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: Flight Lieut. William Murray Dies of Wounds

The Intelligencer January 10, 1918 (page 7)

“Another Belleville Soldier Makes Supreme Sacrifice. J. W. Murray, Belleville, Ont. London, Jan. 8th, 1918. Deeply regret to inform you No. 58 casualty clearing station reports 2nd Lieut. W. D. Murray, Royal Flying Corp., 1st squadron, died of wounds on January 3rd, 1918. The Army Council express their sincere sympathy. Secretary War Council.

The above sad message received last evening by Mr. J. W. Murray, of this city, Manager of the Belleville branch of the Dominion Bank, conveys the intelligence that another young and brave Bellevillian has sacrificed his life for King and Country. Whilst no details were given as to the nature of the wounds received, it is presumed that he was fatally injured by his machine being brought down.

Lieut. Murray was the youngest son of Mr. Murray, and was only 19 years of age. He was born in this city and had lived here all his life. When the war broke out he was anxious to enlist, but his youth was against him. Last year he, however, decided to join the Royal Flying Corp. and did so. He was at Camp Borden for a while and also at Camp Mohawk near Deseronto. He took an expert course, and owing to his capabilities and intelligence in six months was a Flight-Lieut.

He left for overseas but a few weeks ago and had only been in France almost a month. William was a studious young man and was exceedingly popular with his teachers and class-mates whilst at school. The news of his death will be learned with deep regret and to his father and other members of the family will be extended the heartfelt sympathy of all citizens.

Lieut. Gordon Murray, a brother of deceased, who went overseas some time ago is at present a prisoner of war, being confined in Fort Zorndorf in Germany, which is a celebrated fort in that country. He has made unsuccessful attempts to escape from his captors.”

[Note: Second Lieutenant William Douglas Gillespie Murray died on January 3, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 591 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

100 Years Ago: Ad for Wallbridge and Clarke, Lieut. Ketcheson Returns Home

The Intelligencer January 8, 1918 (page 2)

“Letters from the Front. Wallbridge & Clarke have already received a number of letters from the Front acknowledging the receipt of parcels intended for Christmas. Much satisfaction is expressed regarding the selection of the goods and the perfect condition in which they arrived.

Wallbridge & Clarke make a specialty of Overseas Parcels. Proper Packing. Desirable Goods. Reasonable Prices. No Extra Charges for Service or Material.”

The Intelligencer January 8, 1918 (page 7)

“Returned from War Zone. The many friends of Lieut. W. H. F. Ketcheson, son of Mayor Ketcheson, were pleased to welcome him home from the war zone, the young officer reaching Belleville yesterday, being on an extended leave while recovering from serious shrapnel wounds received on November 6, in the strenuous fighting at Passchandaele.

Lieut. Ketcheson was struck by a shrapnel shell and had several ribs broken besides sustaining other injuries. He had been twelve months in France without a day’s leave when he received his ‘Blighty’ and although his wounds still give him trouble appreciates the rest after the strenuous life at the front.

Lieut. Ketcheson left Canada with the 39th Battalion nearly three years ago, but was transferred overseas to a machine-gun platoon, of which he was second in command. He went through some of the hardest battles of the war at St. Eloi, on the Somme, at Vimy Ridge, Lens and Passchandaele, and was twenty-six months on the firing line. He says that the fighting now is the most severe of the entire war.”


100 Years Ago: Bellevillians Honoured, Prayers for Allied Armies, Soldiers Arrive in City, Letter of Sympathy to Robert Bone’s Father, Contribution to Sailors’ Fund, Intercession at Christ Church

The Intelligencer January 7, 1918 (page 2)

“New Years’ honors were bestowed on four Bellevillians, who have done and are doing their duty at the front. The recipients were Lt.-Col. W. R. Riordon (artillery), serving as Major, who wins the D. S. O. Major Frank Lynn who previously secured the M. C. is now the winner of the Distinguished Service Order. Major Sills wins the D. S. O., as did also Capt. Mond, who left here with the 39th Battalion.”

The Intelligencer January 7, 1918 (page 2)

“Prayers for Allied Armies. Battles may be won by men and ammunition, but wars are won by spiritual forces. This was the conviction behind the King’s call to prayer which was responded to by the citizens of Belleville yesterday in unison with the whole of the British Empire. In all Christian churches the voice of prayer, fervent and insistent, prevailed throughout the services.

Old texts and ancient liturgies were clothed with new meaning and power as they were applied with urgent directness to the woes of war and the needs of the present crisis in the great struggle for righteousness and freedom.”

The Intelligencer January 7, 1918 (page 2)

“Soldiers Arrive in City. During Friday night and Saturday a number of recruits came to Belleville and have settled down in their quarters at the canning factory premises on Pinnacle Street. The place again presents a garrison appearance. About 200 have arrived here from various parts of Eastern Ontario, and many more are expected.

Capt. Leck is in command at present; but in a few days other officers will be in charge. The men are a fine lot of boys, and soldierly in appearance. There was no order for church parade yesterday, the men being allowed to attend the church of their choice. The boys are apparently well pleased with their location. In the near future it is expected that the Armouries will be utilized for drilling purposes.”

The Intelligencer January 7, 1918 (page 3)

“Mr. Richard Bone has received the following letter from the Minister of Militia: Minister’s Office, Ottawa, January 2, 1918.

Mr. Richard Bone, Herchimer Ave., Belleville, Ont. Dear Mr. Bone:—I desire to express to you my very sincere sympathy in the recent decease of your son, No. 636640 Pte. Robert Henry Bone, C.E.F. who in sacrificing his life at the front in action with the enemy, has rendered the highest services of a worthy citizen.

The heavy loss which you and the nation have sustained would indeed be depressing were it not redeemed by the knowledge that the brave comrade for whom we mourn performed his duties fearlessly and well as became a good soldier, and gave his life for the great cause of human liberty and the defence of the Empire.

Again extending to you in your bereavement my condolence and heartfelt sympathy, I am, Yours faithfully, (Signed) S. C. Mewburn, Minister of Militia and Defence for Canada.”

The Intelligencer January 7, 1918 (page 5)

“Contribution to Sailors Fund. Appreciation of the gift of a check for $130 recently sent by the local chapters of the Daughters of the Empire to the Navy League of Canada is expressed in the following letter:

The Navy League of Canada, Dec. 24, 1917. Mrs. Annie A. Dolan, Treasurer, Quinte, Argyle and St. Julien Chapters, I.O.D.E., 17 Victoria Ave., Belleville, Ont.

Dear Madam:—Will you please convey to the Quinte, Argyle and St. Julien Chapters, I.O.D.E., the very best thanks of the Executive of this league for their cheque of $130.00, which is applied to the fund for the relief of British and Canadian sailors and their dependents, for Sailors’ Homes, Institutes and Hospitals in Canada and throughout the Empire.

Some time in March we hope to show in Belleville a very fine film, of the navy, which is owned by the Navy League and I am sure you will all be very much interested. Again thanking you, we remain, Yours faithfully, (Sgd.) Cecil G. Williams, Secretary-Treasurer.”

The Intelligencer January 7, 1918 (page 5)

“Intercessions at Christ Church. There were large congregations in Christ church yesterday to take part in the intercession services which were by the King’s request universal throughout the Empire. It was a great day for God among British peoples, and will mean much for His great kingdom and for our righteous cause.

There was a choral communion at 11 o’clock, at which service as well as at evensong special prayers, some prepared by the Archbishop of Rupert’s Land, and some taken from the time of Elizabeth, were used.

In the evening the late Robert Henry Bone, killed in action on November 6th was remembered. ‘He has paid the great price, and to the father, mother and sister at home, as well as to the surviving brother in France our most sincere sympathy goes out,’ said the Rector. The complete list of the honor roll was re-read and the present condition of each one given of a list of 146 men seventeen have gone over to the great majority, 29 have been wounded, some of whom are again on the firing line, the rest are discharged or still in France. The dead march was played by the organist, Mrs. Campbell, after the service, for Pte. Bone.”

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