The ‘Vespra 149’, Royal Canadian Legion, 1929 – 1974

Over 100 members strong at one time between the two world wars.


The Vespra 149 club room still exists on Nursery Road at the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Excerpt:

The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 149

The Royal Canadian Legion, British Empire Service League, was formed in the Minesing Orange Hall in May, 1929, by veterans of the Great War, from Minesing, Midhurst and other parts of Vespra. It was called ‘Vespra 149’, and was unique as it was the only rural branch in Canada.

A Charter was applied for in Minesing, but at that time, the Midhurst Forest Station had started, and the superintendent, C.R. Lane, who was interested in the branch, invited them to make their headquarters at the Reforestation Blacksmith Shop.

A lunchroom was added and the branch made their clubroom. The Hon. Wm. Finlayson had this room turned over to Vespra 149 for their meetings. The branch organized social groups. They had a good quartet and a baseball team. World War II veterans joined and boosted the group membership to over 100. A special day was held annually at the reforestation grounds, with sports, races and entertainment for both sexes. Ball teams from Midland, Orillia and Barrie took part in the event. Remembrance Day services and parades were held there.

Mr. Meth Adamson, Superintendent, was instrumental in having a cenotaph built of stones from the area. Harvey Spence and Robert Mills, both of Midhurst, built it. It has a water fountain and two Lee Enfield Mark III rifles purchased from the Department of Defence. A special stone in the cenotaph has the following inscription: ‘Lest We Forget 1914-1918, In Memory of the Vespra Boys who died in the Great War, Dulce et Decorum Est pro patria Mori.

As the veterans passed on and people moved away, the branch membership fell below the 12 people required to hold a charter, and so, in 1974, Vespra 149 was disbanded.

Midhurst Historical Society

The History of Vespra Township, Vespra Township Council, August 1987, p. 142.

The fireplace inside the at-one-time Vespra 149 club room. Note the similar construction to the Vespra Boys cenotaph.

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