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Name proposed for newest 'P' in the P-Patch

Couns. Shoemaker and Hilsinger want new access road to be named Passchendaele Way
New access road (shown in black) will provide access to the P-Patch to and from Northern Ave

With a new access road to the P-Patch due to open soon, Ward 3 Couns. Matthew Shoemaker and Donna Hilsinger are asking that it be named Passchendaele Way to honour local Victoria Cross recipient Sgt. William Merrifield.

"Most every street name in the P-Patch begins with the letter P and the P-Patch access road is as-of-yet unnamed," the councillors say in a resolution to be presented to City Council on Monday.

Their resolution suggests the new road be named after the Battle of Passchendaele, "where Canada’s international reputation was cemented during the First World War and where local Victoria Cross recipient Sgt. William Merrifield fought valiantly and was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery in that battle."

The new road, running from Northern Ave, to Princeton Ave. through Panoramic Drive, was approved in 2017 to reduce delays for westbound traffic making left turns at Pine Street and Pleasant Drive.

The project was made part of the city's five-year plan that year but Hilsinger and Shoemaker fought to get the work done sooner.

The following is Sgt. Merrifield's citation as published on Jan. 6, 1919 in the London Gazette, the official public record of the United Kingdom: 

Victoria Cross – First World War, 1914-1918

William Merrifield was born in Brentwood, England on 9 October 1890, and later came to Canada.

During the First World War he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and served with the 4th Infantry Battalion.

Merrifield received the Military Medal for his conduct near Passchendaele in Belgium on 6 and 7 November 1917.

On 1 October 1918, the advance of Sergeant Merrifield and his men near Abancourt in France was being blocked by intense fire from two German machine gun emplacements.

Merrifield resolved to attack both positions alone.

Running from shell-hole to shell-hole, he killed the crew of the first machine gun and, although wounded, continued to the second emplacement, where he used a hand grenade to kill all of the enemy defenders.

Merrifield refused to be evacuated, and went on leading his platoon until he was wounded again, this time severely.

For showing “the highest qualities of valour and leadership” in this action, Sergeant Merrifield was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Merrifield died in Toronto, Ontario on 8 August 1943.

“For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the attack near Abancourt on the 1st October, 1918.

When his men were held up by an intense fire from two machine-gun emplacements, he attacked them both single-handed.

Dashing from shell-hole to shell-hole he killed the occupants of the first post, and, although wounded, continued to attack the second post, and with a bomb killed the occupants.

He refused to be evacuated, and led his platoon until again severely wounded.
Sgt. Merrifield has served with exceptional distinction on many former occasions, and throughout the action of the 1st October showed the highest qualities of valour and leadership.”

Monday's City Council meeting will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.