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.

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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: Show Confidence in Victory by Civic Demonstration, Letter from Frank W. Bateman, Lieut. Bill Ketcheson Returns Overseas, Social Held at Myrehall

The Intelligencer August 5, 1918 (page 1)

“Time to Start Something! Give Us a Chance to Cheer! General Foch has given us a great victory—the greatest of the war. …  Under the incessant hammering of the Allied forces the Crown Prince’s army has been practically cut to pieces—many thousands have been killed and wounded, many thousands have been captured.

This victory will in all probability mark the turning point of the war—it has shaken the confidence of the Central Powers, impaired seriously the morale of the enemy soldiers; and adding this disastrous defeat of their ‘invincible’ armies to starvation at home, the military strength of Germany has received what may well be its death blow, although there will likely be hard fighting yet. …

WHY, then, in the face of the great events transpiring on the battle front and the certain prospects of future victories, should we not show our unshakable confidence in complete and decisive allied victory by a civic demonstration? Many people do not follow the progress of the war closely enough to know really how it is going.

WAKE ‘EM UP! Put the gin back into ginger and let us have a big procession with the band playing Rule Britannia, The Maple Leaf, O Canada, God Save the King, Tipperary, The Long, Long Trail, The Marseilles and all the songs of victory and glorious British confidence they know. Strike up the band, and give us all a chance to cheer.

WHY repress our feelings because some faint hearts see a possibility of a set-back, somewhere along the line, sometime? We know that we are going to win gloriously and decisively in the end—we know that we are winning now. Let’s honor the brave soldiers and sailors and airmen of the Allies who have effectually barred the progress of the Hun war machine.

RING THE BELLS and let the bands play and give everybody so inclined a chance to cheer for the genius of a Foch and for the British courage and unconquerable determination which has been the inspiration and backbone of the allied resistance, resulting in the muzzling of the Beast of Berlin, who hoped to enslave and debase the world. …


The Intelligencer August 5, 1918 (page 2)

“Frank W. Bateman on the Overseas Y. M. C. A. The following letter was received by Mr. H. Bateman, 61 Station street of this city from her son Frank W. Bateman, who was wounded some time ago and is now with his battery again. France, July 3rd, 1918. Dear Mother and Father,—Just a few lines in answer to your five welcome letters which I received yesterday, dated April 17th, May 15th, May 20th, May 28th and June 6th, so I had enough reading to keep me busy for some time.

You wanted to know whether I was wounded with a sniper or not. No I was not. I was wounded with some splinters from a large high explosive shell which dropped about 4 feet from me. …  The hospital I was in was an English military hospital. The nurses were very nice and I had a jolly time when I was there.

You asked about how the Y.M.C.A. uses us out here. If it wasn’t for them we would go hungry and thirsty many a time up the line. There is always hot tea, coffee or cocoa to drink or lemonade in the summer time. Sometimes they give biscuits and there is always writing paper and envelopes. They sell cigarettes and chocolate cheaper than you can get them at home and also all kinds of canned goods, and as for selling socks that should be given away, well, the fellow who said that at home, he could never have been up the line or he wouldn’t say such a thing. Those kind of fellows are only trouble-makers and another thing I have never seen socks in the Y. M. C. A. for sale.

I was down to some sports yesterday and saw (Curley) Sharpe, Reg. Hinchey, Ernie Blaind and also (Bill) Wannacott and I was talking to a fellow out of Harry’s battery. …  Well I will close for now, hoping this finds everyone in the best of health. Your loving son, Frank.”

The Intelligencer August 5, 1918 (page 7)

“Returning Overseas. Lieut. W. H. F. (Bill) Ketcheson, son of ex-Mayor Ketcheson, leaves to-day on his return to active duty overseas. Lieut. Ketcheson was severely wounded at the battle of Passchendaele, being buried by a shell explosion.”

The Intelligencer August 5, 1918 (page 7)

“Social at Myrehall. The Myrehall Red Cross held a very successful social at the home of Mr. Wm. Goodfellow, 8th Con. Of Tyendinaga, on the evening of July 24th and on account of the fine weather a large crowd assembled. The Rev. Mr. White of Plainfield acted as chairman, in his usual pleasing style. Mr. McIntosh and Mr. Johnstone of Belleville, gave some bag pipe selections that were much appreciated, while Mr. Elliott’s eloquent speech received the profound attention of all present.

Mr. J. Gow and Miss Ida Pitman of Latta, gave some excellent music, and one of the features of the programme was a flag drill by eight girls in costume. The ladies of the Red Cross furnished an excellent lunch. The luck ticket for the autograph quilt was won by Mr. D. Wellman of Latta. Proceeds of social exceeded $200.”

Nurses of World War I: Vera Harrison Prindle

Vera Harrison Prindle was born at the farm house near Tweed on February 16, 1891 daughter of Silas Prindle and Deborah Harrison. The father of our subject was of United Empire Loyalist stock and served as clerk for the Township of Hungerford for over two decades.

She was educated locally and was a graduate of the Nursing School at Belleville in 1916. Miss Prindle enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps on May 5, 1917 at Kingston.

Vera Harrison Prindle (left) on leave in Ireland (photo courtesy of Belleville General Hospital Archives)

Height:  5’ 4”

Weight: 113lb

Age: 26

Nursing Sister Prindle served in the military hospitals in Taplow, Buxton, Westenhanger, Orpington and Granville, England; Vera was hospitalized in January 1919 with influenza. She returned to Canada setting sail on September 6, 1919 aboard the S.S. Orduna and was discharged on September 15, 1919. Miss Prindle was united in marriage on December 17, 1919 to Veteran Joseph Edward Chappell. Mrs. Chappell was engaged in private duty nursing at Thomasburg where she lived most of her life; she passed at Hastings Manor in Belleville.

Vera Harrison Chappell died on February 24, 1967 aged 76 years 8 days. She is interred at the Thomasburg Cemetery West Section Row 3 Grave 303.

Grave marker for Vera and her husband.

100 Years Ago: Great War Veterans Association Replace “God Save the King” with “O Canada,” Ad for Gillette Razors, Ad for Purity Oats

The Intelligencer August 3, 1918 (page 1)

“O Canada Replaces God Save the King. Toronto. The Great War Veterans’ Association of Canada has decided to replace the British National Anthem ‘God Save the King,’ with ‘O Canada’ at the close of branch meetings.

 It was moved by an English clergyman, the Rev. J. C. Davidson now an adopted son of Canada, and carried at the convention.

Except for some doubt expressed also branches without a piano being able to navigate through the subtle modulations of ‘Canada’ no opposition was raised the mover emphasizing that it was for Canada the G. W. V. A. were anxious about.

‘It seems to me a very serious omission not to sing “Canada” at our branch meetings’ he said. ‘We are Britain’s and British subjects but we are all Canadians, and are here to further the interest of our own country. In this period of reconstruction it is expedient that Canada be first and foremost, and our national anthem brings our country more before us.’ ”

The Intelligencer August 3, 1918 (page 6)

Ad for Gillette razors

“August 4th. The Gillette Razor’s Four Years of War Service. The Gillette Safety Razor has passed through four years of war service with a clean bill of health.

It is the proud record of the Gillette Razor that it has more users than have all other razors put together in every regiment under the Allied flags.

It has gone with him to billet and reserve camp; it has shaved him in hospital and has accompanied him to ‘Blighty’. Whether its owner has been on leave, invalided home, or finally pensioned off, the Gillette has never failed to offer the daily luxury of a perfect shave..

Gillette Safety Razor Co., of Canada, Limited.”

The Intelligencer August 3, 1918 (page 6)

Ad for Purity Oats

“The Allied Armies depend on us for wheat. Our free wheat-saving recipes show you how to save your share of wheat flour.

Purity Oats is the world’s best substitute for wheat flour. Use it in all your baking.

Western Canada Flour Mills Co.”

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