100 Years Ago: Dick Ponton Arrives Home, 8th Canadian Mounted Rifles Welcomed

The Intelligencer August 14, 1915 (page 2)

“Capt. Dick Ponton Home from Front. Rousing Welcome to Young Belleville Officer in Early Hours of This Morning. A telegram was received in Belleville last evening, saying that Capt. Dick Ponton would arrive at the G.T.R. station at 2 o’clock this morning. The news quickly spread, and a large crowd of friends and acquaintances were at the station and gave the gallant young officer a rousing welcome. The band of the 15th Regiment was present, and played Capt. Ponton to the corner of Bridge and Front streets. This brought hundreds more from their beds, and the city presented a most unwonted sight for such an early hour of the morning. …

Lieut. Col. Marsh, the officers of the 15th Battalion, and the Regimental Band, accompanied by a cheering crowd of well-wishers in civilian clothes, escorted the Captain in seven or eight automobiles to Front street. Despite the fact that Capt. Ponton is exceedingly lame and that he was obviously fatigued by his journey, he made a short speech at the station, and thanked his friends for their hearty welcome. ‘I hope to be able to take back 300 recruits with me,’ he said amidst cheers, while voices called out ‘We’ll be with you, Ponton.’

Captain Richard Douglas Ponton

Arrived at the corner of Front and Bridge streets the young Captain made another short speech. ‘Why, Front street is paved!’ he remarked, a sally which was greeted with laughter and cheers.

It was a thoroughly genuine welcome home, which the officer, invalided home, thoroughly deserved; and it is to be hoped that Belleville will accord a similar greeting to all the other heroes who return from the war.”

The Intelligencer August 14, 1915 (page 2)

“8th C.M.R. Arrive In Belleville. Mayor and Council Accord Them a Civic Welcome. The 8th Canadian Mounted Rifles, in training at Barriefield Camp, concluded their fifty-mile march yesterday and arrived at Belleville about 5 o’clock. They left Kingston Thursday and broke the journey at the half-way point, Napanee.

Arrived at Belleville the soldiers proceeded by way of Foster avenue and Bridge street to the Agricultural grounds, where they will stay until Monday. Mayor W.H. Panter, ex-Mayor Wills and several other prominent civilians motored out to the city limits to meet the mounted infantry, and their own Pipe Band, on foot. Col. Ketcheson and others gave them the only military reception.

The Mayor, in a few brief words, extended a hearty welcome from the citizens of Belleville, and hoped the soldiers would have a pleasant time during their stay here. Lieut. Col. Monroe, in command of the regiment, thanked the Mayor and citizens for their kindness, to himself, the officers and men. Some distance out of the city the road was lined with spectators, but on Bridge street the crowd was enormous. Everywhere our soldier visitors attracted the highest admiration, and no doubt the event will assist recruiting in a marked degree. …

Shortly after the evening meal had been provided by the Army Service Corps, the men were dismissed. Later on Front street had again a large mixture of khaki with its other colors.”