100 Years Ago: Another Member of 39th Dead, Y.M.C.A. Assists Soldiers

The Intelligencer April 15, 1915 (page 1)

“Private Harry Nichols of Peterboro a Victim of Spinal Meningitis. At an early hour this morning Private Harry Nichols, a member of the 39th Battalion, C.E.F., mobilized in this city, died from an attack of spinal meningitis. …  He had been ill for some days and received every possible attention. This is the third death that has occurred within the ranks since the battalion has been established in the city. The remains of Nichols were taken to Tickell & Sons undertaking establishment. …

A military escort accompanied the remains to the railway station. …  The members of the 39th Battalion paraded in full force under command of Col. Preston and presented a fine appearance. A firing party preceded the hearse and was followed by the Fifteenth Regimental Band playing a solemn dirge. The hearse containing the remains was draped with a large Union Jack. …  Mr. and Mrs. Nichols, parents of the deceased, were the chief mourners.”

[Note: Private Harry Nicholls died on April 15, 1915. He is commemorated on Page 30 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer April 15, 1915 (page 7)

“The Military Y.M.C.A. Marquee. Editor of the Intelligencer,—There appeared in the columns of your paper recently, a letter suggesting that something ought to be done for the soldiers mobilized here. One of our worthy citizens has requested that I outline briefly what the Y.M.C.A. is doing.

With the co-operation of Colonel Preston, Officer in Command, we have secured a splendid large marquee, which has been erected on a 30 by 60 feet platform in the rear of the barracks. Light and heat have been provided. Tables, seats and comfortable chairs, games, writing materials, magazines and a large number of home newspapers, in addition to a piano and gramophone have been furnished. We have also secured a license for selling postage stamps, and have installed a post office for those directing their mail in care of the Y.M.C.A. Decorations of various kinds adorn the walls of the tent. At the back of the platform appears a banner: ’39th’ Battalion C.E.F. For God, for King, and Country.’

Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings, a musical programme is improvised by the talent amongst the soldiers, and such city talent (either ladies or gentlemen) as can be secured. On Tuesday and Friday evenings a splendid religious service is conducted. On Thursday evenings the big Military Concert of the week is held at the City Hall. Then Sunday evenings, a soldiers’ illustrated song service is held there, when an evangelistic address is given by one of the city pastors.

Special arrangements are being made with one of the banks so that one of the bank staff will at certain hours each evening be on hand to accommodate such men who wish to deposit their earnings and withdraw by small amounts. Over at the Y.M.C.A. Building almost three hundred of the soldiers have taken out special rates, short term membership tickets, entitling them to all the privileges. Every evening, immediately after supper, the Association game rooms and parlors, and bath rooms are thronged with soldiers. …

The activities of the Y.M.C.A. tent have been put in charge of Mr. W.N. MacQueen, who is fast forming strong friendships with the men. …  Thanking you for the space, I remain, Yours cordially, J.L. Hess.”