Banners of Remembrance return to Morinville

Above and right: Musée Morinville Museum attendant Donna Garrett poses with one of the ten Banners of Remembrance placed along 100 Street for Veterans’ Week. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

Ten banners honouring the lives of Morinville and area veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice will once again be raised over Morinville along 100 Street.

“The banners are important because it reminds the community of the lives that were lost, given in service of the country,” said Musée Morinville Museum attendant Donna Garrett, noting the banners hang from the lamp posts on 100 Street from Sobeys to the Morinville Fire Department. “We call it, during this time, Veterans’ Way, and the ten banners commemorate the lives that were lost.”

Of the ten banners, two depict soldiers from the First World War: Jean Ferrat and Louis Bourassa. There are seven from the Second World War: George Parker, Leon Theberge, Russell John Majeau, Jean-Paul Therrien, Louis Max Lavallee, Richard Albert McDonald, and Paul Emile Caouette. From Afghanistan is Byron Garth Greff, a Morinville resident who was the last Canadian soldier to lose his life in that country.

Russell John Majeau was a Pilot Officer killed on Apr. 28, 1942. He was 27 at the time of his death and is buried at Hilsenheim Communal Cemetery, Bas-Rhin, France.

Leon Theberge was a Private with PPCLI, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps. He died on Dec. 29, 1943, at the age of 21 and is buried in Ortona, Italy.

Richard McDonald, a Flight Sergeant, was killed on Apr. 18, 1945, at the age of 22. He is remembered at the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey, United Kingdom.

Jean Ferrat, Private, is buried at the Contay British Cemetery, Department de la Somme, Picardie, France. Ferrat died on Sept. 27, 1916, at the age of 36.

Louis Bourassa, 233rd Overseas Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, is buried in Edmonton at Saint Joachim’s Cemetery. Bourassa died on June 29 at the age of 25.

Jean-Paul Therrien is buried at the Bergen-Op-Zoom Cemetery in Holland. He died at 19 years of age on Nov. 2, 1944. He was a Private with the Algonquin Regiment, RCIC Army. He lived in Morinville when he enlisted.

Byron Greff was a Master Corporal with 3 Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and is buried in Lacombe, Alberta. Greff, a resident of Morinville at the time of his death on October 29, 2011, was one of 17 killed in a suicide bomber attack that stuck an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) vehicle. Greff, who was 28 at the time, was the last Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan.

The banner project brings awareness of Morinville and the area’s military history to light and is in recognition of remembrance of the sacrifices of these soldiers and all soldiers.

Loralee Elliott of the Historical & Cultural Society with the assistance of President Paulette Houle and fellow member Andy Noel as well as members of the Volume 4(for) History Committee led the project to develop the banners.

The Town of Morinville, Kal McDonald of Coach’s Corner Sports Bar & Grill, graphic designer Mona Bouchard, and the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 176 Morinville also lent support to the initiative.

Garrett hopes residents will take the time to walk the street and look at the banners.

“It’s to honour-honour the men who lost their lives for our community,” Garrett said, adding that residents are encouraged to visit the museum for additional information on each soldier.

The Musée Morinville Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from noon until 5 p.m. They will open on Remembrance Day, Friday, Nov. 11, from noon until 3 p.m.

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