100 Years Ago: Soldiers’ Estates, Army Horses, Y.M.C.A.’s Mr. Sharpe Thanks Belleville

The Intelligencer May 18, 1916 (page 1)

“Mode of Dealing with Estates of Soldiers. Ottawa. A memorandum dealing with the distribution of the estates of soldiers killed or dying from other causes while with the Canadian expeditionary forces, was laid upon the table of the House to-day.

It points out that casualties are sent by cable to England and then to Ottawa. Personal effects are collected and forwarded to the base. There they are checked and an inventory sent with them to the director of pay and records services of the estates branch in London. If the deceased resided in Canada his effects are sent to Ottawa.

The pay account is closed as soon as the death is announced and becomes known as a non-effective account. In the case of missing men, thirty weeks must elapse before the necessary steps can be taken to presume death.”

The Intelligencer May 18, 1916 (page 3)

“To Purchase Army Horses. The Hon. Col. Sir Adam Beck is coming to Belleville Thursday, May 25th, to purchase Army Horses. This will give the farmers a chance to sell their horses, and it will also give the citizens a chance to show their appreciation of Sir Adam Beck for what he has done for the Public and Hydro Electric, and what he is doing as Director of Remounts.”

The Intelligencer May 18, 1916 (page 7)

“An Open Letter to the Citizens of Belleville. To the citizens of Belleville:—I could not close six months of very happy work in Belleville as Y.M.C.A. representative with the troops without expressing my deep appreciation of the many kindnesses that have been shown me personally and the hearty co-operation I have received from everyone.

I am greatly indebted to the churches which in turn provided me with pianists, singers, and speakers for our Barracks gospel service on Sunday evenings after church. These informal meetings were looked forward to by many men, and decisions were registered there that will make death—if that be some man’s lot—not the horror it might have been, but instead just an incident in the game of war. …

To the churches I owe thanks for the Christmas dinners served the men. Without their help such an undertaking would have been unthinkable. From time to time through their thoughtfulness I was able to invite groups of men to spend an evening in a church society.

I can not begin to name the many, many services for which I have to thank the ladies of the Khaki Club. Their name is legion. …  Through the efforts of the club a most wholesome environment was provided for every man. If the measure of the good of anything is the amount of evil it displaces, then the Khaki Club was wonderfully successful for I know scores and scores of men who would have wandered into doubtful surroundings had these bright helpful ones not been provided and been so handy. …

Nor has their assistance ended for I take along to still further serve the men in England and in France two splendid gramaphones and a supply of records,—their farewell gift.

To the hospital authorities I am grateful for the liberty I was allowed in visiting and serving the men whom sickness overtook. Among the most sacred memories of Belleville are those held by the soldiers who were ‘fortunate’ enough to spend their sick spell in the hospital.

The tender care, the skill, the sympathy, the kindnesses, and the persistent happiness of those who ministered to them in sickness will be held in continual grateful remembrance.

The press of the city was most generous. It enabled us, by giving us dozens of ‘exchanges’ each day to provide a ‘home-town’ paper for nearly every town represented. This was a more valuable service than appears at first thought.

The papers helped me not a little by keeping my work before the citizens, making our needs known, and thus very largely supplying them. …

Words are a poor return to the Belleville Y.M.C.A. when I think over how they assisted me. Though a Y.M.C.A. representative, I was assigned to special work and they were under no obligation to inconvenience themselves for me or my interests but they most certainly did. In the first place they provided me with personal quarters during my entire stay. They placed at my disposal the whole plant and its splendid equipment. …

The citizens generously have co-operated heartily, in the matter of the Christmas dinners, the providing of reading material throughout the season, in providing programmes at the barracks and social evenings at the Y.M.C.A. rooms, and in a multitude of other ways that only needed suggesting to be undertaken. …

Mine has been a rare privilege in being associated with these men of the 80th. …  It was my privilege to go to Montreal with the Batt., and I felt eleven hundred tugs as I waved them farewell till out of sight. To leave them for the short time till I rejoin them in England was hard indeed.

The chief topic of conversation after the train pulled out of Belleville was the uniform kindness of every one all the time we had been here. Only sleepiness stopped it. Your kindness will be an ever pleasant memory and your fine farewell a continual inspiration. I trust your recollection of the 80th may differ only in degree.

Thanking you again for your continued kindness, sympathy and co-operation. I am, very gratefully yours, C.T. Sharpe, Secretary, Military Y.M.C.A.”