100 Years Ago: Major-General Hughes Presents Colors to 39th Battalion

The Intelligencer June 12, 1915 (pages 1, 2)

“One of the most important, interesting and impressive ceremonies which has ever occurred in this city, took place yesterday afternoon. It was the consecration and presentation of colors to the 39th Battalion, which is mobilized in this city, and is composed of recruits from Hastings, Prince Edward, Peterboro’, Northumberland, Durham and Lennox and Addington Counties.

The colors were the gift of the members of the Women’s Canadian Club of Belleville, an organization which has made itself felt in many respects for good. The colors were beautiful in the extreme. One flag was purple in color and of silk. It bore the inscription of the 39th Battalion C.E.F., and was adorned with a beaver worked in gold. The second flag, a Union Jack, represented the King’s colors, and was also of silk. Both flags were trimmed with gold fringe.

The ceremony took place on the parade grounds in front of the Armouries. About the grounds were assembled hundreds of citizens, who took a deep interest in the proceedings. The affair was, if possible, made more significant owing to the fact that Major-General Hon. Sam Hughes, Minister of Militia and Defence, was in attendance. …

Shortly after 2 o’clock the 39th Battalion, headed by the Battalion Band rendering appropriate marching airs, paraded from the headquarters on Pinnacle street, and took up a prominent position on the parade ground. The Battalion was in command of Col. Preston. …

Mrs. J.W. Johnson, President of the Women’s Canadian Club, delivered the following address: Colonel Preston, Officers and Men of the 39th Battalion:—On behalf of the Women’s Canadian Club of Belleville, I have the honor and pleasure to present these colors to the Regiment. …  You are going forth to fight for liberty, justice and humanity. May the ideals which these colors represent, be ever present with you. …  We wait to welcome you back; you, and those other dear sons of Belleville, whose heroism and patriotic devotion are our deepest pride, assured that you will return with victory and honor. Our gratitude and our prayers go with you. On behalf of the Women’s Canadian Club of Belleville, I entrust these colors to your care for consecration.”