100 Years Ago: Sir Sam Hughes Speaks at Griffin Opera House, David Mossman Killed, Railway Men Recruited, Ad for Oxo

The Intelligencer February 26, 1917 (page1)

“Enthusiastic Reception to Gen. Sir Sam Hughes. Were the Griffin Opera House twice its present size it would have been none too commodious to accommodate the crowd which last night sought to gain admittance. The occasion was a recruiting meeting held under the auspices of the 254th Battalion of Belleville, and the speaker of the evening was no less a personage than Lieut. General Sir Sam Hughes, ex-Minister of Militia.

Not only did the citizens of Belleville turn out in large numbers to hear the distinguished speaker, but hundreds from the country and neighboring towns, sought admittance. At a few minutes after 8 o’clock, before the evening services in the churches of the city had been concluded, the Opera House was filled to the doors, and hundreds were turned away. Not only was every available seat in the auditorium taken, but there was a fair sized audience upon the stage, and those in that part of the house were compelled to stand. …

Previous to the meeting being formally opened, the fine band of the 254th Battalion, under the capable leadership of Lieut. Bandmaster Hinchey, rendered some beautiful selections, which the audience were not slow to appreciate.

At about 8.30 Sir Sam Hughes and party arrived, and the meeting proper was commenced. Mr. E. G. Porter, K.C., M.P., was chairman, and filled that position in his usual able and courteous manner. …  Mr. Porter in his opening remarks as chairman, stated he had been requested to preside over the meeting, and he considered it a great privilege to do so. The magnificent audience present was a fine tribute to the statesman, patriot and soldier, who was present as our guest, and whom we were proud to have as such.

The meeting was pre-eminently a recruiting meeting for the purpose of stimulating recruiting. There were many subjects which could be spoken of at the present time, but without doubt the most important was that made by the Premier of Great Britain a day or two ago in reference to the British Empire, the Allies and its needs. It was not so much for men and ammunition, but a great appeal for the husbanding of the resources of the Empire. …

In his (the speaker’s) opinion, it was up to every man in Canada to do his part until this war is happily ended, in the producing of all food stuff possible. The people must produce food to feed the men in the trenches. We all know there is in this city a large tract of vacant land, and if that land is put under cultivation next autumn, we will find we have assisted the Empire to a great extent. …

After a selection from the band, the chairman, in a few well chosen remarks, introduced Sir Sam Hughes, stating that he (Sir Sam) was the admiration of the world. As Sir Sam arose to speak the audience arose and cheered him and the band played, ‘He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.’

Upon rising to speak, Sir Sam was accorded a most hearty reception, and in his opening remarks, referred to the pleasure it gave him to address a Belleville audience. He referred to his sojourn in this city when he was teaching school and of the fact that he was then imbued with a military spirit. …

In speaking of providing the motherland with troops, Sir Sam said, he had been asked by Sir John French about Canada and he (the speaker) said he could send 30,000 men in the first contingent and other reinforcements would follow. In anticipation of this offer being accepted, he immediately got in touch with the officers to get Battalions in shape and 33,000 men were in a short time, marshalled at Valcartier. Six weeks after the war broke out 33,000 men were sent overseas. The system of raising battalions was followed and these battalions as they were filled up were sent over. …

The Empire is in danger tonight, and this war is by no means over. It was our bounden duty to roll up our sleeves and get together another army as large as we have already raised. …  The war is on, our boys are in the trenches and they are calling for others to take their places. It is time we did something, action is what we want. Call out the boys under the Militia Act and train them. The whole heart of this nation will respond to this call. He was an Imperialist and he was ever ready to do his duty for the British Empire. …  He could not conceive how men and especially young men of military age could remain longer out of the game. …  He would appeal to men to train themselves for the protection of their home and loved ones. His associations with Belleville were most pleasant and he had looked with pleasure at being here again to see his friends and to speak to them. (Loud Applause.)

At the close of the masterly address Mayor Ketcheson arose to move a vote of thanks, and in doing so, said this was a proud day for Belleville. He said that Sir Sam Hughes was one of the first men of Canada and we all appreciate his remarks. …

Judge Wills, in seconding the motion, said it was a great pleasure to have Lieut.-General Sir Sam Hughes in Belleville, as he was considered a Bellevillian. We all know him, and what he has accomplished in the position he occupied. Let us have the Militia Act in force, and let us do something. All who are able should be drilling. …  The vote of thanks was carried by a standing vote, and cheers for the Lieut.-General were given, who acknowledged same. The rendering of the National Anthem brought the meeting to a close.”

The Intelligencer February 26, 1917 (page 2)

“Believed to Be Killed. Ottawa, Ont., Feb. 25, 1917. Wm. Mossman, 7 Ridley Street, Belleville. Deeply regret to inform you cable received to-day states 113,409 Private David Wm. Mossman, mounted services, previously reported missing, now believed killed June 2nd, 1916. Will send further particulars when received. Officer in charge of Records.”

[Note: Private David William Mossman died on June 2, 1916. He is commemorated on Page 139 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer February 26, 1917 (page 2)

“Railway Men. Your Last Chance Has Come! No. 1 Section Skilled Railway Employees, is full up.

Sergt. J. R. Cochrane is recruiting for the 2nd Section.

Sergt. S. Underwood left for Overseas this week.

Special rate of pay for all classes of men connected with railway service. This is a non-combatant unit. For further particulars apply SERGT. J. R. COCHRANE, 65 E. MOIRA ST. Phone 560, Belleville.”

The Intelligencer February 26, 1917 (page 3)

“Oxo Cubes in ‘No Man’s Land’

The following is an interesting letter received from France:—’I reached a spot nine yards from the German trenches uninjured, but it was useless going on. I fell where I was, and, lying quite still, was taken for dead. It was exactly a week before our men made another attack, and during the whole of that time I had to lie where I had fallen. It was certain death to try and reach our own trenches. During that week I existed on a biscuit and a tin of OXO CUBES. I ate the biscuit on the first day and the rest of the time lived entirely on OXO CUBES. I am now in hospital recovering from the effects of my week’s exposure, but there is little doubt that without the warming and stimulating effects of OXO I could not have survived while lying there.’

Be sure to send OXO Cubes.”