Source: November 1917 casualty.
Memory of fallen Scugog soldier returns home
‘Certificate of service’ plaque for Harry Slaughter turned over to Township
Oshawa This Week
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
SCUGOG — The memory of a fallen First World War soldier who once called Scugog home will now live on in the halls of the municipality.
Corporal Harry Slaughter was born in England in the late 1800s, but settled on Scugog Island after the turn of the last century. He later enlisted for action in the first global conflict at the age of 28 and fought at Vimy Ridge and again, for the last time, in the Battle of Passchendaele.
It was there, on the Belgium battleground, that Mr. Slaughter was killed in action, one of more than 15,000 Canadian troops who either lost their lives or were wounded.
Now, more than nine decades later, interest in Mr. Slaughter’s sacrifice was rekindled through a chance connection between another former Scugog Island resident, a community historian and a classroom full of Grade 10 students.
Earlier this year, James Hood, a former Scugog resident whose family had connections with the Slaughters and who has lived in the U.S. for more than 30 years, contacted J. Peter Hvidsten. Their discussions centred around a ‘certificate of service’ plaque for Mr. Slaughter that Mr. Hood found while rummaging through his belongings.
Discussions between Mr. Hood and Mr. Hvidsten, publisher of Focus on Scugog and former owner of The Port Perry Star, led to plans to return the plaque to Mr. Slaughter’s hometown.
“He’s very pleased the plaque will find its way to Port Perry,” said Mr. Hvidsten on Monday, as he officially turned the framed, colourful certificate over to Scugog Township officials.
Originally, plans had called for Mr. Hood to present the plaque to Scugog officials. However, Mr. Hood had fallen ill and was unable to attend the Nov. 23 presentation.
Also playing a role in rekindling Mr. Slaughter’s memory were students in Nancy Hamer-Strahl’s Grade 10 history class at Port Perry High School. As part of their curriculum this fall semester, the students spent a good chunk of their time researching Mr. Slaughter.
“It’s so important that when you teach history, you make it local, and when you make it local, you bring it to life,” Ms. Hamer-Strahl told councillors.
The group of “extremely talented” students saw the First World War “through the eyes of Harry Slaughter,” she said.
According to Mr. Hvidsten, Mr. Hood had hoped the plaque would be displayed in the new Scugog Shores Heritage Centre and Archives. At Monday’s meeting, however, Scugog Mayor Marilyn Pearce said that it would most likely be rotated throughout the municipality’s facilities, starting first by hanging in the Township offices.
“You’ve taken hold of a piece of Scugog’s history,” the mayor told Ms. Hamer-Strahl and her students.