Wagner brothers’ ultimate sacrifice never forgotten

Branch 163 Hamilton Pipes and Drums led a parade from the Women's Institute Hall to the Teeterville Legion for a Remembrance Service on Sunday. Michelle Ruby/Postmedia Network

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The heart-wrenching sacrifice of a single family is never forgotten in the tiny community of Teeterville.

The Royal Canadian Legion there takes its name from three Teeterville brothers who died while serving in the Second World War.

Now, photos of those soldiers – Cpl. Harry Everett Wagner, who died on Aug. 12, 1944; Pte. Bruce Howard Wagner, who died on Jan. 31, 1945; and Pte. Ivan Samuel Wagner, who died on July 18, 1944 – have been affixed to the Legion building, called Wagner Memorial Branch 526.

“They left home in Teeterville,” said Legion member Jim Dillon asking a large crowd gathered for a Remembrance Service on Sunday to take note of the new signage. “Sadly, all three paid the ultimate sacrifice and didn’t return, like many other Norfolk residents” honoured inside the building.

The Canadian Armed Forces deferred the service of a fourth brother, the late Jack Wagner, due to the heavy price his family had paid in the Second World War.

The Wagner name was added when Legion Branch 526 was re-dedicated to honour the memory of the fallen brothers.

The crowd braved what Norfolk MP Diane Finley described as “cold, shiver-inducing” weather on Sunday afternoon to pay tribute to those who served and continue to serve their country in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping missions.

A parade led by Pipe Major Bob Spolnik of Branch 163 Hamilton Pipes and Drums marched from the Women’s Institute hall to the legion to start the ceremony.

“We come together to keep a promise to them that we will not forget,” said Dillon.

Student Mateo Mungal read in Flanders Fields. Bailey Henwood, great-granddaughter of veteran Clare Huffman, who was a charter member of the Teeterville Legion in 1951, read the Victory Emblem, a tradition Huffman set many years ago.

Members of the 56th Field Artillery Regiment stood near the Legion cenotaph, firing twice in the direction of the Teeterville Pond, the sound of the blasts echoing across the water.

Shane Floyd, great-grandson of Silver Cross Mother Nora Wagner, was the first to place a wreath at the memorial. Other wreaths were presented on behalf of the Government of Canada, Province of Ontario, Norfolk County, Legion Zone B1, the Wagner brothers, Legion Branch 526, the Teeterville Fire Department, the Retired Teachers Federation of Ontario, and many local families.

The Last Post was played by Pam Lorimer.

“We are so blessed to live in one of the greatest countries in the world with freedoms and rights,” said Finley. “We have that, in large part, thanks to the people we are honouring today.”

In the run-up to Remembrance Day on Nov. 11, Finley asked those gathered to round up a friend who wouldn’t normally attend a ceremony and “take them with you.”

“Help them understand how much we owe to our fallen heroes.”

After the ceremony, attendees were invited into the Legion for a hot soup lunch.