On a clear yet dark morning of May 7, 1850, a ship had only moments before it left Port Maitland with soldiers from the Reserve Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers (23rd Foot) as it headed out onto Lake Erie. Shortly after 12:10 a.m. their ship, the Commerce was struck by a steamer ship, the Despatch. This resulted in the deaths of at least thirty-nine soldiers, and family members. It is unknown how many in total perished, nor is it known how many were buried in Christ Church Cemetery at Port Maitland. We do know that the bulk of them were interred there. On Sunday April 29th, 2018 at 11 a.m. a communion service was held at Christ Church where a scroll with the names of the thirty-nine known souls was presented to the church by Port Maitland, “On the Grand” Historical Association. Photo L-R: Bill Strong, Suzanne Austin, Wendy Strong, Dan Rykse, Bill Warnick, Fr. Duncan Lyon, John Swayze hiding behind Janet deVos, Barry Fraser
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