The Intelligencer November 27, 1916 (page 1)

“Initial Recruiting Meeting at Griffins a Great Success. One of the largest recruiting meetings ever held in the City of Belleville, was that of last night, when Griffin’s Opera House was filled from the pit to the dome, and numbers were unable to gain admittance. Not only was the auditorium packed, but many were upon the stage, and stood during the entire length of the programme.

The gathering was the first held under the auspices of the 254th Battalion, which has recently been organized under the command of Lt.-Col. A. P. Allen of this city. It was a grand meeting, and cannot help but be conducive to recruiting. The Chief speaker was the Hon. A. Meighen of Ottawa, Solicitor-General of Canada. …

Previous to the addresses being given, the excellent 155th Band, which has been attached to the 254th Battalion for recruiting purposes, under the able leadership of Bandmaster Hinchey, rendered three selections in a manner that demonstrated it was a musical organization worthy of the reputation it has. The selections were beautifully rendered and were heartily received by the audience.

Mr. E. G. Porter, K.C., M.P. for West Hastings, made a capable chairman. On the platform associated with him, were the Hon. A. Meighen, Sir Mackenzie Bowell, Brigadier-General Hemming, Major Campbell, Lt.-Col. Allen, Mayor Ketcheson, and others.

In opening the meeting the chairman referred to the pleasure it gave him to welcome such a large and representative audience to this, the inaugural meeting, held under the auspices of the 254th Battalion. It was a tribute to Lt.-Col. Allen, the Commanding officer of the new battalion, and the officers under him.

All citizens were proud of the fact that a Belleville boy had been asked to command such a battalion, and he (the speaker) had no doubt but that the full complement of recruits would be obtained for the new unit to go overseas to take the place beside those who are in the firing line. It had been truly asserted that Lt.-Col. Allen and his officers had a hard task to perform, because so many had already gone from Belleville and vicinity.

One marvels at what has been done here. We contributed our quota to the 1st and 2nd contingents, the 39th Battalion, the 80th Battalion and the 155th Battalion, all of whom have gone overseas, were recruited from the city and vicinity, also, the 34th Battery, in addition to other Bellevillians who had joined other military units. We are certainly entitled to a great deal of credit for the part we have done in recruiting men to fight for the Empire’s cause, and the flag we honor. (Applause.)

Hon. Arthur Meighen. In commencing, the Honorable Minister stated he felt particularly honored at being able to speak on this platform, under the chairmanship of his fellow-parliamentarian, E. Gus Porter. …

A returned soldier had been frequently asked when the war would end. His answer was, he was not sure when the war would end but he knew when it started and that was on the first of July, 1916. Only in the middle of this year had we been able to stand up to the Germans and take their measure. We have been able to fight the Germans on equal footing, and the world knows the result. Now, everything depends on the men and boys at home to help those who have gone and borne the brunt and are now on top of the job. …

Men of Belleville, remember others have gone, and it is because of these that we have been able to hold our heads up. Let us take example set by those who have gone before. …

The story of this conflict will last for centuries to come, back to which posterity will look. The people of future generations will look back on the part their ancestors played in this war. …

Concluding, the speaker declared ‘I marvel at the number of men already raised in Belleville, and congratulate the officers who have raised so many men. I hope Lt. Col. Allen has great success in his great undertaking to raise another 1000 men in this city. Let us gather about the Standard and take our place beside the man who is ready to do his part and honor him in the work he has taken up.’ …  the playing of the National Anthem by the band brought the meeting to a close.”