A ceremony was held on Labour Day weekend in Loreburn to commemorate the restoration of the gravesite belonging to Elijah Price, a First World War veteran whose final resting place had been unattended since the community was resettled in 1967.
About 60 people were taken by boat to attend the ceremony, which featured a sermon from Rev. Silas Rogers, a wreath-laying and a potluck dinner.
Audrey and Gilbert King from
St. Jones Within had wanted to do the restoration for several years and were finally able to do so after receiving help from the Clarenville Legion.
Elijah Price was part of the Royal Naval Reserve. He born in 1887, raised in the community of Loreburn and buried there in 1953.
Audrey King said the restoration of the grave was important.
“He was the only war vet buried there (in Loreburn) and we felt we had to honour him or the next generation wouldn’t know about him,” King said.
The event was emotional for Price’s granddaughter, Daphne Barrett, who played the organ at the ceremony, he said.
“It meant a lot to her,” said King. “She was only four when her grandfather died.”
King said it took seven or eight people working steadily to clear out the area around the gravesite. Among those helping was Kevin Price, Elijah’s grandson.
Wesley Stringer, past president of the Canadian Legion Branch 27, Clarenville, says he became involved after being approached by the Kings to help with the gravesite restoration.
He had not been involved with a restoration in Newfoundland, but he did travel overseas earlier in the summer to see the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial, a site in France dedicated to the members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment who were killed during the First World War.
“I saw the way they keep their sites up, which is through Commonwealth War Graves, and thought, why shouldn’t we do that here on our own soil?” Stringer said.
Stringer was taken aback when he first saw the deplorable state of the site at Loreburn.
“Knowing this person was a World War veteran and had a Commonwealth war gravesite that was just forgotten, it was just terrible,” said Stringer.
He said while it took some time get everything organized to clean up the grave, he felt sure that the funds would be forthcoming. He said he is pleased with the way the site was restored and the veteran was honoured.
“We wouldn’t enjoy the freedom we have today had it not been for these guys.”