Remembrance Day Homily

On Sunday November 12, 2017 at St Barnabas on the Danforth, the Guides took a very active part in the service. They wrote and delivered the sermon. It was very impressive. The sermon was written by Micaela, Chloe & Annabelle and delivered by Micaela, Lila & Adele.  Guides who participated in our Remembrance Day Service also made poppies and planted them in our garden after the service.

Today we remember.

We remember ... all of the soldiers who fought for Canada, our values and our freedoms; those who died for our country, those who were injured both physically and mentally, and all of those who served. They willingly gave themselves for the future of our country, the Canada that we live in today.

We remember ... that no lives were left untouched during World War 1 and World War 2, a total of 10 long years of fighting and sacrifices. Over one and a half million Canadian soldiers served over seas during those two wars, over one hundred thousand Canadian soldiers were killed and another two hundred and twenty thousand wounded - they were all someone's parent, child, brother or sister, sweetheart or best friend. They were of all ages, but so many were so very young. They were of all races, religions and social classes. They came together to proudly represent Canada. Those who stayed at home supported their efforts while mourning the loss of loved ones and living with hope for the end of the war; praying for the safe return of those still fighting and for friends and family living in the midst of the war zone.

We remember ... that these soldiers were Canadians, members of our community, members of St Barnabas Church. They lived on the streets we live on today, they worked in this city and they worshipped at this church. Today we will tell you about some of them.


Today we remember.

We remember ... the soldiers who died in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, many of whom are buried at Vimy. We have a number of their stories to retell.

First, John Beesley, who was 29 years-old when he joined the Canadian Infantry. John Beesley was born March 18th, 1887 and died on September 29, 1916. He left behind a family of three sons and his wife. He lived on the Danforth and then also on Chester Avenue. He was a member of St Barnabas Church; he made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, and that is why we remember him today.

Second, William Ernest Cocker was 26 years-old when he joined the Canadian Infantry. He was born on October 3, 1890 and died on July 12, 1917. He left behind three sisters still living in England and his mother who passed away in Toronto while he was overseas. He fought in France from February until May of 1917 until he died. He was also a member of St. Barnabas Church.

Third, Thomas Barling was 19 years-old when he enlisted in the Canadian Infantry. He was 20 years old when he died at war. He lived at 211 Withrow Avenue, and he left behind his parents who still lived in that home. He was a member of St. Barnabas Church and fought for our country.

Fourth, Victor Ernest Griffin was 18 years-old when he enlisted in the Canadian Infantry. He lived at 49 Garnock Avenue, and was the fifth son of Mrs. Griffin. He had three older brothers who were also fighting in France. He took part in important battles and died on September 15th 1916 and was buried at Vimy Memorial.

Fifth, Charles Martin was 37 years-old when he enlisted in the Canadian Infantry. Born on May 28th, 1879 and died on November 18, 1916, Charles Martin. He was also buried at Vimy Memorial, which is among the most recognized monuments to the loss of Canadian life during World War 1.

We remember ... all the soldiers who lost their lives in battle.


Today we remember.

We remember ... how difficult it was for families to lose loved ones during the war.

Many of the men who served in the war were just like us and lived in this neighbourhood. We're going to tell you about the Schofield family.

John and William Schofield were brothers who enlisted together after coming to Canada together from England five years earlier. John had actually been in the Imperial Army when the war broke but was discharged for disability. It seems that he had been injured in the line of duty. The brothers enlisted together in Canada on February 14, Valentine's Day, 1916. William was 23 years old when he was enrolled in the war and John was 25. William was shot in the line of duty by a German sniper on October 8th 1916. He died in the arms of a fellow soldier at the age of 24. John was injured at Vimy Ridge and later died in France at the age of 28.

On the enlistment paper both John and William as well as their mother Margaret, and William's wife Mary Ellen, are listed as having lived at 100 Cambridge Avenue, not far from here. They were two of five brothers, children of Mrs Margaret Schofield. The other brothers names were Herbert, Edwin and Thomas. All five of the brothers went to war.

All of the brothers were injured in some way by the war. By September 1918, Edwin and Thomas had returned from the war, but it's unclear what happened to Herbert. This must have been very hard for Mrs Schofield losing two of her children in such a short period.

William was an electrician and worked for the Excelsior Electric Company. It's possible he did some of the original electrical work in our houses and buildings. We know that William was married. His wife's name was Mary Ellen. At the time that William was killed he had a baby boy at home and Mary Ellen had moved to 855 Broadview Avenue, perhaps she moved back in with her parents. Before William left for the war he was in a very good place in his life.

John was a clerk by trade and it appears that he never married. From what we gather from the information we found, John wanted to serve his country and return to a war where he had already been wounded once. His mother Margaret had moved to 70 Arundel during the time her sons were at war. We hope that Herbert eventually made it back home.

We remember ... how war changed families forever.


Today we remember.

We remember ... that during World War One and World War Two lives were changed for those who stayed home.

When tens of thousands of Canadian men left their regular lives and jobs on farms and in cities to fight overseas, the women, children, teenagers and those men that did not fight in the wars worked in various ways help the country cope with the lack of men in factories, on farms and in cities.

Farms needed help when men left the farms to fight in the wars or work in the cities. Women farmers and their children took up the chores of milking the cows, planting, harvesting, caring for livestock and managing the finances of the farm. Some city teenagers were sent into the country to help with the harvest.

Rationing made it hard for people like Joshua and Annie Ingham, whose son was Flight Sub Lieutenant Joshua Martin Ingham, to obtain sugar, butter, eggs and other scarce food items that were needed to help feed the men fighting overseas. Rubber, gas, metal and nylon were also scarce because they were needed for the war effort.

Canadians conserved energy by using daylight savings time. Canadians were also encouraged to purchase savings bonds and Victory Bonds to help the government pay for the war effort. Children were encouraged to buy thrift stamps, and collected cooking fat, bones and milkweed for the war effort.

Many women in cities and towns worked at home and outside the home. Women like Mary Ellen Schofield, wife of Private William Schofield, who lived on Broadview Avenue, donated their blood and planted local gardens to feed the local population. Some women enlisted to become ambulance drivers, nurses and aircraft workers overseas.

Women like Frances A. Trimbee, wife of Chief Petty Officer Walter Trimbee, who lived on Gough Avenue, would have joined women’s organizations supporting the war effort. Women’s organizations in Canada made quilts, bandages and clothing for the men overseas. They sent books, newspapers and special treats to military hospitals.

War factories in Canada needed workers, so large numbers of women started working in the factories, as well as immigrant men who did not fight in the war.

America had the fictional “Rosie the Riveter” during World War Two, but Canada had the real life Elsie MacGill. She was the first woman to receive an electrical engineering degree in Canada and was the first female aircraft designer in the world. She supervised the production of Hawker Hurricane fighter planes at the Canadian Car and Foundry Company. We remember ... that everyone is impacted by war.


Today we remember.

We remember ... those who served our country, those who sacrificed their lives.

We remember ... that today Canada continues to proudly play a role in peacekeeping missions around the world. And we pray for a time when people everywhere can live in peace. A time when no one fears war in their country, when refugees are not pouring out of war-torn countries and when we don't read in the news about lives lost in conflict.

Today we remember.


Visit the parish website here »