Windsor Veteran Memorial Service Committee
by C. Wayne Hillman
In the years following the 1st World War, many surviving veterans were having a difficult time trying to survive in peacetime. Those veterans who died and whose families had no means of providing a decent funeral were simply buried in Potter-fields. In 1926, two young ex-servicemen who were so very moved by these conditions vowed to help in some way. Major Joe Brawn and Clarence Forster were the founding fathers of this organization and at the time they formed a volunteer group of concerned veterans in the Windsor area. This group assisted them in raising funds for caskets and burial plot for our deceased veterans.
In 1933, they then invited members of all the Veterans Service Clubs including the R.C.L. Branches in Zone A1 to join them in their quest. These groups all funded the program and the Windsor Graves Committee was formed.
In 1963, they changed their name to the Windsor Veterans Memorial Service Committee to further enlarge their group and their abilities to raise funds. This group established areas in all the cemeteries in Zone A1 for veterans, and they also were able in agreements with cemetery owners to set aside burial plots safely for veterans. Through the years this committee has bought, assisted or helped to erect war memorials in most of our cemeteries in memory of our veterans. These memorials will stand forever as a symbol of their commitment in their heroic struggles for our freedom.
This committee also provides a dignified and honourable military type funeral service for all veterans. We consider it an honour to perform this service and to say our last farewell to our heroes of the free world.
We have now been serving our veterans for 80 years. We know of no other group in all of Canada that has performed these special services for all veterans in need.
We have helped people with Veterans Canada problems. We’ve supplied clothing for deceased veterans, had grave markers donated, helped families deal with the loss of a veteran, and most recently were instrumental in procuring lifetime bus passes for all Windsor veterans serving up to 1975. The founding fathers gave us a challenge and we will continue as long as we can. We hope others will always step up to carry on our commitments to veterans and their families. They fought and died for our freedom and democracy. We must always remember our commitment to keep their memory alive.