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

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: Mail Christmas Parcels Early, Theophilus George Hammett Wounded, Churches Asked to Conserve Coal, Ad for Columbia Phonographs, Y.M.C.A. Luncheon for Soldiers, Wilfred Harold Dafoe Dies of Pneumonia, William Chisolm Jack Awarded Military Medal, Soldiers Arrive in Belleville

The Intelligencer October 3, 1918 (page 1)

“Mail Christmas Parcels Early. Ottawa. The Postmaster-General states that Christmas parcels for the Canadian expeditionary forces in France should be mailed in time to be dispatched from Canadian ports not later than the middle of November. Transportation is congested during the Christmas season and those who are sending parcels to their friends in the trenches are urged to post them early if they wish to have them delivered by Christmas.”

The Intelligencer October 3, 1918 (page 1)

“Sig. Hammett Wounded. Mrs. J. Hammett, 81 St. Charles street, city, has been officially notified that Sig. Theophilus George Hammett, artillery, was admitted to the Second Western General Hospital at Manchester, on Sept. 30th, with gunshot wound in the back. Sig. Hammett went overseas with the 33rd battery and has been wounded three times. Before enlisting he was employed as brakeman on the G. T. R.”

The Intelligencer October 3, 1918 (page 3)

“Churches Asked To Conserve Coal. Toronto. The churches of the province are to be asked to co-operate in conserving the available coal supplies. The new Fuel Controller R. Home Smith, has already laid before representative clergymen of all denominations a suggestion that church services be curtailed or combined in a way that will effect a saving of fifty to sixty per cent in the consumption of coal.

The controller believes that two or three churches can arrange to hold their services in the one building, and that where union services are not favored the congregations can meet at different hours in the one building. So far the response from the churches has been uniformly encouraging, the clergymen having shown a ready appreciation of the need for unusual measures.”

The Intelligencer October 3, 1918 (page 6)

Ad for Columbia Phonographs

“The Power of Music will help win the world war. In Canada there are many thousands of families in which a breach has been made—brother, son or father has entered the service of their Country. We have the word of the greatest thinkers of all times that there is nothing so uplifting, nothing so comforting, nothing so soul-satisfying in all the world as good music.

England, after four years of war, has not only refused to curtail the phonograph industry, but on the contrary Lloyd George has particularly requested that the phonograph industry be not interfered with.

This is a time, above all others, when you should seek to uplift and divert your mind by the irresistible influence of music. There is a Columbia dealer near you.

Columbia Graphophone Co.”

The Intelligencer October 3, 1918 (page 7)

“Entertained Soldiers. Upon the arrival here last evening of the advance party of the soldiers from Kingston, the officers and men were invited to the Y. M. C. A. building where a luncheon was provided, which was much appreciated. The officers and men were loud in their praise of the hospitality thus extended to them.”

The Intelligencer October 3, 1918 (page 7)

“Answered Last Roll Call. Sapper Wilfred Harold Dafoe, son of Mr. W. C. Dafoe, residing on College Hill, passed away on Tuesday night at the General Hospital, Montreal. Deceased was only 21 years of age. Some months ago he enlisted for overseas service, and was in training at St. John’s, Quebec, and was one of the many who was selected for the Canadian contingent to Siberia.

A few days ago he was taken ill and was removed to Montreal, where he died as the result of an attack of pneumonia. Sapper Dafoe was born here and had lived here all his life. The body was brought to the city to-day and taken to the home of his parents.”

The Intelligencer October 3, 1918 (page 7)

“Awarded Military Medal. Word has been received by Mrs. W. C. Jack of 70 Alexander Street, that her husband, Sergt.-Major W. C. Jack, has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery at the Battle of Amiens, August 8th. Sergt.-Major Jack went overseas with the 39th Battalion from Belleville.”

The Intelligencer October 3, 1918 (page 8)

“Soldiers Arrive. At 8.30 last night the advance party of the battalion which will be quartered in this city during the coming winter arrived here by C. N. R. and marched to the Armouries where sleeping quarters were provided for the men. They are a fine body of men and soldierly in appearance. This morning the office quarters in the City Hall were being arranged for the offices and staff.

The officers in charge of the depot battalion at present are as follows: Col. R. W. Smart, commanding officer; Lieut. L. Baker, Assistant-Adjutant; Capt. Purdy, Quarter-Master; Capt. Lancaster, Lieut. Wood. The above officers came with the detachment last evening. This afternoon at 3.30 the remainder of the battalion arrived here with the exception of a party of 25 men who were left behind to clean up camp.”

100 Years Ago: Letters of Sympathy for William John Howard Black’s Mother, T. F. Orr and Walter James Yatman Visited in Hospital, Rest for Spanish Influenza, Coal Situation This Winter, Letter of Sympathy for William Hunter’s Mother, Letters of Sympathy for Leroy Buck’s Mother, Granville Reed Sinclair Wounded

The Intelligencer October 2, 1918 (page 2)

Howard Black“Lives in the Hearts of His Friends. In connection with the death from wounds of Pte. W. H. J. Black, his mother has received the following letters:

‘In The Field Sept. 11th, ’18. Mrs. R. D. Black, 24 Hillside Street, Belleville, Ont.

Dear Madam—It is with the deepest regret that I have to confirm the official notification of the death of your son No. 636710 Private W. J. H. Black. During the period of his connection with the Battalion he has always shown most soldierly and won the confidence of both his officers and his comrades.

His supreme sacrifice for the great cause was a matter of great sorrow among his many friends here who join with me in the expression of sincere sympathy for you in your bereavement. Yours in sympathy, H. Vanderwater, Major, Officer Commanding Canadian Infantry Battalion.’

‘France, Sept. 12th, 1918. My Dear Mrs. Black—It was with the deepest sorrow I heard to-day that your son, Howard, has paid the supreme sacrifice. He was on duty, sentry duty, after the battle of the 31st of August, when he was hit in the head by a piece of shell about 7 p.m. …  As his Platoon Commander I shall greatly miss your son together with his other comrades who also mourn his loss and show great sorrow. I shall long remember his cheerful smile and his record as a good soldier. There is a saying that “One never dies who lives in the hearts of his friends,” so let us feel he is not dead, but just a little further on the way. Yours sincerely, H. G. Barnum, Lieut. Canadian R.E.F. France.’ ”

The Intelligencer October 2, 1918 (page 3)

“Wounded Soldiers Visited in Hospital.

‘Canadian Red Cross Society, 12 Berners Street, London, W. I. Re Pte. T. F. Orr, Mile End Military Hospital, Bancroft Rd., London, E. I., England.

Dear Madam—Our Red Cross visitor has again visited Pte. Orr, who is still at the above hospital. We are pleased to tell you that she reports that although the wound is not yet healed, it is going on very well. We trust that he will continue to make satisfactory progress and that his wound will soon be healed. Yours truly, D. Forrester, P.P.D.N. To Mrs. Frank Orr, 7 Grove Street.’

‘Canadian Red Cross Society, 12 Berners Street, London, W. I. Re Pte. W. J. Yatman, Canadian Suffolk Hospital, Ampton-Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk, England.

Dear Madam—Pte. Yatman is at present in the above hospital suffering from gun shot wound in the shoulder. Our Red Cross visitor has been to see him and we have no reason to believe from her report that the wound is a very serious one. We trust that he will make good progress toward recovery and that we shall be able to send you an encouraging account of him.

He will be visited regularly and reports on his condition will be sent to you from time to time. Should he be in need of any comforts other than those supplied by the hospital our visitor will let us know and we will send them from our own parcel office. Yours truly, D. Forrester, P.P.D.N. To Mrs. Yatman, Brown Street.’ ”

The Intelligencer October 2, 1918 (page 4)

“Walking Influenza Dangerous. In view of the spread of so-called ‘Spanish influenza’ in the United States and its reported appearance in Quebec and Ontario the utmost care should be taken by citizens to prevent an epidemic. There is nothing alarming about ‘Spanish influenza’ if taken in time, but in common with ordinary colds or grippe neglect is often followed by serious consequences.

Pneumonia will develop from a common cold almost as readily as from influenza and people afflicted with colds or influenza should protect themselves and others by consulting a medical practitioner at once and following his directions closely. Influenza cases should go to bed and stay there until cured, as walking influenza is dangerous to the patient and to the public. Influenza is liable to develop into pneumonia if neglected and by mingling with other people the germs are scattered by sneezing and an epidemic results. Safety First—consult a doctor!”

The Intelligencer October 2, 1918 (page 4)

“Attention, Mayor Platt, et al. In a few weeks the Frost King will tighten up the windows and the smoke of many fires will ascend; navigation will cease and with all the burdens of transportation the railways will become congested and coal shipments uncertain. Upon Mayor Platt and the City Council rests the responsibility of doing all in their power to prevent suffering this winter. The well-to-do no doubt have plenty of coal in their bins, but how about that large section of the population who pay as they go but can not anticipate the future by laying in large stocks of food and fuel.

To cope adequately with any situation the first requisite is to know all the ins and outs of the business in hand. Knowledge now of the amount of coal still required to put Belleville citizens through the winter months would probably result in the securing of an additional supply of coal, even at this late date. Time is slipping away and still the civic authorities make no move to take a census of coal users—in a little while it will be too late. …

And while on this subject may we enquire why the offer of a local coal dealer to secure two thousand tons of coal to be used by the city as an emergency supply for small users was not taken advantage of? To most people this offer looked good enough to be nailed down without a day’s delay, but apparently it has passed into the discard of forgetfulness. When last heard of it was being considered by a committee of the Board of Trade several weeks ago.”

The Intelligencer October 2, 1918 (page 5)

“Brave Soldier Boys Merit Martyr’s Crown. Mrs. James Hunter, who resides at 180 James Street, received the following letter from Rev. Father Chas. A. Fallon, R.C. Chaplain. The letter refers to her son, Pte. W. Hunter, who was killed in action on Sept. 3rd.

France, Sept. 9, 1918. Dear Mrs. Hunter,—It is my sad duty to notify you of the death of your son, Pte. W. Hunter, of the 87th Battalion, which occurred while in action with the enemy on Sept. 3rd. In laying down his noble life for the sake of humanity, your son can truly say with our divine Saviour ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,’ and in paying the supreme price for such a noble cause he justly merits a martyr’s crown in heaven, and an inestimable debt of gratitude from mankind.

Your son was buried in the 11th C. I. B. cemetery on Sept. 5th. The map location is—Sheet 51B, P27 Central. His grave is Plot 2, row C, grave 32, and is marked with a wooden cross. I extend to you my sincere sympathy in your bereavement and pray our Divine Lord and Mother of Sorrows to grant you the grace of Christian fortitude and resignation in your present trial. Very sincerely, Chas. A. Fallon, R. C. Chaplain, 102nd Can. Batt.”

The Intelligencer October 2, 1918 (page 5)

Roy Buck

“Pte. Leroy Buck Was A Gallant Soldier. In connection with the death of Pte. Leroy Buck, Killed in action, his mother, Mrs. Annie Buck, 18 Everett Street, city, has received the following letters:

‘France, Sept. 12th, 1918. Dear Mrs. Buck—I wish to express to you my heartfelt sympathy in this time of sorrow. I am a signaller in ‘Tim’s’ company and he and I were pals—of course coming from Belleville myself it was natural we were good friends. He was a good boy and had good nerve, he wasn’t the least bit afraid while in the line and I expect to see a medal presented for the way he carried on under shell fire also machine gun fire. …  Anything you wish to know about the occurrences I will be glad to answer if I can. Once again I extend my sympathy to yourself and the family. I will close wishing you the best of luck. Tim’s friend, Sig. Art. Clare.’

‘France, Sept. 11th, 1918. Dear Mrs. Buck—I have the painful duty today in writing you re the death of your son 636711 Pte. Buck, M. T. of this Co’y. He, one of the brightest of our soldiers was employed as a company runner, during our attack of Sept. 2nd. Sent to the rear with an important message, he did not return having been instantaneously killed while in execution of his task. I did not know this until the 4th when we were relieved.

Immediately making enquiries, I found that the poor boy was already identified and buried in the soldiers’ cemetery at a place I dare not mention. However, by writing to the Director of Graves, Registration Committee, St. James Court, London, England, you will be able to secure the exact location or perhaps a picture of the boy’s last resting place.

He was a good, clean boy, very popular with the officers and men. I extend to you my sincere sympathy in your great loss, trusting that He who sees all, will comfort you in your sad bereavement. Believe me, Yours sincerely, Huh Smith, Capt.’

‘France, Sept. 12th, ’18. Dear Mrs. Buck:—No doubt you will have heard by the time you get this letter from our Company Commander telling you of your son’s death. I am a Belleville boy myself and thought you would like to hear from me. “Tim,” as we called him here came to my platoon early in March in trench warfare, and he proved himself a good soldier. In the big advance we made on August 8th, we were the attacking company. Tim was then employed as runner, which is a very responsible duty. …

On Aug. 9th we were support company, the other company on our Battalion having got their objective. Tim was sent along with an officer and myself to see if everything was going O.K. …  It will be some satisfaction to you, Mrs. Buck, to know that Tim was recommended for gallantry during these two days of the battle of Amiens. …  On Sept. 2nd we again attacked the enemy and we got to our objective and Tim was sent with a message to the rear. It was in this duty he was killed, but I cannot really think it was a machine gun bullet as at that time they were firing at us from three sides.

Now, Mrs. Buck, I hope this letter will be a little consolation to you to know that Tim died a brave and good soldier doing his duty to the last in what has proved to be Canada’s greatest fight and victory.

I will close now with my deepest sympathy to you and your family. Yours sincerely, W. C. Jack, Sergt.-Maj.’ ”

The Intelligencer October 2, 1918 (page 6)

Granville Sinclair“Lieut. Sinclair Wounded. Mr. D. V. Sinclair, residing at 261 William street, city, was to-day in receipt of the following telegram from Ottawa, which refers to his son: ‘Sincerely regret to inform you Lieut. Granville Reed Sinclair, artillery, officially reported wounded, Sept. 27th, 1918.’

Lieut. Sinclair, after a course of training in Canada, enlisted with the 74th Battery and went overseas with a draft from Petawawa. At Shorncliffe, England, he was also in training, and in June, 1917, went to France with the heavy siege gun section. He has been in France ever since. His many friends in this city will hope that his injuries are not of a serious nature.”


100 Years Ago: All Canadian Butter Commandeered by Government, Ad for Dr. Chase’s Nerve Food, Donald McKenzie Waters Wounded

The Intelligencer October 1, 1918 (page 5)

“All Canadian Butter Is Commandeered by Government. Ottawa. All creamery butter made in the Provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, between the 30th day of September and the 9th day of November, 1918, both days inclusive, will be commandeered under the authority of an order-in-council passed yesterday.

The reason for this action is that Great Britain and her allies need Canadian creamery butter. The British Ministry of Food urgently asks Canada to increase her shipments of creamery butter. …  The order-in-council puts Canadian consumers on a creamery butter allowance of two pounds of butter per person per month, as compared with the half-pound allowance in Great Britain.”

The Intelligencer October 1, 1918 (page 5)

Ad for Dr. Chase's Nerve Food“The Dreaded Message. It is the women that have suffered most in this terrible war—’For men must work / And women must weep.’

The strain has been both severe and long, and the result is an alarming increase in diseases of the nerves.

The building up of an exhausted nervous system is oftentimes a somewhat tedious process, but with the persistent use of Dr. Chase’s Nerve Food you can be sure that restoration is both natural and lasting.

Get out into the fresh air as much as possible. Seek the companionship of healthy, cheerful people and depend on this food cure to enrich the blood and supply to the depleted nerve cells the nourishment essential for their restoration.”

The Intelligencer October 1, 1918 (page 5)

“Acting Capt. Waters Wounded. An official message was received this morning from the Director of Records by Mr. D. M. Waters, stating that his son, Lieut. and Acting Captain Donald McKenzie Waters, artillery, was admitted to No. 5 British Red Cross Hospital, at Winnereaux on September 28, with gunshot wound in the head, severe.

Capt. Waters enlisted in 1916 and trained with an artillery unit at Kingston and Petawawa. Upon entering upon active service in France he was transferred to the trench mortar division in which he rendered valuable service to the Empire. To-day is his twenty-fourth birthday. His many friends trust that he will have a speedy recovery.”


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