Monument to HMCS Kamsack planned for Cenotaph Park

            Another reminder of Kamsack in time of war is being planned for the community’s Cenotaph Park.

            The Kamsack branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, working with Veterans Affairs Canada and the Town of Kamsack, is planning a monument to the HMCS Kamsack to be placed north of the Cenotaph before March.

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            It has been a couple of years since Councillor Rick Aikman, a member of the Legion, began talking of the possibility of a monument to the ship, which was a corvette type, flower class ship that served during the Second World War, Jim Woodward, Legion branch president, said last week.

            Aikman kept the idea alive and eventually Veterans Affairs said that if an application could be made immediately, funding would be possible, Woodward said, adding that Veterans Affairs has committed $4,130 to the project, which is expected to cost about $7,500 including in-kind contributions. The Legion already has its funds in place for the project.

            Town council has granted the Legion permission to erect the monument on a 10-foot by 12-foot cement pad that is to be poured on a location already staked out, he said. “We’re working with Bob Paluck, a Legion member, of Sunrise Monuments who is keeping our costs down.”

            Woodward said the monument will be made of blue stone measuring four feet long and three feet high and will include an etching of the HMCS Kamsack, the dates of its commissioning and decommissioning and the Legion’s motto: Lest We Forget.

            Launched in 1941 in Port Arthur, Ont., the HMCS Kamsack was operated by five officers and a crew of 61, says an item in Spinning Stories, A Woven History, which is Kamsack’s history book.

            Early in 1943, the naval service headquarters wrote requesting that the Town of Kamsack have some local organization adopt the Kamsack because the objective was to have every ship adopted officially, the history book says. In 1943, upon request from the town, the members of Hiawatha Chapter of the Eastern Star voted to adopt the ship.

Members raised money for parcels to send to the crew and they received letters expressing the hearty appreciation of the men in reply. Following the war the corvette was sold to Venezuela and was reconditioned as a gun boat, but its bell occupies a place of honour in the Masonic Temple in Kamsack.