Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many of the city’s usual Remembrance Day services have been cancelled or moved online this year. However, there are many places where you can still pay your respects, including these memorials on campus.
There were 345 members of the University of Saskatchewan community who enlisted in the First World War. The College of Engineering even closed its doors for one year due to students enlisting. There were 69 members who lost their lives during the war. The Second World War was different for many university students, as they were encouraged to stay in university rather than enlist in the war. Regardless, there were many Saskatchewan lives lost in WWII.
Our university commemorates those who were part of the World Wars in these five memorials. Some of the battles mentioned in these are the Battle of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele, among many others. With the restrictions brought on by COVID-19, you can still visit three of the outdoor monuments at the university if you are looking to pay your respects to those who fought for our country.
If you’ve ever passed by a large stone under a tree northeast of the Bowl, it is a plaque commemorating the 46th Canadian Infantry Battalion. Known as the “suicide batallion,” many of the soldiers in it were from Saskatchewan, most of which were U of S students. The 46th infantry was involved in Passchendaele and of the 600 men that were sent to that battle, 403 lost their lives.
The end of the First World War meant the end of the 46th battalion. The soldiers who survived returned, some even re-enrolling or entering the university for the first time.
The Memorial Gates
Close to where the Royal University Hospital is today are the Memorial Gates and a tablet made in 1927-28. They were unveiled to the public by then U of S President W.C. Murray. Every year on Nov. 11, the university holds a Remembrance Day service at the gates. There is an inscription on the tablet to commemorate the 69 students and faculty who lost their lives in World War I: “These are they who went forth from this University to the Great War and gave their lives that we might live in freedom.”
The names in the Memorial Union Building
In the back of Louis Loft, behind where the fireplace is, are the names of students, faculty and staff who fought in World War I and II.
Serving as a central hub of student activities, the Memorial Union Building opened on Nov. 11, 1955. It took 10 years to build it, starting with the creation of the Students’ Union Building Committee who outlined the proposals for it. Their plans included an auditorium, a ballroom, student lounges and offices.
While Louis Loft has been open since the start of the term, it is closed today for Remembrance Day, leaving no access to the memorial.
The names in the Peter MacKinnon Building
On the walls of the Peter MacKinnon building are the names of students, faculty and staff who were part of World War I. Their names are engraved on a ribbon, which was part of the building’s design. There are 349 names of veterans on the walls, most of which were students at the time they enlisted.
The names of nurses who worked on patients during the 1918 influenza epidemic are also among the names inscribed on the walls.
Due to limited services and building closures on campus, this memorial may be unavailable to the public.
Two years ago, the U of S Great War Commemoration Committee unveiled the memorial bench located south of the Bowl close to the Memorial Union Building. It commemorated 100 years since the end of the First World War.
The committee raised $20,000 to fund the project, and the bench was crafted by Saskatoon local artisan Ryan Watson.
J.C. BALICANTA NARAG | Editor-in-Chief