Burnaby's Honour Rolls form an important record of the city's heritage and history. It is appropriate that they be completed and given due reverence and prominence as part of the civic Remembrance Day programs held annually in November. The completion of Burnaby's World War II Honour Roll for the first time identifies and honours hundreds of Burnaby men and women that served in the armed services by name and will form a lasting memorial for generations of citizens.
The dedication of this World War II memorial in 2005, during the 'Year of the Veteran' and on the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, added considerable significance and meaning to the project.
The Government of Canada declared 2005 the "Year of the Veteran". Throughout the year, Canadians celebrated, honoured, remembered, and taught youth about the contributions and sacrifice of our veterans. The City of Burnaby marked this important anniversary with the completion and dedication of the city's World War II Honour Roll for Remembrance Day, November 11, 2005.
World War I Honour Roll
- Tablet One - December 1915: Names A-R
- Tablet Two - December 1915: Names R-S / May 1916: Names A-Z
- Tablet Three - May 1916: Names A-Z
Honour rolls that recognize individuals that serve in the time of war have been used by communities throughout Canada and the Commonwealth as a traditional act of remembrance. These memorials consist of a list of veterans that is compiled to ensure that names of all service men and women are included, with their rank and service acknowledged. The "Heroic Dead" have been traditionally marked on Canadian honour rolls with the addition of a cross and/or maple leaf beside the honoured name. Typically this sombre memorial is crafted in traditional style using calligraphy for the names listed on the "tablets" and native woods and brass for the frame materials.
Burnaby has a proud history of men and women who served by volunteering for active service. The community honoured its war heroes during World War I with an impressive Honour Roll crafted by civic staff and dedicated at the former Municipal Hall at Edmonds on July 14, 1916. The intention of this memorial was to "keep the record bright before the people of the municipality". At the conclusion of this war over 1,200 names of service men and women were listed including over 90 "Heroic Dead" who paid the "ultimate sacrifice".
The Burnaby Honour Roll remained as an important civic memorial on public display in the old municipal hall and was the focus of many annual Remembrance Day services. The Honour Roll was removed from the old municipal hall in 1956 when municipal council chambers and offices were relocated to the present hall site. It languished in storage and obscurity for decades until being "rediscovered" by a city works crew and relocated to Burnaby Village Museum where it has been professionally conserved by museum staff and placed in secure storage.
World War II Honour Roll
- Tablet One - Names: Abel - Harding
- Tablet Two - Names: Hardy - Meredith
- Tablet Three - Names: Merideth - Zimmerman
At the conclusion of World War II in 1945 there was an initial movement in the Municipality of Burnaby to complete another community Roll of Honour. However, despite the fact that newspaper advertisements placed in local newspapers calling for nominations, this community-based effort apparently did not succeed. An extensive search of the local community, archives and other sources, has determined that no complete Honour Roll of Burnaby's contribution to World War II exists.
However, the names of these men and women are remembered and memorialized through other means and in various locations. Many local institutions, such as churches and schools, honoured the veterans of Burnaby through smaller memorials and "Rolls of Honour".
Additionally, a number of new internet research sites compiled by Veterans Affairs and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission now document Canada's war dead and allow for the quick retrieval of information to confirm the names and service records of local war heroes.
Burnaby's World War II Honour Roll Project
The Community Heritage Commission directed staff to work with the local Royal Canadian Legion and its representative Mr. Tom Stewart to compile a list of Burnaby's service men and women of World War II. The intention of this project was to complete the Honour Roll initiative abandoned so many years ago. The Honour Roll will only list and acknowledge those men and women who served with the Allied armed forces during World War II and who were residents of Burnaby at the time of their enlistment between 1939-1945.
The task of compiling these names was initiated by placing articles in the local newspapers requesting information and nominations from the public. In addition, local legion records and all local archives have been thoroughly researched. Rolls of Honour and memorials that exist in local churches were located and transcribed through a questionnaire sent to all of Burnaby's historic churches.
Both Burnaby South and Burnaby North High Schools were contacted and the detailed lists of their war dead was obtained. The Burnaby Voter's Lists for 1941 and 1945 were also culled for service men and women listed. To date, this work has resulted in a list of over 1,800 Burnaby service men and women being identified. Among these names are 160 men that are confirmed as having died during their war service.
The intention of the project is to make every possible effort to compile Burnaby's World War II Honour Roll and make it as accurate and complete using all available research sources. It is acknowledged that the Honour Roll will not be complete in terms of its name lists at the time of its dedication as there were hundreds of citizens of the Municipality of Burnaby that participated in the war, but not memorialized or documented in local records. However, it is considered important that, despite the likelihood of many omissions, those Burnaby veterans that can be identified should be included in the city's annual act of Remembrance.
Anyone may nominate a person for the Burnaby Honour Roll by contacting
Helen Lee, Long Range Planner at 604-294-7510.