100 Years Ago: 155th Overseas Battalion Benefit, Letter from Ernest Phillips, Memorial Service for Albert Green

The Intelligencer May 4, 1916 (page 2)

155th Benefit

“Arrah Na Pogue. A Happy Combination of Duty and Pleasure. The news-reading public of the City of Belleville have no doubt seen quite a lot in the Toronto papers of the cost of recruiting a regiment. For the information of those who have not read, it is stated by the authorities that the recruiting of a regiment alone costs anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000. And this in the City of Toronto.

Therefore, one can realize that a regiment like the 155th, our own Bay of Quinte boys, that is recruited over a district twenty times as large as Toronto, must be a costly enterprise. However, the 155th to-day is not only up to strength, but stands first in the military district of Eastern Ontario. Surely this is a source of great pride to the loyal citizens of this city.

Now the 155th, the same as all other regiments, was not recruited by prayers, or pride, or on wind. It has cost a whole lot of money to place this regiment at the top of the district.

The people of Belleville have been asked to contribute less to the 155th than to any corps that has left this city. Someone has to pay. Are you going to ask the fighter to pay? Therefore, it behooves every citizen of Belleville, and citizeness to go down to Doyle’s Drug Store on Friday morning and secure tickets for the beautiful Irish Comedy-Drama, Arrah-Na-Pogue, which is being put on at Griffin’s Opera House on Monday next, May 8th, by the members of the St. Michael’s Dramatic Club. They are contributing the play intact. All the money taken in will go to the 155th Battalion, which is sorely in need of funds at the present moment.

Aside from the sense of duty which should compel every citizen to attend Arrah Na Pogue, it might be said that he who spends 50 or 75 cents to attend this performance will not regret a penny of it, as all who saw the play when presented at St. Michael’s Academy will testify. Many plays that cost $1.50 were not enjoyed nearly so much.

Now then, remember to keep Monday evening open and attend a performance that will last long in your memory, and at the same time, contribute your mite to our brave lads in Khaki.”

The Intelligencer May 4, 1916 (page 3)

“From Ernest Phillips. France, April 17, 1916. This is about the first chance I have had to be able to write a letter to you; so I will try and give you full particulars.

On the morning of April 4th, an officer, a Sergeant, Bert Green and a chap by the name of Rae, and myself started out as an advance party to take over telephone lines etc. …  We had not gone very far on the line we were tracing, when suddenly three German shells came over (quiet and unheard) dropped within a few yards of us ending our career.

I shall never forget the dreadful scene, when I came to myself and realized what had happened. Poor Bert lying dead just a few feet from me. The officer and Rae were literally filled with shrapnel. Both expiring in a few minutes leaving the Sergt. and myself lying wounded between them. …  I was very badly cut up myself, being hit in six places. Chest, right fore arm, right thigh and leg (through the calf) two in left leg, one above and one below the ankle, also through. …

I will probably be all right in a short time. …  I am at present in No. 13 General Hospital Base and pleased to say that I am doing remarkably well. …  I expect to be sent to England in a few days. Yours sincerely, Ern.

The Intelligencer May 4, 1916 (page 3)

“Memorial Service In Recognition of the late Bombardier Albert H. Green—Sermon by Rev. A.M. Hubly. A memorial service was held in Emmanuel Church, Sunday morning, April 30, for the late Bombardier Albert H. Green, who was killed somewhere in Flanders on April 4th.

The pulpit and reading desk were draped with British and Canadian flags. On an easel at the entrance to the chancel, beautifully wreathed, was a photograph of the brave young soldier. …

Those of us who knew our brother in Christ, whom we desire to honor this morning, are confident that he was no coward; he was no traitor. He would be true to his captain, he would obey the commands of his superior officer, and would never go back on a comrade. He would go where duty called though death menaced.

Bombardier Albert H. Green was beloved by all who knew him, as a man and as a Christian worthy of the confidence of all, and of universal esteem.”

[Note: Driver Albert Henry Green died on April 4, 1916. He is commemorated on Page 94 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]