100 Years Ago: Presentation of Colors to 155th Battalion, Service at Bridge Street Church, Band Concert, Sergeant Charles Gibson Returns Unannounced, 155th Battalion Relaxes at St. Agnes School Grounds

The Intelligencer July 31, 1916 (pages 1, 7)

“For the third time within a period of fourteen months the presentation of colors to battalions recruited in this city and vicinity took place. …

On Saturday last the 155th Battalion which was recruited in Hastings and Prince Edward counties received their set of colors, which was the gift of the Argyle Chapter of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire of Belleville.

Lieutenant-Colonel Adams
Lieutenant-Colonel Adams

This battalion is under command of Lt.-Col. Adams of Picton, who is deservedly a most popular officer. The battalion has been for some weeks in training at Barriefield Camp. …

The battalion was conveyed to the city by two special trains over the Canadian Northern Railway; the second section arriving at the depot about 11 o’clock in the morning. Hundreds of citizens and friends were at the station, and the brave soldier boys were certainly accorded a hearty reception.

After all had detrained the battalion was formed up and headed by the fine battalion band, …  marched up Pinnacle street to Victoria avenue, down Victoria avenue to Front street, and thence up Bridge street to the Armouries, where the rifles for the time being were deposited. The streets were lined with admirers of the battalion, and cheer after cheer was accorded the men, all of whom appeared to be pleased at the opportunity of again visiting Belleville. The men were then dismissed until 2 o’clock, when they returned for parade to receive the colors.

At a few minutes after 2 o’clock the battalion was reformed in the armouries, and marched out of the western entrance to Pinnacle street, and thence up Bridge street to the Armouries’ parade ground, where the interesting ceremony took place. The battalion was about 1000 strong, and the men certainly presented an appearance which was most commendable and inspiring, every man looking like a true soldier. …

Col. S.S. Lazier of Belleville, took the Royal Salute, and also formally inspected the Battalion going up and down each line. The battalion band was present and played suitable selections. The colors were then brought forward and placed crosswise upon two drums.

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. …

Capt. Rev. Thomas Dodds, chaplain of the battalion, consecrated the colors, following which an appropriate prayer was offered. At the conclusion of this part of the ceremony, Major Allen and Col. Putnam came forward and knelt in front of the drums for the purpose of receiving the colors, the presentation being made by Mrs. Geo. Wallbridge, First Vice Regent of Argyle Chapter, and Mrs. A.P. Allen, second Vice Regent of the Chapter. …

About the outside of the spacious armouries’ grounds, thousands of interested spectators from the city and vicinity were assembled to witness the interesting event.

Owing to the excessive heat and the fact that the members of the battalion were rather tired after their marches etc., the speeches made were brief, but to the point, and elicited the applause of those who were privileged to hear them.”

The Intelligencer July 31, 1916 (page 1)

“At Bridge Street Church. It had been generally understood that the 155th Battalion would worship in a body at Bridge Street Methodist church on Sunday morning, but a later decision of the military heads gave the soldiers the privilege of holding a service at nine o’clock, thus giving the opportunity to visit with families and friends.”

The Intelligencer July 31, 1916 (page 2)

“Delightful Band Concert. On Saturday evening the 155th band under the capable leadership of Bandmaster Hinchey, gave a band concert on Victoria Park.

Thousands of citizens were present and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful programme given. The selections were of a classic nature, and rendered by the fine band in a manner that was most commendable.”

The Intelligencer July 31, 1916 (page 2)

“Return of Sergt. Chas. A. Gibson. No one had the slightest inkling that the C.P.R. train from Montreal due here at 3 P.M. Sunday, would convey Sergeant Charles A. Gibson to his home, as no news had been received of his coming, other than the official notice received by Mrs. Gibson, and published in The Intelligencer on Saturday. As soon as the S.S. Metagama docked at Quebec, Sergeant Gibson headed for Montreal on the first train, and without delay made his way toward the comforts of home in old Belleville.

Arriving here, and finding no conveyance at hand, he was about to telephone for a hack when ‘Dick’ Arnott and his grey pony hove in sight and took him in. My! but Dick was glad to see Charlie.

It wasn’t an hour before the arrival was heralded throughout the city, in Sunday Schools and elsewhere, the news getting to Mayor Ketcheson and Dr. MacColl, who immediately captured the returned soldier and whirled him down town, to be greeted by military officials, including Col. Adams, in lieu of the demonstration that was intended to be extended. After all, the home-coming was pleasing to both the returned and the waiting friends.

Sergeant Gibson will rest for a few days, as he has not quite recovered from the terrible nerve-shock received when wounded at the front. Anyhow, it’s good to know that he has lived to return home.”

The Intelligencer July 31, 1916 (page 3)

“Soldiers Entertained. At the conclusion of the presentation of colors on Saturday afternoon the members of the 155th Battalion proceeded to the beautiful ground in connection with St. Agnes School, where ice cream and light refreshments were served to them. It is needless to state that this kindly act was much appreciated.

The toothsome refreshments were provided by the ladies who are members of Quinte Chapter, I.O.D.E. of Belleville. The men thoroughly enjoyed themselves beneath the shade of the trees after the trying experience on the Armouries lawn, and were loud in their praise of the kindness extended to them.”