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Nov. 11th 2007 cenotaph address on behalf of Burford Holy Trinity Anglican Church and Rev. Larry Brown, Padre of Burford, Cathcart, Harley, Branch 543 Royal Canadian legion





The plaque on the Burford War Memorial

Photo by C. Barker




Copyright © 2007-2020  by Clayton J. Barker


Remembering people and their bravery; their sacrifices made because of their love for their country, for peace and for world freedom.

This community of Burford is one of the oldest communities in Ontario and it is well documented that over the past 200 years men and women, of this place had participated in war and in peace-keeping both here at home defending our borders, during the war of 1812-14 and abroad during the 1st and 2nd World Wars and other foreign conflicts, right up to the present day with the peace-keeping efforts around the world.


To the early settlers of Burford belongs the distinction of organizing the first Military Company in this County. The first members met together on the Village green, in 1798, then later they participated in the various battles of the War of 1812. One hundred years later, in July 1914 - at the commencement of the First World War, Canadians were preparing for the celebration of 100 years of peace between Canada and the United States - but our military forces were called to the front lines of Europe.

Through their stories, written in our history books and their letters from the trenches, they leave behind first-hand knowledge and a permanent record for future generations to come. These historic events, along with wisdom and knowledge of the past, is part of our inheritance. It is our duty to safeguard their legacy and pass it on.


It is hard, sometimes these days, when it is up to us to convey all that has been passed down to us by way of information. Our audience sometimes does not appear to be listening. However, in this fast-paced world of technical advances such as the computer and the Internet, people do not think of knowledge of the past as being anything that pertains to them right now.


War medals being sold on eBay, flea markets, and at yard sales? ...yes, it is appalling when you think of the magnitude of what the recipients had done to deserve such decoration and honour. Today there is a price-tag on everything including all that past generations had considered to be sacred. One time I bought a text book at a yard sale, and as I was walking away with the book, an old letter, along with a photograph, fell out of the book. As I picked the letter up, I realized that it was dated July 27th, 1917.


It was a letter from a soldier who was stationed at the front lines during the First World War. For me, this was like finding a time capsule, as I am a historian and archivist of historical photos and documents. Needless to say, I was concerned that the vendor perhaps made a mistake and really didn't mean to sell the letter with the book. But the vendor was not interested in the letter nor did they care that they had just sold it - book and all, to me for 50 cents.


The soldier was writing to his Girlfriend here in Brant County and in spite of the fact that he was being quarantined, due to an outbreak of measles in his unit, and the fact that he wasn't so sure he or his letter would even make it back home, he seemed quite chipper. One thing he admits to have learned during his tour of duty, that he did however manage to pass on to us here, 90 years later - is a simple message:  Let us not take peace and the fruits of our freedom for he writes..."but this will be the makings of lots of fellows this game, if they ever get home again. They will appreciate what a home and friends are, more than they ever did."


The past is what we learn from; It is said that of all great civilizations that have perished, one thing was common...they chose to forget their past...such was the Roman Empire. We should always take time out to remember the past and those who have gone before, and recognize what they have done and the events that have made a difference, which have shaped our communities, our Province and our Country. While observing the past at this Remembrance Day, we should also recognize our failures so that we may not repeat them and so that we can correct them. The past is what we build our current thoughts and ideas upon. It leads to the Present, which, in turn, leads to the future.



The information contained on this page represents the research findings and opinions of the author. The material on this page reflects the author’s best judgement in light of the information available at the time of compilation. Any use of this material made by a third party, or reliance on, or decisions made based on it is the responsibility of such third parties. The author accepts no responsibility for damages, if any, suffered by any third party as a result of decisions made or actions based on this work.








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BURFORD – The Home Front



on Leave in U.K.


Putting on the  Putties