100 Years Ago: Frederick Palmer Guest of Belleville Club, Lectures at Opera House, More Smokes Needed

The Intelligencer February 1, 1916 (page 1)

“Mr. Frederick Palmer, the famous war correspondent and lecturer, was the guest of the Belleville Club members during his stay in our city yesterday, enjoying its luxurious comfort and giving in return as pleasing an account of himself as one could desire. …

For half an hour prior to the lecture, Mr. Palmer gave an impromptu address to about a hundred of the club members and local visitors, relating in a brief manner a few personal experiences, but dwelling principally upon the magnificent attitude of Britain in the present war, the strained efforts of Germany to keep up a brave front and declaring positively that the Allies will eventually be victorious. …

Following the lecture in the Opera House Mr. Palmer returned to the Club apartments, where the spacious and luxurious parlors were all his own until time called on him to depart. It was a special privilege for both visitor and hosts—one that will be remembered with pleasure. Mr. Palmer was particularly courteous to the local press representatives, knowing himself what it meant ‘when on the scout.’ ”

The Intelligencer February 1, 1916 (pages 1, 3)

“Frederick Palmer Is Royally Received. Mr. Frederick Palmer, war correspondent extraordinary, the one man of all the American newspaper men who went to England at the commencement of the great war who was selected by Lord Kitchener to go to France with the British army and the Canadian troops, was a visitor to Belleville last night. His coming had been heralded for several weeks and his reputation had arrived before him, and he made good.

Mr. Palmer went to the front as a civilian and a neutral, and he saw everything that it was possible for a civilian to see, and much more perhaps than many soldiers saw, and the impressions made there he reflected on those who heard him last night.

He lays no claim to oratory, but just a plain spoken man, but as soon as he began his address it was apparent that the audience was going to like him, and it did like him.

He was not tiring, for he saw to it that this did not happen, for not only did he lecture, but he also exhibited moving pictures of scenes in Flanders and slides of scenes in other parts of Europe which has been touched by the great war. Some of these pictures were extremely good, and they are official, having been authorized by the French staff, and will be preserved for all time to come. …

The lecture was a success in every way, and the 80th Battalion, who will get the proceeds above expenses, should realize a tidy sum as the result.”

The Intelligencer February 1, 1916 (page 2)

“The Boys Are Relying on You For Smokes. When soldiers have nothing to smoke they are being deprived of a comfort that is absolutely vital and it is no exaggeration to say that any shortage of cigarettes and tobacco inflicts positive pain on them. When a man has to sit all day in a trench with nothing to relieve the monotony but an occasional ‘Jack Johnson’ or the ping-pong of the sniper’s bullet, it is some relief to light up a pipe or smoke a cigarette. Monotony wears out one’s nerves, and against trench monotony the only sedative is tobacco—not inaptly named the soldier’s best friend.

Knowing the truth of this, we appeal to our readers to help the Overseas Club in its praiseworthy effort to raise enough money to give every Canadian soldier at the front enough to smoke. Canada has 80,000 men fighting the Empire’s battles and they nearly all smoke. …  They feel that a country that knows how to admire courage and splendid endurance, will not desert them in their hour of need.

For every quarter you contribute to Canada’s Tobacco Fund …  some soldier on active service will receive a large package of Canadian Manufactured Tobacco, 50 best quality Canadian made Cigarettes and a box of Matches. If bought in the ordinary way and posted direct, this same package would cost you one dollar. Our readers are earnestly asked to contribute to this good cause.”