100 Years Ago: 254th Battalion Recruiting Meeting, Cash for Horses, Stirling Memorial Service for Privates Roy Bissonnette and Harold Constable, Queen Alexandra School Concert

The Intelligencer December 18, 1916 (page 1)

“One of the finest of the many recruiting meetings which have been held on Sunday evenings, was that of last evening, held under the auspices of the 254th Battalion. The Griffin’s Opera House was crowded to the doors, many of whom were ladies, who took much interest in the addresses which were given by the several speakers. …

The meeting was opened by the audience joining in singing the National Anthem, led by the fine 254th Battalion Band, under the able leadership of Bandmaster Hinchey. During the evening the band rendered ‘William Tell’ in a manner which demonstrated the musical abilities of the organization. By special request ‘Who’s Next,’ was given, and other beautiful selections, to the delight of the audience.

In referring to the necessity of recruiting, the Chairman said that there were young men clerks in stores whose positions could be well filled after next Saturday, the ‘Xmas season, under the present circumstance, by women.

Also there were teachers in the High School and Public Schools of Belleville, who should have long ‘ere this donned the khaki, but seemed to find some excuse for not doing so, casting by their action a slur upon the chivalry of the boys of our city, and a bad example to the boys growing up, conveying to their minds false ideals, securing their own safety at the expense of other men more courageous and patriotic. The schools will not be completely destroyed by their absence. Their places can be filled with women just as able and just as intelligent, and apparently much better equipped in mind.

There are young men engaged in factories not making munitions, that are capable, and should at once enlist. We must have the man power of Canada between the ages of 18 and 45, offered to fight for our freedom, and by enlisting now in the 254th Battalion you will fill up the ranks, so that it will be immediately up to strength. …

Col. Allen, the commanding officer of the 254th Battalion, was called upon, and spoke a few words, referring to the new battalions which were being recruited in this division. He appealed to the boys to join the 254th Battalion or some other battalion.

Capt. Ferguson and Lt. Clarke, the two returned heroes, were introduced to the audience by the chairman, and were loudly applauded. The meeting closed by singing the National Anthem.”

The Intelligencer December 18, 1916 (page 1)

“Army Inspection. For the French Government will be held at the Windsor Hotel, Belleville, on Friday, Dec. 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Satisfactory and liberal prices will be paid for all horses accepted, grays included.

Do not be afraid to bring in your horses as we will guarantee a square deal and fair inspection for everybody. Ages 5 to 9 years; weight 1100 to 1500 pounds, from 15.1 to 16.2 hands high and serviceably sound. Cash paid for horses accepted.”

The Intelligencer December 18, 1916 (page 3)

“Memorial Service Held at Stirling. A memorial service was held at St. Andrew’s Church, Stirling, yesterday morning, in memory of Privates Roy Bissonette, and Harold Constable, who were recently killed in action.

The minister, Rev. Mr. Hall, conducted the service and also delivered a most impressive address. The minister was assisted by the Rev. Mr. Terrill, who also gave an address at the offertory. A beautiful solo entitled ‘Jesus Lover of My Soul’ was sung by Mrs. Alger.

The local members of the 254th Battalion under the command of Capt. Ingram and Lieut. Coulter, were in attendance and called forth many compliments on their smart soldierly appearance.”

[Private Roy Bissonnette died on November 19, 1916. He is commemorated on Page 55 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

[Private Harold Constable died on November 18, 1916. He is commemorated on Page 69 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer December 18, 1916 (page 7)

“School Held Annual Concert. On Thursday evening, Dec. 14th the Queen Alexandra school held its annual concert in the auditorium of the school. It was one of the best concerts in every respect that this school has ever given to the public. The principal and staff are especially gratified in realizing the sum of $58.00 and fully appreciate the patronage of the friends and well-wishers of the school. The proceeds will be given largely to patriotic purposes, and this along with former amounts raised by the staff and scholars makes this school compare favorably in patriotic givings with other schools of Ontario.

The doors were opened shortly after seven and the crowd soon came thronging in till the seating capacity of the auditorium and halls was taxed to its utmost limit, and standing room was at a premium. Many remarked on the simple beauty and harmonious effect of the patriotic and yule-tide decorations.

Everybody felt the welcome and homelike spirit in the air and all seemed for the evening just members of one great family with a single bond of interest—interest in the school and children.”