Remembering the 5th Field Company
November 13, 2017
On Remembrance Day, veterans, serving military personnel, and members of the Queen's community led by Dean of Engineering and Applied Science Kevin Deluzio gathered to honour the victims of conflicts, past and present, and to pay special tribute to a group of Queen's students and faculty who answered the call during both World Wars.
A new monument unveiled on campus on Saturday was dedicated to the men of the 5th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers. The group, which comprised Queen’s students and faculty from the school of Mining Engineering, was formed just prior to the First World War, making them the first 'purely university company in Canada'. This unit of engineers was granted official recognition in early 1910. They contributed greatly to Canada’s preparations for the Great War, and men of the company served bravely in both World Wars. Many made the ultimate sacrifice.
Among those joining Queen's for the unveiling of the plinth was Brigadier-General Steve Irwin (Ret’d), Colonel Commandant of the Canadian Military Engineers; Major-General Sylvain Sirois, the Chief Military Engineer; Colonel Andrew Bassinger, Director of the Royal Canadian Engineers; Principal Kowal of the Royal Military College of Canada; and a number of representatives from the Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Military College. In addition, the university paid tribute to Corporal Stanley Clark Fields, a member of the 5th Field Company during the Second World War. Corporal Fields and his family were in attendance at the unveiling, and Corporal Fields was awarded a Canadian Military Engineer Branch Commendation for his tireless work capturing the history of the 5th Field Company.
"It is my hope that this plinth will remind, inform, and spark interest to learn more," says Dean Deluzio. "Standing as it is, in a central location on campus, this plinth will be passed daily by many hundreds of individuals; students, faculty, staff, and visitors. In future, we will incorporate the 5th Field Company into our annual University Remembrance and, as they do today, the flags will be flown at half-mast for the 5th and other members of Queen’s who gave so much in the service of their country, and in the name of freedom."
The monument is located at the intersection of Union Street and Fifth Field Company Lane. 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 intent of this particular plinth is to remember the sacrifices of the men of the 5th Field Company, many of whom were the same ages as our students, and who unequivocally put others before themselves. Many people contributed to the realization of this memorial, and Dean Deluzio thanked the many supporters including 1 Engineer Support Unit and the Government of Canada.
To learn more about the 5th Field Company, and others from Queen’s who gave their lives in the two World Wars, please visit the Queen's Archives website.