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. Call us at 613-967-3304.

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: Victory Celebration on Monday the 12th, Ad for Goodrich Tires, James Marshall Receives Military Medal

The Intelligencer August 10, 1918 (page 1)

“Victory Celebration Monday Evening. In view of the great allied victories which have changed the whole aspect of the war and thrilled the allied world with the assurance of ultimate victory and early peace Mayor Platt is arranging for a civic celebration Monday evening in which all citizens can express their joy as loudly as they wish. The band will furnish patriotic music and an appropriate program will be arranged.

Turn out and bury forever all traces of pessimism in a glorious new faith in the unconquerable spirit of British heroes and the unfailing justice of the Great God of Battles.”

The Intelligencer August 10, 1918 (page 3)

Advert for Goodrich Tires

“Best in the Long Run. Every Inch a Soldier. Veteran of road travel, tried and true as the veteran of war, is the Goodrich Silvertown Cord Tire.

It has seen active service, and has always seen it through with victory and honor. In peace or war, it is a tire of Goodrich SERVICE VALUE, rendering the utmost comfort, economy, dependability and mileage to the motorist on his car and on the road.

Its war service is real. Ambulances today are carrying the wounded with less pain for being equipped with the tires of LESS jolt and jar—

Aviators, finding the Spiral-Wrapped, Cable-Cord tire saves their machines from shock, have adopted Silvertowns for war planes.

The Belleville Vulcanizing Agency Exclusive Agents, 11 Moira St. Phone 661.”

The Intelligencer August 10, 1918 (page 7)

James Marshall

“Bravery of Pte. Marshall. The following letter has been received by Mrs. C. A. Gibson, 72 Victoria Avenue, from Divisional Military Headquarters at Kingston, in regard to the Military Medal awarded a relative of hers, Pte. J. Marshall, for outstanding bravery:

Kingston, Aug. 9, 1918. To Mrs. C. A. Gibson, 72 Victoria Avenue, Belleville, Ont. Military Medal, No. 300390 Pte. J. Marshall, Returned soldier.

Dear Madam:—I am this date in receipt of your letter and as requested the Military Medal awarded the marginally soldier is enclosed herewith under registered cover, for safe keeping until his return.

The General Officer commanding the district, in forwarding this decoration desires me to express the greatest appreciation for the services of this gallant soldier, and I am also directed by the Honorable the Minister, to express his most sincere personal appreciation for the services of so brave a man.

On my behalf, please accept my sincerest compliments that you are a relative of so brave a man. Yours very sincerely, Harry A. Hunt, Lieut. Colonel, A. A. G. Military District, No. 3.”

100 Years Ago: Royal Canadian Air Service, All Are Interested

The Intelligencer August 9, 1918 (page 1)

“Royal Canadian Air Service. Ottawa. Hon. A. K. Maclean, Acting Minister of the Department of the Naval Service, has announced the formation of the Royal Canadian Air Service. This organization will come under the direction of the Naval Department, and has for its primary object the defence of Canada’s coasts but men enlisting in the Air Force will be liable for service outside the Dominion if necessary. …

It was stated at the Department to-day that pilots for seaplanes, airplanes and kite balloons were required immediately in connection with the organization. Only young men, British-born, or naturalized British subjects, between the ages of 17 ½ and 26, and in the highest medical category, will be accepted. …  Seaplane cadets, it is stated will be trained in the United States this winter, and airship cadets will be sent to England for training. The Naval Department is now open to receive applicants from young men with the necessary qualifications who wish to enter as pilots in the air service.”

The Intelligencer August 9, 1918 (page 8)

“All Are Interested. The great battle now raging in France will no doubt touch with sorrow many Canadian homes, and messages of loved ones having been killed or wounded may be expected to reach Belleville homes. The public are interested in the brave heroes who are sacrificing so much to preserve Canada from German domination, and The Intelligencer will publish news of casualties as soon as received if the relatives will give us the information.

Telephone or personal calls will be appreciated. ‘Phone 36.”

100 Years Ago: Leave of Absence for Soldiers on Farms, 254th Battalion Band Places Second in Contest

The Intelligencer August 8, 1918 (page 1)

“Six Weeks Leave Of Absence For All Soldiers From Farms. Mr. E. Guss Porter, K.C., member of parliament for West Hastings, received a telegram from the Adjutant-General at Ottawa advising him that an order-in-Council has been passed granting six week’s leave of absence to all soldiers in Canada who were engaged exclusively in farming prior to their enlistment. Any soldier answering these conditions and making application to his commanding officer will be granted leave at once.”

The Intelligencer August 8, 1918 (page 2)

“21st Batt. Band Won Out. Mrs. Garnet Dobbs has received a letter from her husband, Sergt. G. E. Dobbs, telling of the splendid success the band had in a contest held in France of all the different bands. He explains just what their band was up against and the number competing.

There are four bands in their brigade and only one of the four could compete and it fell to the 21st Batt. Band (better known in Belleville as the 254th Battalion Band). There were seventeen brass bands, eleven pipe bands and eight fife and drum bands, all competing in their different classes. Sergt. Dobbs says in part:

‘We found we were to play between two of the best bands in the Canadian corps, one before us and the other following us. There were six Canadian bands and eleven Imperial bands altogether, and some mighty good ones too. After listening all day to the different bands I concluded that if we were in the running at all we would be lucky.

Well, our turn came and we entered the ring, got our inspection of dress over with, the signal came to start playing, and we waded in. The boys all kept their heads and worked together very nicely, working just like a piece of machinery, and almost before we knew it we were through playing and out of the ring.

After the last band played they held a massed band program, all the flute bands combining (about 150 players) and playing a tune, and it was pretty fine. As soon as they finished the pipers, who had been forming up in the meantime, started to play—and you should have seen it. There were about 250 pipers and drummers, and with the ribbons and kilts flying in the wind and the drumsticks twirling, etc., it was a magnificent sight and one I shall never forget. When they were finished we did our stunt, the seventeen bands massing and playing the French and British National Anthems, under Dr. Williams of the Grenadier Guards. There were over 850 in his turn, and you can imagine that we kicked up quite a row.

Just at the finish of this the result of the contest was announced. The King’s Royal Rifles first; The 21st Canadians second, and the Royal Scots third. Well, I could scarcely believe my ears when I heard it. Just fancy us ‘cleaning up’ all the ‘crack’ Canadian bands and all but one of the Imperials also. There were several of our officers in attendance and I thought they would go crazy! It was certainly a fine band that beat us to first place and we feel satisfied at the decision, although a great many of the Imperial bandsmen thought we should have been given first. However, the judges were two of the best musicians in England, namely Dr. Williams and Dan Godfrey, Jr.

The whole affair was carried out very fairly. The musical judges could not see the bands at all, everything being done by numbers, and they couldn’t tell whether it was a Canadian or an Imperial band playing, so I guess we must have won on our merits.

We’ve been receiving congratulations ever since, and this morning a message came over from headquarters, conveying congratulations from the General and staff of the brigade to Bandmaster E. R. Hinchey and players on their splendid success.’ ”

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