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: Daylight Saving Starts April 15, Funeral for Harold Reid

The Intelligencer April 10, 1918 (page 1)

“Daylight Saving Starts April 15. Ottawa. Sir Robert Borden intimated last night that Canada’s daylight saving bill will go into effect on Monday, April 15th. The bill, which is now before the senate, will be put through its various stages this week and assented to.

The necessary proclamation to bring the bill into effect will probably appear in The Canada Gazette on Saturday, and clocks will be advanced an hour at midnight on Sunday.”

The Intelligencer April 10, 1918 (page 2)

“A Soldier of the Sky Laid at Rest at Belleville, April 9, 1918. The funeral was a military one and was very largely attended by all classes of citizens, who wished to honor the memory of this young man who had given his life for his country just when life was in the springtime and meant so much. Like many other heroic young Canadians, he placed his all on the altar of patriotism and was ready to meet death with a smile in the knowledge of duty well done.

As a mark of respect to the young aviator and his parents a number of business places were closed during the services, as were also Albert College, the High School and some of the classes in the Public schools. Previous to the public service at Bridge Street Methodist Church, a brief private service was held at the family residence, Bridge Street east for the members of the family. …

The body was then conveyed to the church, which was soon filled to overflowing. The interior of the sacred edifice was appropriately draped for the occasion. About the gallery railing to relieve the sombre black draping a few Union Jacks were hung.

The centre pews of the church were reserved for members of the family and friends, the employees of the Ritchie Company, of which the father, Mr. C. M. Reid, is manager, the returned soldiers, High School Cadets, and teachers and students at Albert College. A portion of the gallery was occupied by the pupils of the High School. As the casket was brought into the church Prof. Hunt played the Dead March upon the organ. …

After the service the cortege was formed and was headed by the 15th Regiment band playing the Dead March in Saul. As the funeral procession wended its way down Bridge street that thoroughfare on either side was lined with citizens. …  The cortege proceeded by way of Bridge street west to Commercial street, thence to Belleville cemetery, where interment took place. After the committal service by Rev. Dr. Scott the ‘Last Post’ was sounded and the last sad rites over a soldier hero were completed.”

100 Years Ago: City Council Grants $6,000 to Y.M.C.A., Advances in Modern Army Surgery, Schools Close Out of Respect for Harold Reid

The Intelligencer April 9, 1918 (pages 1, 6)

“City Council Granted $6,000 To Y.M.C.A. Overseas Work. A deputation requesting a grant from the Council to the Y.M.C.A. overseas fund, was on motion heard. Mr. D. V. Sinclair addressed the Council in reference to the National Council of the Y.M.C.A., and the work it was doing in the present war. …  This war will be won by efficiency and this can only be secured by aid of sports, so as to help equip the soldiers. A large sum is required for recreation and other purposes. …  The Y.M.C.A. huts are of great benefit to the boys who are in active service. It is estimated at least $123,000 will be spent this year for writing paper alone. …

Mayor Platt said that he was in hearty accord with the proposition made. What the boys over there are doing we scarcely realize. They are fighting and even dying for us. He felt sure the request would be granted. Ald. Whelan said that whatever the Council did in the matter he would heartily support. He thought it was a better way to secure the money than a house to house canvass. …  The deputation were informed that a grant would be made by motion at the proper time.”

The Intelligencer April 9, 1918 (page 3)

“Reclaiming the Wreckage of War. One of the most interesting developments of the present war has been the wonderful advance in medicine and surgery. The military medical men have performed heroic service in every branch of the operations from No Man’s Land to Blighty and have constantly added to the knowledge of the world by new discoveries for the amelioration of pain and the defeat of death.

Returned soldiers hold the military medical service in a sort of reverential awe and say that there is nothing impossible in modern army surgery; that a soldier can be practically shot to pieces and put together again by the medicos if the pieces can be found and a spark of life remains.”

The Intelligencer April 9, 1918 (page 5)

“A Token of Respect. The High School, public schools and Albert College were closed this afternoon out of respect to the late Flight Lieut. Harold M. Reid, whose father, Mr. C. M. Reid is a member of the Board of Education and also a member of the Board of Albert College.”


100 Years Ago: Original First Contingent Men Won’t Be Discharged, Funeral for Sergeant Charles A. Gibson, Anniversary of Battle of Vimy Ridge, Harvey Wheeler Wounded, Captain W.E. Schuster Now a Civilian, Body of Harold Reid Arrives in Belleville

The Intelligencer April 8, 1918 (page 1)

“Original First Men Can’t Stay At Home. Ottawa. Representations are being made to Ottawa to grant the members of the Original First Contingent who are home on furlough their discharge. General Mewburn and the Militia authorities sympathize with the requests but point out the difficulties in the way.

In the first place, it was only after months of negotiations that the War Office was persuaded to grant these men furlough. …  When it was finally agreed that they would be granted a three-months’ furlough, it was on the distinct understanding that the men returned. …  In addition there are many more men members of the first contingent for whom the Government are still anxious to secure furloughs. It is claimed that if the men now home were discharged, it would refuse absolutely to consider further requests for furlough.”

The Intelligencer April 8, 1918 (page 2)

“Sergt. Charles A. Gibson Hero of Two Wars Lays Down His Arms. Through streets lined with men and women and children, whose faces showed the sorrow they felt, a long procession moved slowly on Saturday afternoon carrying all that was mortal of a brave soldier and gallant Canadian from his earthly home to the last resting place amid the green carpeted aisles of that silent city, where so many loved ones wait in rest and peace the great and joyous reunion which faith has promised.

Sergeant Charles Armstrong Gibson was born and brought up in Belleville, and his life so full of National and Empire service was so well known to everybody that his death caused widespread sorrow and his funeral was attended by thousands who paid this tribute of respect to one who was always first to respond to his country’s call in the hour of danger. Many there were also who honored Charlie Gibson as a friend, kind and generous to a fault, and to these his sudden death brought deep sorrow. …

In the funeral procession were over sixty returned soldiers who had done ‘their bit’ over there, some like Charlie Gibson being Original Firsts of this war, who responded to the first call. Others, too, like him, wore the distinguishing medals of service in the South African war. …

It was one of the largest funerals seen in Belleville for many a day, and during the slow march through Front street both sides of that thoroughfare were crowded with spectators, and many were the expressions of regret heard at the passing of a brave soldier, who was deservedly popular. …

At the family residence 72 Victoria Avenue, at 3.30 o’clock an appropriate service was conducted by the Rev. Dr. Blagrave, rector of Christ Church, who also officiated at the interment at the cemetery. …  After the committal service at the grave the Last Post was sounded, ending the ceremony over the body of one who was worthy of all the honor accorded him. The floral tributes were many and most beautiful in design, being a mute testimony to the numerous friends of the departed, and the casket was draped with the Union Jack, the flag he loved so well.”

The Intelligencer April 8, 1918 (page 4)

“Battle of Vimy Ridge One Year Ago. The week-end is remembered throughout Canada as the first anniversary of the Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge. It was just a year ago that they won such immortal fame. One of the finest chapters in the history of the Canadians was written when they made the famous charge that carried the ground so long coveted.

After months of preparation, with the foe always on higher ground they carried the ridge in half an hour after the first German S. O. S. rocket was fired. The despatches described the attack as majestic, awe-inspiring. It revealed the Canadian spirit. It proved them fighting men. On either side were the dashing British troops, the English battalions, the famous Scotch regiments. To the Canadians had fallen the honor of the main attack and they carried it out with the greatest gallantry.”

The Intelligencer April 8, 1918 (page 7)

“Pte. Wheeler Wounded. Word has been received in the city that Private Harvey Wheeler has been wounded whilst on active service at the front. He was wounded on the knee and chest. The young private enlisted and went overseas with the 155th Battalion from this city.”

The Intelligencer April 8, 1918 (page 7)

“Returns to Civilian Life. Capt. W. E. Schuster is now in civilian life again after two years overseas service as transportation officer on the London Headquarters staff of the Canadian Forestry Corp. There is abundant evidence that this officer’s work has been stamped with efficiency and that he has made good goes without saying. The great and useful work of the above corps will fill interesting pages in history when the entire operations are fully known.”

The Intelligencer April 8, 1918 (page 7)

“An Eventful Voyage. The body of Flight Lieut. Harold Mackenzie Reid, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. M. Reid, who on February 23rd was killed at Eastchurch, England, as the result of an aeroplane accident arrived in this city on Sunday afternoon via C. P. R. Many relatives and friends were at the station to meet the train conveying the body, which arrived at 3.15 p.m. Accompanied by eight members of the staff of the Ritchie store the body was taken to the mortuary parlors of Tickell & Sons. Subsequently the casket was taken to the home of the parents, 105 Bridge street east, being escorted by a number of the employees of the Ritchie Company. …

It is interesting to note that the Transatlantic liner which brought the body from England was torpedoed by a German submarine and obliged to put back to England for repairs, the bow of the vessel being badly damaged from torpedo contact. The second sailing was more successful and the voyage was made in safety.”

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