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: Aviators Leave Camps Mohawk and Rathbun, More Victory Loan Results, William Hogan Killed in Action, Two Belleville Officers Wounded

The Intelligencer November 15, 1917 (page 1)

“Aviation Camps Are Now Closed. The aviators have departed. Camps Mohawk and Rathbun are now practically deserted, and the daily visits of the gallant young birdmen over Belleville city and the surrounding country have ceased, for the trek is on and most of the staff, cadets in training, and most of the mechanics are on their way to the winter training camps situated near Fort Worth, Texas. …

The planes have been left behind, however, and more or less mechanical work will continue during the winter months to prepare for next season.

Three special trains passed through Belleville at 7.45, 8.30 and 9.30 this morning, and although many friends of the aviators had gathered at the station to say good-bye and present lunch-boxes no stop was made here and much disappointment was the result.

Good luck to the aviators, and may they all have an important part in bringing the war to a speedy and triumphant close.”

The Intelligencer November 15, 1917 (page 1)

“Mr. Nelson McCutcheon has sent in $14,000 for the small village of Marlbank. Anyone knowing Marlbank’s patriotic record in the war can hardly be surprised at the way they have taken hold out there.

Madoc came across yesterday with $24,000. How’s that for Madoc? …  Belleville yesterday supplied $72,000 of the $140,000 collected. …

The largest single subscription to be recorded to date is that of Mr. R. J. Graham for $50,000. There should be several like this before the campaign closes.

Everyone buying a bond should insist upon getting a button, and everyone—man, woman or child—who owns a bond should wear a button to make the other fellow ashamed to be seen in public without a Victory Bond button. If you have bought a bond for everyone in the family, even the baby, they should all wear their buttons. It is your patriotic duty to do this.”

The Intelligencer November 15, 1917 (page 8)

“Pte. Hogan Killed. An official telegram was received yesterday that Pte. William Patrick Hogan, was killed in action on October 31. Pte. Hogan lived in Belleville all his life and was employed at Marsh and Henthorn’s foundry. He had many friends who sincerely regret his death and sympathize with the bereaved relatives. He went overseas with the 155th Battalion and was attached to the machine gun section.”

[Note: Private William Patrick Hogan died on October 31, 1917. He is commemorated on Page 257 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer November 15, 1917 (page 8)

“Two Officers Are Wounded. Two popular young officers of Belleville, have been reported as wounded, Lieut. Wm. P. Allen and Lieut. R. Cooper.

Lieut. Wm. P. Allen. Lieut. Allen went overseas with the 155th Battalion and is a brother of Lieut.-Col. Percy Allen of this city. He is suffering from bullet wounds and is being treated in the military hospital at Wimereux, France.

Lieut. R. Cooper. It is officially reported from Ottawa that Lieut. R. Cooper of this city was wounded on November 6. This young officer is the son of Mr. L. B. Cooper and went overseas with the 254th Battalion.

No details are available as to the extent of the wounds which these officers have received, but their many friends in the city hope that they are not serious and that their recovery will be speedy.”

100 Years Ago: Christmas Boxes Sent, Ad for Shredded Wheat, Ad for Victory Bonds, 155th Bandsmen Play in France, Second Day’s Canvass for Victory Bonds

The Intelligencer November 14, 1917 (page 2)

“During the past month the Argyll Chapter, I.O.D.E., have sent 70 Christmas boxes overseas, and 33 Christmas stockings to soldiers in Hospitals. Donations of $25 have been given to the British Red Cross and $25 to the Julia Henshaw fund for French Hospitals.

Money for Christmas cheer has been sent to six Belleville prisoners of war in Germany.”

The Intelligencer November 14, 1917 (page 3)

“You Can Do Your Bit in the trenches, in the home, in the office, in the factory, in the store when the body is nourished with foods that build healthy muscle without overtaxing the digestive organs.

Shredded Wheat Biscuit contains the greatest amount of body-building nutriment at lowest cost. It strengthens the muscles of the stomach and intestines by making them do their normal work in a natural way. A better-balanced ration than meat or eggs, more easily digested and costs much less.

Made in Canada.”

The Intelligencer November 14, 1917 (page 4)

“Buy Victory Bonds. Make Your Money Fight! Enlist In this Fighting Line.

‘He Fights Who Lends’ Every man and woman, every boy and girl in Canada is eligible for enlistment in this fighting line. There is no bar for age, sex or physical condition.

It means continued support for the boys at the front. It means work and wages for those who cannot get to the front. Buy Your Victory Bonds To-Day.”

The Intelligencer November 14, 1917 (page 7)

“155th Bandsmen Play In France. Concert of Massed Bands Behind the Firing Line—Belleville Bandsmen Take Part. The programme …  is one played by the massed bands of the 20th and 21st Battalion bands, C.E.F., at the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade Headquarters, ‘somewhere in France’ recently, by permission of Lieut.-Col. and Lieut.-Col. H. V. Rorke, D.S.O., C.O. 20th Batt.

It may interest readers to know that the 21st Batt. Band is our own 155th Battalion band, which delighted Belleville audiences, as well as audiences in other towns and cities of eastern Ontario, by their splendid rendering of just such programmes as this one.

The personnel of the band was changed somewhat on its departure for overseas, fourteen of its members being struck off on account of physical unfitness. The number which survived, twenty-two, has been increased by the addition of seven more, making the total strength twenty-nine. The other band mentioned numbers thirty-six. The concert was given on October 22nd, and pleased everyone present.”

The Intelligencer November 14, 1917 (page 8)

“City Responds Nobly. County Is Slower. While the returns from the county are rather discouraging to the hard-working local committee, the result in Belleville of the second day’s canvass raises their enthusiasm to the highest pitch. What has been done in Belleville can be done all over the County, so it is up to the citizens of this city to take hold and make the people of the rest of the County awaken to their responsibilities. …

There is a lot of missionary work to be done throughout the county, and there is no fund to pay for this work. It is therefore up to volunteers who are travelling to help with the good work. …

At Griffin’s Theatre last night the members of ‘The Only Girl’ Company gave their services to the Publicity Committee and went amongst the audience and accepted pledges from people there for nearly a thousand dollars of bonds—more than some towns have bought in a day. This is a very trying task for the ladies and gentlemen of the stage, and the Publicity Committee appreciating this, thank them for their unselfish effort.

Griffin’s theatres have assisted greatly with the publicity from the beginning of the campaign, and intend to continue. Mr. Geo. Forhan, the popular manager of Griffin’s interests in Belleville, has been untiring in his efforts to assist the committee, and serves himself on the Stunts Sub-Committee of the publicity end.

Arrangements have been made with the theatres to give coupons away with the tickets, and the one holding the lucky number on Saturday night at each of the local houses will be presented with a $50.00 Victory Bond, donated by Mr. John and Peter Griffin. Mr. Griffin also has presented each manager on his circuit with five Victory Bonds, and an offer to finance any which the manager will himself buy. This is taking hold with a right spirit.”

100 Years Ago: City Hall Victory Loan Meeting, Several Belleville Soldiers Wounded, County Enthusiasm for Victory Loan Campaign, Marmora Rally for War Victory Loan, Haines’ Shoe Houses Ad for Victory Bonds

The Intelligencer November 13, 1917 (page 1)

“ ‘Carry On’ Keynote of Victory Bond Campaign. The Victory Loan meeting in the City Hall last evening attracted a large audience showing the great interest being taken by people of small and large means in this important line of defence which will back up and make effective the heroic deeds of Canada’s army in the field. …

Preceding the meeting the 15th Regiment band marched to the City Hall and gave a program outside and inside the hall which was well rendered and greatly appreciated.

A feature of the meeting was the appearance of the hall which resembled an art gallery with the many striking Liberty Bond posters which adorned the walls. One in particular is worthy of special notice among the many artistic designs which testified to the power of publicity, the one depicting the little girl who had arranged her alphabet blocks to spell BUY ME A VICTORY BOND and is represented as making an almost tearful appeal to her daddy in this wise: ‘Oh, Please Daddy, buy me a Victory Bond.’ …

Only 1 in 187 of the population of Canada bought our last war loan. It was to remedy this state of affairs and get all the people back of the war that this great campaign was planned, in order to get the man and woman with $50 and $100 savings to invest in Victory Bonds. This was pointed out by the various speakers.”

The Intelligencer November 13, 1917 (page 2)

“Bombardier E. H. Olver. Bombardier Edwin Hugh Olver, Artillery, is officially reported wounded, gunshot in the left leg, and removed to 8th Field Ambulance. Hugh Olver left with the 26th Battery from Kingston more than two years ago. He is well known in the city and is a son of the late A. Olver, M.D., Medicine Hat, Alta.

“Pte. H. F. O’Neil. Mrs. M. O’Neil, 73 Lewis St., City, has received official notice that Pte. Hugh Francis O’Neil, Infantry, is reported as admitted to the Sixth Field Ambulance Depot, November 4th, with gunshot wound in left leg.

“Sergt. J. H. Turney. Sergt. James H. Turney, referred to in the following despatch, enlisted with the 59th Mounted Rifles at Cornwall. Previous to enlistment he was employed in the Belleville Hardware establishment.

Ottawa, Nov. 12, 1917. Mrs. James H. Turney, 280 Coleman street, Belleville, Ont. Sincerely regret to inform you 454,536 Sergt. James H. Turney, Mounted Rifles, officially reported admitted to St. John Ambulance Brigade Hospital, Etaples, November 2nd, 1917. Gunshot wound in back, Director of Records.

“Pte. N. J. Asselstine. Private Nicholas John Asselstine, who enlisted and went overseas with the 155th Battalion, has been reported wounded, as the following telegram denotes, which was received by his mother this morning:

Ottawa, Ont. Nov. 12th. Mrs. Edith Asselstine, 78 Mill Street, Belleville, Ont. Sincerely regret to inform you that 636682, Pte. Nicholas John Asselstine, infantry, officially reported admitted to 1st Western General Hospital, Liverpool, November 7th, 1917; gunshot wound in wrist. Director of Records.

“Pte. E. L. Foster. Pte. Ernest Leonard Foster, of this city, who enlisted and went overseas with the 155th Battalion, has been wounded, as the following telegram from the Record Office shows:

Ottawa, Nov. 12, 1917. Mrs. Rose Foster, 256 ½ Front Street, Belleville, Ont. Sincerely regret to inform you 636436, Pte. Ernest Leonard Foster, infantry, officially reported admitted to No. 1 Field Ambulance Depot, November 5th, 1917, gunshot wound head, back and left hand. Director of Records.

“Lieut. W. H. F. Ketcheson. Mayor Ketcheson received a telegram this morning from the Director of Records at Ottawa stating that his son, Lieut. W. H. F. Ketcheson, had been admitted to hospital in France suffering from wounds in the chest and burns. The many friends of Lieut. Ketcheson in Belleville and vicinity trust that he will have a speedy recovery, and sympathize with the family of Mayor Ketcheson in the anxiety caused by this disturbing news from the battlefields of Flanders.

Lieut. W. H. F. Ketcheson left Belleville with the 30th Battalion in 1915 for overseas, and has been in France over two years on active service, being attached to the machine gun service, and having risen to second in command of his section.

He has served his country gallantly and well in many strenuous battles and was a member of the brave group of Canadian heroes who held an important salient at St. Eloi for ten days, in the face of tremendous odds and cut off from support by the enemy barrage, relief only coming after ten terrible days of heroic effort when a sap was constructed to the position and an avenue of escape furnished.

Another son of Mayor Ketcheson, is now in the city recovering from wounds received at the front, being invalided home with a gallant record of heroic service for the Empire for which he was singled out for Royal honors.”

The Intelligencer November 13, 1917 (page 2)

“Hastings Welcomes the Liberty Bonds. With not much more than half of the County of Hastings heard from the first day of the Victory Loan campaign showed that the good old County is there with the Dollars as well as the Men.

The Province of Ontario subscribed $4,000,000 to the Victory Loan yesterday and the County of Hastings supplied $136,000.00 of this huge total, so it can be seen that the people of this County know their duty and intend to do it. Belleville’s first day netted over $86,000.00, so it will be seen that the County Seat has set a good pace for the rest to keep up to.

The returns for to-day will be read from the stage of Griffin’s Theatre, and the Palace to-night, and will be published at the Victory Loan Headquarters, Campbell St. …  A clock is being erected on Front St. to keep the people of Belleville informed of the progress of the campaign. Watch it and you will see the hand advance to the ‘Million or Bust’ sign.”

The Intelligencer November 13, 1917 (page 3)

“Splendid Rally at Marmora. The Town Hall at Marmora was crowded last night to hear the War Victory Loan explained and advocated by Colonel W. N. Ponton, K. C., of Belleville, who took up the various phases and significance and the appealing advantages of the national investment offered.

He described the loan as one that appealed both to our business and bosoms, to our hard British common sense and business instincts as well as to our practical loyalty and patriotism translated into action. Bullets win battles, but money, the denominator of value and the concrete evidence of purchasing power, wins wars, and the present conflict is not merely a battle of armies but it is a war of nations. …  Mr. Salime occupied the chair, and Reeve Gray also spoke. Marmora subscribed $14,000 yesterday in Liberty Bonds.”

The Intelligencer November 13, 1917 (page 7)

“Put Your Money in the First Line Trenches by Buying Victory Bonds. The Haines’ Shoe Houses. Belleville, Napanee, Trenton, Smiths Falls.”



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