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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: Ernie Phillips Appointed Customs Collector in Belleville

The Intelligencer August 2, 1918 (page 5)

“New Customs Official. Bombardier Ernie L. Phillips, a well known Bellevillian and returned soldier, has been appointed collector of customs in Belleville, in place of the late Mr. William Williamson. The appointment is not only a popular one but is deserving. Bomb. Phillips was a member of the 34th Battery of this city when the war broke out, and went overseas with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, C.F.A., and was on active service for some time.

He was severely wounded and his wounds were of such a nature that his life was despaired of. He was invalided home, after being in a hospital for months. Previous to his present position Bomb. Phillips was for some time a clerk in the local Post Office. He entered upon his new duties yesterday.”

100 Years Ago: Disease in Germany Not Spanish Flu, Letter of Sympathy for Mother of Teddy Townsend, Sir Robert Borden Proud of Canadians

The Intelligencer August 1, 1918 (page 1)

“Disease Sweeps Over Germany. Paris. The state of health in Germany appears to have become a source of worry to the Imperial Government. The Neue Zurcher Zeitung announced recently that the German censor had forbidden the publication of any news of the progress of the epidemic which at first was mistaken for Spanish influenza, but which the Swiss press, because of the ravaging effects upon the Berlin population declares to be much more serious.

The public hospitals in Berlin already are overtaxed in caring for the legions of wounded soldiers arriving from the western front, but they have had to make room for thousands who fell in the streets from disease.

Scores of deaths are reported each day in the army and the army doctors also declare the condition of the troops, particularly those in the interior, to be alarming. The number of deaths among them is far from being insignificant.”

The Intelligencer August 1, 1918 (page 1)

“Minister of Militia Expresses Sympathy. Mrs. S. M. Townsend, Belleville, received the following sad information from the Minister of Militia and Defence for Canada: Ministers Office, Ottawa, July 29. Dear Mrs. Townsend:—I desire to express to you my very sincere sympathy in the recent decease of your husband, No. 536034, Private Edward James Townsend 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 by condolence and heartfelt sympathy, I am Yours faithfully S. C. Mewburn, Minister of Militia and Defence for Canada.

Pte. Townsend went overseas with the Queen’s Ambulance Corps two years ago and has a brother in the Army Medical Corps. He is survived by his wife and four children.”

[Note: Private Edward James Townsend died on July 20, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 514 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer August 1, 1918 (page 5)

“Proud of Canadians. Rt. Hon. Sir Gilbert Parker in writing to Col. Ponton of this city, refers to a recent address delivered at the Mansion House, London, Eng., by Sir Robert Borden, Premier of Canada, and states that all who heard the masterly address were delighted with it. Sir Robert Borden stated that Canadians had covered themselves with glory in a double capacity, namely upon the battlefield and the field of public life.”


100 Years Ago: Ontario to Observe Anniversary of War, Ad for Hydro Irons, Teddy Townsend Killed in Action

The Intelligencer July 31, 1918 (page 1)

“Ontario to Observe Anniversary of War. Sunday, August 4, the fourth anniversary of the declaration of war has been set aside by proclamation of the Lieutenant-Governor, at the request of the Dominion Government, as a day to be observed in commemoration of the entrance of the British Empire into the war for liberty and civilization.

The proclamation urges the solemn observation of the day by the calling of public meetings throughout the province at which the following resolution is to be submitted and adopted:

‘That on this the fourth anniversary of the declaration of a righteous war, this meeting of the citizens of ————— records its inflexible determination to continue to a victorious end the struggle in maintenance of those ideals of liberty and justice which are the common and sacred cause of the allies.’ ”

The Intelligencer July 31, 1918 (page 6)

Hydro Irons

“Save Coal and Wood in Ironing. Conservation is the war-time warning. Coal is scarce, and cars for shipping it are needed for other purposes. The lack of coal will make wood scarce and dearer.

Make Tuesday a Coal-Less Day. Iron with Hydro. Save coal, save yourself, do better ironing.

Hydro irons are made to the specifications of our engineers. Strong in every part, of proper weight, give greatest heat at the point and have a cool, hand-resting handle. Price $4.50. Guaranteed 5 years.

Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario. For Sale by The Hydro Shop.”

The Intelligencer July 31, 1918 (page 7)

“Teddy Townsend Killed. Ed. J. Townsend, familiarly known as Teddy Townsend, who enlisted with the 12th Battalion, Canadian Engineers, is reported killed in action. His mother who resides on Donald street, will have the sympathy of all.”

[Note: Private Edward James Townsend died on July 20, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 514 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

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