War memorial: Restoration completed on London cenotaph’s interior supports

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After months of work shrouded inside a structure, London’s newly-renovated cenotaph in Victoria Park is ready for its official relaunch.

The $475,200 fix of the 83-year-old monument was recently completed and the box that protected the structure during the reconstruction was removed, although the metal fence around the site remains.

The cenotaph doesn’t look markedly different because most of the work was done inside the structure.

The most notable additions are the names of soldiers lost in the Korean conflict and the Afghanistan mission.

Fourteen Southwestern Ontario soldiers were killed during Canada’s Afghanistan mission between 2001 and 2014. They include Trooper Mark Wilson, a 39-year-old Londoner who was killed by a roadside bomb.

A rededication ceremony is planned for Sept. 17. Senior government officials as well as representatives related to the Afghanistan and Korean conflicts will attend.

The plywood cladding has been removed from the cenotaph in Victoria Park showing the new sections of Indiana limestone that replaced damaged original stone in the structure. The new stone is markedly lighter grey than the original stone used to build the memorial in London, Ont. (MIKE HENSEN, The London Free Press)

The city received $158,242 in federal funding to repair the landmark as part of a Canada 150 grant.

The remaining amount of $316,958 was provided by the City of London out of its public art maintenance fund, but at the suggestion of local veterans groups, the city also accepted donations from citizens to subsidize the project’s cost.

“The event will allow us to both re-dedicate the cenotaph and recognize the different donors who have given it a new life,” said Bruck Stock, communications officer for the Royal Canadian Legion.

The cenotaph was built in 1934, an exact replica of the cenotaph constructed in the Whitehall district of London, England, in 1920.

The cenotaph has a hollow core, strengthened by interior supports.

The exterior is made of limestone, which is more porous than other stone and makes the structure more vulnerable to weather.

An architect’s assessment completed in 2012 said the cenotaph was “in a state of continuing deterioration from the elements, wind and driving water” and had some cracks that needed repair.



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