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Additions to Book of Remembrance

12 January 2016

There were fifty-four men listed in STAR’s original Book Of Remembrance.  Here are six more that should be included.  All were buried in Canada and three died after “VE” Day.  I suspect that they might have died of illness or injury serious enough for them to have returned from overseas or never have deployed.  Any further information will be appreciated.

Able Seaman Earl Alvin Bender


Born about 1926, son of William & Nettie Bender of Humberstone Township, Port Colborne.

Died 26 March 1944, aged, unknown causes.  Buried Overholts Cemetery, Humberstone.


Leading Stoker Kenneth Leonard Parker


Born about 1922, son of Thomas Parker, husband of Pearl Parker of Ottawa.

Died 14 April 1945, aged 23, unknown causes.  Buried Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa.


 LCdr John Woodward Dresser


T/LCdr 01 July 1943

Born 10 August 1901, son of Warren Sidney and Anna Dresser; husband of Georgina H. Dresser, 176 Geoffrey Street, Toronto.  Died 4 May 1945 (aged 43) of coronary thrombosis.  Buried Elmwood Cemetery, Sherbrooke, Quebec


Telegraphist Eric Milton Skinner

V-992, RCNVR

Born about 1923, son of George J. & Ada Skinner of Toronto.  Died 27 September 1945, aged 22, unknown causes.  Buried St. John’s Norway Cemetery, Toronto.


Plumber 1st Class John Logue


Born about 1898, son of Husband of Sarah Logue of Preston.  Died 19 June 1946, aged 48, unknown causes.  Buried Preston Public Cemetery, Cambridge.


CERA Walter Arthur Duggins

V-22356, RCNVR

Born 13 February 1889, son of Walter E. & Annie Duggins of Glasgow, Scotland, husband of Ethel of Galt.  Died 8 October 1946, aged 57 in Veterans Hospital, London (possibly Westminster Hospital at Commissioners & Wellington Roads), unknown causes.  Buried Port Elgin (Sanctuary Park) Cemetery.

Captain John Coote – a sailor or a soldier?

19 December 2015

Cootes Paradise graphic

Almost everyone knows that Cootes Paradise, the wetland at the west end of Hamilton Harbour, is named after Captain John Coote but there seems to be some disagreement about who he was.  Today’s edition of the Hamilton Spectator, in a feature called The Namesakes Challenges, states that he was a naval officer.  McMaster University website on Cootes Paradise agrees but the Royal Botanical Gardens is conflicted with one page calling him a naval officer, one page calling him an army officer and a third compromising by calling him a military officer.

Dundas Museum & Archives has him as a soldier stationed at Fort George, which was not built till 1796 after Thomas Coote had died.  Another website claimed that he was stationed at Fort Henry.  The one in Ontario was not built till 1812.  The one in West Virgina was built in time but neither would have been convenient for a hunting trip to Dundas!  Other sources claim that he was naval officer on leave from his army duties.  Maybe some people don’t know the difference between a soldier and a sailor!

I have to side with Margaret Houghton, who, in her Hamilton Street Names:  An Illustrated History (James Lorimer & Co, Toronto, 2002) claims that he was an army officer, first in the 8th or King’s Regiment and later in the 34th Cumberland Regiment, stationed at Niagara, which would have been Fort Niagara in what is now New York State and that he arrived there in 1782.  There were few Royal Navy officers in our area prior to the war of 1812 while there were many British army officers.

Either way, it raises questions.  Fort Niagara had only been captured from the French in 1759 and the American Revolutionary war lasted from 1775 to 1783.  It’s hard to reconcile those turbulent times with the image of a bucolic Captain Coote, be he sailor or soldier, out duck hunting in the wetlands of Dundas.