100 Years Ago: 235th Battalion Situation Explained, Canadian Patriotic Fund Aids Recruiting, Leather Shortage for Footwear, Queen Alexandra School Girls Knit Socks, Sergeant’s Mess on Front Street

The Intelligencer November 24, 1916 (page 1)

“Explaining the 235th Battalion Situation. The following communication has been received by His Worship Mayor H. F. Ketcheson of this city: Kingston, Ont., Nov. 20th, 1916. Mayor Ketcheson, Belleville, Ontario.

My Dear Mr. Ketcheson:—My attention has been called to the reports which have been and are continuing to be published in the two Belleville papers, re. Accommodation and movement of the 235th Battalion. …

I would like to place a few facts before you, and will, I hope, tend to straighten matters out, and place everyone in their true light.

Upon the completion of the trek of the 235th Battalion, the town of Bowmanville, which was the headquarters of this battalion, were asked what they could offer as regards quarters, and the Mayor replied under date of October 24, that the town was not in a position to furnish any financial assistance to the 235th Battalion, or any other battalion.

The Dominion Canners had a building in Bowmanville, that they would rent for $200 per month; the cost to the Department for fitting this building would be approximately $6000.

In Cobourg there were quarters available for 255 men. Some minor repairs are necessary, amounting to approximately, $200. Cobourg being situated in this battalion’s area, it was deemed advisable to place as many at Cobourg as could be quartered without expense to the Department.

The whole 235th Battalion were sent to Belleville until necessary repairs were made at Cobourg. It was the intention of the Department from the first to quarter one company in Cobourg. This was quite to the satisfaction of the Officer Commanding the 235th Battalion, for in a letter to this office, dated October 23rd, he strongly recommended that one company of his battalion be quartered at Cobourg.

I would like to draw your attention to the fact that no political or other interference, if there has been any, has influenced the Department in any way, and the original intentions have been carried out to the letter.

With regard to stopping the 235th Battalion recruiting in Hastings, this was found necessary, owing to the fact, the 235th were neglecting their own counties almost all together, making every effort in Hastings County. An organization has built up in the County of Durham and Northumberland at a certain expense, and it was not the intention of this Department to let this organization fall to pieces by being entirely ignored.

It was understood, in fact, it was known, that shortly a new battalion would be raised in Hastings, and would establish and build up an organization, and it was thought advisable to leave this field as clear as possible for the Hastings Battalion, and one which this county would reap full credit. I have the Honor to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, H. R. Wilson, Lt.-Colonel.”

The Intelligencer November 24, 1916 (page 1)

“Aid to Recruiting. The Chairman of the Relief Committee of the Canadian Patriotic Fund in an Ontario city presents a view of the value of the Fund that is not generally appreciated.

He says: ‘Many men could not and would not leave their families in want. They had incurred small debts, and they could not leave their wives to discharge them, in addition to the care of the children. They wanted to enlist, but were thus prevented from doing so.

Under these circumstances, many of them came to officers of the Patriotic Fund with the question, will our wives and children be cared for if we enlist? The Fund, to the extent of the allowances provided, enabled that assurance to be given. The immediate obstacle to the recruiting was thus removed and enlistment made practical.

This, in our opinion, has been the most beneficent work done by the Fund. And if a hundred thousand more soldiers are to be enlisted and sent from Canada, no better agency can be suggested than a continuation and enlargement of the Patriotic Fund.’ ”

The Intelligencer November 24, 1916 (page 2)

“Footwear to Become Dearer in Price. There have been alarming reports about that before long people will be paying $20 a pair for shoes, or be forced to resort to wooden clogs, for footwear or some makeshift of their own contrivance.

While prices will continue to increase, it is unlikely, however, that they will reach that appalling figure, at least for some time to come. The indications, nevertheless, are that the advance will be a substantial one. For instance, fine shoes now selling at $6.00 and $6.50 a pair, will go to $9.00 before many months, and workmen’s shoes, which now sell at about $3, will be selling at $5 next March. …

The reason for the continued advance in prices is in the increasing scarcity of leather. The war has shut off the supply of white leather from the Balkan states and of fine leather from Russia. Then the war department demands enormous quantities of leather, not only for shoes and leggings for the men, but in many other ways in which leather is required.

Manufacturers are already seriously considering the advisability of cloth-tops as the leading thing in shoes for men and women in order to maintain a price which will enable the average person to wear even ordinary shoes.”

The Intelligencer November 24, 1916 (page 3)

“Received Thanks For Socks Sent. A few days ago Doris Roe, aged 11, received a letter from a soldier now in England. He wrote to thank her for the very excellent pair of socks he had just received, and to tell her how much he appreciated them.

On the following day she received another letter thanking her for a pair received that day by another soldier. This was from a West Belleville Boy, Pte. Plumpton, also in England.

Doris is only one of the many girls at Queen Alexandra School who formed a knitting circle last winter and worked faithfully for the benefit of ‘Our Soldier Boys.’ They have already begun their work for this winter and are planning to knit wash cloths and to hem handkerchiefs.

The boys at school feel that they want to have a share in this good work and they have agreed to save their pennies to buy knitting cotton which the girls will use. The circle will meet each Wednesday from 4 to 4.30 p.m., in the assembly room.

Many of the scrap books of local news that are made each week by the pupils with the help of the teachers are being mailed to the boys now ‘Somewhere in France’ who formerly were members of the Q. A. S., C. C., No. 404.”

The Intelligencer November 24, 1916 (page 6)

“The Sergeant’s Mess. Apartments have been secured up one flight in the old Victoria Hotel Building, Front Street, and fitted up for the use of the sergeants of the 235th Battalion. A representative of The Intelligencer, dropping in on the boys Thursday evening, found them enjoying the comforts of their new quarters, known as ‘The Sergeant’s Mess Rooms.’

While plans for fitting up the eight or nine rooms have progressed, there is still need of furniture, pictures and little home articles, which will be gladly received. Among the necessities is an upright piano (a second-hand one preferable), which, if loaned, would be well cared for. This would be a boon, as many of the soldiers are good musicians, and miss this particular instrument.

In the pleasant dining room, which is ever amply supplied with food, additional articles in crockery, cutlery, etc., would be appreciated. The boys have gone deep into their own pockets to acquire their needfuls, and casual assistance would be now in order. Drop in and have a chat, size up the needs, and then quietly send in your donation. They won’t forget the favor.”