100 Years Ago: Red Cross Meeting at Plainfield, Melburn Sprague in English Hospital, 80th Battalion Band Plays for King and Queen, James V. Ross Wounded, George Webb Killed, Ted Yeomans Honoured

The Intelligencer October 14, 1916 (page 1)

“Splendid Red Cross Meeting at Plainfield. One of the most successful patriotic and Red Cross meetings ever held in this section of the country was that under the auspices of the Plainfield Women’s Institute. …

The audience was large and appreciative, and the financial results highly satisfactory. Addresses of more than ordinary interest, descriptive of Red Cross, Patriotic work and recruiting, were delivered. …  During intermission a beautiful autograph quilt was disposed of by ticket, Mrs. Dick being the holder of the lucky number.

At the close of the meeting all those who had taken part in the program were invited to partake of delicious refreshments provided by the local ladies.”

The Intelligencer October 14, 1916 (page 1)

“Melbourne P. Sprague Returned to England. News was received Wednesday afternoon, by Mr. E. B. Sprague, North Front Street, from Ottawa, that his son, Pte. Milburn Sprague, taken prisoner by the Germans over four months ago, is now in hospital in England.

Pte. Sprague was struck by a shell on June 2nd last, when the Mounted Rifles, to which corps he belonged, were subjected to a fierce bombardment which almost wiped them out of existence.

With his right leg broken in three places, and his left leg fractured, he lay in his dugout for five days, with plenty to eat, but no water. He was picked up in an exhaustive condition by the German Red Cross, who took him to their base hospital in Belgium, where his leg was amputated.

After a month in Belgium he was sent to a prison hospital at Stuttgart, Germany. Remaining there for about three months, he was released, and forwarded to England, via Switzerland and France.

His return to Belleville will not be for many months on account of his injuries. Fortunately the amputation took place below the knee. Pte. Sprague has two other brothers now at the front.”

The Intelligencer October 14, 1916 (page 3)

“Eightieth Battalion Band Before King and Queen. The 80th battalion band which was started in Barriefield camp last summer, is winning its way to the front in the old land.

The band is being used for recruiting and charitable purposes and as the representative band of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces, and arrangements are being made to send the band to France and Belgium to give series of concerts to men along the entire British line of conflict.

Three weeks ago the band under the leadership of Lieut. Stares Mus. Bach. played at Aldershot, before the King and Queen and Princess Mary. There was a big program of sports carried out for charitable purposes and the Belleville band placed in the setting of Royalty, won unstinted praise from their Majesties, as well as from press and public in general.

There are several Belleville and Kingston boys in this fine band, and their friends and families will be pleased to hear of the success of the band which had its origin in Barriefield Camp.”

The Intelligencer October 14, 1916 (page 5)

“Father of Slain Local Soldier Wounded. Mrs. James V. Ross, residing at No. 1 Emily street, in Belleville, has received the following message: Ottawa, Oct. 13, 1916. Mrs. Margaret Ross, Belleville.

Sincerely regret to inform you 455895, Pte. James Vincent Ross, infantry, officially reported admitted to No. 12 General Hospital, Rouen, October 4th, with gunshot wound in back. Will send further particulars when received. Officer in charge of Record Office.

Private Ross referred to is well-known in this city, being the father of Gunner Leo Ross, who was killed in action in April, 1915. The father enlisted with the 59th Battalion of Brockville, and went overseas in March of this year. His many friends in Belleville will hope that the wound is not of a serious nature.”

The Intelligencer October 14, 1916 (page 5)

“First Marmora Boy Killed. Pte. George Webb, who enlisted in Marmora and went to the front with the 21st Battalion, was officially reported missing in the casualty lists which appeared in Monday’s papers.

A letter received from a companion states that he was killed. While quite a number of Marmora boys have been wounded, Pte. Webb is the first to lose his life.”

[Note: Private George Webb died on September 15, 1916. He is commemorated on Page 180 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer October 14, 1916 (page 5)


“Belleville Boy. …  Among the Canadians gazetted for military medals, appears the name of F. L. Yeomans, who is connected with the artillery. This refers to Dr. Yeomans’ son of Belleville, who is familiarly known as Ted.

That he is deserving of the honor conferred upon him, there is not the slightest doubt, as he has certainly done his duty.”