100 Years Ago: Children Send Scrapbooks to Front, Letters from Overseas, Rumored Death of Leo Ross

The Intelligencer May 18, 1915 (page 3)

“From Scholars To Old Boys At the Front. The various Public Schools of the city have from week to week been sending to the front scrap books of interesting clippings culled and selected by the pupils boys and girls for the benefit of the men at the front, in order to keep them in touch with their city and county, and so that the lines of communications may not be broken with the dear old homes. …

Queen Alexandra School has been particularly fortunate in enlisting

Queen Alexandra School, Belleville
Queen Alexandra School, Belleville

the voluntary services of a genuine artist who, with loyal fervor, each week illuminates the backs of the books which are being sent forward, in most artistic fashion. With a modest patriotism which becomes him, he does not desire his name mentioned, but the identity of an honored citizen and professional man, who has attained his three score years and ten, and who can still wield the colors and the brush as he does, cannot remain long a secret. He has also done some splendid work for the boys and girls of Grier street and Queen Mary’s schools. …

Colonel Ponton, Chairman of the Board of Education, has placed eight copies of this week’s work in the windows of the Merchants’ Bank, so that the public may share in the delight, which the boys at the front will feel when they receive the covers and the contents prepared by loving hands.”

The Intelligencer May 18, 1915 (page 7)

“Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot. Dear Mrs. Yatman, I am writing to you for your son Thomas, who arrived here 1st May. He sends you his very best love and to say he is not too badly wounded, but I’m so very sorry to have to tell you the truth, that he is seriously injured, his spine has been damaged; but he is such a hero and talks and laughs quite a lot and there is never a murmur of complaint from him.

His chief worry I think is that you will be worrying about him, and, so please, when you write, cheer him up. I will write to you every week and let you know how he goes along. We got 150 wounded in on Saturday last, and quite a lot of Canadians, and the majority of them such laddies. I feel it an honor to nurse them. Yours sincerely, PEGGY M. BOLAND.”

The Intelligencer May 18, 1915 (page 8)

“Driver Tryon. May 5th, 1915. Dear Nellie:—As I sit down here to write you these few lines, I hope they find you all well, as it leaves myself well at present, but I have sad news to tell you. We have lost a few of our Belleville boys, which does seem hard, and yesterday morning we lost one of our officers. We have had some very hard and severe fighting the last ten days which is not over yet. It is something fierce; no one has any idea. There never was a war before like this. We have been under shell fire for the last ten days. …

It’s a shame to see the towns and villages which have been torn down and burned. It is terrible to see the poor people having to leave. No homes to go to. …  Well, Nellie, Leo Ross was killed on May 1st, which was very hard for us to get over. He was killed in action. It will be hard for his poor mother but you know our turn will come in time. Good bye, Driver Tryon, 2nd Battery, 1st Brigade, Canadian Contingent; British Expeditionary Force.”

The Intelligencer May 18, 1915 (page 8)

“The Rumored Death of Leo Ross. In reference to the above letter, which states that Leo Ross was killed on May 1st, a reporter of the Intelligencer, saw Mr. Walter Ross, father of Leo, this morning and stated that he had heard nothing of his son’s death.”