Next April will mark the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge and today marks 100 years since a Pickering solider lost his life in a battle fought in the South of France.
“Edward Garfield Wilbur is my Great Grand-Uncle. And 100 years ago today he was killed in action at the battle of Somme of WWI.”
Kelly and her family have spent the last several months getting more information on their once forgotten relative known as Garfield. Jim Willett was Garfield’s great nephew.
“Our family members got a hold of Veteran’s Affairs and the research on Garfield we found that he had been in the war and had been killed in action and it happened to be the 100th year. We thought this would be a perfect time to be able to show our respect.”
Garfield was born in Pickering in 1897 and died in action September 1916. His name is on the war memorial in Vimy, France and the book of remembrance in the peace tower. Thursday marked the first time that not only Garfield, but his parents had their name on a tombstone remembering their lives.
“It was more emotional than I thought it would be, when I heard the bagpipes and the last call it really brought me back to the moment and what he would have felt and I am so happy we did this. I hope he is happy.”
Garfield’s family contains a long list of those who protect and serve, both in the military, and firefighting.
“November 11th is coming up and just as a fire service, we had September 11th, so we just want people to remember people who are in the services whether you are fire, police, paramedics, soldiers, my brother is a soldier for 31 years. We are just out there doing our jobs, we are not heroes we just don’t want to be forgotten.”
“It’s been going on generation after generation and there are still many, I would venture to say there are at least half a dozen in the services right today.”
Garfield and his parents are now forever remembered at the Erskine Cemetery in Pickering.