Catherine Lewis (1853–1944) was born in Dublin and moved to Canada at the age of 18. She and her carpenter husband raised four sons and a daughter in Ottawa's working-class districts. Three of their sons joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force. John James Lewis (Regimental No. 40203) attested on September 22, 1914, and served throughout the war. Henry “Harry” Bartle Lewis (Regimental No. 59585) added a year to his age when he attested in December 1914. He was killed in action on November 27, 1915. Charles Walter Lewis (Regimental No. 410810) attested on May 31, 1915, and was killed near Courcelette, France, on November 18, 1916.
Beginning in 1935, Lewis laid a wreath on behalf of all Canadian mothers as part of the national Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa. She continued in this role as the National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother, from 1939 to 1941. Lewis laid her wreath alongside those of the Prime Minister and Governor General as an acknowledgement of the grief and loss felt by families across the country.
Remembrance Day, 1937