News

Port Moody WW I soldier honoured with living history event

From left, Guy Black and Cary Price get set to spend June 29 and June 30 in a trench they
From left, Guy Black and Cary Price get set to spend June 29 and June 30 in a trench they've dug at Port Moody Station Museum to honour Augustus McNight, a PoMo engineer who was killed in battle during WW I. A Canada Day event honouring Canadian veterans will be held at the museum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
— image credit: DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS

The Port Moody Station Museum will be celebrating Canada Day with events honouring Canada Day. The McKnight Trench living history experience is taking place this week and over the weekend through Canada Day on the museum's grounds off Murray Street.

WHAT'S HAPPENING

This week from Wednesday, June 25 to Friday, June 28, volunteers are digging a trench and filling sandbags on the grounds of the Port Moody Station Museum (at Rocky Point Park) to simulate the living and working conditions of Canadian soldiers who fought in WWI (the Great War that centred in Europe and began on July 28, 1914 and lasted until Nov. 11, 1918).

• Sunday, June 29 to Tuesday, July 1: Cary Price and Guy Black will live in the trench, eating food soldiers would have eaten, patrolling and sleeping like soldiers without the benefit of tarps or other cover in case it rains.

• July 1 — Canada Day: From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a program called Honouring Veterans returns to the Port Moody Station Museum, featuring displays, vehicles and bands. From 11:30 a.m. there will be a ceremony honouring Port Moody engineer Augustus W. McKnight, who died in WW I. Among the dignitaries will be members of McKnight’s family from Kamloops as well as the honorary consul general of Belgium and the deputy consul general of Germany. Two former enemies that are now allies, they will bring a message of peace and remembrance on the100th anniversary of the start of WWI. Members of the Belgium Canadian Association of B.C. are also expected to attend.

A plaque dedicated to Augustus McKnight will also be presented. The plaque, paid for by Black, will be placed at the Port Moody Arts Centre, formerly the city hall where McKnight would have worked before he enlisted.

WHO WAS AUGUSTUS MCNIGHT

Augustus Wilberforce McKnight was an active citizen of Port Moody prior to his death in Belgium on Aug. 11, 1916. He was born in Owen Sound, Ont. on Aug. 1, 1888 and, after graduating in 1910 as a military engineer from the Royal Military College in Kingston, he travelled west to help with construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.

Eventually, he moved to Port Moody, became the city's engineer and was involved with the civilian rifle association team, the tennis club, and was a local Scout master, according to research by Guy Black.

When the First World War began, McKnight was commissioned with the rank of lieutenant in North Vancouver’s 6th Field Company Canadian Engineers. He was sent overseas with the 2nd Overseas Contingent, ending up in France and Flanders with 4th Field Company, Divisional Engineers.

Lieutenant Augustus Wilberforce McKnight was buried at Reninghelst New Military Cemetery in Belgium.

GET INVOLVED

Show up and ask questions. Help to fill sandbags. Visit the museum and find out more about Canadian and Port Moody history. Port Moody Station Museum is located at 2734 Murray St., Port Moody, next to the Moody Street overpass and Rocky Point Park.

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

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