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Historical society plans service for Granum veteran

robert emmits grave
A graveside service is planned Sept. 11 at Granum Cemetery for Robert John Emmit, who served in the Boer War.

A graveside service is planned for a Granum man who served in the Boer War.

Robert John Emmit was buried in an unmarked grave in the Granum Cemetery until the Granum and District Historical Society researched his past and found he served in the Boer War as a Canadian soldier.

“His grave was located and a headstone was put into place but our records indicate he never received a proper burial,” said Mike Sherman of the Granum and District Historical Society.

The service will be held graveside at 12 noon on Sept. 11 at the Granum Cemetery.

The historical society has booked a minister to conduct the service, along with a piper to play at graveside. The Royal Canadian Legion has been invited to send a colour guard.

The Last Post Fund, the organization that had a headstone placed on the grave in 2020, has been invited.   

The Royal Canadian Legion in Claresholm and JPs Petro in Granum provided the historical society with funding.

“This service is open to the public and all are welcome,” Sherman added.

The Granum and District Historical Society made a brass plaque with Emmit’s name that was installed on the Veterans Wall of Honour adjacent to the Granum Museum.

Robert John Emmit was born in Ireland around 1878 and in 1913 applied for a homestead at Granum at NW 15-10-20-4.

The Boer War was fought from Oct. 11, 1899 to May 31, 1902 between Great Britain and two Boer republics — the South African Republic and the Orange Free State.

Private Emmit and the 1st Battalion sailed on the Aurania and arrived at the Cape about Nov. 11, 1899 to join the 2nd Black Watch, 2nd Seaforths and 1st Argyl and Sutherland Highlanders to form the Highland Brigade.

The Highland Light Infantry fought in battles at Magersfontein, Heilbron, the Brandwater basin, Witpoort, Vet River, and the Orange River Colony.

Boer War records indicate Robert Emmit served as a prisoner at Dewetsdorp from Nov. 23 to Dec. 4, 1900.

Emmit made his way to Canada after the war to work for Bob Herman for a number of years, eventually applying for a homestead.

Emmit died in 1915.

Through its research the Granum and District Historic Society located 16 additional graves of veterans buried  in the cemetery that did not have a red maple leaf marker.

Today, 23 Granum veterans are honoured with the maple leaf marker.

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