100 Years Ago: 235th Battalion Farewell Recruiting Meeting, Cadet Shooting Contest at Queen Alexandra School, 235th Battalion Leaves for Ottawa, Red Cross Ad for Sinclair’s, Ad for Wrigley’s, Sergeant Chas. Asselstine Killed in Action

The Intelligencer March 5, 1917 (page 1)

“Farewell Recruiting Meeting at Griffin’s. The farewell recruiting meeting held in Griffin’s Opera House last night under the auspices of the 235th Battalion was one of the best ever held in the city. The spacious building was filled to the doors with a representative gathering and the addresses given were in keeping with the occasion. Expressions of regret were general that the Battalion is leaving the city, as the officers and men alike have, by their manners, found a warm place in the hearts of the citizens of Belleville. …  After a selection rendered by the fine band under the able leadership of Bandmaster Laugher and the National Anthem, the meeting was opened.

Mr. Sinclair in assuming the chair said he considered it a great privilege and pleasure to preside as chairman at the farewell meeting of the 235th Battalion in Belleville. For several months the Battalion has been in our midst, and all citizens had learned to esteem the officers and men: We will wish them godspeed to their new quarters at Ottawa and also to their trip overseas. We all regret their removal from Belleville, but like good soldiers they had to obey the call where duty called them. …

Mr. Sinclair then read the following letter which speaks for itself: Belleville, Feb. 4, 1917. To Lt.-Col. Scobell, Officer Commanding 235th Battalion, C.E.F., City. Dear Col. Scobell: On behalf of the City Council and all the citizens of Belleville and myself personally, I desire to express the regret we all feel of parting from the officers and men of your splendid battalion. You have been living among us for several months, and we have learned to respect and honor you. The conduct of your men have been most exemplary. They are gentlemen and soldiers, and we know that wherever duty may call them, they will give a good account of themselves.

We wish you God speed and a safe return, and trust that after this unhappy war, in which we are now engaged, is over, we may be able to welcome you back here again. Yours sincerely, H. F. Ketcheson, Mayor.

Capt. Stewart being called upon said the officers and men of the 235th Battalion regretted the departure from Belleville. He would like to see the young men present take the place of the young men and others who have been wounded. The Germans are not beaten yet. It behoves all to get into the game before it is too late. God pity the young man who does not do his duty at the present time. We have the money and the munition but have we the men. The Empire has a great job before it, and she will make good. We will show to the world we are not a defaulting people.

There are young Canadians to-day who should enlist, but they do not. What is the trouble? Are we too wealthy? Are they Canadians? If they are, they should be in the ranks of the British army. What privileges we enjoy under the old flag. If the Militia Act is put in force we are hopeful the young men will enlist. If they do not enlist then it will be conscription. We have got to get the women and the old men to help in recruiting if the young men will not. …

Lt.-Col. Scobell, upon rising to speak, was most enthusiastically received. In his opening remarks the Colonel said it was hard to say good-bye to Belleville. Four happy months had been spent in Belleville. All citizens had done all they could for the members of the 235th Battalion. He referred to the Khaki Club and the good it had and was doing. Some of the boys of the Battalion had no homes in this country, but the Khaki Club was a home to them. We owe much to the ladies of Belleville who have done so much for the officers and men. For this he was thankful. We are sorry to go, but as good soldiers we must obey orders. …

There are young men walking around in Belleville who should be in khaki. If the young men have not enlisted in the 235th then go and enlist with the 254th Battalion. We hold no bad feelings towards the 254th Battalion as we hope to meet them in France and fight side-by-side with them in this struggle for the Empire. …  The meeting closed by the band playing the National Anthem.”

The Intelligencer March 5, 1917 (page 2)

“At the Queen Alexandra. A very pleasing function took place Friday afternoon at Queen Alexandra School, Ann St. The occasion of the school assembling in the auditorium was to see the crack shots among our cadets, receive the prizes they so well merited by their excellent shooting. The boys not only covered themselves with laurel, but their school as well, by taking ten out of fifteen prizes given to the cadets of the Public Schools in the city. To win a prize it was necessary to make at least nineteen out of a possible twenty-five. All riflemen will admit that the boys’ shooting augurs well for the future marksmen of Belleville.

Mr. Sneyd, Chairman of the School, and Inspector H. J. Clarke, B.A., officiated in the presentation. …  Mr. Sneyd gave a very interesting talk to the pupils. He complimented them on the amounts of their savings in the Penny Banks, and exhorted them to bank more, as every penny saved means so much towards winning the war. He told them about the special war bonds now issued by the Government, which, by buying, each child can materially aid in financing the war.

The speaker then encouraged the boys and girls to have vegetable plots of their very own this summer, and spoke of the probability of prizes being awarded to the pupil growing the best specimens. This all aids in winning the war.

Mr. Sneyd then delighted the children and riveted their interest by a vivid description of the submarine menace to England. They listened breathlessly as he described in detail the British method of netting a submarine.

A hearty vote of thanks was unanimously given Mr. Sneyd, voiced by the Principal, Mr. Mott, and our Inspector. All greatly appreciated his talk, and only hope to see him call again.”

The Intelligencer March 5, 1917 (page 2)

“235th Battalion Leaves For Ottawa. Despite the inclement weather this morning hundreds of citizens of all classes were present at the Canadian Northern Ontario Railway Station for the purpose of saying good-bye to the officers and men of the 235th Battalion, who entrained for Ottawa, where they will be stationed until they leave for Overseas.

Owing to the prevailing storm the proposed march out through Front and other streets was abandoned. Many present at the station expressed regret that the Battalion was leaving the city. The hour of 9.30 was set for entraining but the train which came from Cobourg with the detachments from that town did not arrive until 10.15.

From Cobourg the officers and men totalled 83, and a fine body of soldiers they were. As the officers and men marched in front of the station they were loudly cheered. Many of the ladies of the Belleville Khaki Club were present and the soldier boys were remembered with a supply of oranges and cigarettes, which gift it is needless to say was much appreciated.

Col. Scobell, officer commanding of the Battalion, thanked the ladies for their kind remembrance. At eleven o’clock the train moved off en-route to the Capital. This will be the last appearance of the Battalion in Belleville. It is expected that the Battalion will go overseas in about six weeks’ time.”

The Intelligencer March 5, 1917 (page 2)

“Sinclair’s Red Cross Sale! 4 Days, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Our Anniversary, March 7, 1895—22 Years—March 7, ’17.

On Wednesday, March 7th, we begin our Twenty-Third Year of Business and we celebrate our 22nd Anniversary with a Four Days’ Sale, during which, we will donate the Net Profits of our Business to the Red Cross Work as carried on by the Ladies of Belleville.”

The Intelligencer March 5, 1917 (page 3)

“The Prize Packet in the Mess Kit is Wrigley’s. Millions of bars supplied every month to the Army and Navy. Every bar means more power to our forces—at home and abroad. Send some in every letter and parcel to the Front. Small in cost, but big in benefit.”

The Intelligencer March 5, 1917 (page 5)

“Died Somewhere In France. A few days ago a message was received in this city that Sergt. Chas. N. Asselstine, who left Belleville with the 155th Battalion, was seriously ill, and yesterday a telegram from the Record Office, Ottawa, conveyed the sad intelligence that he was dead. While it is not definitely known, it is surmised that he died at a base hospital in France, as cards recently had been received from him from France.

The brave soldier was well known to this city, where he had resided for the past six years. He, for two years, with Mr. Robert Goudy, conducted the Crystal Hotel in Belleville, and was decidedly popular with the travelling public. Sergt. Asselstine was born at Strathcona, near Napanee, where he resided until moving to this city. He was the second son of Mr. and Mrs. John Asselstine, who reside on Pinnacle street, Belleville. Deceased was a member of the Orange Society, and was a man who was esteemed by all who knew him. His demise will be regretted by a host of friends.

A widow and young daughter survive, also his parents, four brothers and two sisters, all of whom live here. To the bereaved will be extended the heartfelt sympathy of all citizens.”

[Note: Sergeant Charles Nelson Asselstine died on February 28, 1917. He is commemorated on Page 193 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]