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All the way from England: couple lays wreath at Duncan Cenotaph to honour fallen soldier

Charles Hugh Pearson Lipscomb died in France during First World War

Two teachers from Yorkshire, England, laid a wreath at Duncan’s Cenotaph on July 22.

Andy and Hannah Towner are teachers at the more than 500 year-old Pocklington School which was attended by Cowichan Valley resident Charles Hugh Pearson Lipscomb.

Andy said it is a long tradition at the old boarding school to remember and to reconnect with former students who attended there, particularly those who have fought and fallen in the two world wars.

“We have an active network at the school to remember the fallen, and we were asked to do this while we are on Vancouver Island for vacation,” he said.

Lipscomb was born in 1880, the son of a parson, and educated at Pocklington School.

He left school in 1898 and emigrated to Canada in 1908.

He settled in the Cowichan Valley and then Duncan, working first for the Cowichan Creamery Association before becoming a partner in the Cameron Farmers’ Exchange of Hilliers’s Crossing.


As well as playing football (soccer) for Duncan, Lipscomb joined the Cowichan Cricket Club and, in a famous match in 1912, he scored 103 in a score of 333 to three.

The Towners also have a school crest from Pocklington School that they intend to present to the Cowichan Cricket Club in memory of Lipscomb while they are visiting the area.

He enlisted in July, 1916, and was eventually drafted to England to join the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles.

Lipscomb took part in the Vimy Ridge attack as part of the Battle of Arras in April, 1917, when he was wounded and evacuated.

He died in the Australian Hospital at Boulogne on April 18, aged 36.

He left a widow and two children under the age of four.

Lipscomb is buried in Wimereux Cemetery in France, two rows away from the grave of John McCrae, author of the well-known war poem “In Flanders Fields”.


As well as his grave, he is also remembered on the Duncan Cenotaph in Charles Hoey Park; in the church yard in England’s Sawbridgeworth; on the Ring of Remembrance at Notre Dame de Lorette; and at Pocklington School’s War Memorial pavilion, Roll of Honour in the school’s church and on the school’s First World War Memorial.

“We were glad we had the honour of laying this wreath in memory of Hugh Lipscomb,” Andy said.

“It was also great to meet some of the members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 53, who were so helpful in arranging this tribute. Now we’re going to relax and enjoy Vancouver Island for next three weeks.”

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Robert Barron

About the Author: Robert Barron

Since 2016, I've had had the pleasure of working with our dedicated staff and community in the Cowichan Valley.
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