Windsor’s Samuel Berger was just 21 years old when he enlisted with the Essex Scottish Regiment to serve in the Second World War.He left behind his parents and a sister in the family home at 733 Niagara St. and never returned.Berger died just shy of his 23rd birthday on a blood-soaked French beach during the Dieppe Raid of August 19, 1942.His tragic story brought tears to the eyes of Patricia Murphy, who now owns the well-kept city home on Niagara along with her mother.Murphy learned about Berger’s ultimate sacrifice in a letter that arrived last fall from St. Anne’s history teacher Steve Byrne.Byrne outlined how his class researched 16 fallen soldiers from Windsor for Remembrance Day as part of a “Keeping their Memory Alive” project. The present-day owners of the soldiers’ family homes were then notified about the project.Students Brayden Tessier and Riley Carmichael were tasked with finding out about Berger.Murphy was so moved by the young soldier’s story, she had a memorial plaque made to honour him, and last week she mounted it on the exterior wall near the front door.
A plaque honouring Samuel Berger a WW II veteran who lived at this Windsor home on Niagara St. is shown on Friday, 17, 2019.
Dan Janisse /
Tessier and Carmichael stopped by to meet Murphy for the first time Friday and see the plaque.“History should be remembered like this and not just read about,” Carmichael said of the tribute. “It’s amazing that she did this. I find it amazing that someone took the time to put something up there. I feel every soldier, especially from World War II should be remembered like this.”Murphy felt compelled to act after reading Byrne’s letter.“I’m an emotional person so I was instantly attached to (Berger’s story). It was so touching,” she said. “You can’t just let it stop there. I just wanted to memorialize him so that he’d never be forgotten. And all the hard work that the students did with this is very cool. What a great idea from the teacher.”Tessier called it “the best history project” he’s ever done.“Instead of just opening a textbook and reading page one to 100, we’re learning about real life,” the 17-year-old said. “It showed us how much history affects us even now. It makes me feel like what we do at our school matters, that projects like this can have an effect on others.”Byrne said it’s the first time he’s given an assignment like this. He had heard of a similar effort in London involving postcards sent to the family homes of First World War veterans.“I didn’t think of it as being a big deal until it started taking off,” Byrne said. “When I started teaching 30 years ago I was determined to do stuff that the kids will remember and that the kids can identify with. This was a good one.”Byrne had a box of files about local soldiers from an Ottawa archive that he’d requested years ago prior to taking a class on a trip to Dieppe, France.Related
As he prepares for retirement, “I thought what better place for them than to be in the homes they came from?” Murphy now has a copy of Berger’s file from the Canadian Active Service Force.“It’s part of the story of the house,” she said. “It saw weddings, births and death and all the moments in between.”firstname.lastname@example.org/winstarcaton
St. Anne Catholic High School students Riley Carmichael, left, and Brayden Tessier pose with Patricia Murphy at her Niagara St. home in Windsor on Friday, May 17, 2019. The students were involved in a research project involving local veterans and determined that Samuel Berger a WW II veteran lived at the home. Murphy decided to have a permanent plaque made and hung near the front door.
Dan Janisse /