100 Years Ago: Severely Wounded Soldiers to Be Cared for in Canada, Charles Brook Wins Military Medal, Letter of Thanks, Men Urged to Fill Out National Service Cards

The Intelligencer January 4, 1917 (page 1)

“Will Care for Wounded Soldiers. Ottawa. ‘Bad cases’ will commence arriving from England shortly at the rate of about 300 a week. The Dominion Hospitals Commission has secured accommodation for 1,610 of the soldiers to be sent from Britain before reaching the convalescent stage. This is an innovation. Previously very few ‘bad cases’ have been received in the Dominion.

A 450-bed hospital is being prepared at Pier 2 at Halifax, and at St. John provision is being made for 500 bed cases at the armory, while 200 beds will be available in the General Hospital, Toronto.

The hospital trains of ten cars being supplied by the Government railway will be ready by January 12. The train will run as far as Winnipeg.”

The Intelligencer January 4, 1917 (page 2)

“Belleville Boy Wins Military Medal. Corpl. Chas. H. Brook, of the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders, formerly of the 80th Battalion and well known in Y. M. C. A. and Church circles, displays bravery and skill on the field of battle and is presented with the Military medal by the Canadian Army Corps commander.

The following extract from the report of Corpl. Brook’s work, read at the presentation by a Lieut.-Col. of the staff, gives evidence of the faithful discharge of his duty as a soldier.

An official extract says: Corpl. Chas. H. Brook, who on the night of Sunday, Nov. 19, 1916, showed extraordinary skill and devotion to duty while in charge of a reconnoitering patrol, whose duty it was to locate the position of two battalions in the line, that had successfully advanced to a new position, and arrange guides for the relieving unit. This N. C. O. though without food since morning and though working in new land under shell and machine gun fire in the dead of night, successfully located the new position and after arranging guides for the relieving unit, selected an advanced position for consolidation. The relieving unit was successfully guided in and the tired troops relieved.

Corpl. Brook’s commanding officer recommended him for the Military medal, and he was presented with his award at the Brigade inspection, Dec. 11, 1916.”

The Intelligencer January 4, 1917 (page 3)

“Of Interest to Knitters. Bramshott, Dec. 14, 1916. Dear Mrs. McFee:—No doubt you will be interested in knowing what disposition was made of the socks so kindly furnished to the 155th Battalion by the ladies of Belleville and Hastings County.

First every man from Belleville and Hastings were given two pair. Then when our first draft of 95 men were ordered to go to France, we could not procure any socks from ordnance stores; they did not have one pair in stock. We fitted this draft out with the socks sent me by the ladies. …  You can see that good use was made of the socks and that they brought comfort to many of the men.

The 155th Battalion marched into Bramshott, and it has been publicly stated by our Brigadier that they were as good as any that ever marched in. They were so good that the most of the men were sent to France within a very short time after our arrival. They did not need nor did they receive any further training in England. The small number remaining here were then drafted into another battalion, and all there is left of the 155th Battalion is the Senior Officers. We are expecting orders to go to France almost any day now.

Thanking you and all the ladies of Hastings and Belleville for their kind thoughtfulness, I remain Yours very truly, Lt.-Col. M. K. Adams, O. C. 155th Battalion, C. E. F.”

The Intelligencer January 4, 1917 (page 4)

“Fill up the Cards. Every resident of Belleville between the ages of 16 and 65 years should fill out the National Service card which his postman has left with him, as a patriotic duty. If the matter, when presented to him in this light, does not appeal to him, he would do well to act in his own interest. One thing is certain, he will save himself further annoyance by filling out and promptly returning the card. If he fails to do so, his case will surely be followed up by the authorities.

There are no impertinent questions on the card. These are not as searching as those propounded by the census taker every ten years. No attempt is made to pry into your private affairs. Even if you do answer every question you are no more liable for military service than you are today. If you are of military age, if your circumstances are such as to permit you to enter the ranks without the sundering of family ties or leaving a gap hard to fill in the industrial army, the local recruiting officers, after the close census they have taken, are already in possession of that information.

There is nothing about the cards that suggests conscription. You are threatened with no penalty if you refuse to answer the question, but the penalty will come later if you do not act, just as conscription will most certainly be resorted to if the voluntary system breaks down.

There are men needed to make munitions for the Allies just as urgently as recruits are wanted for the army. When these cards are returned, the Government will be in a position to readjust industrial affairs so that men can be employed to the best advantage in the work designed to bring the war to a successful conclusion.

Again, then, fill out the cards. It is your duty to do so as a patriotic Canadian and by doing so you are likely to save yourself considerable trouble, for this information the Government is bound to secure, if not voluntarily on the part of the public, then by the employment of harsher methods.”