Boer War plaque to be added to Invermere cenotaph

The cenotaph will have a new plaque added, one that’s dedicated to local Canadians who lost their lives fighting in the Boer War.

The Invermere cenotaph will have a new plaque added, one that’s dedicated to local Canadians who lost their lives fighting in the Boer War.

Invermere chief administrative officer Chris Prosser confirmed last week that such a plaque is in the district’s plans and will be added likely sometime this year.

A small mystery sprang up around the cenotaph’s current lack of just such a plaque after local resident David Gibson wrote to The Echo some time ago, expressing a tribute to western Canadian soldiers who had participated in the war, particularly the Lord Strathcona regiment, which recruited throughout Alberta and into the East Kootenay (although not in the Upper Columbia Valley).

Gibson concluded his letter by writing: “There was a plaque at the Invermere cenotaph park to honour the approximately six soldiers from the East Kootenay who were killed in the Boer War. The plaque disappeared when the park was redone some ten years ago.”

Gibson’s letter, which was recently brought to the attention of current Echo staff, sparked efforts to figure out what had happened to the plaque. When The Echo began looking into the issue last week, one particular problem emerged — nobody could seem to remember when it had gone missing, what it had said, or even what it had looked like.

Prosser said the plaque was not on the cenotaph when he began working for the district in 1999.

“It is something of a mystery. Both we at the district and the local branch of the Legion don’t really know much about it. Obviously, going forward the best to thing do is to make one and add it to the cenotaph,” said Invermere mayor Gerry Taft.

Despite having lived in Invermere his entire life, Taft said he doesn’t ever remember seeing it the Boer War plaque.

The matter was eventually clarified by local Legion president, Ken Carlow, who told The Echo the mystery plaque did not, to his recollection, ever exist.

“There never was one,” he said, but added that putting up such a plaque is certainly something that should be done.

“I know we’re going to put one on. The Legion is proceeding with that this year,” said Carlow. “What I don’t know yet is what we’re going to put on it and who from here went to the Boer War, but that will be figured out.”

The Echo attempted to contact Gibson to clarify where his belief in the existence of a Boer War plaque arose from, but was unable to reach him prior to press deadline.

Invermere Valley Echo