After countless hours of digging deep into archives and history books, the names of eight brave Richmond souls now shine brightly on the city’s cenotaph.
The Richmond Remembrance Day committee held a rededication ceremony Sunday to officially welcome the names — Horace Lee, John Simpson, Francis Matier, Allan Osborne, Ferdinand Treichel, William Dutfield, Kenneth Reimer and William Lapka — to the cenotaph.
Honouring them were armed forces, colour parties and various military and cadet organizations, followed by speech from Mayor Malcolm Brodie and the moving Last Post.
Also there were two sisters of the fallen, Miriam Beenham, whose brother was William Dutfield, and Irene Treichel, half-sister of Ferdinand Treichel, who only found out two years ago that she even had a half-brother.
“This was mission accomplished,” said retired Navy diver and amateur historian Matthew McBride, who amassed around 75 hours of research to uncover the previously unknown local lives wiped out by war. “Without question (this was gratifying).”
Irene Treichel suspected she may be related to Ferdinand after seeing his name mentioned in a newspaper story about McBride’s research two years ago.
“It prompted me to ask an older relative if my father had a son from his previous marriage,” she said. “I think I always kind of suspected, but I never really knew.
“Sunday was quite an emotional day.”
The eight names belonged to men from Richmond who fought and died in the First World War, Second World War and Korean War.
McBride, who has a number of friends who are D-Day veterans and are in their 90s, stumbled across the possibility of forgotten Richmondite war dead while researching for someone else’s relative who fought in one of the world wars.
He then contacted the City of Richmond about looking into updating the cenotaph with the names he’d uncovered.
The city, through the Richmond Museum and its archives, picked up the ball and carried out its own research.