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

A New Home for Deseronto’s Archives

Archives room in Deseronto Public Library Today the Deseronto Archives transferred 100 boxes of material from its former location in Deseronto Public Library to the Community Archives here in Belleville. The Community Archives [...]

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: Flight-Lieut. Douglas Reid Injured, Souvenirs of War Sent to Tweed

The Intelligencer March 4, 1918 (page 1)

“Flight-Lieut. Douglas Reid Injured in Aerial Accident. Leg Broken and Thigh Dislocated in Accident at Fort Worth Texas.

Twice within a week has the winged messengers of the electric telegraph brought sorrowful tidings to the home of Mr. and Mrs. C. M. Reid. Just a week ago yesterday a cable message brought the sad news that their son, Flight-Lieutenant Harold Mackenzie Reid had met death in an aeroplane accident while serving his King and country overseas.

Yesterday, while the hearts of the parents were still heavy with sorrow at the loss of their splendid soldier son, came another message to add to the already heavy burden of grief in the news that their other aviator son, Flight-Lieutenant Douglas Reid had been seriously injured in an aeroplane accident at Fort Worth, Texas. Fortunately the anxiety of Mr. and Mrs. Reid is lightened by the intelligence that their son’s injuries, while serious, are not of a dangerous nature.

The telegram read as follows: Fort Worth, Texas, March 2, 1918. C. M. Reid, Belleville. Regret to inform you that Charles Douglas Reid was seriously but not dangerously injured today in an aeroplane accident. Extent of injuries, leg broken above the knee and thigh dislocated. Will communicate further tomorrow. Officer Commanding Aerial Gunnery Squadron. …  Mr. C. M. Reid’s brother at St. Louis, Missouri, left last night for Texas to see that everything possible is being done for Douglas. A telegram received this morning says that Flight Lieut. Reid is resting quite comfortably, and the Intelligencer joins with a host of friends and well wishers in the hope that the gallant young aviator may have a speedy recovery.”

The Intelligencer March 4, 1918 (page 7)

“Souvenirs of the War. Mr. and Mrs. A. Godfrey, Tweed, are in receipt of a parcel from France which contained a number of souvenirs of the war, the property of their late son, Sergt.-Maj. Percy Godfrey. Amongst the number are two finger rings made of French shell nose pieces, one engraved ‘Ypres’ and the other decorated with a small compass; a pearl crucifix mounted with silver, found in the ruins of a cathedral; a pearl maple leaf pin; an old gold brooch with sapphire, ruby and diamond studding, and an amber medal with silver maple leaf and crown which the deceased wore suspended to a chain about his neck.

The parcel was sent by a friend of the deceased and the souvenirs are highly prized by the parents, whose son before leaving on his last and fatal trip to the front line trenches where he fell a victim to the Hun bullets, the deceased placed his private belongings in charge of his brother, Pte. Lyman, of the transport service, at the same time saying that he felt it was his last call to action. Sergt.-Maj. Godfrey met his death in action on November 4th, 1917.”

[Note: Sergeant Percy Godfrey died on November 3, 1917. He is commemorated on Page 244 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]


Nurses of World War I: Irene Pearl Courtice

Irene Pearl Courtice was born in Bethany, Ontario on September 26, 1887 daughter of Reverend Richard Courtice and Bessie Davis; Reverend Courtice was a Methodist Minister in the Bay of Quinte Conference for more than 40 years.

She spent her childhood in the Bay of Quinte district attending schools where her father was a preacher. After attending Albert College, Miss Courtice obtained a normal education certificate and taught school for a few years in the small rural community of Fortescue, Ontario. Following this she commenced studies and graduated from the Nursing School at the Toronto General Hospital in 1913. She enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps on April 7, 1915 in Toronto; this was within two weeks of when her brother, Dr. John Thomas Courtice, enlisted.

Height:  5’ 3”

Weight: 135lb

Age: 27

Nursing Sister Courtice treated the sick and wounded military at the No. 4 Canadian General Hospital in Shorncliffe, England and later in France and Salonica. She returned to Canada providing transport duty, setting sail on June 29, 1918 aboard the H.M.H.S. Araguaya, following which Miss Courtice was appointed Matron and head of nursing at the Whitby Military Convalescent Hospital. On March 30, 1920 she was united in marriage to Reverend Sidney Lambert, a Veteran of World War 1 who served with the Canadian Chaplain Service and rose to the rank of Captain. He was wounded at the Battle of Vimy Ridge, had his left leg amputated and subsequently founded and served as the first President of the Amputee Association of the Great War or War Amps.

Irene Pearl Lambert died in Toronto on August 17, 1963 aged 75 years 10 months 21 days. She is interred at Prospect Cemetery in Toronto.

100 Years Ago: Canada to Rebuild Vimy

The Intelligencer March 2, 1918 (page 5)

“VIMY Won by Canada—Rebuilt by Canada.

Our own Canadian boys thrilled the civilized world when in April, 1917, they stormed Vimy Ridge and pushed back the Hun.

Individual feats of heroism are too vast in number to be commemorated singly. Nor would our heroes desire us to waste money on useless monuments.

But every veteran of Vimy Ridge will approve of Canada’s rebuilding Vimy as a token of our love to France and as an enduring memorial to the boys who fought and died there.

The Canadian Secours National obtained from France the privilege of rebuilding Vimy. The Secours National will receive the funds to carry on this inspiring work. But it is you and your fellow Canadians who will really rebuild Vimy, rehousing the homeless, providing for a destitute people at least a part of those comforts that we enjoy daily as our normal right. Don’t hesitate. Though your contribution may seem small to you, it will loom large to the homeless!

Contributions should be sent without delay to W. R. Johnston, Esq., Hon. Treas., 14 King St. West, Toronto, Ont.

Secours National.”

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