| Jun 19, 2008

Feature Article - June 19, 2008

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Feature Article - June 19, 2008 Denbigh ceremony Recognizes Fallen WWI SoldierBy Angela Bright

Family, along with Addington Highlands Library Board members and government representatives, gather around the Memorial Frame.

The Denbigh Library now proudly houses the medals and military belongings of Private John Leslie Ball (July 15, 1891 – April 12, 1917) who served with the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, and was lost in the battle of Vimy Ridge. Programs for the dedication ceremony, which took place last Saturday, included a picture of the grave of Pte. Ball at Quatre Vents Cemetery in Estree-Cauchie, France, with the inscription, "In Memory of my Dear Brave Son".

Many family members, friends and neighbours were in attendance from the area and some traveled a great distance for the occasion. James McNaught, a great grand nephew, came in all the way from Kelowna, British Columbia. Niece Alice Chatson and nephew John Ball with wife Anne attended, as did grand nephew George Kennedy and great, great grand niece, Hannah McNaught. The procession into the hall was led by piper Jim Austin, followed by the Royal Canadian Legion #137 Veterans from Napanee, the Royal Canadian Legion Northbrook Branch 328, family members, the Addington Highlands Library board and dignitaries. MC Bill McNaught welcomed the crowd and the singing of "O Canada" opened the ceremony.

A moment of remembrance and prayer was led by Reverend R.J. McNaught, to observe the lives of Pte. John Leslie Ball, Pte. Charles Adam Gregg and Pte. George Draper Quackenbush, the three young men from Vennachar, and for all veterans who have served Canada. Thomas McNaught, a grand nephew, read the biography of Pte. Ball. The Memorial Frame was unveiled, and the Union Jack flag that had concealed it was presented to Reeve Henry Hogg.

Bill McNaught, who is John Leslie Ball’s great nephew and the individual most reposnsible for gathering all the material in the frame and organising the dedication ceremony, found himself with what he described as a “very heavy heart” on the day of the dedication. His father Herbert, John Ball’s nephew, who had worked with Bill every step of the way putting all the material together and was looking forward to playing a central role on the dedication day at Denbigh, took ill with a stroke just one week before the ceremony, and was in serious condition in a Toronto hospital.

As pictures were taken and refreshments enjoyed, Legion members handed out a special maple leaf and double poppy pin to each one, symbolizing Canada and recognizing Canadians who served in times of war, military conflict, peace, and all those who served at home in essential support roles. Thank you to the family of Pte. Ball for sharing the day and events of this young man's life. This history is of great importance not only to those in the family tree, but for this community and area and for the whole of Canada, now and for generations to come.

You are welcome to stop by the library to view the Memorial Frame and recognize the contribution of Private John Leslie Ball #835576.

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