For some years, this “Greetings from Humberside” poster hung over the fireplace of a steak house in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Attractive, colourful, and no doubt at times a conversation piece, it was a long way from home.
Humberside Collegiate Institute is about 1,500 kilometres (950 miles) from Sydney. What was the story?
During the Second World War, collegiate staff and students decided to link the security of life in West Toronto to the perils of putting out to sea so far from home.
A greeting-card style poster appeared. Hundreds of signatures crowded the big space. (Three separate signatures just above the school crest—lower right corner—may be those of the designers of the scroll: Jack Walling; Kay Kinnier; Lorne Eadie.)
We hope that this heartfelt message from home lifted the spirits of those stationed down east in the navy during the uncertain days of war.
The embarking sailors probably arranged safekeeping for their special gift, but in time the war ended, people dispersed, and the poster embarked on adventures of its own, until a sharp-eyed shopper realized its value.
The document’s travels—and rescue—are summarized at the bottom of the frame, as follows:
“Greetings From Humberside Scroll”
This document was found in Sydney, Nova Scotia in 1988. It was displayed as part of the decoration of a steak house. It was used as a focal point over the fireplace in the lobby. It was purchased from a local antique dealer and given as a gift to Chuck Armitage, a graduate of Humberside.
It is believed that the whole school got together during the Second World War and sent their regards to the Humberside students who were serving in the Canadian navy stationed in Nova Scotia. It seems like everybody took part in this wonderful event of school spirit.
It will serve as a perpetual reminder of the commitment of Humberside students to the safety and security of their country.
The sailors named are now in our For King and Country database along with the names from the two traditional bronze memorials also displayed at the school.
On Remembrance Day 2017, a special thank you to those who seventy-odd years ago worked to cheer up their far off Humberside mates—and to all who played a part in returning this one-of-a-kind memorial to its rightful place.
If you recognize any of these names, or can add to the story, please let us know.
Home is the sailor, home from the sea…
Robert Louis Stevenson