fact that he put up with my Beatle music. No teenager would ever want to mess around with their father’s views on their music. “The Washington Post” by Sousa was his absolute favourite, and then that usually followed with the “King Cotton March” with some added piping and drumming from the Grenadier Guards thrown in for good measure. This wasn’t a passing fancy- he would listen to music, and absorb it– but you would never hear about it in his conversations. I don’t think anyone knew except for my sister and a few others.

I can remember two things in my early life,besides the music. One sitting on a bed in the Allan Memorial Centre watching my mother playing cards, who had no idea who I was. The next thing I remember is a great commotion at age 3 in my grandmother’s bedroom on the night of November 11th.- Remembrance Day.

After the days solemn occasions the Branch #99 Legion in Cowansville had a huge party that same night. Children of course were not allowed, and they spent the evening drawing tickets for various prizes among other things. I remember the bedroom being very cold as it always was because it was heated by the woodstove downstairs. My eyes were blurry and they were all crowded around me shouting that I had won a kettle at the Legion. My grandmother of course probably put my name on some tickets and here was this kettle two inches from my face being waved around. Was it to be mine?

I never did see that kettle again, except on my grandmother’s woodstove. I remember they soon turned the lights off and told me to go back to sleep. Go back to sleep? After winning a kettle at the Legion? How does one do that LOL? Anyways, there was to be no sleeping because my father had gone downstairs and turned on my grandfather’s Hi Fi and blasted the Massed Pipes and Drums throughout the house at full volume. I think that is the first time I cried hearing the pipes; more likely because I was scared. Today, and every day I remember all of those who lost their lives for us in past wars and I thank them.

“Remembrance Day is when the country stops for two minutes of silence, to pay respects to those who gave their lives and our veterans who fought for our freedom.”

—Douglas Phillips, Canadian writer

Grandfather Frederick J. Knight British Army World War 1
Great Grandmother Mary came over to Canada with her son Fred when he emigrated to Cowansville, Quebec after the war. His father Alexander Arthur Knight had left them. He ran a music publishing business in London to only die upon his entry into the United States to become a songwriter at the age of 53. His body was sent back and buried in Plymouth, but the cemetery was bombed in World War 2 and everything was destroyed. ( this is the postcard family kept all these years). Every time my grandfather tried to get her to immigrate she showed him this postcard and said this is what happens when you run away to America.
Armée – Militaires – Jour du Souvenir
Jour du Souvenir. De g. à d. : John Turner, Lionel Bélanger, Joseph-Léon Deslières, Roland Désourdy, Rév. Carl Gustafson, Jean-J. Bertrand, Rév. H. J. Isaacs, F. J. Knight (La Voix de l’Est, 13 novembre 1957)
Légion Canadienne
Élections à la Légion Canadienne. De g. à d., 1ère rangée : Grant Paterson, Arthur Barratt, Albert Strange, Yvon Gaudreau, Jacques Maurice. 2e rangée : F. J. Knight, Charles Renaud, Larry Labrecque, Albert Gagnon, Raymond Farrell, Malcolm Cady, Buster Damant (La Voix de l’Est, 18 janvier 1958 from Ville De Cowansville 1958

Cowansville, July 4 – The Canadian Legion, Cowansville branch, will ignaugurate Monday at 8.30 p.m., a drive to erect a fitting Cowansville Veteran’s Memorial Hall building in this city.Members of the Cowansville Branch, No. 99, of the legion are seeking premises containing necessary rooms for meetings and recreation. The site for the building has been given by Miss Nina M. Nesbitt, of Cowansville, and plans for the building have been provisionally approved.On the evening of the inauguration the speakers will be His Worship Mayor E.A. Boisvert, Maj. Gen. C.B. Price, D.S.O., D.C.M., E.D., president of the Canadian Legion, and Capt. Henry Gonthier, past provincial president.Veterans will then parade through the streets of Cowansville and a street dance will follow. The board of trustees is composed of Mayor Eugene Boisvert, L.L. Bruck, H.F. Vilas, A.G. Scott, D.J. Barker. Co-chairmen of the Cowansville Legion Memorial Hall Building Fund are, R.L. Brault and J.H. Wood, M.B.E., E.D. The president of the local legion is F.J. Knight.-The Montreal Gazette, July 6, 1946

Club Lions
Le comité de la vente d’essence à Cowansville ayant eu lieu le 2 juin au garage B.A. Service Station et au garage Mitch Bedard Auto Enrg. au profit des Lions pour l’aménagement du parc municipal. Première rangée : MM. Arthur Knight, M. Kastello, G. Dean, S. Harrington, B. Mc Crum. Deuxième rangée : MM. D. Morrison, Gordon Snyder, responsables; Vincent Léonard et L. Labrecque (La Voix de l’Est, 4 juin 1957)

Branch 99 of the Cowansville Legion that my Dad and grandfather marched in year-Photo from Ville de Cowansville

The Story of Trenches –Fred Knight Legion Branch #99 Cowansville

Our Fathers Never Talked About the War — Clippings of Norman Melville Guthrie

  1. The Names of the Exempt of Lanark County- WW1
  2. The Fighting Lads of Lanark County WW1–Who Do You Know?
  3. “Nanny Shail’s Nephew”– Gerald Whyte World War 2 Veteran
  4. Remembering Private Gordon Willard Stewart WW 2 Veteran
  1. 90 Day Fiance and Mail Order and War Brides
  2. The Home Guard of Carleton Place
  3. The War Children that Tried to Come to Canada–SS City of Benares
  4. The Children of Ross Dhu –Evacuation to Canada
  5. Does Anyone Know What This is?
  6. The Very Sad Tale of Horace Garner “Sparky” Stark of Carleton Place
  7. Did You Ever Notice This in Beckwith Park? Thanks to Gary Box
  8. George Eccles Almonte Hero!

I Saw Santa…..




When I was a child I remember every children’s event that we had at the Legion Branch #99 in Cowansville, Quebec. We always went to the Legion for happy occasions such as summer picnics or Christmas parties, or sometimes even weddings.


Each year all of us local children looked forward to that Sunday afternoon at the Legion’s Children’s Christmas party. One by one they would call our names and we would tell Santa our hopes and dreams for Christmas and then tear open our present which was usually a puzzle or a paint by number set.


Today, there are still memories of hard wooden chairs, lots of adult chatter over beer and the ozone proof cigarette smoke cloud hanging over the room. Everyone was so nice to us and I assume today they all watched their language when we were around. The memory of war in the 1950s was still fresh in everyone’s mind and by eavesdropping to some of those adult conversations then you would have thought the war had ended about a week ago.


Fast forward many decades and I live in Ontario now. I try and go to the Legion Branch #192 breakfast every month as entering any Legion is timeless and it brings back great memories. Saturday I got there very early to celebrate “Breakfast with Santa” just as excited as I was when I was a child.


As I ate my delicious breakfast I searched the crowd for Santa but he hadn’t arrived yet. Thirty minutes later I asked someone where Santa was. Apparently Santa was going to be hanging out on the lower floor, so I made my way down there wanting to have a photo with him. It seemed oddly quiet as I walked down the hall. As I glanced into one of the rooms there was Santa in all his glory in his red underwear getting dressed. I was mortified to have disturbed the jolly man, and quickly apologized as I ran up the stairs.


When I was a child I used to go to bed Christmas Eve fully clothed as I didn’t want Santa to see me in my underwear. My Dad also used to tell me if I stopped believing in Santa I would only get underwear as a gift. Well, I saw Santa’s underwear last Saturday. Truthfully, I am glad I have always believed in Santa as none of us gals needs to wear red stretchy underwear like that!


Apologies Santa, and in reality Santa, I have been very good this week. So, let’s just focus on that!


Merry Christmas!

To Bernie and the Vets


November 11th, 2010

The above photo card was a friend of my grandfather’s whose name was Bernie. He had no family and was a great companion to Grampy Knight until he died in the trenches in WWI. Grampy always told me if anything happened to him to look after Bernie’s picture so someone would always remember. I still have it today.

When the sun rises today in Canada it becomes the 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge. Today should be nothing short of a day of respect for the men and women that have and continue to fight for our countries.



Carleton Place Remembrance Day parade photo that hangs in the lobby of the old Mississippi Hotel


As a child my father and grandfather would don their dress overcoats, berets, their war medals and proudly march with their fellow war heroes behind the flag bearer of The Cowansville Canadian Legion Branch Number 99 on November 11th. The photo of Bernie was always kept in a business envelope in my Grandfather’s upper right pocket.

Grampy Knight had fought with the British Army in WWI in France and had been one of the first soldiers to be poisoned with mustard gas in the trenches. My father had participated in WWII with the Canadian Army and his greatest disappointment was that I never followed suit.

As a child I would always march in the Remembrance Day parade with the Brownies and then later the Girl Guides. We would stand on the frozen front lawn of Cowansville High School and listen to speeches and see the widows place their wreaths on the cenotaph.

dad (1).jpg
Branch 99 of the Cowansville Legion that my Dad and grandfather marched in year-Photo from Ville de Cowansville

At 11 am the lonely sound of the “Last Post” played with the mandatory two minute silence following. It was always so deathly quiet you could hear the ghosts of the dead soldiers whisper.  In the previous weeks the Legion members would sell poppy badges that everyone still wears in Canada to remember all those who were lost in the wars.


Photos of a collection photos of my grandfather and friends from WWI – Cowansville, Quebec newspaper with my Grandfather F.J. Knight in the middle. (2001)

Each November 11th we would stand and solemnly recite the poem “In Flanders Fields” and I remember it like yesterday.  The poem was written by Canadian John McCrae and my grandfather had met him during the war and the poem was written upon a scrap of paper on the back of Colonel Lawrence Cosgrave in the trenches. He wrote it during a lull in the bombings on May 3, 1915, after he witnessed the death of his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, the day before.

It was first published on December 8, 1915 in Punch magazine, in London, England and became a poem that is has always been related to war heroes like Bernie. 
If anyone after reading this poem does not understand what our military goes through everyday, then please watch the video. Even though some of my memory blows through the wind now, I can still remember every word of that poem by heart. I remember them for Bernie.

Now today we remember The Battle of Vimy Ridge– one hundred years ago.


I am proud to say that my Grandfather Frederick J. Knight was one of the founding members of Branch 99 of the Canadian Legion in Cowansville, Quebec.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

We Need Loonies for the Carleton Place Legion–Branch 192


legion (1)

As a child I remember a time when my families branch of the Royal Canadian Legion was packed. Members and families flocked to the Davignion Blvd Branch #99 building in Cowansville, Quebec each week without fail. Those were memories of good times, but today the times are different.


It’s no secret that our Canadian Legion branches are struggling to survive. Sadly, it’s not only an issue of fading veterans and difficult fund raising– it just seems to be a tragic sign of the times. For anyone that doesn’t realize what a Legion is or was, it’s just isn’t a club for veterans and drinking. Once upon a time it was the centre of many communities. Think back to the times you went to a legion hall for weddings, Christmas parties and other events. I am sure there are very few of you that don’t have a passing memory.


Ontario has approximately 415 Canadian Legion branches and about 140,000 members. A lot of those very legions now face infrastructure issues, including our very own Branch 192 in Carleton Place. Member attendance has become a difference between the two eras. Instead of spending five years in the service, it’s seen more as a career option now. It’s a different time.

There are about 10% of these very dedicated branches that are closing annually now. Participation and fundraising is down. Branch 192 is trying to do more with a lot less people, because of the aging veterans. The survival rate is presently five years for some of our Canadian legions. Do we want Branch 192 in Carleton Place to suffer the same fate?

Our Carleton Place legion is now left to figure out how they can continue to serve the community and veterans, while remaining viable and keeping the lights on and the leaks out. Branch 192 of the Royal Canadian Legion is turning to the community for help due to mounting financial pressures. Just one loonie from each person in Carleton Place could solve a lot of problems. Don’t let the taps play out for our branch.



For more information about the legion or to make a donation, contact Brian Comeau at bc3comeau@gmail.com or call the legion at 613-257-1727.

Let’s do it for our dedicated Legion members and for Ron Roe that once set up the Hall of Valor

Read Tara Gesner’s interview with Brian Comeau here.

Let’s Break the Internet! Make Carleton Place’s Branch 192 Legion Video Go Viral!


Thank you to the Carleton Place Legion Branch for creating this video. What a beautiful, supportive town we live in. Enjoy and let’s share it everywhere and make it go viral! If the Kardashians can break the internet, so can we! Let’s break the Internet for the Carleton Place Legion!


Support Your Local Legion!



The photo above is Branch 99 from Cowansville, Quebec. It is the very branch my Grandfather Frederick J. Knight helped found after serving in the trenches in WW1. My father Arthur J. Knight followed suit in WW2 and proudly followed his father, always supporting Branch number 99 until his death. Each year I would march in the Remembrance Parade behind the Legion. When I found this picture of them marching in Cowansville in the 1950’s it brought tears to my eyes.


The Canadian Legion is extremely important to me no matter where they are located. It should be important to you too!

There are great stories coming out of our local Branch 192 Carleton Place. Rhonda Pond sent me this message:

I recently received my 20 year membership pin, and I couldn’t be prouder of many, many leaders in our community! I am moved tremendously by Comrades Ron Gobel, Jerry Flynn, the Ocean Wave Fire Company, the Carleton Place OPP and every volunteer who has shown Dan Boudreault what it means to belong. Thank you to my Dad, Comrade Garry Pond, for sharing this with me. Please pass this along ~ we want EVERY veteran to have a place to come to for help. Join your local Legion, volunteer where when you can. You never know which friend or neighbour will need you first, or which one might help you. ‪#‎findyourRCL‬ ‪#‎branch192‬



177 George Street
Carleton Place, Ontario


In memory of Fred J. Knight of Cowansville, Quebec.
He is the one in the middle with the Mason apron on.. Now that’s another story 🙂

Who Will Remember Us? – A Tribute to the Veterans of Valour on This Day of 11-11-13 – Zoomer



Who Will Remember Us? – A Tribute to the Veterans of Valour on This Day of 11-11-13 – Zoomer.