“Loyal he was born, and loyal he remained.”
Robin Morris, the late publisher of the Chesterville Record and the Eastern Ontario AgriNews, was honoured at a unique and touching ceremony held near the Crysler’s Farm Battlefield on Sunday morning, July 12, 2015.
As his family took their seats facing the St. Lawrence River, dozens of men and women, many in the dress of 1812, quietly watched from the shaded hillside.
Under the command of David Moore, fully turned out in the uniforms of the soldiers who fought at the 1813 Battle, soldier/re-enactors marched in to stand along side the podium and the cannon aimed across the river.
They were gathered to honour a man for whom history was a passion and a life’s mission.
Robin Morris died December 9, 2014, just before his 65th birthday.
He was deeply drawn to Canadian history, becoming a founding member of the Friends of the Crysler’s Farm Battlefield. He was also a founding member of the Canadian Fencibles Re-enacting Society, and a key organizer of the Prescott Loyalist Days. For many years, he was the spirit of the battle re-enactment staged every year for thousands of visitors to Upper Canada.
The Canadian Fencibles donated a cheque for $600 to the Friends. Robin’s family presented a Maple tree which will be planted near the Battlefield, overlooking the river.
Robin was eulogized by his friend and fellow founding member of the Friends of the Crysler’s Farm Battlefield, Bob Irvine.
Irvine recalled how Robin “loved Canadian history and the St. Lawrence River and the Chesterville Record…” Irvine quoted fellow newspaper people who spoke of Robin as a man with a “real feel for the news, an incredible work ethic, a publisher who was a leader in his field…we have lost one of the greats, who truly understood the importance of a newspaper.”
Irvine’s eulogy was personal and moving. He drew from words spoken at the funeral of the great soldier, Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson. “‘I grieve for the loss of a most fascinating companion..’ Robin was my best friend.”
Following the tradition of soldiers of 1812, when they wished to honour a fallen comrade, David Moore re-enacted the ‘passing of the final charge’, through all the ranks lined up, before that charge, and Robin’s ashes, were loaded into the cannon.
Bob Irvine lit the fuse for the cannon, which scattered those ashes out on the St. Lawrence River Robin loved.
Following the singing of God Save the King (George III, monarch during the War of 1812), all those gathered held a moment of silence, which was followed by a piper’s lament.
Bob Irvine ended the memorial with the words spoken by the mortally wounded Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.
“‘Thank God I have done my duty.’ Yes, Robin, you have done your duty. Rest in peace in a place you loved.”