The History of Norfolk's Carillon Tower | Back
Last updated: 06 Apr 2017

A lightly edited transcription of an article on pages 1 and 8 of the 19 Jun 1950 issue of the 
Simcoe Reformer


Norfolk War Memorial 
Unveiled 25 Years Ago

It is just 25 years since Norfolk's War Memorial Tower was officially unveiled and dedicated in an impressive ceremony attended by 
thousands of Norfolk citizens.

Today, the tower stands in memory of Norfolk soldiers who gave their lives for their county in both the First and Second World Wars. Their names are inscribed on bronze plaques, which were unveilled on Remember Day, 11 Nov 1948, replacing the old stone tablets, which 
bore the names of the dead of the First World War.

The first effort toward building a suitable memorial came in the autumn of 1919, when the late George O. Werrett called a meeting of all interested citizens. A committee was formed which was later enlarged to become the Norfolk Soldier's Memorial Committee, and subscriptions were solicited for the undertaking.

The next step was the letting of a contract to Bell Founders of Croydon, England, for a Westminister chiming clock with four faces, 23 bells with a clavier for playing them by hand, and an automatic electrically-operated carillon machine which plays 14 bells.

Two of the most famous architects of the time, Sproatt and Rolph, were engaged to design the tower, and they recommended that it be situated at the south end of Lynnwood Park.

Following this move, the Simcoe Town Council passed a resolution calling for the structure to be erected at the north end of the park. The committee rejected this proposal and it is here that the campaign gained real momentum. 

The Norfolk Soldiers' Memorial Committee joined forces with the High School Memorial Fund, which  had been started for the purpose of providing a memorial to former pupils who made the supreme sacrifice. 
It had collected a considerable sum of money, which was added to that raised by the Norfolk Committee. As soon as these to committees combined the Board of Education provided the site at the corner of Wilson Avenue and Norfolk Street, where the Carillon Tower now stands.

Thousands thronged the streets of Simcoe for decoration day, 17 Jun 1925, which began with a mammoth parade of Boy Scouts, Great War Veterans, the First Norfolk Rifles Band, the First Battalion of the Norfolk Rifles, and pupils of Simcoe High and Public Schools.

They formed up at the tower, where Mrs. Abraham West of Houghton, who lost three sons in the war, unveiled the two tablets on the west side. Mrs. Christian Quanbury of Woodhouse, who was the only mother to lose two sons who had attended Simcoe High School, unveiled the plaque on the east side.

Speakers for the occasion were the late Judge A. T. Boles, the Hon. John S. Martin, and Col. (Rev.) William Beattie, assistant director of chaplain services overseas.

All paid tribute to the war dead and the people of Norfolk County. Capt. (Rev.) H. C. Newcombe delivered the scripture reading, Psalm XLVI. To conclude the ceremony, the First Norfolk Rifles fired three rounds and buglers sounded the General Salute and Last Post. The Regimental Band then rendered the Dead March (Handel) and buglers played Reveille. Following the laying of wreaths, the Doxology was played on the carillon bells.

Members of the High School committee:
D. F. Aiken, H. P. Innes, K.C., Grover C. Murdoch, Charles Martin
E. H. Jackson, John Bradfield, Arnold Watt and H. B. Donly.

The Norfolk Soldiers' Memorial Committee consisted of:
L. P. Aiken, D. F. Aiken, S. N. Culver, Rupert Simpson, 
Mrs. Rupert Simpson, John Pratt, Norman Werrett, James E. Johnson, H. A. Carter, Henry Johnson, F. M. Bennett, Mrs. R. L. Dugit, 
D. Robb Tisdale, L. C. Gibson, William Sutton, James E. Peachey, 
Dr. W. A. McIntosh, Charles E. Innes, F. Reid, H. B. Donly
W. P. MacKay, A. T. Boles.

Copyright 2017 John Cardiff