SASKATOON — A monument to a Saskatoon soccer player who received a Victoria Cross for his actions in the First World War has been restored.
The marble statue of Hugh Cairns was installed on the south edge of Kinsmen Park in 1921, the same park where Cairns and other athletes played before the war.
Cairns was an avid soccer player when his family moved from England to Saskatoon, and he was on a team that won the Saskatoon league championship in 1915.
He took up arms and served as sergeant until 1918, when he and other troops were pinned down by machine gun fire just days before the end of the war.
Cairns rushed the gunner's post, successfully taking it, and then led a small group to flank a number of enemy troops.
He was wounded and died of his injuries the following day.
Cairns was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy, for defending his troops.
The statue, which shows Cairns with a soccer ball under his foot, underwent cleaning and a re-pointing of the granite base.
Community Initiatives Manager Kevin Kitchen said 75 Saskatoon soccer players who headed overseas to fight died in battle.
Kitchen said the statue isn't just for Cairns — it's also for all those soccer players who lost their lives.
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