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Soldiers Monument

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  • Unveiling, July 6, 1903.

Municipality/Province: Charlottetown, PE

Memorial Number: 11003-012

Type: Bronze statue and granite shaft

Address: Richmond Street

GPS Coordinates: Lat: 46.2350627   Long: -63.1256971

Contributor: Sgt. G.E. Gallant

In October 1900, as the first Island contingent was sailing home, a group of Islanders decided there must be a monument to commemorate their heroic efforts. Prominent Charlottetown citizens struck a committee, chaired by Premier Donald Farquhar, a site was chosen on the south side of Queen Square, and in January 1901, a memorial was selected: an elaborate bronze statue with two figures to represent "Life and Death in Victory."

Subscriptions from Charlottetown citizens netted over $2,000.00 and a fund-raising campaign through Island schools raised close to $200.00. Provincial and city governments responded with a combined $900.00 in grants. A play, Zephra, was held with all proceeds going towards the statue, but all their efforts were not enough. By July 1901, the committee conceded that "life and Death in Victory" was too expensive.

By that time, the committee had received a proposal from Hamilton McCarthy, R.C.A., an Ottawa sculptor of note, whose work is found across Canada (Ottawa and Nova Scotia contain his work commemorating those who fought in South Africa). On October 11, the committee agreed on McCarthy’s submission.

The design for the statue, at a cost of $4,000, was a single figure defending a dismantled gun with his bayonet at the charge, his beardless face wearing an expression characteristic of a soldier of the Royal Canadian Regiment. The site was changed from directly in front of Province House to partway between that building and the Law Courts. Commemorative bronze tablets, designed by L. W. Watson (who also composed the music for "The Island Hymn"), were placed one the north and south sides of the pedestal, which was completed in June 1902 by local craftsman E. F. Purdy.

McCarthy was to complete the monument by July 1, 1902, but after lengthy delays at the founders, the Henry Bonnard Co. of New York, the hollow bronze statue was shipped to Prince Edward Island the following May. The Soldiers Monument was unveiled on July 6, 1903, in memory of Prince Edward Islanders killed in the South African War - Roland Taylor and Alfred Riggs.

On July 6, 2003, the monument was rededicated to all Islanders who volunteered to join the Prince Edward Island South Africa contingents and who served with the Royal Canadian Regiment from 1899 to 1902.

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Inscription found on memorial

[front/devant]

TO THE MEN OF THE
ROYAL CANADIAN REGIMENT
WHO BY THEIR VALOUR AND EFFICIENCY
HAVE MADE MANIFEST TO THE WORLD
CANADA'S ABILITY AND WILLINGNESS TO SHARE
WITH THE MOTHERLAND THE DUTIES
AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF EMPIRE.
THIS MONUMENT IS DEDICATED
BY THEIR GRATEFUL COUNTRYMEN

[back/arrière]

PAARDEBERG
ROLAND TAYLOR, FEB. 18
ALFRED RIGGS, FEB. 27
1900

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