100 Years Ago: Colors for 80th Battalion, Coe Hill Soldier Wounded, Letter to Belleville Council, Graham Company’s Dried Food Reaches Salonica

The Intelligencer April 22, 1916 (pages 1, 6)

Presentation of Colours File 2206 cover“Presentation of Colors to the 80th Battalion C.E.F. An event which has for some time been looked forward to with interest took place on Thursday afternoon. It was the consecration and presentation of colors to the 80th Battalion, C.E.F., which will shortly leave Belleville for overseas. The colors were the gift of the Ketcheson family of Hastings County, in recognition of the fact that Col. W.G. Ketcheson, who for years was the commanding officer of the 49th Hastings Rifles, is the popular commanding officer of the 80th Battalion.

The battalion was at Barriefield for some time, but last fall two companies, namely, A. and B., were transferred to Belleville, whilst C. Company has since been stationed at Napanee and D. Company at Picton. On Wednesday the last two mentioned companies arrived here, making a full battalion of 1100 men taking part in the memorable occasion.

The colors are most beautiful in every respect. One flag is made of red silk. It bears the inscription and crest of the battalion, and is adorned with gold trimmings. The second flag is the Union Jack, the King’s colors, and is also of silk. Both flags are trimmed with gold fringe.

Presentation of colours HC04019

The ceremony took place on the parade ground in front of the Armouries. About the outside of the grounds were thousands of interested spectators from the city and county. The chief military officer present was Col. Hemming, commanding officer of the Third Division, who was accompanied by his aide-de-camp. …

In front of the main entrance to the Armouries a platform had been erected, and it was appropriately draped with bunting. Amongst those on the platform were Sir Mackenzie Bowell, Col. Hemming, Col. Ponton, Mayor Ketcheson, C. Ketcheson, reeve of Sidney Township, T. Ketcheson, governor of the jail, Albert Ketcheson, of Sidney, R.H. Ketcheson, Belleville, A.M. Chapman, county clerk, Judge Deroche, Dr. Faulkner, Foxboro, J. Elliott, Mrs. G.E. Deroche, Mrs. Wm. Johnson, and Miss Benjamin. The scene from the platform was most inspiring.

After the royal salute had been given and the battalion inspected by Col. T.D.R. Hemming, the consecration of the colors was proceeded with, and it was a most impressive ceremony. The colors were brought forward and placed crosswise upon two drums which were covered with a Union Jack. Rev. Canon Beamish, Rector of St. Thomas Church, performed the consecration service. …

Miss Nettie Ketcheson, daughter of Mayor Ketcheson, of this city, then read the following address: To Lt.-Col. W.G. Ketcheson, Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and men of the 80th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force: I am greatly privileged as the daughter of the Mayor of Belleville to represent my kith and kin of the Ketcheson family from far and near, in presenting to you, gallant comrades in arms of the 80th Overseas Battalion, these Colours, the gift of the kindred of your Commanding Officer, whose past traditions for many generations, and whose present service, are linked up with loyal devotion to King and Country. …

We commit the Colours to your soldier keeping as a sacred trust. Guard them well. You will, we know, bring them back to Belleville without a stain of dishonour. …  God speed you and God bless you, Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and men of our 80th Battalion.

An escort then marched to where the colors were located and they were handed to Lieuts. Drayton and Henderson by Miss Ketcheson. The two Lieutenants received them in a kneeling attitude. A general salute was next accorded the colors, and the band played the National Anthem. …

Col. Ketcheson, the commander of the 80th Battalion, received a hearty welcome from all present when called upon to speak. His remarks were brief but to the point. On behalf of the 80th Battalion he thanked Mayor Ketcheson and other speakers for the kind and patriotic words spoken. He promised for the men that they would respect and take care of the colors which had been presented. On behalf of the men he would say farewell. We will fight and do all we can for King and country. Farewell till we come back.

Three hearty cheers were then given for the 80th Battalion. Major Watson called for three cheers for the Ketcheson family, which were heartily given by the members of the battalion. Major Watson: ‘Are we downhearted?’ The response was a loud emphatic ‘NO.’ The proceedings closed by the band rendering the National Anthem.

The Intelligencer April 22, 1916 (page 3)

“Hastings Co. Hero Wounded. Private Leveridge, whose home is at Coe Hill, in the northern part of Hastings County, and who in June of last year left here with the 39th Battalion, has been severely wounded while doing duty at the front. His right arm was taken off and his right leg was terribly lacerated. He is at present in a hospital in the old country. Private Leveridge is about 35 years of age, and has a wife and two children at Coe Hill.”

The Intelligencer April 22, 1916 (page 6)

“To the City Council of Belleville. Gentlemen.—As a taxpayer permit me to call your attention to an old adage, ‘Be just, before you are generous.’ Alderman Deacon states that, chiefly owing to grants to battalions, the city has a deficit of $15,000. …  Every taxpayer feels that our taxes are a very great and grievous load which have to be borne. Some gentlemen have asked you to still further run the city into debt by donating $40,000 to the patriotic fund. …  You gentlemen represent a city which is composed of a very large percentage of people who have small means, and have all they can do to struggle for a livelihood. …

Everything has increased in price, the cost of living has greatly increased. The long closure of the Rolling Mills, Pringle’s Mill, Holton’s Mill, and the cutting down of wages in other industries have had a terrible effect upon the laboring class, as well as citizens generally. In addition there has to be considered the increased taxation for pavements, expensive sewers in West Belleville, the erection of our costly schools, with their many teachers. …

From what source do you derive authority to impose so great a sum upon the city without taking the sense of the people by a public vote upon a bylaw? If you can impose $40,000, what will prevent you imposing $100,000? The only limit would appear to be the sky. If a bylaw was submitted to be voted upon by the citizens who are to pay, and it passed, no one would murmur; but to impose such an enormous amount upon the citizens without consulting them would be a grievous wrong. To gentlemen who have stated salaries not subject to fluctuation from circumstances, the tax would make little difference. I am, yours truly, CITIZEN.”

The Intelligencer April 22, 1916 (page 6)

“Letters from Overseas. From Corp. E.W. Whitaker. It would appear, from the following letter, that in some instances at least Graham & Co.’s ‘Desiccated Vegetables,’ manufactured and canned in Belleville, travel many miles before reaching their destination, particularly when consigned to such regions as Salonica, where many of our Canadian soldiers are stationed.

The face of the label referred to in the message home is very handsome in design, consisting of a combination of colors showing the cabbage, the carrot, the beet, the turnip, the potato, and a bunch of celery, in a beautifully natural state, which, with the firm name of ‘Graham Co., Limited, Belleville, Ont.,’ must have made the boys in that far-away land feel decidedly homesick. The label was probably used in lieu of regular writing paper, and we can imagine the writer stripping it from a can for the purpose indicated. …

Salonica. Feb. 6, 1916. Dear George: You will see I am using one of your firm’s labels for notepaper, therefore you will know ‘Tommy’ is being issued with vegetables—and don’t they just make our stew A1! I must congratulate the Graham Co’y, Ltd., on the fine quality, for the flavor and richness would be hard to improve upon. Before reaching us out here they have been travelling ‘some.’ Keep us well supplied until the war is over, and I pray that may be very soon now. Trusting you are all in the very best of health, will write further anon. Good luck, best wishes. Your affec. brother, Ernest.”