Kent Regiment Chapter IODE
On April 13, 1913, the 24th Kent Regiment Chapter, Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE), was formed at the request of the Commanding Officer Colonel HD Smith to assist the Regiment and their families, as well as the women and children of our community. The Chapter adopted the motto of the Regiment: “Unto the last ditch” and ninety-five members were enrolled. The first president (formerly known as Regent) was Mrs. AC Woodward. We are the oldest IODE Chapter in Kent County and will celebrate our 100th anniversary in April of this year.
Members supplied the Regiment with new colours (flags), personal items for troops, assisted soldiers’ families, and provided dinners and entertainment to the armoury. During WWI, members met weekly to knit and sew items for soldiers and pack comfort boxes for the troops. Money was raised for the Canadian Red Cross, Belgian Relief, a hospital ship, military hospitals, prisoners of war, and a field kitchen.
Today we continue to support our local Regiment, now the Essex and Kent Scottish, host receptions for the Cadet Corps Inspection, support local nursing homes with catheter bag covers, wheelchair caddies, and books, activity boxes to the Children’s Ward of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, supply our adopted grades 4- 6 school class in Labrador with school supplies, treats, mittens and scarves, and support a Kiwanis Music Festival bursary. We raise funds through an annual Antique Show and Sale in October, held in partnership with Victoria Ave United Church. Our 100th Anniversary project is the creation of the Gathering Our Heroes website compiling all of the existing information about WWI and WWII veterans of Chatham-Kent.
The Gathering Our Heroes project aims to compile all of the names and stories of the World War I and II veterans from Chatham-Kent, on a website, to make it accessible to everyone through the internet.
The Kent Regiment Chapter IODE was formed in 1913, at the request of the commanding officer of the Kent Regiment to support the soldiers, their families and the women and children of our community. Creation of the WW I Books of Remembrance was an early Chapter project, in 1917. Members canvassed the community to obtain information on our service men and women and recorded it in these beautiful books. After WW II, IODE members did the same for the service men and women of that conflict. In total, 13 Books of Remembrance were created and given to the Chatham-Kent Museum for safekeeping. The Books have been digitized and the Museum has graciously agreed to share them on the website for increased accessibility as they are a very important and frequently used research resource.
Many of the veterans of both conflicts were not included in the Books of Remembrance. Local Historian, Jerry Hind, has researched Chatham-Kent WW I veterans extensively, looking for not only their names but also their stories. He has also begun to search for WW II veterans, again looking for their names and stories. To date, we know that there are at least 10,000 veterans from Chatham-Kent of both conflicts.
Time is of the essence as we are losing our veterans quickly, and with them, the opportunity to preserve their stories firsthand. These are the stories of ordinary young people who accomplished extraordinary things, for their country, during extremely difficult times. The website will preserve the contributions of our local veterans in a way which is technologically relevant today and for the future generations of our community and beyond.
We are looking for the names, stories, letters and photographs of our WW I and II veterans from Chatham-Kent. Please contact us with information about your veteran so their story may be documented on the website.
Since 1943 the Chatham-Kent Museum has been dedicated to collecting and preserving the material heritage of Chatham-Kent and to promoting the area’s history through exhibits and programming. For over 60 years, the museum has been selectively acquiring artifacts of local and national significance including three dimensional objects, art, and natural science specimens. Highlights in the collection include artifacts from the War of 1812, a nationally designated Gray Dort automobile, several locally made horse drawn vehicles, and, of course, the world famous Sulman Mummy.