Legion Branch 190 in Norwich opened forgotten treasure

By John Tapley, Ingersoll Times

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 190 in Norwich wrapped up annual Legion Week celebrations with a trip back in time.

Containing a mixture of items from the First and Second World Wars, a Canadian silver dollar and local souvenirs, a time capsule dating to 1961 - when the current Legion building on Stover Street was constructed - was opened on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Located behind a date plaque in the wall outside the front door to the building, the capsule was supposed to be opened in 2011 – 50 years after it was installed.

Branch officials said as time went on and the executive changed, the capsule was “forgotten and unknown.”

Its existence came to light again through an e-mail from former Branch 190 president Walter Tokarz – who was in office in 1961 and placed the time capsule in the wall.

The capsule was opened on Sept. 16 - six years later than intended – to wrap up Legion Week, which kicked off Sept. 8.

The capsule contained a souvenir booklet celebrating the opening of the new Branch building in 1961 and what appears to be a book related to a fall festival in Norwich.

There was also a 1961 Canadian silver dollar, now worth $13 due to its silver content, and several badges dating to the First and Second World Wars, including:

British Empire Service League – Canadian Legion 1927 badge

Royal Warwickshire Title – shoulder badge

Small badge with GWV – for Great War veteran

Round badge with For King and Empire – a badge worn on civilian clothing after having served in the First World War

The capsule also contained three Nazi hat badges and a skull hat badge worn by members of the SS Totenkopf (Nazi death's head division).

The contents of the capsule will be cleaned up and put on display at Branch 190.

Officials said there has been some discussion of putting some of the badges back into another time capsule being planned so they can be rediscovered in another five decades.

“Moving forward, we are collecting things from 2017, such as a copy of the Norwich Gazette, Canada 150 items, a photo of the current executive, and we discussed the possibility of putting a cell phone back into the time capsule, seal it back up and open it in another 50 years,” according to a Legion representative.