100 Years Ago: May Order Canadian Wives Home, At Home Reception for Melbourne Sprague, How Major Gilroy Met His Death, Another Belleville Hero Home, 235th Junior Hockey Team Wins

The Intelligencer January 18, 1917 (page 1)

“May Order Canadian Wives from England. Toronto. Canadian authorities here are seriously contemplating the advisability of ordering Canadian wives and women relatives of soldiers to return to Canada to help the food situation here and avoid the possibility of future shortages, says a London cable to The Evening Telegram. …

It is estimated there are sixty thousand wives and other relatives of Canadian officers and men living here, and all thinking Canadians deplore this state of affairs, which puts an extra and often needless tax on the food resources of this country at a critical time, helps raise rents, and generally makes it harder for the wives of British soldiers, who have no separation allowances like the Canadians.

It is stated that wives of Canadian officers at British base camps often obtain the army meat rations at rates which are much below the open market. Many Canadian women come over here against the express wishes of their soldier relatives. It is known that the Canadian authorities have disapproved of Canadian women coming to England. War work is frequently an excuse, but many Canadian women here are doing practically nothing.”

The Intelligencer January 18, 1917 (page 2)

“The Pink branch of the Rainbow Club gave a reception yesterday from four to nine o’clock at the spacious and beautiful home of Miss Bleecker on Moira street to Hero Melbourne Sprague. The receipts for the benefit of The Red Cross Society totalled forty dollars. The At Home proved in every way a most enjoyable and marked success.

The Circle thanks all who assisted in making the At Home so great a success: The 254th Battalion orchestra for delightful music rendered. The J. M. Greene Co. per Mr. J. A. Goodsell for the beautiful Edison Phonograph, truly termed the phonograph with a soul. Mr. Robert for a donation of five dollars. Givens and Son for flowers donated.

The spacious dining-room was decorated in the circle colors and much admired. The lady employees of Sinclair’s Company attended in a body and presented the hero with a beautiful bouquet of carnations and in response Melbourne gave the ladies a half hour talk describing his experience in the trenches before and after having been wounded.

During the afternoon Mrs. F. E. O’Flynn and Mrs. Dr. Yeomans representing the Belleville Women’s Red Cross and Patriotic Association in the absence of the President, Mrs. Col. Lazier, made a presentation to Pte. Sprague of a handsome and appropriately engraved match safe. Although taken completely by surprise the recipient made a becoming reply thanking the ladies for their kindly considerations for the men at the front.”

The Intelligencer January 18, 1917 (page 3)

“How Major Gilroy Met His Death. Sergt. T. E. Hyland, who left Belleville with the 80th Battalion, in writing to a friend in this city, gives the following account of the death of Major Gilroy, also of the 80th Battalion, an officer who was much respected by the men under him:

It was in the advance on the Regina Trench that we ran across his body, lying all by itself, and it was Lewy Bolton, the old drummer of the 80th Bugle Band, who recognized him. So after we had won the battle and routed the Germans, a few of us stole back and took a look, and sure enough, it was our dear old Major of the 80th, but then of the 16th, and his revolver and everything had been taken off him.

We buried our dear comrade about 20 yards to the rear of the entrance to Regina Trench, and a large white cross now marks the spot. Poor old Lewy Bolton, who first recognized the body, was some time later in trying to make his way back to the dressing station, shot through the head by a German sniper. So we lost another of the good old 80th boys. Will try and tell you some more later, but you can be sure that the good old Major was shot by a German sniper, and now rests in peace in France. Sergt. T. E. Hyland.”

The Intelligencer January 18, 1917 (page 5)

“Another Belleville hero arrived here to-day, but his home coming was not known, hence there was no demonstration accorded him. The hero was Private Gifford, who left Belleville with the 39th Battalion two years ago.

He was in engagement at Ypres, and it was there that he was severely wounded. With a number of comrades Gifford was in a trench, when a high explosive shell burst in their midst. The result was that some were killed, and Private Gifford had a leg injured to such an extent that amputation above the knee was necessary. After being in a hospital for some time he was provided with a cork leg. He was to-day met by many friends who extended to him a hearty welcome home.”

The Intelligencer January 18, 1917 (page 6)

“Leaders of Toronto Group Lose in Exhibition Game. The 228th Battalion Juniors received a rude jolt in an exhibition game here last night with the local 235th Junior team. With three straight victories to their credit in their respective group, the Men ‘O the North were quite confident of their ability to dispose of the locals in easy fashion. It was not to be, however, as they came out on the small end of a 11 to 3 score.

The game was one of the best junior games here this season, and was marked by good checking, combination and clever stick-handling. The locals were a little heavier and in better condition than the Northern Fusiliers and used their weight effectively.”