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Aurora's sacrifice remembered

Just as Herbert Fleury arrived in France to meet his wife and daughter, war broke out in Europe. The Fleury family made its way to Le Havre where it took them ten days to book passage out of France, Herbert to New York, and Mrs. Fleury and Marguerite, to England. All three made it back to Aurora in the fall of 1914 and spent the next few years contributing to many efforts to support the war. The Fleury residence was opened for weekend teas organized by the Girls of the Red Cross Society to raise funds.
The tremendous pressure on men, both farmers and workers at J. Fleury’s Sons to enlist in the York Rangers had an impact on the ability of the company to maintain its workforce. Company advertisements appealed to farm hands who might be available after the harvest to work in the factory over the winter months.
When the War was over, Herbert Fleury resumed his trips to France and served as an unofficial ambassador from Aurora to visit the graves of its soldiers, including: Pte. Walter Harris and Pte. Fred Luxon – two men from J. Fleury’s Sons.
In 1924, and again in 1925, Herbert visited some of the graves of Aurora boys, including 29-year old Pte. Earnest Rose, killed in his trench near Arras on August 29, 1918. Herbert brought back earth, a flower and a photograph from Ernest’s gravesite to his parents in Aurora, Andrew and Maria Rose. He likely also snapped this photo of the grave of Major Ken Campbell, M.C., the son of his housekeeper, Mrs. Emma Jane Campbell.
A black and white photograph of a row of temporary wooden grave markers adorned with flowers.
Flanders Field, c. early 1920s, Image Courtesy of David Fleury
A black and white photograph of a wooden grave marker with a large bouquet at its base.
The grave site of Major Ken Campbell, c. early 1920s,
Image Courtesy of David Fleury
This advertisement ran weekly in the Aurora Banner from October – December 1916.
Aurora Banner, November 3, 1916
A newspaper clipping advertising factory work for those unable to enlist in WW1.
A black and white photograph of a tall stone monument with a path leading up to it.
April 17th 1925, Aurora Museum & Archives (2006.1.3)
A black and white photograph of a group of mostly women dressed in white sitting at tables on a grassy lawn with large trees.
Red Cross fundraiser at Inglehurst, 1916, Aurora Museum & Archives (994.14.19)
IN SUCH A SMALL TOWN, the men lost in combat had a searing impact on families. In 1921, Herbert toured the Flanders battlefields scattered with temporary wooden crosses before Allied cemeteries were established.
Inspired to go further, Herbert became Chairman of the War Memorial Commission that aimed to build a memorial cenotaph to the soldiers from Aurora, King and Whitchurch who had died overseas. Thanks to a $10,000 donation by Sir William Mulock and the fundraising efforts of the three townships, the war memorial was opened in 1925, long before the Canadian National Vimy Memorial was opened in Ottawa in 1939.
 

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