100 Years Ago: Schoolboys to Do Farm Work, Frank Collyer Killed in Action, 155th Band Plays in Marlbank and Tweed

The Intelligencer March 4, 1916 (page 1)

“Boys From School To Do General Farm Laborers’ Work. Toronto. March 4. To fill the depleted ranks of farm labor in Ontario on account of the war, no fewer than 15,000 male students of fifteen years and upwards attending schools and collegiate institutes will be available this summer for farm work. …  The boys in view are those who are fifteen years and older, and outside the universities it is estimated there are 36,000 in this category.

It is likely that the lads will be able to go in for this work about the beginning of May until October. Making allowance for the usual school vacation period, it means the boys who are thus employed will lose two or three months’ education, but it is stated that by an arrangement their academic standing will not be allowed to suffer.”

The Intelligencer March 4, 1916 (page 2)

“My dear Mrs. Collyer:—I have a very full heart this evening for between the hour of eleven and one last evening I lost three of my good men. Your son, I regret to say being one of them. The sad part of this is that, your dear boy was just going into the trenches for the first time.

He was walking up the communication trench in company with a dozen more comrades to take over his duties. It was about eleven o’clock. The medical officer and myself were following the party closely, when to my surprise I heard one of the men say, Collyer is shot! The Dr. and I were at his side in a moment, but within a few moments the dear boy had passed to a land that knows no pain. The bullet was a stray one, and hit him in the side, back of the shoulder and took a downward course. He was buried today in a little plot, a suitable cross there marks the spot.

As your son’s commanding officer, I desire to offer my deep appreciation of your son’s devotion to duty. May He who holds us all in the hollow of his love, help you to bear this great sorrow which has entered into your life. Believe me, Yours Very sincerely, Lt.-Col. J.H. Gunn.

Ottawa, Ont., W. Collyer, Belleville. Replying your telegram 22nd inst. deeply regret 412097 Pte. Frank Collyer 24th, formerly 39th Battalion, officially reported, Feb. 19th killed in action, Feb. 10, 1916. Adj. General.”

[Note: Private Frank Arthur Collyer died on February 10, 1916. He is commemorated on Page 69 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer March 4, 1916 (page 3)

“It was a happy thought struck Lt.-Col. Adams, when he decided to send the splendid band of the 155th to play in the various centres where detachments are being recruited and drilled.

On Thursday night the band played in Marlbank, and, although the roads were heavy owing to a recent fall of snow, the spacious hall was packed with an enthusiastic and appreciative audience. It is probably the first time a band of the quality of the 155th Band had ever visited Marlbank, and needless to say received a great welcome. The people were delighted beyond measure and the band made a name for themselves in Marlbank.

On Friday the band visited Tweed, and was greeted at the auditorium by another packed house, every seat being sold and standing room at a premium. …

Besides providing an entertainment seldom experienced by the people in the outlying districts, good results are expected in recruiting. …  At intermission, Lt.-Col. Adams addressed the audience, thanking them for their attendance, and called upon the eligible to rally to the colors of the 155th Battalion. …

One of the features of each performance was a boxing bout by youngsters aged twelve, called the ‘Midget Mascots’ of the 155th Battalion. They created great excitement and won well merited applause by their clever work.”