Canada – The Books of Remembrance

The six Books of Remembrance lie in the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Together they commemorate the lives of 114,710 Canadians who lost their lives while serving their country in battle outside Canada since Confederation.

The first one created, and the largest of the Books, is the First World War Book which contains 66,655 names. This book is followed by the Second World War Book which contains 44,893 names.

It was on July 1, 1917 that Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden dedicated a site in the Centre Block of the Houses of Parliament. He said the new structure would be a “memorial to the debt of our forefathers and to the valour of those Canadians who, in the Great War, fought for the liberties of Canada, of the Empire, and of humanity.” And so it was two years later that the Prince of Wales laid the corner stone of “The Tower of Victory and Peace” as it was originally known. The intention was for all the names of the Canadian soldiers to be engraved on the walls of the chamber, but it was soon realized that there would not be enough space on the walls to contain more than 66,000 names. So began the process of brainstorming for a solution, which came from Colonel A. Fortesque Duguid, DSO, who is credited with suggesting the idea for a Book of Remembrance. The plan was accepted and minor alterations were made to the chamber to accommodate the Books. The Prince of Wales returned on August 3, 1927 to unveil the altar; a gift from the British Government upon which the Book of The First World War would rest.

The artist chosen to do the work on the Book was James Purves of London, Ontario. At that time it was expected that the work on the World War One Book would take five years and would cost $35,000. However, it was not completed until 1942, 11 years after the committee was formed. The reasons for the delay were many. For instance, Purves required many rare materials to create the Book. Also, all the tools and materials had to come from the British Empire. James Purves died in 1940, at which time only the preliminary work had been done and only one page was fully illuminated and illustrated. As a result, all of Purves’ work was handed over to Alan Beddoe, an artist from Ottawa and an assistant of Purves for many years. Beddoe had the World War One Book completed two and a half years after taking over, much to his credit. Beddoe was a conscientious administrator and an accomplished artist who devoted 30 years of his life to the creation of Canada’s Books of Remembrance. He died in 1975.



Six Books of Remembrance

South African War (1899-1902) / Nile Expedition (1884-1885)
First World War (1914-1922)
Second World War (1939-1945)
Newfoundland (WW-I & WW-II)
The Merchant Navy (WW-I & WW-II)
The Korean War (1950-1953)



The Memorial Chamber

More than half a million visitors each year view Canada’s six Books of Remembrance in the Memorial Chamber on the second level of the Peace Tower. The Memorial Chamber is a beautifully crafted room with a vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows, and intricate carvings depicting Canada’s record of war.

The centrepiece of the Chamber is the main altar for the First World War Book of Remembrance. The steps which the altar rests on are made of stone quarried from Flander’s Fields. Inlaid into the floor surrounding the steps are brass nameplates, hand-crafted from spent shell cases found on the battlefield, recording the major actions in which Canadian’s took part in during the First World War. Upon the altar is a glass-topped case of finely tooled brass with small statuettes of angels kneeling at each corner. Within this case rests the Book, set on a special balancing lectern so that the pages are always level and easily readable through the protective glass. The remaining four books are against the walls surrounding the altar, with the Book for the Second World War being against the southern wall.


In 1959 high temperatures and humidity inside the Memorial Chamber destroyed the bindings of the First and Second World War Books. Consequently, new red Levant (goatskin) leathers were obtained and both books were rebound.

Turning of the Page Ceremony

Every morning, at eleven o’clock, the pages of the Books of Remembrance are turned by a member of the House of Commons Protective Service Staff. A calendar was devised so that each page of each book is turned once a year. Some pages are left exposed for several days at a time on or near a date of the anniversary of

the actions they commemorate. During the ceremony a guard in uniform (ceremonial coat, gloves and hat) marches in front of the First World War Book, bows and salutes and then marches over to the book on the right. The guard then proceeds to bow, salute and turn the page. This process is repeated for all of the Books of Remembrance and is done in a counter clockwise direction around the Chamber. The guard then marches to the centre of the room and bows and salutes once more. Anyone interested in knowing when a certain page containing a particular name will be on display may consult with a member of the staff to receive a calendar showing when the page will be turned. Also, with special permission, certain individuals, such as close family members or friends of the deceased, may be able to view the ceremony which is not usually open to public viewing.


Canada’s six Books of Remembrance represent, individually and collectively, the highest expressions of modern workmanship and artistry. The craftsmanship, heraldic illumination, calligraphy, water colouring, bookbinding and leather tooling give the books a special look and quality unequalled world wide. The Books commemorate Canada’s young soldiers, nurses, sailors, merchant marines, airmen and service women who lost their lives at war. They are testaments to the valour, sacrifice and unselfishness of the those who died.




South African War (1899-1902) / Nile Expedition (1884-1885)

No names listed.

First World War (1914-1922)

Corrigan, Harry  –  Private  –  54th Battalion  –  October 25, 1916
Corrigan, James  –  Private  –  2nd Battalion  –  September 14, 1916
Corrigan, Albert Victor Ernest  –  Lance Corporal  –  7th  Battalion  –  March 27, 1917
Corrigan, Edward Bernard  – Private  –  44th Battalion  –  March 22, 1917
Corrigan, Harry Dwight  – Sergeant  –  46th Battalion  –  October 25, 1917
Corrigan, Robert  –  Private  –  58th Battalion  –  August 10, 1918
Corrigan, John  –  Gunner  –  Canadian Field Artillery  –  February 25, 1919

Second World War (1939-1945)

Corrigan, Cecil Gerard  –  Private  –  Royal Canadian Army Service Corps  –  November 9, 1940
Corrigan, Francis Owen  –  Stoker Petty Officer  –  Royal Canadian Navy  –  September 26, 1942
Corrigan, Robert James  –  Pilot Officer  — Royal Canadian Air Force  –  August 10, 1942

Newfoundland (WW-I & WW-II)

No names listed.

The Canadian Merchant Navy (WW-I & WW-II)

Corrigan, Thomas  –  Able Bodied Seaman ‘S.S. MORWENNA’  –  May 26, 1915

The Korean War (1950-1953)

No names listed.


The Canada Books of Rememberance:
Canadian Virtual War Cemetery / Memorial:

The family name Corrigan have produced many notable personages both past and present in various fields from clergy, medicine, politics to entertainment.

This chapter will highlight some of the most notable Corrigans that have been found in Ireland and throughout the world.