100 Years Ago: Recruiting Meeting for 235th Battalion, Patriotic Fund Appeal, Slackers Buy Service Buttons, Ad for Wrigley’s, John Rightmyer of 254th Battalion Dies in Belleville

The Intelligencer February 19, 1917 (page 1)

“Griffin’s Opera House was filled to capacity last evening, the occasion being a recruiting meeting held by the 235th Battalion. Capt. McLean occupied the chair, and performed his duties in a very efficient manner. The first speaker to be called was Capt. Lane of the 235th Battalion, who in opening his speech remarked that it is not the soldier’s business to speak, but to fight, therefore he would attempt no lengthy talk. In brief, Capt. Lane stated, that he found talking men into enlisting was of no avail nowadays. About the strongest appeal to the men at home has been the returned soldier, who has come back wounded from the front, bearing scars on his person, in the eyes of the world. …

We have not seen many of these returned soldiers, but about 5,000 of them will soon be landed in Canada and will go to every city in the Dominion, and will make such an appeal that there will be no more need of the Militia Act. Men are needed more now than at any other time of the war. …  Concluding, Capt. Lane stated, it would be the fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers that would have to bring recruits in, we can’t talk to them any more.

Before calling upon the next speaker, Capt. McLean stated that there were not many recruits being secured at the present time. …  He appealed to the ladies of Belleville to adopt, as ladies in not far-distant towns had, a boycott of the stores in the city, who employed men of military age, so that they would be compelled to employ girls in the men’s positions behind the counter. (Applause)

Mr. N. F. Davidson, K.C., of Toronto, the speaker of the evening on being called upon, stated it gave him much pleasure to be present on such a patriotic occasion. In commencing his address, Mr. Davidson declared that reputations could and have been lived down on the battlefields of Flanders. The names of many young men have been renowned, ennobled and magnified in France. …

The signs of the times are in the air, we are not coming forward to enlist as we ought, and the Militia Act will certainly be put in force in three months’ time, if we do not come forward. …  Mr. Davidson concluded his address by a lengthy appeal to the women to assist in recruiting, giving many instances in which they could induce the men to enlist.

The meeting closed with ‘God Save the King.’ During the evening the 235th Battalion Band rendered several appropriate selections, which were well received.”

The Intelligencer February 19, 1917 (page 1)

“People of Belleville Are Prosperous. And One Case of Poverty Among Our Soldiers’ Dependants Would Be a Lasting Disgrace to Our Fair City. Yes, Belleville is prosperous—very prosperous as is every section of Canada—but we are prosperous at the expense of our soldiers who have gone to fight our battles on the Battlefields of Europe. We are prosperous because hundreds of Brave men from Belleville have given up their occupations that they might help the cause of Freedom and thus all who desire can find profitable employment.

We are prosperous because Business is Better than it has been in many years, and wages in all walks of life are higher. The munition workers are paid most generously for their valued services, and unskilled laborers are now receiving the wage that skilled workers received before the war.

Yes, we are prosperous—but remember—

We must give out of our abundance and give most generously if the wives mothers and children of our soldiers are to be properly housed, clothed and fed. Belleville has done nobly in the past, but we must not rest on the laurels already gained. Instead we must dig down still deeper into our pockets—dig down to the extent of $75,000 that we may not have to depend on the generosity of some other communities to meet the promises we have made to our soldiers’ dependants. For they are debts of honor and the responsibility of payment rests with every citizen. …

There will be a general meeting of all workers at the Campaign Headquarters to-night at 8 o’clock, and all workers are invited to a luncheon provided by the ladies of the Belleville Patriotic Association, to-morrow evening at 6.30 in the Y.M.C.A.”

The Intelligencer February 19, 1917 (page 3)

“Slackers Buy Service Buttons. Ottawa. Offered tempting sums of money by slackers in Hull and Ottawa, it is alleged that some returned soldiers have resorted to selling their ‘returned soldier buttons’ to raise ready money. …  Fearing the application of conscription, many eligible for active service are said to be offering from $200 upwards for returned men’s buttons, and in some cases, it is stated, their offers have been readily accepted by owners of buttons. Under the Federal law it is a serious offence for a soldier to sell or transfer his overseas button. The penalty for anyone found guilty of this offence is three years in prison without the option of a fine.

It is understood that complaints trafficking in the buttons have been made to the officers of the Canadian Association of Returned Soldiers, and that the investigation board of the association is inquiring into them.”

The Intelligencer February 19, 1917 (page 5)

“ ‘Good bye and Good Luck!’

‘Thank you for the wishes and for Wrigley’s. The Flavour Lasts. This great little pick-me-up is full of vigour and vim for the jaded soldier. Quenches thirst, allays fatigue, gives new life to enervated spirits. Every letter or parcel for your soldier friend should contain a few bars. Appetite, digestion and spirits are the better for it.”

The Intelligencer February 19, 1917 (page 6)

“Death of Member of 254th Battalion. As the result of an attack of pneumonia, Private John Wrightmeyer, of the 254th Battalion, died in Belleville yesterday. Deceased, who was in his 22nd year, was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Manley Wrightmeyer, who reside at 36 Wharf Street. He was born at Codrington, Durham county, and came here last fall, and enlisted with the 254th Battalion, taking up his residence on South John Street. He was a member of the Salvation Army. A widow but no family survive. In addition to the parents, three brothers and two sisters also survive. One brother is in France, and another brother is a member of the 254th Battalion. The funeral to-morrow afternoon, will be of a military nature.”