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: Alex Conley Dies of Wounds, St. Julien Chapter I.O.D.E. Offers Thanks for Tag Day, Edward Givens Stapley Visited by Red Cross, Coal Situation, Army Huts’ Fund Half Subscribed

The Intelligencer September 19, 1918 (page 2)

“Death of Pte. Alex. Conley. Mrs. Hiram Ibey received a sad message this week that her brother, Pte. Alex. Conley had died of wounds at No. 7 Casualty Clearing Station, France, September 2nd, gun shot wound, right leg fractured. Pte. Conley went overseas from Belleville with the 80th Battalion, then transferred to 50th Battalion, and now numbered with the gallant soldiers who gave their lives for liberty and freedom. This is the fourth time he had been wounded. Another brother gave his life about six months ago. Much sympathy is expressed for the bereaved ones.”

[Note: Private Alex Conley died on September 2, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 387 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer September 19, 1918 (page 2)

“Card of Thanks. The officers and members of St. Julien Chapter, I.O.D.E. wish to thank all those who so kindly assisted and made the Tag Day on Sept. 14 so successful. The sum of $561 was realized and will be devoted to the Christmas parcels for our boys overseas.”

The Intelligencer September 19, 1918 (page 2)

“Red Cross Care Of Wounded Soldiers. Mrs. Richard Stapley of this city, is in receipt of the following letter referring to her son, Pte. Ted Stapley, who was recently wounded: Information Bureau, Canadian Red Cross Society, 12 Berners Street, London, W.I., August 28th, 1918.

Dear Madam:—I beg to inform you that Pte. E. G. Stapley 2584305, 38th Canadians, is in the Chester Military Hospital, Chester, England. He is suffering from a gun shot wound in the abdomen, and only arrived from France on the 25th. Our Red Cross visitor has called and seen him, but was not able to find out much as he had only just arrived. He will be visited regularly, and should he be in need of any comforts other than those supplied by the hospital, we will gladly send them to him from our parcel office. We shall be able to give you more details next week. Yours truly, D. Forester.”

The Intelligencer September 19, 1918 (page 7)

“Coal Situation. Yesterday afternoon a meeting of the Fuel Committee in connection with the City Council was held at which Mr. T. F. Wills, Fuel Controller, was present, after a trip to New York and Boston. It was decided to procure on behalf of the city a quantity of coal for delivery in the near future. Mr. Wills informed a representative of The Intelligencer that he is in a position to secure a considerable quantity of coal for delivery in the city within a reasonable time. This may be taken advantage of by the City Council.”

The Intelligencer September 19, 1918 (page 7)

“K. of C. Hut Fund Half Subscribed. One of the most noticeable features of the present Campaign for the K. of C. Army Hut Fund is the number of voluntary subscribers, who have walked into the Campaign Headquarters, corner of Bridge and Front Streets, with generous donations for this most worthy cause. …

The canvassers, are making every endeavor to call at every house in Belleville, but it is not always possible to find the householder at home, or it may not be convenient for them at the time to meet the canvassers. For this reason the committee is making a great sacrifice to keep the headquarters open all the time. …  It is not believed that any person in Belleville would deliberately avoid giving, which is an absolute duty, to this fund. …

Up until noon today the returns from Belleville District show very nearly half of the objective has been reached. The subscriptions heard from amount in the neighborhood of $2,250. …  In Belleville every class of citizen has been represented in the general subscriptions, that have been recorded.”

100 Years Ago: Harry Rath of Tweed Doing Well, Patriotic Speech Given at Griffin’s Theatre, Preparation for Soldiers in Belleville, Sailors’ Fund Near $2,000 Mark, Leroy Buck Killed in Action, Ezra H. Sarles Dies of Wounds, Army Huts Campaign

The Intelligencer September 18, 1918 (page 7)

“Enjoys the Game. Flight Lieut. Harry Rath of Tweed, is having some real exciting experience in Hun chasing at the front and characteristic of his manner when in training in this country he evidently enjoys the game. On August 9th he was chasing a Hun machine when of a sudden two other Hun planes made for him and naturally there were some doings. He succeeded in bringing down one of the three and then did some strategical movements far back of the line which he reached in safety but not without his plane being perforated with many bullets. On August 14th he got another Hun and on the 17th still another which goes to show that ‘Harry’ is doing his share in maintaining the good name of Canada in this conflict. He reports feeling fine and speaks highly of the treatment of the troops.”

The Intelligencer September 18, 1918 (page 7)

“Play Up! Pay Up! During the intermission between the first and second acts of ‘The Garden of Allah’ last evening at Griffin’s Theatre, Mr. F. E. O’Flynn gave a brief talk along patriotic lines, drawing attention to the necessity for keeping war effort up to the high water mark and permitting no slackening of interest in the welfare of our soldier boys overseas.

Mr. O’Flynn asked for a generous response to the request for funds for the Knights of Columbus soldiers’ comfort huts in the war zone and also pointed out various departments of war effort which should always be kept in mind, including the Red Cross penny bags, and Christmas parcels for soldiers. Incidentally he paid a deserved tribute to the Canadian post office service stating that since the war began he had been sending parcels weekly to soldiers in the war zone and every parcel had reached its destination in good time and in good condition.

The present call is for support for those rest and refreshment huts so appreciated by the soldiers, and the public can not be too generous in this regard. Mr. O’Flynn read a letter recently received by him from a Belleville soldier on the firing line which well illustrated the magnificent spirit of Canada’s fighting men, so worthy of the pride of the folks at home. He also read a poem aptly describing the warm welcome of a parcel of comforts and eats from home in the trenches and the sudden and great popularity of the recipient.”

The Intelligencer September 18, 1918 (page 7)

“Preparing for the Soldiers. Ten members of the Royal Canadian Engineers stationed at Brockville, arrived in this city last evening in command of Capt. Palmer. To-day they are busily engaged in preparing the Armouries for the soldiers who will arrive here from Kingston the latter part of the week. The old school buildings on Catherine and Pinnacle streets will also be put in condition to be used for military stores.”

The Intelligencer September 18, 1918 (page 7)

“Near the $2,000 Mark. Belleville’s contribution to the fund to protect the widows and orphans of Canada’s sailors from want now bids fair to cross the desired two-thousand dollar mark (minus a civic grant). Another substantial donation has been received in a check for fifty dollars from Mr. H. W. Ackerman; bringing that gentleman’s total contribution to the Sailors Fund to one hundred dollars.

Subscribers who have not sent in their contributions as yet should hand them in at once to Mr. Alexander Ray the local representative of the Ontario Navy League, as it is desirable that the fund be closed as soon as possible.”

The Intelligencer September 18, 1918 (page 7)

Leroy Buck

“Sleeps in Flanders Field. Within the past few days a number of homes in this city have been saddened by messages from the Director of Records at Ottawa, conveying the intelligence that loved ones had made the supreme sacrifice, somewhere in France. Yesterday afternoon Mrs. Annie Buck, residing at 18 Everett street, was in receipt of one of these sad messages, notifying her that her son, Private Leroy Buck, was killed in action on September 3rd.

Roy, as he was familiarly called, was a young man, scarcely 20 years of age. Some time before he enlisted with the 155th Battalion in this city, he endeavored to join a unit for overseas service, but was rejected owing to his youth. He became a member of the bugle band of the 155th Battalion, and went overseas with the battalion. He had been in France for some time and had been mentioned for bravery displayed. Pte. Buck was a young man of fine character and manly ways, and beloved by all who knew him. His demise will be sincerely regretted by many friends. He attended Queen Mary’s School and was identified with the Baptist church. An elder brother, Pte. Howard Buck, is in France.”

[Note: Private Leroy Maitland Buck died on September 2, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 376 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer September 18, 1918 (page 7)

“E. H. Searles Killed. Mr. and Mrs. M. Searles of Frankford, have received word that their eldest son, Ezra H., died of wounds in the shoulder on Sept. 2nd. He enlisted at St. Catharines with the 176th Battalion (Niagara Rangers). Besides his parents he leaves two brothers, Roy, formerly Principal of Bancroft Public School, who was wounded on August 31st, and Frank, who recently went overseas with the Canadian Engineers.”

[Note: Private Ezra Halden Sarles died on September 2, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 496 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer September 18, 1918 (page 8)

“K. Of C. Subscriptions Still Coming in Strong. The Campaign Committee for the K. of C. Army Hut Fund was able to report last night that over $2,000 having already been subscribed from the district for this most worthy cause. The actual canvass of the city began yesterday afternoon, and will continue to-day, tomorrow and Friday. $3,000 is still needed to attain the objective set. No doubt this objective will be reached, and it is hoped that it will be far surpassed. …

The K. of C. Army Hut is going to supply some small degree of comfort for those boys out there that they would never know if it were not for these voluntary funds at home, and the women, who are doing this work and who occupy the home trenches. …  Therefore let the citizens of Belleville get together for the balance of this week, and by talk, by action and even by thought boost for the success of the K. of C. Army Hut Fund and put Belleville where it belongs, in the front rank of the generous towns and cities of Canada.”

100 Years Ago: Army Huts Campaign, City Council to Secure Canning Factory for Soldiers, Poster for Army Huts by John Lewis Co., Parents Give Money to Y.M.C.A., Poster for Saving Money, William Hunter Killed in Action, William John Howard Black Dies of Wounds, William Woods Killed in Action, Henry Edgar Carter Killed in Action, Poster for Army Huts Campaign

The Intelligencer September 17, 1918 (page 2)

“K. of C. Drive in Full Swing Success Assured. The first day of the K. of C. Army Hut Fund Campaign saw the drive off to a good start. All classes of citizens are showing their interest and people in all walks of life have been calling regularly at the Campaign headquarters, corner of Bridge and Front Sts., with generous subscriptions, and it is expected that the $5,000 objective will be reached before the end of the week. …

The local committee are working day and night to make this fund a success, and the same thing is going on from one end of Canada to the other. In the Belleville district reports are pouring in from Trenton, Tweed, Deseronto, Stirling, centres where the same interest is being shown.

The canvass of the city will be made tomorrow, Thursday and Friday, and it is hoped that every household will be waiting for the canvassers with a generous contribution. …  A list will be made of the contributors and published. Statements will be made showing where every dollar was expended. In the Army Huts everyone is welcome and everything is free. Therefore at home everyone should give to the utmost.”

The Intelligencer September 17, 1918 (page 3)

“Soldiers Coming From Kingston. A special meeting of the City Council was called for last evening the object of which was to secure for military purposes the canning factory building situated in this city. …  Mayor Platt stated that the military authorities were anxious to secure the canning factory building here for the segregation of some 300 to 500 soldiers during the winter months. The object was that soldiers coming here would be placed in the building, thoroughly examined medically, detained there a number of days and then when found free from all trace of disease, passed on to the Armouries and thence overseas. This is apart from those who are coming later to take possession of the Armouries. …

Ald. Robinson moved, seconded by Ald. Treverton, that a special committee composed of the Mayor, Aldermen Robinson and Hanna be appointed with power to act to secure on as reasonable terms as possible the canning factory building for the use of the militia during the fall and winter months. The motion was unanimously adopted and the Council adjourned.”

The Intelligencer September 17, 1918 (page 3)

Poster for Army Huts campaign

“Give! Give! Give! To The K. of C. Army Huts Campaign.

The John Lewis Co. Ltd. Heating, Plumbing, Tinsmithing. Phone 132. 265 Front Street.”

The Intelligencer September 17, 1918 (page 4)

“Remembered His Pals. Somewhere in France a Hastings County soldier boy was doing his bit for God and Home and Native Land. His parents who reside near Belleville a few days ago purchased a money order for twenty dollars and some five franc notes to send to their boy over there; but a few hours later the dread news came that his name had been added to the Honor Roll of the immortals who have given their lives that freedom and righteousness shall not perish from the earth.

The twenty dollar money order and the five-franc notes had not been mailed when the message came that their boy had laid down his rifle and taken up his crown in the Better Land where the currency is character and golden deeds. The parents in the midst of their grief thought of the other boys over there and handed the money order and five-franc notes to Mr. D. V. Sinclair to be given to the Y.M.C.A. overseas fund. They considered that the money belonged to their boy and knew from his letters that no better disposition of it could be made than to provide comforts for his pals still on the firing line.

Thus through the mist of bitter tears and the shadow of sacrifice shines that great and kindly light of human sympathy—the thought for others—which makes the rugged road of life worth while travelling after all.”

The Intelligencer September 17, 1918 (page 5)

Poster for saving money

“Pile up the Surplus. To win this war every ounce of the strength of each of the allied nations must be put forth to meet the organized, trained and disciplined efficiency of the Central Powers—that gigantic, ruthless force which is the result of fifty years of planning and preparation.

Every cent you spend represents that much effort, because somebody must do something for you in order to earn that cent—somebody’s effort must be given to you instead of to the war.

The war can be won only by the surplus strength of the allied nations. The money each individual saves represents that surplus strength. So the truly loyal Canadian will use less, spend less, and save more, to help to win the war.

Published under the Authority of The Minister of Finance of Canada.”

The Intelligencer September 17, 1918 (page 7)

“Pte. Wm. Hunter Killed. Mrs. James Hunter, residing at 180 James street, city, is in receipt of the following sad message, which refers to her son: ‘Sincerely regret to inform you 805182 Pte. William Hunter was killed in action on September 1st, 1918. Private Hunter enlisted with the 136th Battalion at Bowmanville, three years ago. He was a son of Capt. James Hunter of Belleville, and was a young man who was beloved by all who knew him. Previous to going overseas he was employed on a Government dredge.”

[Note: Private William Hunter died on September 2, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 433 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer September 17, 1918 (page 7)

“Wounds Proved Fatal. On Friday, the 5th inst., Mr. Richard Black, residing at 24 Hillside St., city, received a message from the Director of Methods at Ottawa that his son, Pte. William John Howard Black, was dangerously wounded on September 1st. Monday Mr. Black received the sad message that his son had died of wounds.

When the 155th Battalion was recruited in this city and vicinity Pte. Black endeavored to enlist but was unable to do so as he was but 16 years of age. Later he joined a special military unit at Lindsay being for some time a bugler of the guards at the arsenal. Later he enlisted and went overseas with the 252nd Battalion.

The day the news was received here that he was wounded was the 19th anniversary of his birth. The young man had a host of friends in this city, who will regret to learn of his demise and to the bereaved family will be extended the heartfelt sympathy of all citizens.”

[Note: Private John William Howard Black died on September 5, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 369 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer September 17, 1918 (page 7)

“Sorely Afflicted. Mrs. Wm. Woods, residing on Water street, city, is in receipt of a telegram which conveyed the sad intelligence that her husband, Pte. Wm. Woods, was killed in action on September 2nd. Pte. Woods was born in England and had been a resident of Belleville for a few years.

Previous to enlistment with the 235th Battalion in this city he was a trusted employee of the Grand Trunk Railway. He was a member of Christ Church. Mrs. Woods only a short time ago received word of the death of a brother in action. She has still six brothers in active service in the army and navy. In addition to the widow Pte. Woods leaves four children of tender years. The heartfelt sympathy of all citizens will be extended to Mrs. Woods in this her hour of sore affliction.”

[Note: Private William Woods died on September 2, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 526 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer September 17, 1918 (page 7)

“Pte. Carter Killed. Mrs. F. A. Carter, residing on Roswell street, city, received the following message, which refers to her husband: ‘Deeply regret to inform you Pte. Henry Edgar Carter, infantry, officially reported killed in action on August 30th.’ Private Carter had been overseas for some time. He leaves in addition to his wife, two children, also his parents and two brothers. One of the latter is on active service in India..”

[Note: Private Henry Edgar Carter died on August 30, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 381 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer September 17, 1918 (page 8)

Poster for army huts campaign

“Everything Free! Everyone Welcome! In Army Huts. Help The Boys By Giving To The K. Of C. Fund.”

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