Canadian Artifacts Returned
© 2004 FrontLine Defence (Vol 1, No 1)

A ceremony by the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment on Lodge Lees Farm in Kent, England marked the repatriation of several WWII artifacts – a concrete Essex Scottish Cap Badge and two smaller end-pieces which had been ­fabricated in late 1943 for an inter-unit competition won by the Anti-tank Platoon.

In the spring of 1944, the Essex Scottish (4th Brigade, 2nd Cdn Infantry Division) were camped in Walderchain Wood near Barham, Kent, as part of the follow-up to the Normandy assault, and prepared for their move to France.

During their time in the brigade transit camp (commonly referred to as Stump Hollow), the regiment had befriended one of the local farmers Mr Robert Goddard. As RSM of the 5th Seaforth Highlanders, Mr Goddard had earned the Military Medal and Bar and suffered serious facial wounds while serving on the Western Front during the Great War, so he was well familiar with Highland regiments and probably happy to have one camped near his home.

When the regiment departed for France, they left the concrete camp markers with the Goddard family, intending to return for them when the war was over. But after the war ended, the regiment was repatriated back to Canada directly from Holland.

The concrete cap badge was eventually discovered in the mid-1980s. After identifying the badge, attempts were made to have it and the end-pieces returned to Canada. It was only after receiving a letter in mid 2002 from Mr. Laurence Goddard that my efforts to repatriate the cap bore fruit as his letter landed on the desk of the Honorary Colonel of the Essex and Kent Scottish, Col W.R. Martin. He was very enthusiastic, as was the CO, LCol Berthiaume, and a recce party arrived in the UK to plan the recovery.

So friendly and generous were the Goddard family and several metal-detecting enthusiasts, all of whom donated artifacts for shipment back to Canada, that a repatriation ceremony led by Pipe Major WO Al Clark was organized by MWO Kirk Drew. Col Martin opened the proceedings and a service of dedication was carried out by the Reverend David Roper, Rector of St John the Baptist, Barham. LCol Berthiaume closed the proceedings by reading a letter from the regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief, Prince Michael of Kent.

The ceremony was significant to the regiment as the Department of National Defence has given the regiment a new mission element: the creation of an anti-tank platoon. In the fall of 2004, a new armouries will be officially opened and dedicated. The artifacts collected in Barham will be given a place of honour at the entrance to the new building.

WO Storey (Mapping and Charting Establishment), is a militaria collector.
© FrontLine Defence 2004