News

Quilts pay tribute to Norfolk soldiers

Vincent Ball

By Vincent Ball, Brantford Expositor

Janice Youngson, left,  and Diane Luke, members of the Twilight Quilters' Guild of Norfolk, are shown with one of two art quilts that were unveiled at the Simcoe library on Sunday as part of a Norfolk Remembers event. VINCENT BALL/POSTMEDIA NEWS

Janice Youngson, left, and Diane Luke, members of the Twilight Quilters' Guild of Norfolk, are shown with one of two art quilts that were unveiled at the Simcoe library on Sunday as part of a Norfolk Remembers event. VINCENT BALL/POSTMEDIA NEWS

SIMCOE  - 

Janice Youngson needed only two words to describe the feeling she had when two commemorative quilts were unveiled at the Simcoe Branch of the Norfolk County Public Library on Sunday.

“Pretty awesome,” she said. “We were all pretty anxious to see them and see how people would react.

“But I think they look nice and they’re going to look really good here in the library.”

Created by the Twilight Quilters’ Guild of Norfolk County, the two quilts were unveiled as part of a Norfolk Remembers event that included the launch of the latest Norfolk Remembers book, Letters Home; Norfolk at Passchendaele - October 1917.

The quilts took close to 15 months to create.

One quilt is a replica of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire 1917 Red Cross quilt created by the Port Rowan IODE chapter. Just like the original quilt, the Union Jack is the dominant image and features several red crosses.

The quilt also replicates the actual signatures of the officers, enlisted men and medical personnel – 256 men and one woman - from Norfolk who died in the First World War. The signatures were taken from the attestation papers of those who died.

Each of the 20 women who worked on the replica quilt had their own sections to work on as part of the project. While working on the quilt they read the stories of those who died, learning who they were, their family and where they lived, Youngson said.

As well, the story of the quilters who were involved in the project is the focus of a video which will be posted online at www.ncpl.ca.

The other quilt unveiled Sunday features soldiers of Norfolk’s 133rd Overseas Battalion as they leave a trench and go into battle. It also features Distinguished Flying Cross recipient Earl Frederick Crabb, of Delhi in his fighter plane providing protection for the troops.

The quilt includes the Red Ensign Flag, and a war cemetery and the Norfolk War Memorial Carillon Tower in Simcoe to recognize how those who died are memorialized both locally and overseas.

The quilt also features a Canadian flag to symbolize Canada’s coming of age as a country and to symbolize the freedom and democracy made possible by those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Although the Simcoe library branch will be the permanent home of the two quilts, they will be displayed at local events throughout the year, Heather King, CEO of the Norfolk County Library, said.

The quilts are another way of commemorating those who died in the First World War. The committee is also working on projects to ensure those who perished in the First World War from various communities, including Delhi and Waterford, are honoured at the cenotaphs in each community.

Meanwhile, Letters Home: Norfolk at Passchendaele – October 1917 includes the letters sent home by Norfolk soldiers from September 1917 to January 1918.

The letters include descriptions of the Battle of Passchendaele which began Oct. 26, 1917 and ended on Nov. 10, 1917.

For more information about Norfolk Remembers visit www.norfolkremembers.ca.

— Brantford Expositor

vball@postmedia.com