Westmount, QC – 22 April 2015: On the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the 2nd Battle of Ypres, we are pleased to release a poem that has been written in honour of Captain Richard Steacie, the first RMR officer killed in action – precisely 100 years ago today. He was buried in an unmarked grave for 98 years, his remains only being correctly identified in the past few years.
Pam Steacie, his great-granddaughter, has visited his grave that is now properly marked with his name, and she reports that “Four of my French friends decided to visit the grave in Belgium; they were very moved by the story of his life and death and the identification of his grave. They also feel very grateful. They feel that it is thanks in part to Captain Richard Steacie and those who fought with him, that they (my friends) are still French, and not German.
A la mémoire du Capitaine Richard Steacie
Souvenez-vous qu’un jour il a quitté sa terre
Pour voler au secours de pays en misère,
A ces terroirs en guerre il a prêté son bras,
Apporté sa vaillance et son cœur au combat.
Il est venu de loin, a franchi l’océan
Et puis dans la bataille a rejoint les géants.
Souvenez-vous aussi qu’il repose à jamais
Bien au-delà des mers, sous le sol désormais,
Ayant perdu son nom, sans être un apatride,
Laissant au cœur des siens de longs sillons arides.
Et sans identité, en soldat inconnu,
Presqu’un siècle est resté, sous ce monument nu,
Vierge d’une inscription le reliant encore
Par un maillon d’amour à ceux, qui, au-dehors,
L’ont tant cherché en vain et n’ont jamais faibli,
Unissant leurs efforts pour qu’ainsi, anobli,
Son souvenir enfin soit alors honoré
Devant la sépulture où son nom est gravé.
Souvenez-vous encor, le miracle est venu
Et Richard, l’Irlandais, un jour fut reconnu.
Sous le ciel canadien, il a fondé famille,
A bâti sa maison, là-bas sous la charmille,
Près d’Ypres sous la terre, il est venu dormir,
Voilà cent ans déjà, il faut vous souvenir… !
Remember that one day he left his homeland
To the people abroad, he came to give a hand
And a valiant soldier in such a cruel war,
Near Ypres, in Belgium, he lies for evermore !
NB : Le capitaine Richard Steacie repose à Poelkappelle, à 10km d’Ypres.
The Steacie family has been very generous with the RMR, donating Captain Steacie’s sword (which is now carried on parade by the CO to remind all leaders within the Regiment to ‘Lead from the Front’), as well as some scrapbooks maintained by Captain Steacie’s son Edgar, which has provided valuable historical information on the formation of the Regiment, insight into the social history of the period, as well as examples of such things as the RMR’s first Christmas cards ever issued.
Lest We Forget.