100 Years Ago: Welcome to Sergeant Charles Gibson, Canada Is Asked for Two More Forestry Battalions, Frank Ward Is Wounded

The Intelligencer August 1, 1916 (page 1)

“A Hearty Welcome to Returned Soldier. The demonstration last night accorded to Sergt. Charles A. Gibson of this city, a returned hero from the front, was of such a nature as to exceed the sanguine expectation of his numerous friends in the city. The popular Sergeant who arrived home on Sunday in a rather unexpected manner, will remain here on furlough for a few weeks.

When it became generally known that Sergt. Gibson had arrived home it was decided that he should be tendered an ovation, and last night he was certainly given one. Friends including Mayor Ketcheson yesterday got busy and the fruits of their labor was apparent.

At a few minutes after 7 o’clock the I.O.O.F. band, the members of which gratuitously rendered their services, left the armouries and was followed by a number of automobiles, one of which was decorated with a union jack. The parade grew in length as it proceeded on its way to Sergt. Gibson’s residence on Victoria avenue.

The popular sergeant as he came out of the house, was loudly cheered, and at once escorted by Mayor Ketcheson to an automobile. Seated in a rear seat of the auto with him was his father, Mr. Robt. Gibson, and father-in-law, Mr. James Marshall. The car was driven by Mr. Blaylock, who is also a returned soldier, and beside him sat Capt. Eddie O’Flynn, who came home a few days ago.

A procession was then formed, headed by the band, and it proceeded down Victoria avenue to Front street, up Front street to the upper bridge, where it was joined by the two hose carts and ladder truck of the fire department with Chief Brown in command. The hose carts and truck were tastefully decorated with flags and bunting.

The parade then proceeded down Front street, up Bridge street east to Charles street, and thence down Victoria avenue to the point of starting. On the line of march the streets were crowded with citizens, who cheered and cheered as the auto bearing the brave sergeant passed by. It was an inspiring scene, and one that will linger long in the memory of those who were privileged to participate in it.

Arriving at the Sergeant’s home, Mayor Ketcheson spoke briefly, referring to the pleasure it gave the citizens to welcome home again Charles Gibson, who had done his bit for King and Country. It was owing to such heroes that our Canadian homes were free from the invasion of the enemy.

Mr. E.G. Porter, K.C., M.P., and Sir Mackenzie Bowell were called upon, and both speakers spoke eulogistically of Sergt. Gibson and the valuable services he had rendered for his country.

Sergt. Gibson in a few well chosen remarks, returned his heartfelt thanks for the demonstration accorded him. He had only done what he considered was his duty in going to fight for King and Country. (Loud cheering.)

The rendering of the National Anthem by the band brought the pleasing function to a close, and all returned to their respective homes conscious of the fact that they had done what was right and fitting.

A pleasing incident of the event was the present by ladies of the Rainbow Patriotic Association of a beautiful bouquet of flowers.”

[Note: I.O.O.F. = Independent Order of Odd Fellows.]

The Intelligencer August 1, 1916 (page 1)

“Canada Asked For More Army Lumbermen. Ottawa. It is expected that the two forestry battalions now being raised in Canada, the 238th and 246th, will provide all the lumbermen that will be needed for operations in the Old Country, in addition to the 1,550 men already there—members of the 224th Battalion. The three battalions will have a total strength of over 3,600 men, who will be able to cut a lot of wood.

The 224th is doing most of its work in the north of Scotland cutting Scotch pine. There is a company at work in the park at Windsor Castle, cutting trees there, and a third company at New Forest. There is a party in a camp near Dover and some men still at Bramshott.

The new battalions will likely be sent to France. Lieut.-Col. White was over the ground there and found a great deal of timber suitable for lumbering; so that it is likely, if not all, at least the majority of the men now joining will soon be laying low the trees in France.

Eight sawmills have been sent from Canada to England, six for the 224th Forestry Battalion and two for the Forestry Committee in England, which has supervision over the lumbering operations there during the war.

They are mills typical of the Canadian lumbering industry and are generally known in Canada as portable mills, although they cannot be transported with the facility of most mills which carry the name ‘portable.’

They are entirely new to the British Isles and their wonderful efficiency is said to be causing much interest. They each have a capacity of from 15,000 to 20,000 feet a day and include the edgar, slash saw, saws for making railway ties, etc., in addition to their big 56-inch circular saw. They have 40 horsepower locomotive boilers.”

The Intelligencer August 1, 1916 (page 7)

“Wounded at Front. Mrs. Annie Ward, a widow, of 114 Canifton Road, has received a letter from her son, Frank Ward, to the effect that he is now lying in the base hospital in France, suffering from a broken ankle. He enlisted with the 34th Battery in August, 1914, and has been in France since April, 1915.”