Ground-breaking ceremony for N.B. naval memorial in Saint John
A ground-breaking ceremony five years in the making was held at a grassy patch along Harbour Passage on Remembrance Day, where a new memorial to mark New Brunswick's naval and maritime history will be built.
"It is a turning point as I said in my remarks," says Cheryl Robertson, president of the Royal United Services Institute, which is overseeing and leading the project. "It indicates that we're moving on to the next step of this joint journey with the HMCS Brunswicker."
The memorial will pay tribute to those men and women who served at sea – some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice – but it will also commemorate the contributions of those in the province who worked in the shipbuilding industry and as port workers.
"It starts when the Europeans first came here, and it continued through the Great World Wars, the Korean Conflicts … and the ongoing conflicts that we all know our Canadian forces are participating in today," says Paul Dempsey, chair of the New Brunswick Naval Memorial Committee. "This memorial is meant to recognize that complete timespan."
The main monument will include a replica of the bow of HMCS Saint John, and at the stern, the names of the Royal Canadian Navy ships lost during the Battle of the Atlantic will be inscribed.
At starboard, there will be a silhouette of a Cyclone helicopter, which will be in memory of the fatal crash of HMCS Fredericton's Cyclone helicopter in April 2020.
"Last, but not least, we are going to have cleats," says Cmdr. Thomas Watts, commanding officer of HMCS Brunswicker. "These are what you see on ships usually to tie up the ropes … these will be our main seating areas."
A fundraising campaign is now underway for the memorial, which is expected to cost in the order of $750,000.
Dempsey says they are now about halfway to that mark.
It's hoped that construction on the memorial will be finished in spring of next year.