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Second Queen’s Remembers plinth to be dedicated to 5th Field Company

Plinth to be unveiled at a special ceremony on Saturday, November 11 at 2 p.m.

The 5th Field Company. (Supplied Photo)
The 5th Field Company. (Supplied Photo)

With the threat of war in Europe, Canada began to form volunteer units for military training. Queen’s University was the first Canadian university to form an officially recognized military unit, in 1909, comprising engineering students and faculty; the 5th Field Company. In August 1914, the government called upon the 5th Field Company when it needed space to train and prepare its soldiers. The men were sent to Valcartier, Québec. Their mission: turn acres of land into a highly organized camp for up to 30,000 men, with roads, a water supply system, and space for tents. Once the work was complete, the group was divided up – some headed across the sea to fight, while others supported the war effort from Canada.

The unit was ‘the only purely University Company in Canada’, and was led by Professor and Major Alexander Macphail. Under his leadership the students and faculty were trained in the years prior to the outbreak of war, making them well prepared to respond when Canada entered the fight.

In recognition of the contributions of the 5th Field Company, a commemorative plinth will be unveiled on Saturday, November 11 at a special ceremony beginning at 2 pm. Joining Queen’s for this ceremony will be local veterans and military members, including representatives from the Royal Military College of Canada.

“On Remembrance Day, we reflect on the service and sacrifices of Canadian men and women, during both wartime and peacekeeping missions,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “This year, we pay special tribute to a group of Queen’s alumni and professors – the 5th Field Company – while also acknowledging the many others in our community who have served, and continue to serve, our country. This plinth will serve as an important and lasting reminder of their legacy.”

The plinth will feature an eight-page booklet containing information about the company, how it was formed, and their training. It will speak of the wartime contributions of the company, as well as the history of the company between the World Wars. Mention will be made of the Memorial Room in the John Deutsch University Centre in which the names of the fallen are listed.

The monument will be located at the intersection of Union Street and Fifth Field Company Lane, which runs through campus past a number of buildings including Nicol Hall, Miller Hall, and the Fifth Field Company Campus Bookstore, also named for the company. This is the second plinth to be unveiled as part of the Queen’s Remembers initiative. Through this initiative, Queen’s is reflecting upon its history in a project to commemorate those who have made a significant and noteworthy contribution to the university. The planning for the Queen’s Remembers initiative was led by Principal Woolf in collaboration with the facilities and university planning teams, University Relations, and those with specific ties to the topics being commemorated.

The first Queen’s Remembers plinth was unveiled in October and dedicated to the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee peoples as the traditional inhabitants of the land. Future plinths will be announced later this academic year.