Written by JoAnn Galbraith
On November 18th, 1949, twenty-four area veterans met in the Community Hall in Melbourne with the idea of possibly forming a Legion in the village. With backing from Glencoe Legion Branch # 219, Melbourne received its Charter February 1st 1950. In 2017, a history committee was formed to make plans for the anniversary celebration.
Several displays of the Legion’s history have been shown to the public since the committee was formed. Richard Hathaway scanned all the photos and memorabilia while JoAnn Galbraith has reviewed the records and minute books with a possibility of publishing a book with the Legion’s history in 2020.
Fifty Legion members and special guest attended a complimentary dinner at the Legion on Saturday night November 30th. Folks viewed a slide presentation of photos from the 1950s to present day. Also on display were original photos and documents.
At each table setting was a place card with the front cover consisting of a photo of the first Legion building 1949 and the present one in 2019.
Zone A 5 Commander Gerry Cross gave a brief history of Branch #510. Bob Davenport, on behalf of Reg Lovell Glencoe Branch # 219, gave a brief history of the affiliation between Melbourne Legion and Glencoe Legion since Branch #510’s formation.
Regrets were received from Peg Luce, Zone A 5 Deputy Commander, and former Federal Minister Bev Shipley.
JoAnn Galbraith, a member of the executive and the history committee, was introduced by President Tom Jeffery.
JoAnn told the history of her collection of Legion pins from 1783 to 2019. The United Empire Loyalist pin represents those who were treated as traitors because of their allegiance to the British throne following the American Revolution were evacuated to Canada in 1783.
The 1812 to 1815 pin represents the war 1812-15. A large percentage of those that took up arms in the 1812 War were Loyalists who fought against the American forces who were trying to take over their new homeland. The 1812 pin also represents the Battle of Longwoods. A memorial service is held annually at the site where the Battle occurred March 4,1814, usually the Sunday prior to March 4th.
The American flag pin represents the Civil War. The Vimy Pin marks the birth of Canada as a nation as of the April 8th battle 1917, a WWI pin dated 1918. A Poppy pin and the origin of its existence since 1918. A World War II pin, a Melbourne Legion Branch pin.
JoAnn gave a brief history of the Melbourne Legion and the Ladies Auxiliary. A First Nation’s pin representing the Native Veterans. A Canadian flag pin represented Vietnam, Korean and Afghan Veterans. A “D” Day Looney 2019 pin and a Poppy Wreath pin inscribed with “We Will Remember Them”.
Even though JoAnn is only an affiliate member of Melbourne Legion Branch #510, her family members have been very involved during war time. JoAnn’s great-great grandfather, Thomas Lucas was a Lieutenant in the 1812-15 war, a son of a loyalist, who is buried in Cade Cemetery in Strathroy Caradoc. Her cousin Alonzo Lucas gave the Supreme Sacrifice in World War I. His parents are buried in Cook Cemetery. Her second cousin, Private Warden Lucas, a WWI Veteran, was a member of Melbourne Legion Branch #510. Her Uncle Bud Lucas, Royal Canadian Navy World War II, was a member of Caradoc-Mount Brydges Legion #251.
In the new Mount Brydges subdivision in Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc called Edgewoods, a number of the streets are named after Veterans of Caradoc Township and the Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc. Lucas Avenue is a tribute to the four Lucas Veterans who at one time or another were residents of Caradoc Township. Two of the four are buried in the Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc.