100 Years Ago: 80th Battalion Leaves for Active Service

The Intelligencer May 15, 1916 (page 1)

“Departing Soldiers in Final Street Parade. It was truly a patriotic demonstration that attended the leave-taking of the 80th Battalion from our city on Saturday night. For the moment previous like occasions were forgotten in the emotional outburst of pride for the gallant fellows as they paraded Bridge and Front streets, for the last time.

Crowds gathered from every section, immediate friends visited the soldiers at the Armouries; knapsacks were packed; blankets rolled, and at the alloted hour, headed by the new celebrated band, led by Lieut. H.A. Stares, the boys swung into the street, down Bridge, up Front, as far as the upper bridge, and return, the waving of handkerchiefs and lusty cheers making the welkin ring.

In the ranks headed by the Battalion band, led by Bandmaster Hinchey, were the boys of the 155th, determined to stay by their comrades to the last.

The scene, pathetic yet inspiring, will never be forgotten by those who viewed the parade. It was the final tribute to those who were giving all—perhaps even to their lives—for home and country.

Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, wives, children and sweethearts clung to their dear ones to the last moment; lunches had been prepared by loving hands; keepsakes bestowed; the final kiss, and they were gone—to return? Let us hope so.

During the closing preparations Col. Ketcheson and staff were all activity. Nothing was left undone that might add to the comfort of the journey. Cars of the most modern type were in readiness, and from ten to ten-thirty, all having entrained, the engine throttle was opened, and final words of farewell given, and one more battalion of brave Canadian lads left for active service.

That our boys will be missed goes without saying. Since recruiting for this particular battalion began, in September last, many friendships were created; the faces and cheerful greetings had become familiar, and now that they are gone a vacancy in local social circles naturally follows; but the feeling of pride on behalf of their loyalty to the colors, cannot be quenched.

All hail to the boys of the 80th Battalion—May God’s protecting care accompany them—and their return to home and friends be an experience in the near future.”