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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Maidstone Bicentennial Museum honours history of Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment

Updated: Jul 28, 2023


by Sylene Argent

A temporary exhibit showcasing the history of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment is currently on display at the Maidstone Bicentennial Museum, thanks to the efforts and dedication of Matthew Bombardier, who is the Assistant Curator.

An opening ceremony to officially unveil the display was hosted on Saturday, giving residents an opportunity to participate in a wreath laying ceremony, view the display that highlights the historical timeline of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment, and listen in on live bagpipe music.

Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in the activities hosted throughout the day, including watching black powder demonstrations, and participating in family-friendly activities, such as a game of cornhole, a coconut toss, and tug-of-war.

In addition, reenactors were onsite, helping to demonstrate significant historical timelines.

To have the display up and ready for view “Is definitely exciting,” Bombardier said. “It’s unique.”

The idea to put the display together came from learning the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment recently received new Regimental Colours from His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent.

“There was quite a buzz about the Regiment in the County going on right now,” he said. “I believe it is important to honour our military heritage in this area. It is one thing a lot of people tend to forget and neglect, so it is important we bring that back.”

The Essex and Kent Scottish is one of Canada’s longest serving regiments, with continuous service back to 1885. Its roots go back even further, to 1749, when different units were brought together to form the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment.

“It is a historic regiment,” Bombardier said. “It is very important we honour them as well.”

He noted his brother currently serves in the Regiment, which provided a personal touch in putting together the historical display. He noted he comes from a military family, so honouring military history has always been important to him.

This was the first time Bombardier curated an exhibit on his own. He pulled together artifacts from different conflicts and different periods of the Regiment. As an amalgamated unit, he tried to find a way to honour the former units that came together to create the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment.

He also reached out to local veterans and community members who are collectors and asked to hear their stories.

He hopes the display will remind people that Canada is very much still active and there is an Armed Forces in Windsor.

“Veterans are still very much important,” Bombardier said, including young Veterans, noting that young Veterans and Veterans of Afghanistan can get forgotten. “All Veterans deserve respect and recognition.”

Curator at the Maidstone Bicentennial Museum, Victoria Beaulieu, expressed how proud she was of Bombardier for his efforts in putting together the display. He has been involved with the Maidstone Bicentennial Museum for around five-years, of which some as a summer student.

The display will be available for viewing during its hours of operation, until August 26.

Beaulieu urges those interested to ensure they take the time out to see it while it is still available for viewing.

Those interested in learning more can call 519-819-5318.

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