100 Years Ago: Harry Ablard’s Death, New Testament Presented to Men of 39th

The Intelligencer May 27, 1915 (page 3)

“Death of Sergt. Ablard. Mrs. H.C. Ablard of Wharf street, Belleville, has received the following letter from Sergt. Malcolm A. Neilson. …  I feel I must write you a few lines to express to you my great sympathy for your loss and also to tell you something of the splendid conduct of your husband in the last fight.

I shared a tent with Harry and two other Sergeants all the time we were at Salisbury Plain, and since we came out here I had lived with him practically all the time. I really cannot tell you what a splendid comrade he was. …  You will be glad to hear that his thoughts were often with you and his children. He would speak of you and them with pride and affection, and you have good reason to be proud of him.

In the great fight near Ypres our company had a hot corner to hold. On the morning of Friday, April 23rd, he gallantly placed himself in a very dangerous position, from which one or two men could fire into the German trench. Someone had to do the work and most heroically it was done. Your husband, I am told, shot down sixteen Germans before he was shot in the head. He lay unconscious for about an hour, and then died. He cannot have suffered at all. …  Harry was reverently and carefully buried by his comrades at a spot not far from the village of St. Julien, of which you may have read in the papers. I am Yours very sincerely, Malcolm A. Neilson.”

The Intelligencer May 27, 1915 (page 8)

“Presentation to Local Soldiers. Men of 39th Battalion Presented With Copies of New Testament. An interesting ceremony took place at the canning factory grounds this morning when the soldiers, who were drawn up at attention before Col. Preston, were formally presented with a khaki-bound copy of the New Testament scriptures. The presentation was made by the Rev. Chas. Geo. Smith, B.D., in the absence of the General Secretary, the Rev. Jesse Gibson, of Toronto.

Mr. Smith read a statement from Rev. Mr. Gibson, showing that over 60,000 copies had been presented by the Bible Society to the Canadian soldiers of the expeditionary forces, and the Society aims to present a copy to each officer and soldier on active service. Reference was made to the acceptance by the King of a copy, and his Majesty’s earnest wish that every soldier would consider it a part of his daily duty to read a portion of God’s word.”