100 Years Ago: Reception for Melbourne Sprague, Ernest Moore Is Wounded, 235th Hockey Team Loses First Game

The Intelligencer January 9, 1917 (page 1)

“Enthusiastic Reception to a Returned Hero. Within the past few months in the City of Belleville receptions, enthusiastic in their nature have been tendered to returned heroes from the front, but none was more largely attended or more genuine than that of today, tendered to Private Melbourne Sprague, who may justly be termed Belleville’s crippled son. Despite his crippled condition the young hero wore a smiling face and waved his appreciation to citizens of all classes, who participated in the demonstration.

A few days ago the returned soldier passed through Belleville being compelled to report at headquarters at Toronto. This morning he came back to his native city, and his arrival was made a memorable occasion. He was due to arrive here at 12.10 p.m. but the train was some 25 minutes late. When the train pulled into the station, the yard adjoining was crowded with a mass of humanity, automobiles and vehicles. The 235th Battalion band augmented by members of the 15th Regimental band furnished music and played a lively air as the hero was taken from the train and escorted to a prettily decorated automobile in which was seated Mayor Ketcheson, Mr. and Mrs. E. B. Sprague, the soldier’s parents and a brother. The high school cadets, scholars, pupils from the public schools were present in hundreds, also a platoon from the 254th Battalion.

Cheers upon cheers greeted the hero as he was taken to the auto awaiting his reception. A parade was then formed and it was one of the largest seen in the city for some time. The augmented band led the procession and the auto containing the returned hero and relatives followed. It was flanked on either side by the members of the 254th platoon. Following were the High School and public school girls and boys, citizens in autos and citizens on foot. Many of the autos were decorated with large and small flags, and many men, women and children carried small flags. At intervals along the line of march from the G.T.R. depot to the market square the streets on either side were lined with citizens who were not slow to cheer the hero who acknowledged same. It was certainly a grand sight and one that will long linger in the memory of him for whom the reception was timed, as well as those who participated in same.

When the market square was reached the procession was halted and the members of the platoon opened out and the auto containing Sprague passed through to the cheers of his comrades in arms. In the parade were the two hose carts and the hook and ladder sleighs of the fire department and members of the brigade in uniform. At the market the parade was disbanded and Pte. Sprague was driven to his home on Gordon street.

That the returned hero was worthy of the homage bestowed upon him no one dare deny. He was a member of the 8th Mounted Rifles and received terrible wounds while on active service at Zillebeck, and was taken prisoner by the Germans. He had the misfortune to lose one leg and the other is by no means a perfect one. He will no doubt be for some time confined in a convalescent hospital.”

The Intelligencer January 9, 1917 (page 7)

“Ernest Moore Wounded. The following telegram will be read with interest by the many local friends of Gunner Moore: Ottawa, Jan. 8; S. S. Moore, 188 Charles St., Belleville.

Cable received to-day states 301185 Gunner Ernest Godfrey Moore, artillery, is officially reported wounded, December 24th. Returned to duty on December 26th. Officer in Charge of Records.

This is just like Ernest. No idleness for him when there is fighting on hand.”

The Intelligencer January 9, 1917 (page 8)

“While the local juniors were piling up the score here last night, the 235th intermediates were not faring so well in their match with the Frontenacs in Kingston. The score, which was 10 to 0 does not, however, indicate the play, or the merits of the local team. Good clean and close checking by both teams was a feature throughout the game.

The Belleville team lacked condition and fell down at the end of each period, when the Kingston septette made nearly all their goals. The locals’ line up was also considerably weakened by the absence of Simmons and Mitchell, through sickness. Cryderman, who was forced to play, was suffering from a very heavy cold with temperature at 101 degrees. Pimlott played an excellent game, though it was his first game of the season, and Ted Whalen was there and played a star game, but did not receive the proper support. The Frontenac aggregation has had considerable more practice than the locals, and have developed a splendid combination. The play at all times was free from roughness. …  Stan Burgoyne of Toronto, a former Belleville hockeyist, refereed the game.”