100 Years Ago: 254th Battalion Recruiting Meeting, Reception for Manchester Gifford, 254th Battalion Parade for Recruits, Reception for Returned Soldiers

The Intelligencer January 28, 1917 (page 1)

“The recruiting meeting held in Griffin’s Opera House last night under the auspices of the 254th Battalion, was attended by an audience which filled that spacious building. The speakers were four ministers of the city, and each were earnest and practical in their remarks regarding the necessity there was for recruiting. Their remarks were most cordially received by all present, and should be conducive for good.

Lt.-Col. Allen, the Commanding Officer of the battalion, was chairman, and opened the meeting by stating that it was held under the auspices of the Ministerial Association of Belleville, and he was pleased to have the Rev. gentlemen upon the platform and give addresses.

Rev. Dr. Scott, pastor of Bridge Street Methodist Church, was the first speaker, and in his opening remarks said he was gratified at the opportunity of being present at a recruiting meeting even on a Sunday evening. …

Rev. C. G. Smith, pastor of the Baptist Church, was the next speaker, and kept the audience in a genial spirit by the humorous strain he inserted in his brief address. …  Rev. Mr. Smith wished Col. Allen, God-speed in his work of raising his battalion, and asked for the hearty co-0peration of all.

Rev. A. S. Kerr, pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, being called upon, said he could assure Col. Allen that the Presbyterians of the city were behind the 254th Battalion. He congratulated Col. Allen upon the appearance of the men of the 254th Battalion, and it was a great privilege to hear the fine band of the battalion. …  Belleville has done nobly, and we should co-operate with all battalions so that the victory we are waiting and hoping for may be realized. …

Rev. Moore was called upon and delivered a short speech. In his remarks he stated that every man had an interest in this war. He would be ashamed to be called a Canadian if he were a young man and able, but would not go to the front. …  His church, he stated, would be willing to co-operate with a view to enabling Col. Allen to bring his battalion to full strength.”

The Intelligencer January 28, 1917 (page 1)

“Reception to Soldier. A number of soldiers and others gathered at the home of Mrs. Thomas Wells, 36 Murney Street, Saturday evening, to tender a reception to Manchester Gifford, returned from overseas, in recognition of valuable services rendered by him to this King and country. The evening was spent in a social way, a lunch being served.”

The Intelligencer January 28, 1917 (page 5)

“For recruiting purposes the 254th Battalion on Saturday had a parade in this city, and despite the severe cold weather it was a success. Leaving the Armouries shortly after 2 o’clock, Front and other streets were paraded, and many witnessed the procession. It was headed by the fine battalion band, under the command of Bandmaster Lieutenant Hinchey, and a platoon of the battalion stationed in the city. Following were a number of women and children, bearing flags and appropriate mottoes. The scene was an inspiring one, and was witnessed by many citizens.”

The Intelligencer January 28, 1917 (page 5)

“Reception to Returned Soldiers. Saturday afternoon Privates B. Waite, R. S. Fitzpatrick of Belleville, and W. R. McDonald of Stirling, arrived here at 3 o’clock per G. T. R. and were accorded a hearty reception. Despite the inclement weather there was a large number present at the station to welcome the returned heroes. Upon alighting from the train they were escorted to automobiles which were awaiting them. The cars were decorated with flags and bunting.

A parade was then formed, consisting of the 254th Battalion band, a platoon of the 254th Battalion under command of Capt. Bleecker, and a number of women and children bearing mottoes. At the upper bridge the procession was joined by the two hose carts and the hook and ladder truck of the fire department. The boys were most cordially received along the line of march by cheering citizens.”