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London City Hall, located at 300 Dufferin Avenue, opened its doors on September 22nd, 1971. It consists of 12 storeys and replaced the old city hall location at Dundas and Wellington, which was built in 1928. The building houses numerous essential services and departments for the use and enjoyment of London residents, including housing London’s two volumes of the Book of Remembrance. Each day, both volumes are opened to a new page, to ensure that all those listed are honoured equally.

  •  Book of Remembrance – Volume 1 title page
  • Image from the ceremony that took place at the London Public Library, where the “Book of Remembrance” was presented, 1950
  • Mrs. E. M. Harding, left, president of the London Chapter, Silver Cross Women of Canada, holds the “Book of Remembrance” for members, Mrs. Florence Smith, Byron, and Mrs. Peter Fay, right, of London. (Taken from London Free Press caption)

Located in the lobby of London City Hall, the two volumes of the Book of Remembrance honour Londoners who died in the Second World War. The two books were created decades apart, but both include the names, and sometimes photographs, of the fallen. On April 27th, 1945, the “Memorial Cross Mothers, London, Ontario”, met for the first time, in order to discuss the preparation of a Book of Remembrance. These mothers had lost sons during the war and wanted to commemorate the fallen by placing wreaths each week, creating a garden in the summer, and preparing a Book of Remembrance. The book was completed in 1949 and listed 513 names of men from the London area.

The Memorial Cross Mothers chose to use a portion of Laurence Binyon’s poem, “For the Fallen”, as their motto, and it is included on the page. Their motto reads: “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning. We will remember them.” The book mainly consists of individual entries, of which families were the primary authors. This made each individual entry different, and incredibly moving to read.

The second volume of the Book of Remembrance wasn’t published until much later and was created in order to include “Londoners who were omitted, and Portrait memorials of Londoners entered by name only, in the first book. [As well as] Londoners who paid the supreme sacrifice in the Korean War”. This volume was assembled in 1998 by Vimy Branch 145, Royal Canadian Legion, and was unveiled and presented on November 11th, 1999. In total, there are 280 individuals listed in this volume, with 49 who were not included in the first volume. Unfortunately, the addition of those who lost their lives in the Korean War did come about and were not included.

The two volumes of the Book of Remembrance which sit in London City Hall have a special place in the minds of Londoners today, as these books represent an important piece of local Second World War history. At the dedication in 1950, Mrs. W. H. Jacobs, the national president of the Silver Cross Women of Canada at the time, stated that the book was “a work of devotion and love by the mothers of the boys named in its pages, these boys’ names must not be forgotten under any circumstances”.

City of London. History of London - 1946 to 1976. Accessed October 19, 2019.

Howell, C M. “Honouring London's War Dead: Our Books of Remembrance World War Two.” London Canada. City of London, 2011.

McClelland, Joe. “New City Hall Was for People - This Once Anyway.” London Free Press, September 22, 1971.

“Mothers Present City ‘Book of Remembrance.’” London Free Press, September 28, 1950.

Veterans Affairs Canada. “History of the Books of Remembrance.” History - Books of Remembrance - Memorials - Remembrance - Veterans Affairs Canada, April 3, 2019.

 “War Dead and Veteran Tributes.” London Canada. City of London, September 25, 2017.,About-London/heritage/Pages/War-Dead-and-Veteran-Tributes-.aspx

Image Sources(Click to expand)

“War Dead and Veteran Tributes.” London Canada. City of London, September 25, 2017.

“Mothers Present City ‘Book of Remembrance.’” London Free Press, September 28, 1950.

“Mothers Present City ‘Book of Remembrance.’” London Free Press, September 28, 1950.