100 Years Ago: Recruiting Meeting for 235th Battalion, Last Day of Y.M.C.A. Campaign, British Red Cross Society Campaign to Organize, Memorial Service for Robert Logan, Christmas Gifts for Soldier Lads, Money for Y.M.C.A., Ad for Patriotic Concert

The Intelligencer November 20, 1916 (pages 1, 2)

“Inspiring Addresses at Recruiting Meeting. Interest in the recruiting meetings held Sunday evenings at Griffin’s Opera House under the auspices of the 235th Battalion is, if possible, increasing. Last night the audience was such as to fill the spacious building from the pit to the dome, and although the meeting was of considerable length the great majority remained to the close.

The chief speaker was a young hero from Toronto, Sergt. Gibbons, whose address held the audience spell bound. His experience of being in the battle of St. Julien, of being wounded and taken a prisoner to Germany, was given in a manner that captivated all present. …

The proceedings opened by a selection by the 235th Battalion band, which has been augmented by a number of the members of the 15th Battalion band. The selection was much appreciated. …

Capt. Stewart of the 235th Battalion, being called upon, made a capital recruiting address. Among other things he said, the days were going quickly and the call to duty is strong. Come on boys. In Belleville there are many young men who would be handsome in khaki. …  No man of military age in Canada today, should be in civilian clothes.

The greater portion of the first contingent were of British birth. They are gone, at least the greater number of them. Boys enlist, and help the boys back from the front; help those back who are prisoners in Germany, and also the sailors who are tossed about on the billows of the deep, doing their duty. …  We want you to enlist now. No matter in what battalion or battery you may feel inclined to enlist in, come and fight for the grand old flag. (Applause.)

During the meeting, Mrs. C. Wilmot rendered a solo in her usual sweet and meritorious manner. A selection by the band brought the proceedings to a close.”

The Intelligencer November 20, 1916 (page 1)

“Last Day of the Y.M.C.A. Campaign. The Young Men’s Christian Association campaign will officially close tonight. A little less than $1,000 is needed to win a grand victory and secure the $15,000 needed to make the campaign a success.

There are many people in the city who have not as yet contributed anything. The Association makes a last earnest appeal to these and all others to do something today and help save the Y.M.C.A. and secure two conditional pledges of $2,500 each which have been given with the understanding that the entire $15,000 be raised. …

The Board of Directors feel that no citizen or tax payer in the city can afford to have the Y.M.C.A. in any way embarrassed. The Association is more than ever the headquarters of the young men and boys of Belleville including the soldiers. The necessity of keeping the Y.M.C.A. open is emphasized now that the saloons have been closed and our young men and boys need a place more than ever where they can spend their evenings and enjoy social life such as is afforded in the bright and cheery rooms of the Y.M.C.A. …

This afternoon large numbers of the boys’ departments will be out making their final calls and it is hoped by this evening that there will be a sufficient sum realized from those who have not as yet contributed to close the campaign with a grand jubilee.

It is felt by many the reputation of Belleville is at stake in this campaign for after all the fact remains that the interest any city takes in its young men and boys may be considered the true index of character of the city. Everybody therefore, is invited to help if not already called upon to phone their subscription to the Y.M.C.A. Pledges are payable in four payments beginning January 1st 1917.”

The Intelligencer November 20, 1916 (page 2)

“To Meet at City Hall. A meeting of the Belleville citizens will be held, in the City Hall tomorrow night at 8 o’clock to determine the manner and giving of Belleville’s contribution to the British Red Cross Society, and to organize for the same. A large attendance is requested.”

The Intelligencer November 20, 1916 (page 2)

“Memorial Service. Ensign and Mrs. Lang of Truro, N.S., formerly of Belleville, yesterday conducted services in the Salvation Barracks, in this city. In the evening many were present at a memorial service conducted for Private Robert Logan of this city, who was recently killed in action.

Appropriate addresses were given by Ensign and Mrs. Lang, and hymns, suitable to the occasion, were sung. It was an impressive service.”

[Note: Private Robert McPherson Logan died on October 1, 1916. He is commemorated on Page 120 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer November 20, 1916 (page 5)

“Have You Mailed That Gift to Your Soldier Lad? Time is flying, and with each day that passes the necessity becomes more urgent that the Christmas gifts to the boys at the front should be sent on their journey.

By sending the packages off right away, or at any rate at an early date, the enormous rush which will almost inevitably occur later will be avoided. This point should be again and again impressed upon the relatives and friends of those brave men who are so worthily upholding the best traditions of the empire in their fight for the supremacy of right. …

Although the question of packing has been referred to in previous issues …  this paper again gives in detail what the postal authorities believe to be the best methods of dealing with sending of packages to the soldiers who have proceeded overseas, which is as follows:

1. Strong double cardboard boxes, preferably those made of corrugated cardboard, and having lids which completely enclose the sides of the box are strongly advised. Thin cardboard boxes, such as shoe boxes, and thin wooden boxes should not be used. Nor does a single sheet of brown paper afford sufficient protection.

2. Strong wooden boxes.

3. Several folds of stout packing paper.

4. Additional security is afforded by an outer covering of linen, calico or canvas, which should be securely sewn up. …

Care, of course should be taken to see that the parcel is legibly addressed. Ink should be used, and it is advisable that the address should be written on two sides of the package. The address of the sender of the parcel should also be stated on the cover in order that it may be returned if undeliverable.

In the case of soldiers who may be with the allied armies in the Saloniki district the parcels should be exceedingly strongly packed. They should be as nearly round as possible and well padded with shavings, crumpled paper or similar protective material. The outer covering should consist of strong linen, calico or canvas, and should be securely sewn up.

The use of wooden or metal boxes with square corners is undesirable, as parcels so packed are liable to injure other parcels in transit. No perishable articles should be sent and anything likely to become soft or sticky, such as chocolates, should be enclosed in tins. Parcels merely wrapped in thin cardboard boxes cannot be accepted by the post office authorities.

One word again of the stores that are making a specialty of Christmas gifts for our soldier boys. These local tradesmen have made a deep study of suitable presents which greatly do away with the ever perplexing problem of what to send ‘him.’

Look over these tradesmen’s stores. …  Much time and trouble will be saved by a visit to such stores as these where something most suitable will be found to satisfy every wish. This is the main point, and having chosen the gift do not keep it at home until the last minute, but have it dispatched without delay.”

The Intelligencer November 20, 1916 (page 5)

“A Soldier’s Mother. One of the Y.M.C.A. Campaign workers related the following incident in connection with the present effort to raise $15,000 to help save the institution:

‘A widow lady called at my store yesterday and asked if I was one of those who received the money for the Y.M.C.A. Campaign and when I told her I was, she said ‘The little Yeomans boy called on me yesterday for a subscription for the Y.M.C.A. and I gave him $1.00 and I have been thinking of it since receiving a letter from my son who is at the front.

He said ‘I want to tell you, mother, about the Y.M.C.A. here.’ He told of the number of Y.M.C.A. huts in the rear of the trenches, how beautifully and comfortably they were fixed up, also reading matter such as magazines and papers, writing material and a bouquet is put on the table. Easy chairs are placed in the huts and everything is so comfortable and pleasant that the boys find it restful both to mind and body after the strenuous hours spent in the trenches.

This soldier went on to say: ‘Mother you can’t do too much for the Y.M.C.A. It is doing much good work for us fellows over here.’

She said, ‘I have been thinking of it since and this morning I took some old silverware, that I didn’t want to use, down town and sold it and, ‘handing me $2.00,’ she said: ‘Here is the proceeds. I want to make that a further contribution to the Y.M.C.A., and here is $1.00 from my sister.’

Asking her who I would credit with the subscriptions she said: ‘Just put it down to a soldier’s mother.’ She also told me where we might get a couple more subscriptions.’ ”

The Intelligencer November 20, 1916 (page 6)


“Grand Patriotic Concert Under Auspices of 235th Battalion. Griffin’s Opera House Friday Nov. 24th. Miss Ruby Fisk, Dramatic Soprano and Concert Pianiste. And Miss Florence Good, Elocutionist.”