100 Years Ago: Mass Recruiting Meeting for 235th, Death of Private James Meloy, Praise for Motion Picture of Somme Battle

The Intelligencer December 7, 1916 (page 1)

“Big Mass Meeting at Griffins Opera House. Many Speakers From Among the Weighty Liberal Politicians. A large audience filled Griffin’s Opera House last evening at the Recruiting meeting held under the auspices of the Hastings Liberal Club. …  Mr. D.V. Sinclair of this city, occupied the chair for the evening.

The proceedings opened with a selection by the 235th Battalion band, at the close of which Mr. Nelson Parliament, M.P.P. of Prince Edward County, was called upon. Mr. Parliament stated that it gave him great pleasure to make a recruiting speech a call to the young men and women in Canada to do their duty. What is our duty? the speaker questioned: Our duty to our country is one question that must be settled by our own conscience. I feel proud of the young men of Hastings and Prince Edward counties; proud of the bravery of these boys who have gone to the firing line. We are fighting to day for the great principle that man has ever had cause to fight for. …  Great applause greeted Mr. Parliament at the close of his speech.

The orchestra of the 235th Battalion was here called upon to render a selection which was well received by the audience. …

The next speaker was Lt.-Col. Scobell of the 235th Battalion, who received a great reception from the audience on rising to speak. Col. Scobell stated he was much pleased to see so many ladies present. The ladies can help recruiting a great deal. There is also something wrong, he stated, with the young men of Canada. Every year 100,000 men in Canada come of age to enlist and yet we have to go around the country to beg young men to enlist. …  These are dark days for us, it is a time for plain speaking, or we shall lose this war. It is a false idea that we have won, we have not won, we have got to have the men in order to win. In concluding, the speaker declared he hoped that the members of Parliament would enforce a law of conscription. It is the only way for the distribution of the men of Canada. …

Mr. Bowman, M.P.P., the last speaker on the programme, in his remarks stated that even if this war lasts for one or more years longer the Germans cannot win. Germany lost her opportunity to win in the first six months of war, but before this struggle is over, it will be necessary to mobilize the women and men in Canada, and the agriculture resources in order that we may win.

Concluding the speaker stated that he sincerely hoped that one and all would leave this meeting more deeply impressed with the seriousness of the situation that confronts us, so that we will have an opportunity to combat it.

At the conclusion of Mr. Bowman’s speech, Mr. Sinclair gave the audience his appreciation of their attendance, after which the singing of ‘God Save The King,’ brought the meeting to a close.”

The Intelligencer December 7, 1916 (page 3)

“Pte. J.H. Meloy, who was reported in Wednesday’s Intelligencer as killed in action, on the sixteenth of September, enlisted at Belleville with the 49th and was transferred to Brockville with the 59th going overseas last March. He had been through several large battles, but the battle of September sixteenth was his last, when he paid the great price.

The blow is hard for those who mourn his loss. He leaves a sister in Belleville, Mrs. Adamson, 161 Church street; his mother, sisters and brothers are in England. He had resided in Belleville for six years and was a member of Oxford Lodge, Sons of England. He was respected by all who knew him. He had done his duty, and did it like a man. No one misses him more than his widow and children.”

The Intelligencer December 7, 1916 (page 3)

“Expert Operator Praises Pictures. Brings War Home. Terrible Carnage Is Watched With Almost Awesome Reverence. No person is a keener judge or more inclined to delve to the depths of a subject to find criticisms than a motion picture operator. So that when Percy Billinghurst, whose ten years’ experience in that occupation which gives him additional ground for an unprejudiced opinion, declares that the official motion film of ‘The Battle of the Somme’ is the most remarkable bit of photoplay ever produced, his word can be accepted unhesitatingly. …

Billinghurst spoke enthusiastically of the ‘Somme’ pictures, and said that they presented the biggest thing ever done by photography and that no adult should miss them. He said when you look on the screen you turn sick with horror as the scenes of real warfare are flashed. …  The film fascinates everyone who sees it. It brings the war before your eyes, the war as a monstrous instrument for killing human beings, devastating country-sides and leaving ruin, death and sorrow behind.

Until you have seen the film, it is declared, you cannot appreciate all the sublimity and degradation of what you read in the newspapers. Those of us who remain at home are in need of just what the ‘Somme’ pictures bring home—an understanding of the sheer horror of war.”