100 Years Ago: First Moira Boy Killed in Action, Belleville to Glimpse War, 235th Battalion Recruiting Meeting, Memorial Service at St. Thomas

The Intelligencer December 11, 1916 (page 1)

“First Moira Boy to Give Up His Life. Stirling. Chas. Welsh, eldest son of Edward Welsh of Moira, has been killed in action, according to an official message received by his father on Thursday. He is the first of the boys from Moira to give his life for his country. He had been in France for some months.”

[Note: Private Charles Sidmer Welsh died on November 18, 1916. He is commemorated on Page 180 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer December 11, 1916 (page 2)

“Belleville to Get Glimpse of War. On Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 18 and 19, the Daily Intelligencer proposes to present to the people of this city some real facts about the war, and the great battle of the Somme. There is a great recruiting lesson coming for Belleville, and it has one supreme superiority over every other lesson and argument about recruiting—it is objective. It ‘shows you.’

On July 1, the British and the French initiated the allied offensive on the western front, breaking a trench deadlock of two years. …  Every despatch is ‘played up’ eagerly by the editors of newspapers in every country where printing presses are in use, and read with avidity by everybody to whom has been given the ability to understand print.

But pitifully unable are people removed by distance of land and sea, of longitude and latitude, to understand what is really taking place, how millions of men are killing and dying, struggling and suffering in the throes of an ultra-modern, super-human war, is witnessed by the way life proceeds, to all in our own city.

This very Belleville, which has sent many men to the army, and the names of whose sons are appearing in the casualty lists almost every day. Imagination grows tired, fed only on cable despatches, and gradually the war in Europe far away, seems with some people, to fade into secondary consideration. Routine affairs of every day life absorb them. They are apt sometimes to skim the war news and read the ‘sports’ or the social and personal gossip, and yet because of the number of people and countries affected, this war may fairly be said to comprise the most important chapter in history, ancient or modern.

The Intelligencer is going to bring this war to Belleville. Our people are going to see an actual battle. …  To be exhibited at Griffin’s Opera House, Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 18 and 19, matinee each day, and three times in the evening, 7.15, 8.15 and 9.15.”

The Intelligencer December 11, 1916 (page 3)

“Recruiting Meeting of The 235th Battalion a Rouser. A most successful meeting was held last evening in the Griffin Opera House by the 235th Battalion. The building was packed from pit to dome, the majority of the audience being women. …

The first number on the program was a solo by Miss Ponton which was followed by an address by Capt. McLean, Paymaster of the 235th Battalion, who thanked the audience on behalf of his battalion or Belleville’s Battalion for their attendance. …  Referring to the Canadian’s loyalty in the first days of settlement, Capt. McLean called upon the young men of Canada to-day to follow their example not only to lay down their lives for Canada but for the Empire. …

Judge Huycke of Peterboro was called upon. …  The speaker appealed to the women as well as to the men, to offer themselves for service to the country. A position that can be filled by a woman should be and the man allowed to take his place in the firing line. Employers should also be influenced to allow their employees who are eligible for service to enlist. Our casualties today are much larger than the enlistments.

Before concluding the speaker stated he would leave one watchword with the people and that was to go or send, so that when victory comes we may be proud when the boys come home and be able to say that we have done our bit.

The evening then closed with singing of ‘God Save the King.’ Music was rendered by the 15th Reg’t. Orchestra, to whom the officers of the 235th Batt., are very grateful.”

The Intelligencer December 11, 1916 (page 5)

“Memorial Service At St. Thomas. A large congregation attended the memorial service held in St. Thomas’ church last evening for Privates Sherwood M. Wood and James Meloy, who have recently been reported ‘killed in action.’ The service was conducted by the rector, the Ven. Archdeacon Beamish and consisted of the first of The Evening Prayer, with special Sentences, Psalms and Lessons.

Then the people standing, the names were read of the members of St. Thomas’ congregation, who have made the supreme sacrifice. These names have been framed and hung up at the entrance of the church. …

Of the 170 which have enlisted from St. Thomas’ Church, ten have made the supreme sacrifice, namely, Capt. Bertram Kerr Allen, Lieut. John H. Roquette, Sergt. Harry Ablard, Corp. Leslie Evans, Corp. William Drummond, Pte. John Coburn, Pte. John McMichael, Pte. Charles T. Eves, Pte. Sherwood M. Wood, Pte. James Meloy.”