Welcome to the Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County

The Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County preserves the history of our community through the records of local governments, individuals, families, businesses and organizations. Find us in the Belleville Public Library building at 254 Pinnacle Street, Belleville, Ontario.

The archives is open Monday to Thursday, 9.30am to 12pm and 1pm to 4pm and on Friday and Saturday by appointment.

Archives News

Belleville in World War I

Follow the citizens of Belleville and Hastings County as they face the challenges of the home front during the First World War through excerpts from The Daily Intelligencer, August 1914 to November 1918.

100 Years Ago: Belleville Bids Farewell to 254th Battalion, Notice to Join C.E.F. Company of Canadian Defence Force, Women in Munition Plants

The Intelligencer May 26, 1917 (page 2)

“Belleville Bids Farewell to 254th Batt. Citizens of all classes this morning vied with each other in giving the members of the 254th a hearty send off as they left this city eastward bound preparatory to going overseas. For some time the unit has been in Belleville, and the greater number of the members are residents of Hastings and adjoining counties, and numbered some 375. …

In full marching order the Battalion assembled at the Armouries and previous to leaving the members were provided with lunches furnished by the ladies of the two chapters of the Daughters of the Empire. Many were present at the Armouries, to bid for the present good-bye to loved ones.

The Battalion paraded from the Armouries at 11.30 and proceeded by way of Bridge St., up Front Street to Station Road, to the G. T. R. Station, where they embarked. On the line of march the streets were thronged with pedestrians and the boys were lustily cheered as they marched past, headed by the Battalion Band, under command of Bandmaster Lieut. E. R. Hinchey. A large number of autos and vehicles followed the boys to the station where they were given a hearty send off.

Among the prominent citizens present were Mayor Ketcheson, Mr. E. G. Porter, K. C., M. P., Col. Ponton, Mr. F. E. O’Flynn, and others. Several surplus subalterns, who were attached to the battalion are being retained here in order that they may be available if required.”

The Intelligencer May 26, 1917 (page 2)

“Do Not Wait For Conscription. You still have a chance to be a volunteer. It will not last long. DO IT NOW!

The pay and the allowances of the volunteer are settled. We do not know what the pay of the conscript will be. NOTE THIS!

Join the C.E.F. Company of the C.D.F. and reinforce the famous ‘Iron Second’ Battalion, the finest battalion in the First Canadian Division. DO IT NOW!

There will be no more recruits taken on the Canadian Defence Force. E. D. O’Flynn, Lieut.-Colonel, Comm’ D. G., 15th Reg’t C. D. F.”

The Intelligencer May 26, 1917 (page 3)

“Women Make Good in the Munition Plant. After enumerating the many channels in which women have directed their energies since the outbreak of the war, Owen E. McGillicuddy, in May’s ‘Everywoman’s World,’ pays the following tribute to the women munition workers:

Probably the most interesting, as it is also the most painstaking, is the way in which she has actually gotten down to hard manual work in the foundries and factories which are turning out war munitions throughout Canada.

Here she has learned a newer and larger meaning of the terms ‘citizenship,’ and ‘workmanship,’ and here also has she earned and learned by the sweat of her brow what it means to be truly patriotic. The War has truly given her equal place in the service of the nation, although it still withholds in four Provinces the fuller Franchise of a share in the Government. …

In Canada, there are already 3,500 women in munition factories, and that army is steadily increasing: and notwithstanding the fact that practically all of these employees were absolutely unfamiliar with mechanical work previous to the War, they have demonstrated, not only a mechanical ability equal to man’s, but in some departments they have shown beyond question a superiority to the male help who formerly did the same work.”

100 Years Ago: Philip Pauley Killed in Action, Private Rittwage Killed in Action, Lieutenant Blakely Invalided Home, Garden Window Display at Ritchie’s, More Bellevillians Enlist in Cobourg Heavy Battery

The Intelligencer May 25, 1917 (page 2)

“Sgt. Philip W. Pauley. Mr. Pauley of this city, yesterday received the following sad message: Ottawa, Ont., May 23. George H. Pauley, 89 Octavia Street, Belleville. Deeply regret to inform you that Sgt. Philip Walter Pauley, infantry, officially reported killed in action, May 9th, 1917. Record. Office.

Sergt. Pauley, who was 23 years of age, enlisted with the 21st Battalion at Kingston under Col. Hughes. He went overseas two years ago and was in the trenches for twelve months. Previous to enlistment he was an employee of the Springer Lock Factory. He was a fine young man and had many friends in this city who will regret to learn of his death. The Sergeant was a member of Christ Church.”

[Note: Sergeant Walter Pauley died on May 9, 1917. He is commemorated on Page 306 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer May 25, 1917 (page 2)

“Mrs. Rittwage, who resides on Mill Street, Belleville, has received a telegram from the Record Office stating that her son, Private Rittwage had been killed in action. The young man left this city with the 155th Battalion.”

[Note: Private William Henry Rittwage died on May 4, 1917. He is commemorated on Page 316 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer May 25, 1917 (page 2)

“Lieut. Blakely Is Invalided Home. Lieut. L. Blakely, who left Belleville as an officer of the 80th Battalion, arrived in this city at an early hour this morning, having been invalided home. Lieut. Blakely was one of the most popular officers of the 80th, and was efficient and brave. He has done his bit for King and country and returned to this city bearing unmistakable evidence of having been in the firing line.

At what is termed the Great Salient the Lieutenant was severely wounded about the head, and his spine was also injured to a considerable extent. Owing to the nature of the injuries received he was compelled to remain in a hospital for some time in the Motherland. As soon as he sufficiently convalesced he was allowed to return to Canada.

Lieut. Blakely came from the western part of Canada and was attached to the 80th Battalion. While in the city the Lieutenant made many friends who will wish for him a speedy recovery, from the terrible injuries he received. Belleville will for the time being be the Lieutenant’s home as he is much attracted to our beautiful city.”

The Intelligencer May 25, 1917 (page 2)

“Unique Window Display By The Ritchie Co. One of the most timely and attractive window displays seen in Belleville for many years, and one that has caused much favorable comment, is the garden scene displayed in Ritchie’s north show window. A real, genuine garden is depicted, with the plants and vegetable plots layed out in true backyard style.

A background of brick, and a miniature model home in the centre of the window adds to the effectiveness of the display, and the utensils usually required are scattered throughout the window in a most realistic manner.

Timely slogans, such as ‘Production Spells Patriotism,’ and ‘The Planting Line Supports the Firing Line,’ are displayed, and it should do much to further the cause of more production. It is indeed a most creditable arrangement both to the designer and the Ritchie Co. May it bring good results.”

The Intelligencer May 25, 1917 (page 3)

“The Cobourg Heavy Battery is at present very popular with the young men of this city. Every draft leaving Cobourg has always had a large quota from Belleville. In the seventh draft we had about fifteen men and in the eighth draft, which will soon be leaving for overseas but the ninth draft, now forming promises to have the largest representation of the ‘Bay City’ lads than any draft yet.

In addition to the nine names already published, the following have since put on a C.H.B. uniform: Messrs L. Bell, G. Roote, M. Loche, D. Foote, R. Sills and R. Ives. Seven students from Albert College are also similarly enlisting in the course of a couple of weeks. Several of our men about town are putting on a Cobourg H. B. uniform to-day and quite a number will tomorrow.

Bombardier Bullock and Gunner Madill are in charge of the local recruiting for the ninth draft, and if you don’t see them on the street, call at the Y.M.C.A. or phone Major McKinnon, O.C., Cobourg Heavy Battery.”


100 Years Ago: Passport System Planned, Poster for Belleville Heavy Battery, Ad for Delaney Hats, Brant Brant Wounded, Cobourg Heavy Battery, Willie Pinn Killed in Action, Letter of Sympathy for John Emerson

The Intelligencer May 23, 1917 (page 1)

“Ottawa. Drastic methods will be adopted immediately to prevent Canadians of military age from evading military service by crossing the International boundary. An order-in-Council will be passed and put into effect at once, which will not permit the emigration from the country of men of military age without permission of the authorities.

To accomplish this, it is understood that a passport system will be instituted. A citizen who attempts to leave Canada without this permission will be turned back at the border or the point at which he attempts to leave the country. It is probable that joint arrangement will be made with the United States whereby each country will assist the other in conserving its man power for military service. If this is brought about those who attempt to leave their respective countries without permission will have to run the gauntlet of a double set of border officials.”

The Intelligencer May 23, 1917 (page 2)

“Belleville Heavy Battery. Now located at 34th Battery Headquarters, 190 Church St. Young men of this city this is Your Opportunity to enlist. Recruiting Sergeant in charge at all times and evenings 7 to 10. Come and talk it over.”

The Intelligencer May 23, 1917 (page 2)

“We Are High Flyers! When it comes to cleaning and blocking Hats of all descriptions, whether your Hat is a Flat Straw, or Panama, you can send it to us to be cleaned and blocked with perfect confidence of having it done satisfactory. We also carry Ladies’ and Children’s Panama Hats. Our prices are right. J. T. Delaney. 29 Campbell St. Phone 797. Opp. Dr. Gibson’s.”

The Intelligencer May 23, 1917 (page 7)

“Pte. Brant Brant. To Mrs. Maggie Brant, Shannonville. Ottawa, May 13th, 1917. O.K. 410, Sincerely regret to inform you 637076, Private Brant Brant, infantry, officially reported admitted to Four General Hospital, Dannes Camiers, May 4th, 1917; gunshot wound in left leg and forearm. Severe. Will send further particulars when received. Officer in charge of Records.”

The Intelligencer May 23, 1917 (page 7)

“The following from the city of Belleville and vicinity have recently enlisted in the Cobourg Heavy Battery, stationed at Cobourg, Ont:—Messrs J. Walmsley, F. Hill, A. and H. Rogers, J. McIntosh, M. Diebert, W. Holoway, S. Hill, and G. McFarlane. In addition quite a number are similarly signing up in a few days.

This is the only Heavy Battery in Ontario, and drafts are constantly leaving therefrom to reinforce the Heavy and Siege Batteries in France. At the present Bombardier Bullock and Gunner Madill are in the city at the Y. M. C. A. representing the Battery, and will be pleased to aid in every way possible those desiring to join this excellent branch of the King’s Service. Further particulars can be secured from Major McKinnon, O. C., Cobourg Heavy Battery, Cobourg, Ont.”

The Intelligencer May 23, 1917 (page 7)

“Another of Shannonville’s brave young boys has made the supreme sacrifice, and Somewhere in France his body will find an honored grave. In consequence a home is plunged in mourning. The sad news was received by Mrs. Christina Brant, of Shannonville, that Pte. Pinn was killed in action Somewhere in France while in defence of his country. The following is the telegram: Ottawa, May 17th, 1917. A.M. 85. Deeply regret to inform you 637077 Pte. Pinn, infantry, officially reported killed in action, May 3rd, 1917. Officer in Charge of Records.

Pte. Pinn was born at Shannonville, and was twenty-two years of age, and unmarried. He enlisted at Belleville, April 19th, 1916, with the 155th Battalion, and went overseas with that unit, and on arriving in England was transferred to the 2nd Canadian Battalion, and went to France. Pte. Pinn has a mother, one brother of Hamilton, and a sister of Shannonville to survive him. To the bereaved family the sincerest sympathy will be extended in the loss of a loving son.”

[Note: Private William Pinn died on May 3, 1917. He is commemorated on Page 309 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer May 23, 1917 (page 7)

“Letter of Sympathy. The following is a letter received by Mrs. Isabella Emerson of Thomasburg, Ont., following the telegram of her son’s death on April 9th. France, April 19th. Dear Mrs. Emerson—As Chaplain of the 42nd Battalion, I wish to send you this word of deepest sympathy for the loss of your son, Pte. J. Emerson, No. 412105, who fell in action on April 9th, that memorable day in our history. How or when he was killed I do not know, that with all who then gave up their lives, he bore himself with splendid courage and devotion, by his faithfulness, gained the crown of life God has in store for his soldiers.

He was buried in a plot of ground some distance back of the line, and there with many comrades he sleeps in highest honor. For you in this sore loss, we have all sympathy. We make it our prayer that God may help you to bear the burden, so strengthening your faith by His presence that out of your pain you may come to a new understanding of His love and mercy. Your son’s personal effects will be forwarded later. With deepest sympathy, I am Very sincerely yours, Geo. G. D. Kilpatrick.

A memorial service was held last Sabbath morning, May 20th, at Thomasburg Methodist Church for Pte. John Emerson. Rev. Mr. Pettey preached a very impressive sermon, taking for his text, 1st John, 3rd chapter, 16 verse: ‘He laid down his life for us.’ He was assisted by Rev. Mr. Richards.”

Load More Posts