Many Leasiders have seen the stainless-steel plaque at Leaside Memorial Community Gardens (LMCG) listing the names of 17 servicemen from Leaside who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Second World War. Raymond White, former chair of the LMCG board, told the story of the plaque in the September 2018 issue of Leaside Life.
But a second place where Leasiders’ service overseas is remembered is the Memorial Window at Leaside United Church. The spectacular Memorial Window, one of 21 stained glass windows filling every opening in the Sanctuary, holds the place of honour overlooking the chancel and the congregation (when the church reopens for worship, of course).
The central figure, in the window, is of Jesus Christ, with arms spread. The lower panel tells us that this is a Memorial Window: “Dedicated to the glory of God and in remembrance of the sacrifice of those who served the cause of Justice and Freedom, 1939-45.” This window was dedicated at Leaside on November 6, 1955 – the Remembrance Day service that took place a decade after the end of World War II.
This lower panel lists the names of nine young men (average age 22 years) from Leaside families who made the ultimate sacrifice. Of the nine, seven were in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), one in the Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA), and one was in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). Eight of the nine were buried overseas (in Holland, England, Scotland and Belgium), while one died at sea. Six of the nine are also included in the list on the LMCG plaque.
The Panel of Symbols, just above the names, is “rich in meaning and memory” and includes The Tables of the Law and the Bible, the RCAF badge, the Red Cross emblem, the RCN emblem and the Canadian Army insignia.
“May we never forget the high cost of our freedoms. We are forever grateful.”
Full disclosure: the author acknowledges the source of much of the information in the article being from The Windows of Leaside at Leaside United Church, November 2000. This excellently researched book is unfortunately available only in hard copy. Until the pandemic, copies of the book were present in all the church pews.
As the book says, the stories of the nine young men are largely unknown. However, some information about each one is included in the Windows book.