Duncan Cenotaph

As part of our project to document the names on the Duncan Cenotaph in Charles Hoey Park, here is a page about Private Charles Hugh Pearson Lipscomb, who died on 18 April 1917, aged 36, of wounds sustained in action at Vimy Ridge, while serving with the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion. He is buried in Wimereux Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

Note that the Duncan Cenotaph lists him as “H. Lipscomb” and the local Cowichan Leader newspaper report of his death (reproduced below) refers to him as “Hugh Lipscomb.”

Here is the local Cowichan Leader newspaper report of the death of Private Charles Hugh Pearson Lipscomb:

“Pte. Hugh Lipscomb

There will be widespread regret at the news of the death from wounds at Vimy Ridge, of Pte. Hugh Lipscomb. Born 36 years ago in England he left Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, some eight years back and came out to farm in the Cowichan district. Later he was in the employ of the Cowichan Creamery, and early in 1914 he went to Parksville to open there a branch of the Cameron Farmers’ Exchange, Hilliard Crossing, in which concern he had become a partner.  He enlisted in July last [1916] and crossed to England with an Island battalion, subsequently going to France to reinforce the Canadian Mounted Rifles. He leaves in Duncan a widow and two children, aged four and one not quite twelve months. Prominent in cricket and football and a sterling sportsman, he had endeared himself to many in Cowichan.”

(Source: Cowichan Leader, 22 April 1917, from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections)

Here are some websites with more information on Charles Hugh Pearson Lipscomb:


In July 2019 we received the following from Andrew Towner:

“To whom it may concern. I write since Hugh was one of our men – a former pupil of Pocklington School, Yorkshire, England……

Follows is what we have on him (including school reports on his sporting prowess).

CHARLES HUGH PEARSON LIPSCOMB (1880-1917) Charles Hugh Pearson LIPSCOMB known as Hugh was born in 1880, the son of a parson, and educated at Pocklington Grammar School (founded 1514) in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Hugh was Captain of Association Football for 3 years (his school switched to Rugby Football in 1910) and Captain of Cricket in his last year.

Contemporary descriptions of his play include: Football 1896: Outside right; steadily improved – speedy, vigorous and devoid of funk. Centres admirably. 1898: Centre: fast and energetic, a good shot but is too anxious and inclined to roam. Would keep the wings together much better if relied more on the insides. Has shown great keenness as captain but would give his team more confidence if he took mistakes less seriously.

Cricket 1897: opening bat for 1st XI (145 from 17, average 9.06: prettiest bat in the team, plays wonderfully straight and has learned to play harder on the ball. Should turn into a first class bat, a good fielder everywhere. 1st XI colours. 1898: is a pretty bat to watch and almost always scores some runs. Average 14.94 runs. A stylish bat, patient and very straight, and is hard to get out. Cuts and drives well but is somewhat weak on the leg stump. A good out-field and generally a safe catch.

Hugh left school in 1898 and emigrated in 1908. He settled in Cowichan and then Duncan on Vancouver Island, working first for the Cowichan Creamery Association before becoming a partner in the Cameron Farmers’ Exchange of Hilliers’s Crossing.

As well as playing football for Duncan, Hugh joined the Cowichan Cricket Club and, in a famous match in 1912, he scored 103 in a score of 333 for 3.

He enlisted in July 1916 and was eventually drafted to England to join the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles. He took part in the Vimy Ridge attack as part of the Battle of Arras in April 1917 when he was wounded and evacuated.

He died in the Australian Hospital at Boulogne on 18 April, aged 36. He left a widow and two children under 4.

Hugh is buried in Wimereux Cemetery (where the gravestones are laid flat), two rows away from the grave of John McCrae, author of In Flanders Fields. He is also remembered: on the War Memorial in Charles Hoey Park in Duncan; at Sawbridgeworth, in the churchyard; on the Ring of Remembrance at Notre Dame de Lorette; and at Pocklington (War Memorial pavilion, Roll of Honour in church and on the School’s WW1 Memorial).”

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