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.

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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: William Bedell Awarded Military Medal, John Arthur McCamus Awarded Military Cross, Gunner Alfred Wallace Returns, Poster for Medical Boards, Sympathy of Minister of Militia for Mrs. Prest

The Intelligencer October 5, 1917 (page 2)

“Awarded Military Medal. Wm. Frederich Bedell, son of Mr. C. Bedell of Rawdon township, who was engaged with the Canadian troops in the recent fighting at Lens, has been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery on the field.”

The Intelligencer October 5, 1917 (page 2)

“Awarded Military Cross. Lieut. J. A. McCamus has been awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous bravery on the field. He is the son of Rev. John A. McCamus, formerly of Belleville, and is with the machine gun corps in France.”

The Intelligencer October 5, 1917 (page 2)

“Arrived Safely Home. Gunner Alfred Wallace, who left Belleville with the 34th Battalion, returned home this morning. He was in active service at the front for some time, having left Canada with the first contingent. Flight Cadet Wallace, a brother, was some months ago, accidentally killed by the fall of his machine. Gunner Wallace is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Robt. Wallace, residing on South John street.”

The Intelligencer October 5, 1917 (page 5)

Medical Boards advert“Medical Boards Are Ready! Medical Boards are now ready to examine all men who apply as to their physical fitness for military service. These boards are established throughout this district.

Men between the ages of 20 to 34 inclusive, who were unmarried or widowers without children on July 6th, 1917, are strongly advised to report before a Medical Board at once. This is the quickest and surest way for them to find out their status under the Act.

Issued by The Military Service Council.”

The Intelligencer October 5, 1917 (page 7)

“Sympathy of the Minister of Militia. Mrs. R. Prest, 78 St. James street, whose husband, Pte. Harold Prest was recently killed in action, has received the following letter of sympathy from Sir A. E. Kemp, Minister of Militia and Defence for Canada:

Minister’s Office, Ottawa, Oct. 1, 1917. Dear Mrs. Prest:—I desire to express to you my very sincere sympathy in the recent decease of your husband.

No. 455098, Pte. Harold Prest, 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 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) A. E. Kemp, Minister of Militia and Defence for Canada.”

100 Years Ago: Christmas Presents for Soldiers, Sapper Stewart Wins Military Medal, Druggists Warned About Medicinal Wine, Frank Quinlan Killed in Action, How Military Draft Will Work

The Intelligencer October 4, 1917 (page 2)

“Christmas Presents for Soldiers. The report of the Red Cross Society for the special Red Cross Penny Bag collection is as follows: We did not quite reach our desired amount for the boys’ Christmas packages in our Red Cross penny bags this month. In fact we have delayed this report in the hope that the few necessary dollars to make up $400 might be collected.

There is, however, a very substantial increase over the usual monthly collection. Several of the wards have doubled their collection of last month, all of which is to be used in sending individual Christmas packages to our soldiers.

Will anyone whose bag was overlooked, or who wishes to add a little more for a Christmas offering, kindly send their money to Miss Mary Yeomans, or notify her by telephone (375) and the money will be collected? We would like very much to make up the $400.00.”

The Intelligencer October 4, 1917 (page 2)

“Won Military Medal. Mrs. B. L. Stewart, who resides at 298 Coleman street, Belleville, was yesterday in receipt of a military medal from her son Sapper R. Stewart, of the 4th Signal Canadian engineers. The medal in question, was won by Sapper Stewart for bravery exhibited upon the field of battle. It is needless to state that the medal is highly prized by Mrs. Stewart.”

The Intelligencer October 4, 1917 (page 6)

“Druggists Warned Re Invalid Wine. That the druggists of the city will hereafter be called upon to discriminate between those to whom they sell invalid wines, and will be prosecuted if they sell it to those who purchase it for purposes other than as a medicine, became known today through a warning given them by Inspector R. Arnott acting on orders issued by the Board of License Commissioners of the Province. …

Notice was served on the local druggists and the law explained to them by Inspector Arnott, and hereafter it will be more difficult to secure the wines. It will take more than a big thirst to convince the druggists that a bottle of wine is necessary to the health. In cases of bona fide use for tonic purposes there will be no difficulty in getting it, but the case must be well established else the druggist must bear the consequences.

At least one druggist in the city is not selling wine and others may do likewise. It was reported that a doctor’s prescription would be necessary in order to secure the wine, but there is nothing in the order to confirm this.”

The Intelligencer October 4, 1917 (page 7)

“Former Bellevillian Killed. A telegram from Montreal was received in the city last evening by Mr. E. H. Laroche, which stated that Lieut. Frank Quinlan, of Montreal, had been killed in action. Lieut. Quinlan was well known in Belleville where he was born. He was the second son of Mr. Hugh Quinlan of the well-known contracting firm of Quinlan & Robertson.

The brave young officer was connected with an engineering corps at the front and previous to enlistment was following his profession as an architect. He was an exceptionally clever young man and deservedly popular. His many friends in Belleville will regret to learn of his death, but his life was sacrificed in a worthy and noble cause.”

[Note: Lieutenant Francis Timothy Quinlan died on September 29, 1917. He is commemorated on Page 312 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer October 4, 1917 (page 8)

“Foolish to Disobey Call. Ottawa. One man in five only, coming within the first class of recruits, will be called to the colors under the Military Service Act. Estimates show that at the present time there are 493,187 bachelors in Canada between the ages of 20 and 34. Consequently, out of every five men in the class one will be called and four will be left at home. …

Any man who resorts to what is sometimes called ‘passive resistance’ will be acting contrary to his own interests. By so doing he will render his selection for military service inevitable, and that, under conditions of ignominy. He will also throw away the opportunity of being one of the four bachelors out of every five who, in complying with the act, are relieved from the necessity of serving the country under arms.”

100 Years Ago: Letter from Cecil Holway, War Trophies Exhibited, Successful Tag Day

The Intelligencer October 3, 1917 (page 2)

“Accidentally Wounded. Mr. A. H. Holway, 165 Church Street,has received a letter from his son Cecil, who went overseas with the 8th C.M.R., and has been nearly two years on active service in France. The letter is dated September 11th, and states that the writer is in a military hospital ‘Somewhere in France,’ recovering from a wound in his left foot.

He was accidentally shot while cleaning his rifle, the bullet passing through the instep. At the time of writing the young soldier said that he had recently been operated upon, and was recovering nicely, but still confined to bed.”

The Intelligencer October 3, 1917 (page 2)

“War Trophies Exhibited. A display of trophies from the war zone in the window of Messrs. Wallbridge & Clarke’s store on Front street attracts considerable attention. They were sent here to Mr. George Wallbridge from his son Major F. Wallbridge, who is at the front.

The articles shown consist of French, German and British steel helmets, German water bag, German billy, which is studded with heavy nails, a German bayonet, German gas helmet, German gun handle, bullets and German bayonet. A helmet made from the cap of a large shell, is cleverly executed. The trophies are prized by the owner.”

The Intelligencer October 3, 1917 (page 7)

“Successful Tag Day. The Argyle Chapter I.O.D.E., held a most successful Tag Day on Saturday, September 29th, in aid of our soldiers in France. The sum of $540 was realized.”

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