Re-Discovering the Men in the Plaques; 270 Sherman remembers the men that died in service of their country

By November 11, 2013News

If the walls could talk at 270 Sherman, they would probably mention the hot and humid workstations at the Mill Building, the lavish costumes that the guests wore at the New Years Eve masquerade party, or the chatter from the locker rooms after the workersÂ’ shift. But on the eleventh of November, a moment of silence is given to the men that served their country in the First and Second World War.

William James Mayo, William Jackson, Thomas Chesters, Robert Henry Larden, Samuel Dewhurst, and Ralph Vidler, were men that came from different walks of life and died for the same cause in service of their country. In the same workplace where their journey began, the men worked at the Imperial Cotton Company Ltd. in the Industrial North end of Hamilton, ON at 270 Sherman Ave N, the men were drafted as militants and Flight Sergeants. Their names are imprinted on metal plates in memory of their bravery.


A platoon of the 76th Battalion taken in 1916. Former Imperial Cotton Mill worker, Ralph Vidler is third from the left in the back row


In honour of their service, there are two plaques that are displayed in the front entrance hallway of the Office Building. One is an original plaque from the Second World War, where Flight-Sergeant William James Mayo and Sergeant William Burness Jackson are honoured for their bravery. In fact, Sergeant James Mayo William’s aircraft was shot down over the North Sea returning from a raid on the continent. William was rescued by the Royal Navy, but died 16 November 1943 in the United Kingdom, possibly from injuries sustained during the forced landing at sea or from hypothermia. It seemed that Mayo had the courage to fight in the thick of the war, but was defeated in the terrible climate of the sea.

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A replica plaque is also hung in the front entrances of the Office building. Left with only a shadow on the wall, and an image shown in The Fabricator, the plaque is recreated. The original plaque is said to be made of bronze with great detail and designs. Thomas Chesters, Robert Henry Larden, Samuel Dewhurst, and Ralph Vidler. Heroes such as Samuel Dewhurst are remembered. A death report accounts, “during an attack East of Cherisy, he volunteered to help carry a stretcher from an advanced position. He had proceeded about sixty yards when he was hit in the head and stomach by enemy bullets and almost immediately killed.”

Read more about this commemoration in The Hamilton Spectator’s article, “Fallen War Heroes Not Forgotten in Old Cotton Mill”

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