WWI 'Plug Street' memorial has 'no historical integrity'

Veterans in Malpeque, P.E.I. unveiled a new monument to the soldiers of the World War I Sunday, but the new memorial is controversial.

Street in Malpeque marked as memorial for all who served in First World War

A plaque marking Plug Street in Malpeque as a memorial to every Prince Edward Islander who served in World War I was unveiled Sunday. (CBC)

Veterans in Malpeque, P.E.I. unveiled a new monument to the soldiers of the First World War Sunday, but the new memorial is controversial.

The monument marks Malpeque's Plug Street, which some veterans insist must have been named by soldiers who fought in the First World War. Retired Col. J.D. Murray said it's named after Ploegsteert, where Canadians served in Belgium.

The money spent on the new plaque should have go to the upkeep of existing memorials, says historian Earle Lockerby. (CBC)

"English-speaking soldiers just looked at it and said, 'Ha, well we can't pronounce that, let's call it Plug Street,'" said Murray.

He said his research shows some of those soldiers returned home to Malpeque.

"This Plug Street here could not have been named by anyone other than a veteran of the Great War," he said.

But local historian Earle Lockerby says research by the Department of National Defence was unable to come up with any connection between Malpeque's Plug Street and veterans.

"There's no historical integrity associated with it," said Lockerby.

The monument was put up by the province, with close to $20,000 in funding from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. Lockerby objects to money being spent on the new memorial. He said that money would be better spent on the upkeep of existing ones. He noted there are many war memorials all over the Island, including one already standing in the centre of Malpeque.

"From time to time they're in need of repair. They need upkeep, and it's always a struggle to find the money," he said.

The Plug Street monument is unusual in one respect. It is dedicated to all of the 3,700 Islanders who served in the First World War, not just those killed in action.

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