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Forgotten soldier’s name added to Almonte, Ont. cenotaph thanks to Grade 6 class

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It has taken more than 100 years, but Almonte’s forgotten soldier George B. Monterville has had his name etched back into history.

Monterville’s name was added to the Almonte cenotaph Saturday in a re-dedication ceremony, after months of campaigning from local students.

"The injustice of not hearing George's name every year for the past 101 years has been righted and that will carry on forever now," said MWO. Michael Wiggins, the Almonte Legion Parade Marshall.

Almonte native Private George Monterville died at home in 1920 following injuries sustained in the First World War. It was a few years later that the Almonte cenotaph was built, but Monterville’s name was left off.

It was Wiggings who made the discovery in 2023 that Monterville’s name was left off the cenotaph. That’s when he approached a Grade 6 class at R. Tait McKenzie Public School to take on a real-life learning project about Monterville.

"They did a tremendous job in advocating for George's name to finally, after over 100 years, be etched on the cenotaph amongst the names of his comrades," said Jean Grant-Kearney, the class's teacher

Her class spent most of the school year researching, writing letters and making presentations advocating for Monterville’s recognition.

"I have almost no words for how happy I am," said student Maya Brown, who read a poem at the re-dedication ceremony.

"It's incredible how his name will be there forever. And it's not going to go away, and we did that. When we walk past, we can be like, we did that and we made a difference in the world."

In attendance Saturday was David Elliot, who is one of the few remaining descendants of Monterville. Monterville was the uncle of Elliot’s mother.

"It makes me extremely proud, extremely," Elliot told CTV News.

Elliot admits he did not know much about his great-uncle’s situation, and was interested when approached about the history by Wiggins.

"I felt very pleased that the town and the Legion were in a situation where they were willing to rectify this."

Now this November 11, and every Remembrance Day in the future, Monterville’s name will be read aloud along with all the others from Almonte who gave their lives for Canada.

"He fought and he risked his life for our futures, and we could not let him be forgotten,” said Brown.

"Truthfully, I thank all the kids,” said Elliot. “Because of Mr. Wiggins and the children, this has happened."

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