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: British Red Cross Tea, Victory War Loan, Mayor Ketcheson Announces Date for British Red Cross Collection, Poster on Exemption Tribunals

The Intelligencer October 20, 1917 (page 2)

“For the British Red Cross. The Quinte Chapter I.O.D.E. gave a very successful tea on Wednesday afternoon last in the beautiful rooms of the Belleville Club. A large number were present, and the sum of one hundred and ten dollars was realized. The proceeds will be given to the British Red Cross fund.”

The Intelligencer October 20, 1917 (page 2)

“Victory War Loan. Ald. W. B. Deacon of this city, chairman for Hasting’s County Victory War Loan, with Mr. W. B. Evans, executive organizer, paid a visit to Trenton and succeeded in forming a strong committee in that town to handle the war loan matter.

Ald. Deacon also visited Deseronto, and Major Rixon, as chairman, was chosen as the presiding officer of a committee of citizens in that town.”

The Intelligencer October 20, 1917 (page 2)

“Belleville British Red Cross. His Worship Mayor Ketcheson has fixed the date for the collection for the British Red Cross for Thursday, November 1. An organization meeting for a thorough canvass covering the city will be held in the Council Chamber on Monday evening, October 22nd, at 8 p.m. All citizens are invited to attend.”

The Intelligencer October 20, 1917 (page 10)

Poster on exemption tribunals“Exemption Tribunals. Exemption Boards have been chosen in such a way as to make them absolutely independent and removed from all influence. There are over 1,250 boards throughout the country, each composed of two men, one appointed by the county judge in the district concerned and one selected by a joint committee of Parliament. Being familiar with local conditions where they sit, the members are well-fitted to appreciate such reasons for exemption as are put before them by men called up.

Exemption may be applied for by the men selected themselves or by their parents, near relatives or employers. Issued by The Military Service Council.”

100 Years Ago: 5091 Men Report and 4601 Ask Exemption, Burial of Soldiers

The Intelligencer October 19, 1917 (page 2)

“The latest official figures show that 5,091 men have reported under the Military Service Act in this district. Out of these 490 reported for service and 4,601 exemption. The returns include those from points in this district, where, if the returns were mailed last night, they should reach the registrar’s office today. The returns also bear out the statement of Post Office officials today, that yesterday was the busiest day since the Proclamation was issued.”

The Intelligencer October 19, 1917 (page 6)

“Rev. John Garbutt, Army Chaplain, recently returned from the front, writes as follows about the burial of Canadian soldiers killed in action: …  Every soldier carries on his person, usually by a string around his neck, two discs, one of leather and the other of metal, bearing the name, number, battalion and religion stamped thereon.

When a soldier is killed, the leather disc and all his personal belongings found on the body are deposited in a small cotton bag and forwarded either to his battalion orderly room, or to the office of the divisional burial unit. The leather disc is kept by the authorities as proof of death, and the rest of the belongings sent through the Estate of Deceased Soldiers’ Department to the next of kin. The metal disc is buried with the body so that if the body is removed the disc will establish its identity. …

In ordinary trench warfare, when the front is simply being held, all bodies are usually brought out and buried in certified cemeteries in the rear. In times of advance, when the casualties are heavier, new cemeteries well to the front are laid out by the corps burial officers, and all bodies are collected and buried there if at all possible. …

If for some reason bodies cannot be taken to these cemeteries and must be buried, the spot is carefully marked, the exact map location is made, and besides the metal disc buried with the body the chaplain gets two bottles, and on two pieces of paper writes the information which is on the disc, and in addition the date of death and any other item which he deems of interest. One piece is placed in each bottle. He then places one bottle one foot under the soil at the head of the grave, and the other, with neck downwards, on the top of the grave. If later the body is exhumed and placed in the cemetery, its identity is known.

Each battalion gives particular attention to the burial of its own dead. …  Each unit erects a wooden cross over the grave, bearing the name, number, battalion and date of death. At the front ‘killed in action’ is usually added.”

100 Years Ago: Stirling Gives to British Red Cross, Canary Knitting Circle Holds Shower for Christmas Gifts, Poster on Military Exemption, Fuel Controller Urges Sparing Use of Sugar, Poster for British Red Cross

The Intelligencer October 18, 1917 (page 2)

“Stirling Will Give $2,000. At a meeting held in the Town Hall at Stirling, to discuss ways and means of raising funds for the British Red Cross, a motion was passed advising the Council to pay $2,000 out of the funds of the corporation. This will mean a considerable additional levy upon the 1918 taxpayers.”

The Intelligencer October 18, 1917 (page 2)

“Shower of Christmas Gifts. The Canary Knitting Circle , under the convenorship of Mrs. Carl Storm held a successful ‘Donation Shower’ of Xmas gifts for our boys overseas in St. Thomas Church Parish Hall on Monday evening October 15. The chair was ably filled by Judge Deroche who in his remarks touched on topics of the war, which showed the need of our best efforts at home to help win the war.

Dainty refreshments and ice cream were served by several young girls dressed in white and wearing the Circle colors, and during the evening a very select programme was carried out, instrumental music by The Misses LaVoie, readings by Miss Jessie Tuite, and solos by Messrs. Staples and Pimlott.

A pleasant feature of the evening was the drawing for the hand-painted fern dish kindly donated by Mrs. Newton Thompson (nee Frances Strong). Miss Frances Morton was called to the platform by the chairman and drew the lucky number, which was held by Leo Fenn of the 73rd Battery. The National Anthem brought the evening to a close.”

The Intelligencer October 18, 1917 (page 3)

Poster on Military Exemption“Should You Be Exempt? National Interest Will Govern Exemptions. Consideration will be given to applications for exemption received from men engaged in the production or manufacture of commodities necessary to the conduct of the war and the support of those at home, and cases in which real hardship would be caused by the withdrawal. Not all men who register these claims will be exempted, but such claims will receive careful attention. National interest must govern.

Issued by The Military Service Council.”

The Intelligencer October 18, 1917 (page 4)

“Saving Sugar. Sugar now takes a place among the household necessities which Canadians are urged by the Food Controller to use sparingly. When the war strikes the tea cup it is certainly becoming very real and close. If the vast army of tea drinkers respond to the call by using only one lump instead of the usual two or three to every cup the reserve supply of sugar should pile up in considerable quantities. However, people can become accustomed to almost anything, and even the skimping of the morning porridge sweetening will not entail any great hardship.

The breakfast table has been hard hit by the war with the high prices of bacon, eggs, butter and other commodities which formerly held a leading place on the morning menu, and economy has become not only a patriotic duty but a necessity. The price of bacon has hit sixty cents a pound and may be still going up, which indicates that this favorite food will take its place among the luxuries to be served only on rare occasions.

One thing the war is doing which will have a beneficial effect for all time, and that is to inculcate habits of food economy and elimination of waste in the kitchen.”

The Intelligencer October 18, 1917 (page 6)

Poster for British Red Cross“ ‘For the Red Cross’ The British Red Cross once more makes an earnest but confident appeal for our help. That is why today, October 18th, has been set aside as ‘Our Day’ for giving.

Ontario’s trust is, that out of their abundances every man and woman will give generously to aid the work of the British Red Cross. Give Generously Today.”


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